Some of you may recall that a while back NAG jointly with BN started a project to address the problem of the assumption within some people’s minds that children would in some way be harmed by the sight of innocent adult nudity – “What about the Children?!”. This seems to be a pervasive and powerful myth which goes unquestioned and underlays many of the attitudes and actions of officialdom, as well as becoming a part of the ‘accepted wisdom’ of public opinion by the subtle process of social ostracism of anyone who dares to question it. The fact is that this assumption has no evidence to back it up; and what evidence there is (of the effect of non-sexual, non-aggressive nudity on children) points in the direction of psychological and social benefits to their development, rather than harm.
We felt this whole question needed addressing in an objective, evidence based way, and that a proper academic study might be a good start. So discussions have been taking place for some time with a few interested academics to see how this could best be approached, funded, presented and so on. This has taken a long time as finding the right people who are prepared to put their precious time in to it for no money is not easy. Good people are usually busy people. As a result, there has been little to report until now, and it may be that silence leads people to think nothing is happening. This is not true, but in the nature of such discussions, it can be damaging and unethical to pass on details of things which are unformed work-in-progress. However, in order to reassure you that things are going on in the background, we can say that at a recent meeting with some authoritative professional academics a plan of action has emerged which we hope will move this project forward later this year, and in to the public domain. It would be wrong at present to give any more detail, but those involved are encouraged and optimistic by developments, so watch this space and be a little patient.
With most issues the first step in addressing them is to stimulate discussion, but this has to be done in the right way. This is especially so with anything to do with children in today’s social climate, so the public relations aspect of this whole project will be an important aspect. Our hope is that it will lead the opinion formers to start to look more objectively at their own attitudes. This important not only to naturists, and for the acceptance of naturism, but it underlays many aspects of life, including the formulation of laws, media regulation, child protection, education, and other areas of public policy. It is a big agenda, but you have to start somewhere