Yes, it's been over 2 months this time since the last edition of this
"weekly" newsletter. I'm sorry about that, since I know many of you
enjoy reading this news. But there's only so much time to go around.
In addition to having to work for a living like most everyone else,
and my other personal responsibilities, during the last couple of months
I've put in a lot of time participating in and assisting with discussions
on the NNN mailing list that was
announced in the previous edition of this newsletter. If you want to
see the results of that effort, just take a look at the link above
and consider joining the list.
As always, I keep hoping to return to a more regular, perhaps even weekly,
schedule for this newsletter. There's quite a backlog of news to
report - much more than can be covered in one issue. So you may
reasonably expect to see new issues more frequently simply to get
through all the backlog.
One of the most interesting things I notice this time is the large
amount (relatively speaking) of media attention to clothes-freedom
topics, in addition to reporting on specfic news. Perhaps this is a
trend that will have an important positive effect.
We may well ask why there has been so much relevant news of nudity
and nakedness recently. It
may be simply because summer (in the northern hemisphere) is the best season
to be nude. Or it may be that these issues actually are becoming of
interest to more people. In any case, we have a lot to think about in
what has been happening....
Mainstream society has a very inadequate, mostly incorrect understanding
of what "naturism" or "nudism" (pick either term) is really about. Many
people who find they are attracted by the idea of enjoying life without
clothes do also - to the point that they often wish to avoid the labels
"naturist" or "nudist" as applied to themselves. Even if they readily
admit they like not wearing clothes sometimes, either alone or in
the company of others.
It also happens frequently that people have a particular preference
to describe themselves as a "naturist" or a "nudist" - as long as you
don't dare call them by the term other than the one they prefer.
Further, different people tend to attach very different meanings to the
terms. What some people think are characteristics of "nudists" but
not "naturists", others will insist to be exactly the opposite.
We certainly can't settle all such problems here. Any
"definition" we can hope to give will certainly encounter many who
will disagree. Yet it's important for various reasons to be able to
clarify these terms as much as possible. We need to be able to have
some sort of definition just to have some idea of how
many people the terms potentially apply to. We need to make
the concepts as clear as possible so we can explain them to
others. And we need, simply, to sort things out so we can go beyond
fussing over definitions to get on with the real business of explaining
what's good about nudity and why we like it.
Naturists and nudists are a very diverse group of people. Some prefer
to enjoy nudity at beaches, some at clubs, and some just at home.
Some prefer to enjoy nudity alone, some with a few close friends or
family, and some with many others. Some people like to relate nudity
to a variety other things, like nature, honesty, body acceptance, or pleasure.
When you try to use such concepts to identify what "all" who enjoy nudity
in some form or another have in common, you come up with very little as
a "least common denominator".
It therefore seems that trying to define the group of people we're talking
about and then trying to decide what they all believe in is putting the
cart before the horse. It seems like it might be easier to specify the
basic principles that are held by most people who might think of themselves as either
"naturists" or "nudists". Anyhow, we think it's worthwhile to take a stab
So, herewith, we offer for your consideration a list of basic principles
we think that most people who enjoy non-sexual nudity can agree on.
Your feedback is invited! The best way to offer it is to join and
participate in our electonic mailing list: the
NNN mailing list.
- Our bodies are the only true "homes" we really have. We have some
limited ability to change the appearance and configuration of our
"homes". But on the whole we should accept and respect our own bodies
and those of others as they are and as they change as we go through
- It is an act of non-acceptance and disrespect towards our own bodies
and the bodies of others to consider them in any way "shameful",
"disgusting", or "offensive" as they are in their natural state when
not covered by any clothing.
- There is no "harm" to a psychologically well-adjusted person of any
age merely in either seeing others nude or being seen nude by others.
- Nudity does not inherently have a sexual meaning or purpose.
Any sexual meaning or purpose associated with either clothing or nudity
is an individual choice independent of these principles. But it is
disrespectful to another to use mere nudity as an excuse or means to
pursue a sexual purpose.
- It is reasonable to wear clothes in the company of others who do not
share these principles, when necessary to show due respect for
their feelings and opinions. But it is also proper to request others
to respect one's own preferences regarding the wearing of clothes.
- Clothing is also useful at times for comfort, protection, or
convenience. Any use of clothing beyond such utilitarian purposes, for
any reason or no reason, remains the right and personal choice of any
- There are a variety of benefits which attend the choice not to wear
clothes, including greater comfort, relaxation, stress reduction,
feelings of freedom, enhanced sensation of the natural environment,
facilitated social interactions, and more openness with others. Every
individual will experience and value these benefits somewhat
- Australian students protest fees with nudity
- When you're an impoverished student facing the imposition of
new fees at school, and you can barely afford the necessities of life
to begin with, what's more natural than to just shuck your clothes and
protest? That's what a dozen students at Melbourne's Victoran
College of the Arts figured as a fitting way to express themselves
at the opening of a new $5 million art gallery. And all the better if
the opening is to be attended by the Premier of Victoria. Of course,
this being an artistic event, nothing so crude as marching around with
signs would do, so the troupe organized their protest into a piece of
performance art entitled "I am my actions".
- Venezuelan students protest fees with nudity
- In a separate but oddly similar incident, about a dozen students in
Caracas also protested higher fees in the nude. Evidently they were not
as well received as their Australian counterparts, due to the more
primitive attitudes towards nudity in Catholic Venezuela. The city's
police chief, General Francisco Belisario, called the protest "an
assault on public decency," and warned that nude protesters could
face a month in jail. At least his reaction was not so extreme as
that of his namesake, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian's General Belisarius,
who in 532 CE put down the Nika riots by slaughtering
30,000 protesters. (We have no information as to how many of the
latter were nude.)
- Swedish teacher who lost job over nudity wins legal fight
- In the rest of the world, Sweden has a liberal reputation in
matters of nudity. So it was a little surprising back in 1994 when
Irene Wachenfeldt lost her teaching job for stripping naked in front
of an adult education class of unemployed women in order to make a
point about body acceptance. "My body is good enough. I want you to feel
the same about your bodies," she told her class. Her
students appreciated the lesson and protested the unfortunate
consequences. "It was one of our best lessons ... it helped boost our
self confidence," one student was quoted as saying. Wachenfeldt, a
mother of five, certainly did not lack self confidence herself and sued
the authorities for unfair dismissal. A court in Karlstad recently
awarded her almost $20,000 damages in compensation.
- Nudity in Berkeley
- On July 21 the Berkeley City Council, by a 5-4 vote, finally did
what they have threatened for months: they changed violations of
the city's anti-nudity law from misdemeanors to "infractions".
Although an "infraction" is normally considered a less serious
offense, it also rules out the possibliity of a trial by jury.
Which is significant, since
members of the X-plicit Players performance
art group have never been convicted by a Berkeley jury
for their frequent nude performances and parades, despite a dozen
arrests. See the news story
here, our previous report,
Marty Kent and Debbie Moore of the Players are not the only folks
who consider this action rather a travesty. An
editorial in the Orange County Register, one of the most
conservative newspapers in the state, not only called the City
Council action an "outrage", but even termed the anti-nudity law
So what happens next? Perhaps we will find out Sunday, September 20,
7th Annual Nude and Breast Freedom Parade. It starts at Noon in
People's Park. Friends of clothes-freedom in the Bay Area might just
want to plan to be there to see for themselves what this is all about.
- Nudity in Boulder
- Nudity, right now, seems to have more promising prospects in another
college town not normally considered as radical as Berkeley - Boulder,
Colorado. Though it isn't exactly non-controversial. It seems that
sunbathers, of the au naturel sort, have been using a remote corner
of Boulder Reservoir to get an all-over tan. But there have been
complaints. As the writer of a pretty objective, non-judgmental
article in the Boulder News puts it,
"For some, the unclothed human body is a comfortable,
natural state in some public venues. To others, public
nudity is an inappropriate display of flesh that can be
shocking, offensive and distracting."
Evidently to the surprise of some, simple nudity isn't illegal in
Colorado or the city of Boulder. As the article explains, there are
various necessary elements, such as "lewd" display or an intent to
"affront or alarm" which simply aren't present in innocent
sunbathing. (And far from being an unusual circumstance, this is
actually true in most of the U. S.)
- Festival of Naked Poets
- Elsewhere in the world, nudity is appearing in new and
(perhaps) unexpected venues. On August 20, BBC News
reported on the opening of the first International
Festival of Naked Poets at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts.
There appears to be an international movement of poets to incorporate
elements of nude performance art in their work.
Nude performance art is nothing new (consider Karen Finley or the
X-plicit Players, for example). But it seems that poets, who
until now have emphasized the verbal aspect of their art at poetry
readings, want to add the visual element of nudity. And the way they
talk about it they sound like, well, naturists.
According to the article, these poets find that
"performing au naturel gives them a
greater spiritual connection with the audience." Nudity helps them
"strip away the restrictive layers of contemporary life."
Female poet Emmanuelle Waeckerle notes that life is burdened with
many pretenses, but "I am interested in nakedness to get rid of all those
They're right, of course, even if they aren't exactly the first to
discover these things. But perhaps their eloquence can reach
audiences that never paid much attention to naturists.
- Allure: Get Naked
- This seems to be the year that women's magazines are discovering
social nudity, though it is a topic they've dealt with occasionally
in the past. (See the article in
Volume 1, No. 12 regarding Mademoiselle.) In their June
issue Allure has a prominent article titled, in huge
letters, "Get Naked".
As the subtitle ("It's a brave nude world, as more women are paying
photographers to let them grin and bare it.") reveals, the article is
more about posing nude than social nudity per se. It does early on
make the observation (quoting photographer Marie-Claire Montanari) that
"posing nude inevitably boosts any woman's self-esteem." But then much
of the article is a catalog of celebrities, actors, photographers and
others who've deliberately included nudity in their work. (Nothing
really new about that.)
There follow some rambling attempts to analyze the phenomenon of
ordinary people as well as celebrities moved to have images of themselves
naked captured on film. Unimaginative stuff about vanity, taking
an occasional wild fling, and the like. But the conclusion is good
and worth remembering: "In a society where we're so often defined by
our appearance - and the ways we alter it with clothes - it seems
some people, at least, are finding that the ultimate in control is
taking it all off."
- Glamour: It's Naked Season
- Yet another women's magazine article on nudity. Subtitle: "What
have you done in the nude lately?" Note the blunt assumption that
you have done something in the nude (besides the obvious).
There seems to be a subtle change of tone from "It's not so weird
to be naked," to "Of course you like to be naked."
In this brief article, a new book by Emily Jenkins (
Tongue First: Adventures in Physical Culture)
is mentioned. The book deals
with cultural trends to being more open and forward about how we
present our physical selves - including nude beach visits. Also
presented are the results of Glamour's survey that asked
what people like to do nude. Astonishingly, the claims is that
74% of women polled have swum nude, 66% have hung around the house
naked, 46% have visited a nude beach, and 41% have done housework
naked. One wonders a little about these results, since only 34%
admit ever having sunbathed naked. (Do they go swimming
only by moonlight?) But still...
It's very nude-positive. According to author Jenkins,
"You can never feel dumpy when you're naked."
- USA Weekend: Nude tourism takes off
- (Nyuk, nyuk) Oh, yes - the subtitle is "Traveling light". Nevertheless,
it's a positive article, which appeared July 3.
"Nude cruises, resorts and other
recreation-related sales account for more than $250 million a year,
say industry insiders." USA Weekend is a sister publication to USA Today.
- ABCNEWS.com: Going Natural
- Dated August 10, this online feature about naturist travel
begins, "Traveling light?", and the page is titled "Nudist Vacations
Take Off". Hmmm,
where have we heard those lines used before? Why does it seem, sometimes,
that mainstream articles on naturism keep recycling the same mindless
puns? Never mind. The article itself is sensible and positive, as well
as rather more detailed than the very brief USA Weekend piece. (Which,
however, seems to have been the inspiration, as they also share
the same list of "favorite activities" of nudists and a silly remark
about fishing hooks.) Mention is made of the AANR's annual convention
Hidden Valley Resort in Georgia, Palm Spring's
Desert Shadows Inn,
Cedar Creek Nudist Park's Nudestock festival, and nude cruises. On
the whole, quite a good article.
Online version. Also
- CNN Interactive: Best Beaches
- Not to be outdone in the rush to welcome nude recreation
into mainstream travel opportunities, CNN included several
well-known nude beaches in their August listing of "best beaches".
They even had their own category: "bare-it-all beaches". The
winners: Orient Beach on the Caribbean island of St. Martin,
Bonny Doon Beach in Santa Cruz, California, and Haulover Beach
in Miami, Florida. CNN didn't actually make the picks themselves.
They asked Judi Ditzler of The Naturist Society, who was
(undoubtedly) happy to oblige. She observes that a beach vacation
spent in the buff is not an off-putting idea at all, but rather
an "essential part of life."
- CNN Interactive: Nude Cruise Poll
- Clearly, there's a little buzz in the media about nude travel
opportunities. Cruises are something that most people can understand
and relate to. For many people, probably, a nude cruise would be one
of the better ways to experiment with clothes-free leisure time -
since there's a small likelihood of meeting people you know while
far from home. Evidently this inspired the folks at CNN to offer
this question in their weekly poll for August 17:
"Would you take a nude cruise if your partner said it
was his/her dream vacation?"
The result: 55% responded "absolutely"! Only 30% said "never".
- Advocate Weekly Newspapers: Living Au Naturel: A Nudist's Memoir
- "For as long as my family has summered at the beach at Fire Island, we
would waken every morning at around 6, even in sloppy weather, and
walk the beach until we're well past the last house. Then, shedding our
clothes in the sand above the high tide line, we'd plunge into the ocean.
After a little nude beach combing to let the air and the sun dry us, we'd
don our clothes again and walk back to the house for breakfast and a
shot of whiskey." Thus begins Lorraine Gengo's tribute/interview to
her great-aunt Alice Thorpe, aged 97 this summer, and a nudist who has
enjoyed Fire Island since the early 1930s.
Although disparaging of terms like "nudism" and "naturism", both the
author and her great-aunt seem to agree that
"It's just nice to swim without your clothing and it's nice not to be
bothered in heat with clothes that you don't need." There's a bit of a
condescending attitude towards today's naturists, but perhaps that's
just the way you feel towards people who have only recently discovered
a great secret you've known most of your life. On the whole, it's a
- Salon Magazine: Nude Beach of the Week
- As a summer feature, the upscale e-zine Salon asked readers
June 26) to
tell about their favorite nude beaches anywhere in the world. The
replies made fascinating reading for four weeks in a row. If you're
looking for world-class places to be naked and are willing to travel, don't
miss any of these reports.
The first installment on
July 3 featured Maui's Little Makena beach and Munich's Englischer
Garten. Little Makena is praised as the "closest place to heaven on
earth" that the respondent has ever seen. But the Munich story, written
by a young woman describing her first experience with public nudity
("For pure unmitigated Teutonic nudeness, there's
nothing like the scenery in the Englischer Garden in
the heart of Munich.") is better.
July 10 there were reports on four beaches: Apollo in Florida
(from long-time naturist Tom Pitton),
Lucy Vincent on Martha's Vineyard (Massachusetts), Bonny Doon in
California, and the Greek island of Santorini in the Aegean. Again,
nude beach stories told from a woman's point of view emphasize the
light-hearted side of naturism.
The stories went decidedly international on
July 17 with reports from Praslin Island, Seychelles, Balding Bay
Beach on Magnetic Island, Australia, and Hawksbill Beach, Antigua.
Based on these reports, a trip to the Seychelles is definitely in
The series concluded on
July 24 with a look at Red Beach on Crete, Crystal Crescent Beach
in Nova Scotia, and Haulover Beach in Miami. Haulover, of course, is
one of the best-known and best-accepted nude beaches in the U. S.,
while the other two are much smaller and almost unknown treasures.
- Columbus Dispatch: Nude Wedding
- Nudism flourishes in the U. S. midwest - but it's a well-kept
secret the local media seem to take little note of. And when they do,
they have to struggle a bit to get the story right without tripping
over themselves in the pursuit of more bad puns. We need to consider
it a minor cause for celebration when they get the facts mostly
right without being terminally droll.
account of a July wedding at the
Cedar Trails Nudist Retreat in
Ohio is a fine example. The writer hits the right notes from the
start: "Being nude is being natural," the naked minister reminds
the (mostly) naked wedding party and guests. The groom had been a
nudist for five years, but his bride for only eight weeks. And we
must have even more admiration for the bride's sister, who (we
surmise) adapted graciously to the role of naked maid of honor.
If only everyone were so accommodating...
- Washington Post: The Naked and the Web
- Published August 6. Starts our promisingly: "If ever there was an
argument for nakedness, it's August." It goes on to a quick tour of
selected naturist Web sites, such as
sites belonging to the
Trade Association for Nude Recreation, the
Commonwealth of Virginia Naturists, the
(Tucson, AZ), and several Christian naturist sites. But the author's
conclusion is weak, unsupported, and fatuous.
Slashdot Poll: My Work Attire Is...
- What do you wear when you telecommute? As if one should have to ask,
right? Well, Slashdot, an e-zine for Linux hackers, is asking. And
the results so far are that 8% describe their work attire as "naked"!
That's from over 7300 respondents to date. And there's still time to
vote, so visit this page immediately to see the results and cast your
own vote. ("Naked" too, we hope.) You can also submit a comment on the
topic and others' comments. Let 'em know exactly how you feel about
Legal Symposium on Non-sexual Nudity
- This looks like it will be a very important conference on the
legal status of public nudity in the U. S. - and especially about it's
future. If you're interested at all in this (and you should be), then
visit the page for the details. It's short. The
symposium will be held October 9-11 in Miami (very near Haulover
Beach). Even if you can't attend (and how many of us can, unless
we deal with this sort of thing often?), it's very important to
get an idea of the issues involved here. The page offers a concise
summary of the concerns, a list of the speakers, and the program
here for another announcement of the symposium that explains the purpose
in some detail.
The symposium is sponsored by the
Naturist Education Foundation and
South Florida Free Beaches.
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