Just a heads-up to everyone that our biennial photo competition will be launched next month and accepting entries for the summer. This will be our third competition and this time, not only have we teamed up with H&E Naturist, but with Astbury Formentera too, who have kindly donated the winner’s prize for the second time. The winner of our first competition, Glenne with her partner, Col, came from New Zealand and took the opportunity Glenne’s success gave them to have an expended holiday in Europe, which they enjoyed.
Apart from donations, the competition is NAG’s only source of income and success will allow us to do more in the vain of our efforts at the British Psychological Society’s symposium seeking academic study into the benefits of social nudity, and the effects of adult nudity on children, which we did with our colleagues in British Naturism.
Please help us, not only by entering yourself but by spreading the word among friends and family. Every Pound, Dollar or Euro donated is greatly appreciated.
State Legislators 0, Common Sense 1
Some good news out of America for a change in The Denver Post. A US District Court Judge, R. Brooke Jackson has overturned a city ordinance that prevented any female of 10 years and older from exposing their breasts in public as unconstitutional. Why Fort Collins, Colorado created such an ordinance is unclear, but anyone who violated it could be fined up to $2,650 (£2,127) or up to 180 days in jail, which seems a bit extreme?
In his written reply, Judge Jackson wrote: “I find that the ordinance discriminates against women based on the generalised notion that, regardless of a woman’s intent, the exposure of her breasts in public (or even in her private home if viewable by the public) is necessarily a sexualised act.”
As part of their defence, the Fort Collins’ lawyers claimed it was needed to ensure public order and to protect children (under the age of 10 presumably) but Jackson said: ‘…children do not need to be protected from the naked female breast itself but from the negative societal norms, expectations, and stereotypes associated with it.’ The female breast, after all, is something a child could see when being breastfed itself or watching his or her siblings being breastfed when older, which the ordinance allowed. It basically failed the logic test and discriminatory as it only affected women.
We hear about places like New York that do allow women to be topfree, but it is not universal so there are lots of local campaigns, like the one in San Diego that had a video made about their protest. Equal rights under the law may not appear to be relevant to naturism, but if society can see a woman’s breasts and not think sex then surely it is only a short step to say the same thing about male and female genitalia, wherever we live.
We Are Spartans
It was not always like this. According to the website bustle.com in ancient Sparta male and female nudity among the young was encouraged when exercising and on certain occasions, and they quoted the Greek writer Plutarch as proof. It made for better male warriors and the women, who also wrestled, fought with swords and threw javelins would be fitter and better able to bare strong, healthy sons. I don’t suppose they would be an easy pushover for any raiders either.
Another consequence of all this public nudity, I suspect, was that men and women learned self discipline, to hold themselves with high regard and to respect others. Nudity, it seems, was seen as a ‘shop window’ for their future husbands or wives, not an invitation to have sex.
More Women in naturism? Yes please.
It is perhaps the (male) perception that makes (female) nudity as meaning that person was open to, or desires, sex as an issue for naturists world wide and an article by Felicity Jones on the YNA website is both useful and timely. Jones’ aim is to get more women involved in naturism and follows an earlier article that looked at the reasons why women were not so visible? The article makes suggestions for club owners and event organisers, and even naturists in general to make women more comfortable about being nude in a mixed environment, and its about taking action. We men must act ourselves, to be less ‘creepy’ but also to challenge in a non-egressive way those voyeurs who make us – men and women – less comfortable with our nudity.
Another suggestion made by Jones is to give women a voice. As chairman of NAG, I would dearly love to do that. BN is perhaps in the unique position of having two women at its head, three if you include the General Secretary, while we have none. NAG needs to change. Change is long over due. Instead of waiting to be invited, why not make your presence known?
In compiling this article, I have learned that there is another YNA, Young Nudists of Australia this time, through a piece by Kate Hennessy for The Guardian. Hennessy was with Matt, a young man from New South Wales about to watch a series of dance pieces choreographed by Rafael Bonachela, in response to an exhibition of nudes from the Tate Gallery, London’s collection. Nude dancers from the Sydney Dance Company would be performing in front of nude artwork. Matt, one of the co-founders of Young Nudists of Australia, had the idea of adding a nude audience to the performance. To cut a short story even shorter, Bonachela and the Art Gallery of New South Wales agreed and they promoted the slowest selling show as one with nude audience participation. It sold out within a day. They added two more and they sold out quickly too.
About her nudity, Hennessy wrote that as a trained observer she would often stare in ‘reflexive observation’. But as a female, she had also been trained to think that direct eye contact would signal availability, so she would avert her eyes if she saw someone looking back, particularly a man. In this environment though this tactic failed as it meant she would be staring as someone’s genitals. A taboo in naturist circles. As for the nudity itself, Hennessy wrote that she: ‘…felt more scrutinised and objectifed in boots, beanie and a winter coat.’
So maybe the Spartans were right after all in getting their youth to get fit and to have fun while naked, and when we hear tales of what naturism was like in the 30s, maybe we have lost something in the intervening years. Maybe, we could begin to get back to something like that again and it could start with a photographic competition.