Casual Naturism Project
When the weather allows, many of us enjoy wild naturism in lots places around the UK. In recent months, the discussion in H&E Naturist suggests that for some, this option gives more freedom that the perceived restrictions of clubs. As naturists, we know that in only a few extreme cases does responsible public nakedness causes offence but sadly, that can still land the naturist facing legal action.
We, Naturist Action Group, have the Casual Naturism Project, to collect evidence to disprove the claims and if you live in the UK then we are looking for your help. The project aims to create a database from lots of individual accounts of your encounters with non-naturists as you enjoy the great outdoors. Perhaps you’re planning something for Be Naked Day (Saturday 5 Aug)!
Early returns have indicated that few people are offended by public nudity, but the more entries we have on the database, the greater the certainty we will have that offending non-naturists is the least of our worries.
So the next time you visit a beach, go for a walk or sunbath in a large open space (e.g. Hampstead Heath) then please tell us about it by visiting our website and looking up Log Report – Open Space under the Contact tab. Please remember, we only required details of your encounters with non-naturists if they happen in the UK. You will need to log in/register as a user to complete the report but this is a simple and quick process, and it will cost £0.00. By-all-means pass on details of the Casual Naturism Project to other UK naturists.
As much as naturism is about being able to express ourselves without clothes, there are times when we just have to cover our bodies in a garment or two. When it’s too cold for instance, or too hot in the sun, or when being nude is an impossibility. So it’s a little remarkable that the textile world would try to emulate naturists, well nearly without going the whole way. It was reported that US fashion model, Bella Hadid was seen on the red carpet in Cannes in a dress that hid very little. Apparently, Hadid contributed to the design by Ralph and Russo, who like to dress ‘empowered women’. With material so sheer, what is the point of being nearly nude, with the garment superfluous to whatever needs the wearer has. The only purpose that springs to mind is to titillate and for publicity, in which case Bella Hadid succeeded.
In a move considered unusual for the British Royal family, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked a French court to award them €1.5 million (£1.3 million) in compensation for invasion of privacy. They were staying at a villa owned by Viscount Lindley, a nephew of the Queen, in 2012 and believed they were alone when they sunbathed on a terrace. Only they weren’t, as the French-owned gossip magazine Closer published pictures of a topless Catherine, much to the distress of her husband, Prince William, recalling the circumstances of how his late mother, Diane Princess of Wales was hounded by press photographers in the moments before she died.
NAG does not condone any invasion of privacy, but Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge was not doing anything that countless millions of other women haven’t done before, so fail to see why these photos were newsworthiness even if she is a royal. The Duke and Duchess should be allowed to behave like any other family in the 21st Century, including being allowed to sunbath topless, or if they want to, nude, and not have it given a double page spread. Yes, the UK Royal family has privileges that many of don’t but they also pay a price for those privileges in being constantly in the public’s eye, no less so than in those countries that removed their own Royal families. The French court’s decision is expected on 4th July.
Freeing the Nipple
By contrast, there is an interesting article on the website Truth Theory commenting on the decision by a Federal Judge relating to a woman’s right to be bare-breasted in public. It quotes Federal Judge Brooke Jackson for his reasons in granting an injunction against an ordinance passed by Fort Collins, Colorado that prevented women and girls over the age of nine from baring their chests in public. He said: “I find that the ordinance discriminates against women based on the generalized 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 sexualized act. Thus, it perpetuates a stereotype engrained in our society that female breasts are primarily objects of sexual desire whereas male breasts are not.”
Totally agree, as does the article.
Federal judges can have a significant influence on US law, as we saw when President Trump tried to introduce travel restrictions from specific Middle-Eastern countries that had unintended consequences for the followers of Islam. That does not mean women will be able to walk down the road topless if they so desire tomorrow, but it should give State legislators food for thought. Plus, just as judgements from the UK’s High Court or Supreme Court can influence decisions made in the US, Federal Court decisions could influence those made here. Where I digress from the article by Armando Flavio is it wasn’t Homo Sapiens that became more complex but society and in that regard, we have gone backwards ever since we wrapped an animal skin around our naked bodies. No one, male or female, should be considered as a sexual object of desire. Naturism could lead us to that goal and we, as a species, would be the better for it.
Back in the day, and before I was a twinkle in my father’s eye, the UK held the Festival of Britain. It was in 1951, just six years after the Second World War had concluded and the country was still struggling to pay back its war debts. It was export or die, and the festival was probably seen as a way to drive that, as well as a little cheer to drab Britain. One of the sculptures commissioned by the then Labour Government was The Sunbathers by Hungarian-born Peter Laszio Peri, which hung on the wall of Waterloo Station.
In 2016, Historic England (HE) had an exhibition in Somerset House of lost public artwork and a couple recognised the nude sunbathers as something languishing in the garden of a South London hotel. A successful crowdfunding campaign will see the sculpture being on public view again at the Southbank Centre’s summertime exhibition 2017, so if you anywhere near London, you might like to take in a bit of culture.
The question is, what is going to happen to the sculpture afterwards. Could it not go back on the North wall of Waterloo Station? We have precedence for public art to be on display at our major train termini, with Meeting Place by Paul Day at St Pancras Station.
Another quick reminder that Photo 2017 is underway, with a chance to win accommodation for two people for one week in Formentera, worth up to £1,000. Go to the dedicated website for more information. Please help us by passing on details of the competition to your friends and mentioning it in your social media. NAG will be much obliged.