The collective noun for the Sumatran Tiger is a streak, I learned this from ‘Stark Truth About Stripping Off For Charity’; published in The Guardian (16/07/17) shortly after London Zoo held its Tiger Streak in aid of the endangered species, hence the reference. In her Comment is Free piece, Barbara Ellen argued that charity or protest nudity, usually female, is more-or-less automatic these days and perhaps, passé.
Naturists have long held the belief that our nudity is not sexual and, quite frankly, we can tell people this until we are blue in the face, they simply won’t believe us. So it is hardly surprising that Ellen doesn’t believe us either, stating protagonists in charity/protest events: ‘furiously insist that it’s completely asexual…’ yet she thinks it’s more about being the quickest and easiest way to grab attention in a world swamped with news. Very probably, taking just one example; does anyone beyond the actual riders know what WNBR is about? Their audience, seeing them whizz by are more caught up in the spectacle of mass nudity than reading the anti-car, anti-fossil fuel signs daubed on bodies, if there are any.
That does not take away from the value of the ride or the ethics of those who take part, but maybe our explanations about the non-sexual nature of nudism are not good enough to be believable to those not into the lifestyle, like Barbara Ellen and the reason why naturists need good answers when asked: why?
Is Glastonbury Now Tame?
When I was young, too young to attend Glastonbury (not that my parents’ would have let me go anyway) there were stories of festival goers dancing nude to the music on offer. I’m not sure if this was due to the time we are speaking of (the 60s, flower power and all that) or if it just saved on the washing, it being easier to clean bodies than clothes, but back then, it seemed to be a part of the right of passage for anyone in their teenage years. Then it trailed off, with few if any taking their clothes off, until this year. As noted by News Hub New Zealand (26/06/17), Rachel Rousham, protesting on behalf of The White Ribbon Alliance, joined the Avalonian Choir and festival founder, Michael Eavis for a pro-feminist protest on stage. She was naked except for patches of body paint and the words, ‘feminist,’ ‘resist’ and ‘persist’ covering her body. The White Ribbon Alliance, if you don’t know, demand the right for all women to give birth safely, everywhere. Rousham was not the only nude reveller this year, however. A naked man popped up on live TV earning a shoutout from The Foo Fighters frontman, David Grohl.
Talking of the WNBR, York held that city’s 12th ride this year and during an interview with Minster FM’s David Dunning, John Cossham admitted that the nudity was to draw media attention that fancy dress would not, apart from the usual protest against the car and reliance on fossil fuels, it symbolised the vulnerability of cyclists to highlight the deaths on British roads, and held a die-in in St Helen’s Square for added poignancy. A clip of the die-in was also published by Road CC (27/06/17), of when a woman of… let’s say mature years, enjoying tea in Betty’s Tearooms knocked on the window to get a better look at the naked riders!
Bears in the Air
Technology has affected naturism in some unexpected ways. We’ve already seen how the combination of the Internet, mobile technology and photography has seen the end pictures being taken. We have something new to worry about, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or drones armed with a camera or Go-Pro. An article on The Next Web tells of a group of ‘pervy’ men to sent up their drone in Majorca to spy on seven female naturists. Could this ruin naturism totally? Only if you let it. Fear of pictures turning up on the many unsavoury porn sites on the Internet led to many clubs (allegedly) banning mobile phones from the premises or it becoming against beach etiquette to take any pictures. While the fear is real, so many pictures are uploaded to the internet the likelihood that yours will be picked out is, quite frankly, minute. It is the same for drones. While it is certainly intrusive and undoubtedly annoying, naturists should not be afraid if a drone flies overhead for similar reasons. The media – them again – give a false impression just how frequent this will happen, and when the UK introduces registration for any Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) over 25 grammes, it will be even less. If, however, naturists insist on worrying about UAV then maybe we need to worry about police helicopters too?
What next for INF?
NAG has already published an account of the chaotic meeting of the General Assembly in Vienna, for the International Naturist Federation (INF) to elect a president. An ‘executive summary’ is that after a meeting of the Legal Council, which included past President Sieglinde Ivo, the only candidate left for re-election was Sieglinde Ivo. Even with one candidate to vote for, the way the chairman for the meeting organised it, no one could vote against Ivo’s re-election, delegates could only vote for her or abstain. Doubt has also been thrown up that the Legal Council was/is correctly constituted? In our opinion the only word for this election is travesty.
Just as this piece was being written, we learned that a motion proposing British Naturism’s resignation from the INF is to be discussed at the AGM in October. In the past, we have not hidden what we think should happen next (and we still think it), but as NAG includes BN members, for once, we shall remain silent.
Addenda: This is story has moved on a bit since this was written and we have already published a post (INF, Vienna, 22 July 2017) that includes a link to the minutes for the INF General Assembly held on 22 July.
We are still looking for entries to our biennial photo competition, showing us how you interpret Living Naturism. By entering the competition, you will give us the means to campaign on behalf of naturism. The closing date is 22 September 2017, so there is still plenty of time to get that perfect image.