Naturists Campaigning for Naturism


Happy holiday season everyone. We are having a bit of a hungry time with regards to news reports featuring the ups and downs of naturism, and if you follow us in H&E Naturist you would have seen that in the December issue I had a brief round up of other bloggers you might like to read. I have done it again for the Jaunary 2016 issue and to save wordage in the magazine, I am providing the hyperlinks here.

Antidote to Apathy
First, a quick apology: The Naturist Philosopher has written about the need for engagement as stated in the text printed by H&E Naturist, but what set me thing about it again was another blogger entirely. The mistake is all mine.

Apathy is something I have tackled before in the article “Engagement” following a blog from The Naturist Philosopher but US blogger Larry Darter, writing as Dallas Nudist Culture, continues to ask why more naturists are not agitating for change in the US when they are loosing clothing optional sites to be nude at. It isn’t just in the US; the UK is also having similar problems. The solution this time – according to the Philosopher – is to increase membership numbers for the US representative organisations, AANR and TNS, stating: ‘If an organisation assumes to be the national face of Nudism in America it seems to go without saying it has a responsibility to give people a reason to want to join.’ How very true.

Nudist Club Photography
They say, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ when it comes to engaging with people, except when it comes to naturism. Before the development of the digital camera and cameras on mobiles, this magazine (HEN) would be filled with readers’ photographs. Not any more. People and clubs are afraid that any photos taken will end up on the Internet. Co-founder of Young Naturists America, Felicity Jones thinks differently and argues that clubs should have a simple policy: Don’t take phones of other people without their consent. It required a huge dollop of trust through and lots of common sense being exercised by both photographer and club.

Friendly Competition
The thing is, engagement means you need to meet those you are trying to engage with at least half way. Unfortunately, all too often the greeting received is not as welcome as it could be, even to other naturists. Events such as the volleyball competition described by Stéphane Deschênes for the podcast Naturist Living Show that has been run since the 1970s and organisation of which has been taken over by a group of younger naturists who have given it a new lease of life. By reaching out to the general public, they have been able to bring a new generation to naturism and possibly secure its future for many years to come. Of course, one event isn’t going to cure all the ills in naturism, either here or in the US, but it’s a start and it gives the non-naturists a reason talk about naturism, and that is what engagement is all about.

Blogs, are like little essays, exploring different avenues about naturism and the ways and means to advance the lifestyle. You may know of others of course and, if you do, then by all means send me an email (reg.barlow at naturistactiongroup dot org) with a link. Much obliged.

3 Responses to Bloggers

  • Larry Darter, writing as Dallas Nudist: “Maybe most nudists really do care but that the real problem is we live in a world that actively discourages engagement by constantly putting obstacles and barriers in our way.” I would add that in addition to these barriers is the ever more complex means that have to be used to gain access to officialdom in order to get the message across. If you like, that is an extra barrier, it now requires people with a particular set of skills and training to make it effective, skills that many of us do not possess. That is not apathy but a recognition of the need for a professional approach. I do not attempt brain surgery for a very good reason, I leave it to those who know how.

    Darter adds: “One part of doing that is providing opportunities for people to engage both with the organization and with a movement. That is simply not happening.” In BN, invitations go out to engage, but for me the reason I have not done so is this need for a professional approach. I am quite willing to help but feel I have little to add. Again, this is not apathy. That leaves us with social media as a means to effect a difference, but even that takes a certain mind-set that some of us do not possess. Some naturists are extremely good at it, Emma James and Ladygod1va spring to mind and we can learn and support their efforts but I cannot help feeling that a more coordinated national effort would bear more fruit. If BN remains club centred, that is a dead end. It would be better to re-jig BN’s organisation and have a social media co-ordinator as the most senior post. At least then those of us keen to help could be part of a collective effort and not feel like a voice in the wilderness. If BN cannot fulfil this social media role, then could NAG step in?

    “…America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites and organized lobbies [representing business interests now steer the direction of the country]…” [Darter continues]. Much the same has happened here in the UK, even more so with the EU, people feel distanced from the political machine, politics is something seen on the news, “others” do it and are largely unapproachable in any meaningful way. OK you can email, write or even visit Parliament, but lone actions are not enough, the political machine remains aloof and absorbed in its own existence, only listening to professional lobbying. The same applies to police, the courts etc.

    He finishes by saying “We need to redefine apathy and see it not as some kind of internal syndrome, but as a complex web of cultural barriers that produces disengagement. A clear definition of the issues helps to clearly identify what the obstacles are. Then if nudists can work together cooperatively to tear down those obstacles, anything is possible.” Oh yes, spot on.

    Larry started his piece by noting that officials have enacted even more laws and ordinances proscribing simple nudity. I would argue that these officials do not reflect society, the WNBR and Spencer Tunick shows how widespread the tolerance of simple nudity is. The increase in these laws is not evidence of increasing prudery in society, I would argue that it is increasing fear on the part of the officials of having to face any criticism. Officials have decreed that hard hats have to be worn in some areas despite there being a vanishingly small risk of head injury, their colleagues enact anti-nudity rules in a similar manner. So our target is surely more officialdom and not the wider public and any campaigning effort aimed, in a professional and co-ordinated manner, towards showing them the error of their ways.

    Minor edits to aid clarity – Reg

  • If BN remains club centred, that is a dead end. It would be better to re-jig BN’s organisation and have a social media co-ordinator as the most senior post. At least then those of us keen to help could be part of a collective effort and not feel like a voice in the wilderness. If BN cannot fulfil this social media role, then could NAG step in?

    To play devil’s advocate for the moment Howard, I doubt if BN would agree that they are “club centred” as events like Nudefest are firmly aimed at the ordinary naturist. Whether clubs would agree with that statement is also mute.

    The main point of Larry’s piece is that national representative organisations, like BN, need members in order to put pressure on local and national politicians to get them to listen to naturists and accommodate their needs when they discuss policy and legislation. Like all voluntary organisations, BN, AANR, etc have been loosing members, and thereby, influence. There are indications that the changes made by BN’s management are starting to show some “green shoots” but it is far too early to claim that the downward trend is about to change course.

    The idea of having a ‘social media coordinator’ is a good one, but I think we would need to define the responsibilities of this (potential) role in more detail first. NAG is a collective itself, who lead lives apart from naturism and with that in mind Howard, we too need someone to help. That leads me to the quote I found from US comedian, Lily Tomlin: “I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realised, I was somebody.” This, of course, is not referring to her fame but that she is someone who could act, with others if necessary, to see social change.

    Dear Readers. If this interests you, or you have another idea that you would like to discuss with us, then please do get in touch.

  • My point includes the idea that the lack of action is not all apathy, some of it is the lack ability, certainly in my case. I am quite happy to help but some people have a gift for publicity and campaigning that I do not have. It seems the me that NAG plays an important role in approaching police etc, for which I am grateful, that leaves us (me!) with the area of social networks as a means to achieve improvements. If we all bang away on our own, the effort will remain unfocused, diluted. A social media coordinator could be instrumental in showing the rest of us how it is done, act as an instigator of themed tweets/posts etc. and make some appraisal of effectiveness. BN does indeed organise non-club based events which is excellent and is further evidence that society as a whole is not becoming more prudish, but these events reach naturists, we need reach further, especially we need to reach the attention of officials. Perhaps social networks can do this, but some help and guidance would help.
    I have just changed my blog and hope to use that. I have a lot to learn.


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