Is public naturism socially harmful?
by John Paine (posted by Reg Barlow)
How valid is the argument that casual open space naturism is harmful and causes distress to others? The police and other authorities often use it when taking, often highly publicised action against naturists, usually lone males. This line is stated without substantiation by some with zealous religious views, though not by members of the Christian Naturist Fellowship, while people with bigoted and prejudiced views sometimes use similar statements.
Lots of naturists enjoy open space naturism at many places in the UK, when the weather allows. As naturists we know that only in a few extreme cases does public nakedness offend some people, yet we do not have the evidence to prove this as a fact. All is about to change, through a new Naturist Action Group (NAG) project on collecting data, by using a Casual Naturism Report form, with your help.
Yes, I know that there are now many WNBR rides in the UK where nudity on town and city streets does not offend ordinary citizens. It is the WNBR movement itself which introduced the concept ‘bare as you dare’ to their campaign, to highlight the unprotected nature of cyclists on our crowded roads. They allied this with an oil-dependency protest. In a symbiotic relationship thousands of naturists have flocked to support that twin cause. In doing so many, particularly young, people have embraced public nudity through the WNBR. Together they have delighted tens of thousands of onlookers along the WNBR routes. Significantly, no serious legal challenge has been mounted against nudity in any WNBR ride that has taken place in the UK to date.
While mass nudity in public is one thing there have also been countless occasions when naturists have enjoyed open space nudity in a discreet way. This continues on countryside and coastal public footpaths, in fields and moorlands, on beaches which may not be ‘official’ naturist beaches. And of course some naturists are lucky enough to be able to do so in their own gardens. Yet we have seen many cases of legal action, initiated by people with a bigoted view towards the naked body and the personal freedom of others.
In some cases a successful naturist challenge has been that the ‘legal evidence’ of what actually happened was flawed. However, the naturist movement has appeared unable, up to now, to counter the fallacy that a naked human body is inherently a distressing sight. With your help NAG wants to collect evidence to disprove the fallacy.
NAG exists to promote naturism and to educate people about it. NAG is running