July was a considerably busier month for naturist material than June this year. Although there was a great deal of pandemic yet to unfold, at least naturists weren’t losing interest. Of course, July is probably the peak month for naturism in the northern hemisphere. So there’s a lot to cover here.
- Artistic naturist photography
Artistic nude photography and photographic images of naturism are often considered completely separate categories. The first reference below provides good examples of how the two can be combined. As some of the images there show, images of unclothed people in natural settings make an obvious choice – but not the only one. The second reference is more strictly “artistic” in nature, but it uses naked bodies in abstract ways to communicate a message.
- Naturism: face, without fear, “the beauty of a naked body”
- Nude art photographer shows the irony of the exhibition during Covid-19
Note that the language in both of these items is Portugese, but a translation into English, Spanish, or French can be had by selecting the appropriate flag in the top right of the page.
- Naked Bike Ride 2020: ‘As Bare As You Dare’ But Don’t Forget The Mask
This item and the next one are further examples of how naturists are adapting to the pandemic. Some of the customary World Naked Bike Rides that take place in the warmer months were simply cancelled this year. But many others took place as usual. The ride pictured above was in Spain.
- From naked gardening to Yoga sessions at Zoom, see how nudists connect during blockades
Most naturist clubs and resorts everywhere did not open at the usual time, but many gradually opened one or more months late, and use of masks, social distancing, hand-washing, etc. were at least strongly recommended. Normal use of outdoor facilities, such as swimming pools and tennis courts was generally allowed, with mild restrictions.
To make up for the more limited options available, naturists also turned to activities like gardening and home improvement. And innovate, forward-thinking naturist organizations – British Naturism in particular – used video conferencing tools to provide entirely new services like panel discussions, virtual “pub nights”, and classes in yoga, drawing, and painting. (More about that here.) Such activities will certainly continue to be popular even when the pandemic eventually subsides. Notably, they can be accessed from almost anywhere in the world.
- Nudity in protests
Certain things that occur in “normal” times did not stop even during a pandemic – political protests in particular. In the U. S., in fact, there were numerous dramatic protests across the country in response to various incidents of brutal and totally unnecessary murders of Black men by undisciplined police officers and civilian vigilantes. The protests in Portland, Oregon were especially tumultuous – and led to threatening overreaction against protesters.
To call attention to the irrational police violence that included use of tear gas and rubber bullets, one very brave – and naked – woman staged a protest of her own. The protester, who goes by the name “Naked Athena”, explained that “being nude in public is nothing new” to her. Although police shot pepper balls close to her, she was unharmed and departed casually after about ten minutes.
Using nudity in social and political demonstrations and protests is, or course, not especially uncommon. World Naked Bike Rides are a particularly tame example. This case was quite a bit more daring – but it pointed out dramatically the vulnerability of all the protesters in the face of heavily armed police.
- ‘Naked Athena’: The story behind the surreal photos of Portland protester
- Protester dubbed ‘Naked Athena’ faces off with Portland police
- Portland’s “Naked Athena” Speaks for the First Time to a Local Podcast
- Portland protester ‘Naked Athena’ speaks out: ‘I am notoriously naked’
- ‘Naked Athena’ faces off with police during Portland protest
- Women in naturism
One of the most common questions that naturists and non-naturists alike wonder about social nudity is why more women don’t participate. (Look here for previous posts about this.) As the first of the two articles below remarks, “The answer is multi-faceted.” The problem extends far beyond the issue of having “gender balance” at naturist clubs and resorts. It exists just as much at clothing-optional beaches, World Naked Bike Rides, and other naturist events and festivals.
It might be tempting to reach for simple answers, such as that women are simply shyer about exposing their naked bodies, at least in the presence of men. But there are complications even in that. It’s tangled up, of course, with the issue of body acceptance – but that’s a problem for men too. And “normal” women’s clothing often exposes more epidermis than men’s clothing does. The first article below, despite its title, doesn’t attempt to go deeply into reasons for the problem. Instead, it offers various suggestions for what can be done to deal with the problem. It turns out that the techniques are basically alike for men and women.
The second article is a personal account by one woman who actually was quite daunted by the idea of being naked in view of men. This was more a result of being a survivor of sexual assault than of body acceptance. The woman may well never be a naturist, but she has managed to overcome her fear of nudity, in order to be able to enjoy it in situations that are comfortable for her.
- Immersion in Europe’s first naturist garage sale
Now here is a genuinely creative idea for promoting naturism – a carefully planned and executed “garage sale” in France, where nudity is required for visitors. (Events like this, except for the nudity, are also known as “flea markets”, “yard sales”, “tag sales”, etc.) This wasn’t some event with a few rows of folding tables in a dusty parking lot. As can be seen from the picture, it was in a clean indoor space with uniform, purpose-made white booths for the display of the merchandise. Rows were even neatly arranged in alphabetical order.
In countries like the U. S. that lack as many dedicated naturists as France, the event need not be as formal. It should be clothing-optional, but without requiring full nudity. Visitors who do opt for getting naked should be able to have their clothes stored neatly in a secure space. Obviously, nudity-phobic people would stay away. But anyone who might want to glean some insight into why naturists like being naked could drop in – and maybe doff some or all of their clothes as well – for a safe first experience in social nudity. Naturally, this could be arranged by a local naturist group, or even a few naturist friends who want to spread the concept of naturism.
Perhaps it sounds unlikely a small group could make this work. But suppose an existing naturist campground or resort did this, perhaps even on a regular basis. The general public would be invited. There could be a nominal entrance fee (maybe $5) or maybe none. (After all, many naturist places charge nothing for a first visit.) Food sales might help cover costs. Full nudity wouldn’t be required except, as usual, in swimming pools and spas.
Wouldn’t this be a great way to attract new members or regular visitors – especially people who are already somewhat comfortable with nudity, at least in private? This is only one of a number of possibilities for naturist places to attract new people. Vintage car shows are held at many naturist places now, but that’s kind of a special interest. How about bake sales, craft fairs, art/photography shows, yoga demonstrations, gardening classes?
Naturists really need to become more creative in how they promote social nudity.
- The History of Nudism: Europe
People have lived much of their lives happily naked for as long as there have been humans. But many naturists are aware that nudism and naturism as currently understood originated in Europe – mainly in Germany – around 1900. It took almost three decades to spread to North America. But those earliest decades established the basic features of nudism and naturism as practiced today. The couple that hosts Our Natural Blog narrates a 9-minute video that gives an overview of the beginning of contemporary nudism in its early years in Europe.
- International Nude Day, July 14
As noted in the report for June, 2020, July 14 was designated as “International Nude Day” by some New Zealanders in 2003 (or thereabouts). (In some countries it may be called “National Nude Day”). One had to wonder how widely celebrated this day would be. The answer, sadly, is: not a whole lot. There was little publicity about it at the time, and apparently only one national naturist organization did much of anything to promote it. That was the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR). They even produced a 1-minute video to make note of the day – although it shows almost no actual nudity.
That was a little odd, since AANR is mainly a trade association that promotes naturist resorts and travel businesses. Unlike naturist organizations in some other countries, AANR does little organizing and promotion of naturist activities (such as festivals and beach events). British Naturism, for example, often does things like that (at least in the absence of a pandemic).
Exactly what would people who actually heard about it be expected to do on this day? Presumably, naturists who already enjoyed nudity would do so about as much as they would on any other summer day. But why would a significant number of others who’ve had no experience with social nudity suddenly decide to go naked on July 14? For that to happen, there’d surely need to be wide publicity of the great variety of possible naturist activities that could be enjoyed. Not just a trip to the closest naturist resort, but naked hiking, naked camping, visiting clothing-optional beaches, body painting, or just hanging out naked at home with family and friends.
The first article below is from NatCon, a regional naturist organization in Cornwall, UK. It does little but note the day, very briefly mention some benefits of naturism, and show the AANR video. Somewhat of a half-hearted effort, but more than most other organizations offered. The second article is from a New York tabloid that begins with a slightly dismissive tone, but says a little about two young body-positive women, one of whom, named Grace, posted some (non-nude) selfies on her Instagram account and posted on Twitter that “Our bodies are a beautiful thing that should be embraced and cherished. … Nudity doesn’t have to be sexual — it can be empowering and a symbol of confidence.”