Are social media helpful for promoting naturism?

Some naturists have tried to use social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, et al) to present to the general public their positive feelings about nudity in order to improve public attitudes towards their lifestyle. But how effective has the attempt been, and how effective is it likely to be? I’m inclined to think the answer is: not very much.

There are obvious reasons why using social media is unlikely to be very helpful for changing the attitudes of non-naturists, at least in the foreseeable future. Here are some of those reasons:

  1. Most popular social media, like Facebook and the others, don’t allow full-frontal naturist nudity in photographic images and videos – even though naturists are thoroughly comfortable with such images as long as they aren’t sexually suggestive. Naturists believe that seeing the unsexualized naked bodies of consenting naturists is perfectly reasonable. But they’re regularly penalized or banned from social media if they use such images or videos. Hostile treatment of normal naturist nudity by social media sends a clear message that naturism itself is improper and unacceptable.

  2. Social nudity – or even private nudity with hardly any exceptions – is generally regarded as abnormal (at best) by large segments of the population almost everywhere. Naturists hope that rational arguments about the goodness and wholesomeness of naturist nudity could significantly change that opinion. But the prevalence of negative attitudes towards nudity means there’s a high barrier to changing the opinions of most people on the matter.

  3. Some naturists believe it’s not especially important to persuade non-naturists to become naturists, using social media or otherwise. They believe instead that it’s sufficient for the health of naturism that the general public becomes more accustomed to reading what naturists have to say or seeing unsexualized images of social nudity. And as a result that more of the public will become more understanding, tolerant, and accepting of naturism.

  4. Unfortunately, however, non-naturists seldom pay much attention to the positive things naturists say about their lifestyle on social media. Even on Twitter, nudity is categorized as “sensitive” content, requiring an opt-in to be seen, although it’s generally allowed (except in profiles). But most people not actually looking for naked images are unlikely to follow naturist accounts. And apart from the pictures, how much can be adequately explained in a single tweet? There’s just little chance that even the best posts by naturists will actually be noticed and persuasive.

Naturist use of social media might make a difference if it persuades additional non-naturists to form a more positive opinion of naturism. Some might try naturism and then adopt a naturist lifestyle, at least in a limited way. Best case: some become enthusiastic naturists. A larger proportion of the general population could then actually know one or more naturists in “real life” – provided those new naturists are open about it. If enough people learned that at least one relative or good friend has become a naturist, that would make a difference.

If social media were reasonably helpful in promoting naturism and persuading more people to become naturists, then there could be more naturists on social media to advocate for their lifestyle – and hence social media would become more tolerant towards naturism and less hostile to it. There would be a “virtuous circle”, a positive feedback effect

But that seems like putting the cart before the horse. What if there were other, more effective ways to persuade enough people to take naturism more seriously and begin enjoying social nudity themselves?

There is, in fact, one more effective means of persuading people to try naturism. That is for naturists to curtail their general secretiveness and to become more open about their lifestyle. Two good consequences follow from that. First, open naturists can show their lifestyle causes them neither shame nor embarrassment. So they can be much more persuasive about the goodness and wholesomeness of naturism with actual friends and acquaintances who know, respect, and trust them in real life. What people who aren’t favorable towards naturism say about it can simply be discounted. Second, when naturists become open about their lifestyle, other naturists they know are more likely to follow their lead.

People who’re currently naturists can use social media effectively to communicate with other naturists – their main audience and the audience most likely to take seriously what they say. And what should be communicated is the importance of openness about being a naturist as a key to success, since openness enables them to persuade others who trust them about the virtues of naturism. That’s probably the most effective way to actually change opinions about naturism.

Sociological studies have demonstrated that persuasion from sources that are known and trusted in real life is more effective in changing people’s opinions about controversial topics than either opinions from social media “influencers” or theoretical arguments.

Changing public opinions about naturism has many more benefits besides simply gaining more freedom to show what naturism is really like, and therefore persuading more people to try it themselves. When people try naturism and enjoy it, they’re likely to include more nudity in their own lives. So there are more customers for naturist clubs and resorts leading to more and better clubs and resorts. And more pressure to add new clothing-optional beaches. And more tolerance for nudity in hiking and camping areas. And more people who’re actually naked at WNBR and similar events.

A blog like this one is, of course, somewhat in the category of social media. Probably, though, there aren’t many readers here who are not at least a little interested in naturism and social nudity. Hopefully, some readers will be able to pass along a little of what they’ve read here to others they know personally who might be open-minded about nudity.

13 thoughts on “Are social media helpful for promoting naturism?”

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more especially in that it is kept like a secret society. In Arkansas, where I live, I’ve only heard rumors of secret naturist clubs. I’ve been open about my naturism not only online but in my personal life for over two years and I sometimes refer to myself as ‘The ONLY Nudist in Arkansas’ I have never met another open naturist in this state ( for one thing it’s highly illegal) I studied the state laws and found the loopholes. I went on to create a podcast and explain these laws…still no one has come forward.

  2. I think most nudists, of any stripe, wrestle with your question and with solutions.

    I have wondered if nudists are missing something. If we have a kind of blindness. Kind of like a science or history or medical problem. We’re not asking the right questions because we don’t know the right questions to ask.

    Here’s a barely-baked thought… What if we encouraged the borderline nudist? Those who have a comfort with less clothes and revealing clothes. Like the mom with little one at the beach in the smallest of swimsuits? Like the dad who rarely wears a shirt working the yard? Like the mom in thin, thin leggings? Like the dad in a too thin, too large tank top.

    What if we encouraged them by joining them. Wear the same sort of clothes. Be around them. Say hi. Nod. Smile. Wave to them. Dress like the mom at the beach. Pull off the shirt in the yard. Wear thin, thin leggings often. And wear clothes that all but fall off, and are all but see-through. Be the first at the pool party to undress. Be the last to cover up. Men, push those shorts lower on your hips. Women, wear your cleavage.

    What if by wearing less we subtly and progressively encourage the pleasure of bare skin?

    We won’t change people overnight, but we might make some forward movement.

    It’s a barely-baked thought. Perhaps a dumb thought.

    1. Interesting idea, Clara. I’m wondering how it would work. It’s difficult to talk about a concept without having a name for it. “Nudist” and “naturist” are simple enough, though often misunderstood. Is “borderline nudist” OK? What about “quasi-nudist” or “semi-nudist”? Would the people you have in mind want to be labeled with any of those? Would there be Facebook groups (for instance) just for such people, and what would they be called? If there were a way to identify such people, they should probably be invited to some naturist activities so they learn what naturists are really like. But would they really attend? Do you think they might actually want to be naked if given enough encouragement? So many questions….

      1. I don’t know. In a half-baked way, I feel some people might be closer to nudism than we think because of the way they wear their clothes. They give the sense they are comfortable with their shirt off, or in that very small swimsuit, or shorts far down on the hips, or leggings so thin they hide little.

        In my own very limited experience, I know bare skin can encourage more bare skin.

        I don’t know how things would turn the corner. Perhaps, in time, something could be said, or suggested, or expressed, or offered, or inferred.

        Another question… Have you ever looked around at people and thought, “Not that person, but maybe that person?” Ever known an uptight woman and thought, “I don’t sense she’d be inclined to be a nudist.” Or know a guy and thought, “Yep, he’d drop his draws and step out of them if it was with the right group of people.” Am I alone in wondering about people this way?

        I do think, as you ask, that some people do want to be nude, in at least small ways. I think it stirs within a certain kind of person. They are moving slowly towards it, even if they don’t know it. Maybe we can do what we can, slowly and subtly, to help them move forward. I’m just thinking out loud. 🙂

        1. Even people who are active naturists are pretty circumspect about letting others know about their interest. It could be that people who dress publicly in skimpy or revealing clothes actually are naturists “in the closet”. Sort of like gay people who (at least in earlier times) had dress or grooming styles that were indicative of their orientation, but not so obvious to the general public. As has been noted many times, LGBTQ people are slowly gaining tolerance as they become more open about their preferences.

          With respect to social media, it’s noteworthy that discussion groups like Facebook’s are almost always private or even hidden. So the general public has no idea what’s being discussed – or by whom.

    2. Here are my observations about the audience’s attitude to nudism on Instagram. Two years ago, there were a lot of comments condemning naked people on nudist beaches, calling them perverts. Now there are almost no such reviews. I think the attitude of the audience has changed from negative to neutral. This is the merit of people promoting naturism in social networks. And this makes it possible for more people to join naturism without fear of public censure.

      1. During the past two years Instagram has removed dozens of accounts that promoted naturism. That’s probably why there are fewer negative comments now. Censorship that prevents or cripples advocacy of naturism (or other unpopular ideas) tends to have that effect.

  3. This article is so true – my being open about my nudism has not shocked my friends and relatives, but has made several of them open up about their also being closet naturists. Now I often have guests walking around my house naked, the same as I do.
    Concerning those social media sites (like twitter, facebook instagram and tumblr) that are hostile to nudity, I recommend that all nudists boycott them. There are more of us than we realise, and the loss of support hurts them. I have dumped them all and am using MeWe and newTumbl instead, and a lot of my friends have followed my lead. No more deleted posts!

  4. Wonder why you don’t suggest for each “Nudist” or “naturist” using social media, identify themselves as such in their profile description?

    1. Wonder why you don’t suggest for each “Nudist” or “naturist” using social media, identify themselves as such in their profile description?

      Because too many naturists are afraid to tell even close friends and relatives about their interest in naturism. Including it in social media profiles would amount to the same thing. That fear needs to be overcome. Have written about it here:

  5. I like this discussion. It sounds like a debate between experts of nudism. Like any other debate between experts of mechanics or music or whatever. Typically, people who are not into nudism will not feel concerned. I personally felt very early (11 years old) the urge to get naked in nature. And I never lost that desire and the pleasure that goes with being simply nude wherever I can. Many people around me know this about me. I talked to them about nudity, how it feels, what it provides. Guess what ? They listen, they are happy that I feel this pleasant experience but they do not even consider trying it. It is simply not their point of interest. They like music or cars or travels or cooking or whatever and they have debates of experts with people who also like music or cars … and if you are curious enough you will find on the web pages and pages of discussions about some very technical aspects of these topics that they debate on. Will you be interested in reading this ? If you are not passionate with music or cars or whatever, it is very likely you are not even following any threads about these topics in social networks. Same for non nudists : they simply do not care at all about getting nude on the beach or in their garden or in their home and will not follow any nudist twitter account.
    So our challenge as nudists is not to convert others, but rather it is to make others tolerant, accepting of our taste for nudity. Because for most people on earth, and for many historical and cultural reasons, nudity is not normal, unlike what we, nudists, consider.

    1. In reply to Jules.

      So our challenge as nudists is not to convert others, but rather it is to make others tolerant, accepting of our taste for nudity.

      Yes, that’s important. But here’s the thing. It’s very hard to estimate how many committed nudists/naturists there are in this country, but it’s probably as little as 1%, maybe less. Sure, a higher percentage visit clothing-optional beaches, enjoy nudity at home, or visit nudist/naturist clubs and resorts. Whatever the percentage is, it’s a small minority of the population. And many don’t even want to tell others they’re nudists. So how likely is it that they’ll be effective in persuading many people in the rest of the population to be tolerant of nudity? Not very likely, in my opinion.

      When a small number of people want to persuade many others of something, they need a way to magnify their influence. And the way that’s done with most other issues is through organizations. That’s worked with issues like women’s rights, gay rights, environmental protection, and many others. The U. S. has two national nudist/naturist organizations – and they’ve obviously not been very effective. Both have actually been losing members over the years for the past couple of decades.

      I’ve suggested here that naturists really need many more local organizations. They could be “chapters” of larger organizations or mostly independent. But they really need to exist. If individuals seriously want to have an effect, I think this is the way to do it. Such organizations can do both things: persuade some people to try nudism/naturism and persuade many others to be more tolerant of nudity.

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