Naturists Campaigning for Naturism

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Picnic on the Heath

All copyright acknowledged.

The weather forecast in London on the morning of 16thJune was not promising by all accounts but the sun did come out for the Hampstead Heath Picnic and four hardy souls persevered and by all accounts had an enjoyable afternoon. Rather than repeating my report for the day, I’ll leave you to read Hampstead Heath: Picnic in the Sun.

Before you go, take a look at our brief revision of the Summer 2019 Outdoors.

John Paine
June 2019

Degree Show

For anyone who hasn’t been watching this, Lene Tereland has just completed her BA in photography at London Metropolitan University. Her graduation exhibition project featured naturists doing the everyday things we do. Lene had hoped to persuade the University to allow a clothes optional viewing; this they would not, but they have allowed Lene to invite five of her subjects to be present (nude) during a private viewing on 19th June between 7pm and 8pm at 1st Floor, Annex Building, Old Castle Street, London E1 7NT. Members of the public will remain dressed, which is a shame, but as Lene says: ‘Is good news, as I thought [the university] wouldn’t allow any nudity.’

If you can’t make it that day, then you can still see Lene’s exhibition during one of its public days from 20th June until 30th. Opening times: Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat-Sun 11am-6pm.

June 2019

Guidance for Journalists

Guidance for journalists when writing about nudity in general, and  Naturism in particular.

This brief guide is offered, because though there is good, responsible writing about naturism, there also seems to be some very poor reporting, even from journalists who on other subjects produce good work. We seek here to identify common failings and offer some help in approaching naturism in a way to produce good quality writing and a proper respect for the subject.

What’s wrong.
The most common fault is to assume that nudity always means sex. In some contexts it might, but this would be an extreme rarity when the nudity is part of a story about naturism, as naturism is a lifestyle involving non-sexual nudity. Sex is often implied or injected into a story in order to try to get readers or editors interested in something which has little other appeal. Naturism is a minority lifestyle, albeit a substantial and growing minority, so it is unusual, and sometimes attracts attention for that reason alone. As most of society has little experience of nudity outside of the bedroom or bathroom, the vocabulary used to describe it often resorts to silly euphemisms about the body, childish language, jokes and puns, often to get a laugh. The problem is that this trivialises the subject and encourages the reader to treat it superficially, and this can reflect on how the writer is viewed also. Put simply, it seems that faced with nudity, too many journalists seem to eithrer turn into Frankie Howerd impersonators (…..ooh er, Missus!), or recreate the old News of the World mock horror.

Why report nudity at all?
There are two basic reasons for reporting nudity. Firstly if there is an arrest. Secondly because it is unusual.

Arrests for simple, non-sexual nudity are a rarity nowadays (see later regarding the law). Of course there are still a few flashers around, and these cases should be reported along the lines of any crime report, with the emphasis being on accuracy, balance and objectivity.

The unusual nature of social nudity sometimes attracts initial attention, however it is usually soon discovered that naturists are doing exactly the same things as clothed people, except without clothes, such as swimming, sunbathing, socialising, rambling. This can look mundane (largely because it is!) and can lead to some writers seeking some way of spicing up the story. This temptation should be resisted, as should the embellishment of any story. Nudity is no big deal to naturists, and it shouldn’t be to journalists either. This applies to the style of the article as well as the content.   

Things to avoid
There are some clichés and puns which get recycled every time nudity is mentioned. Their use not only kills any serious points elsewhere in the writing, and they represent lazy writing, usually aimed at getting a cheap laugh. If you want people to take what you say seriously, and read to the end of the article, avoid all these overworked and inaccurate terms. Examples are:

The bare truth; naked ambition; getting to the bottom of the matter; raising a titter; keeping abreast of events; letting the cracks show; papering over the cracks; wobbly bits; standing erect; prancing around; brazenly parading; barely visible; a bum deal; nudies; covering his/her modesty; ‘manhood’ (meaning genitals); indecent exposure; the great cover-up… etc.

Who are the naturists, and what do they do?
Two surveys commissioned by British Naturism in 2001 and 2011, carried out independently, concluded that there are some 3.8 million people in the UK who at some time enjoy some form of naked recreation. In other European countries there are higher figures. These are ordinary people of both sexes, all ages, all social groupings, who happen to enjoy being naked sometimes, either for its own sake or to enhance some other activity such as swimming or sport. Because of repressive social attitude in the past many naturist clubs were developed where this could be done in privacy, but in recent years, and often influence by continental holidays, naturists are wanting to be able to be naked in other places, such as their own gardens, the beach, camping grounds, the countryside, swimming pools and even hotels and other leisure facilities. And there is increasing acceptance by facility providers, and the public at large, of naturist use of public places and facilities. Naturist Clubs still exist, but it is probably a minority of naturists nowadays who are members. Even the ‘National Representative Body’, British Naturism has only about 8,800 paid up members. It seems that ‘organised naturism’ is now giving way to do-it-yourself naturism. However, there are still incidents sparked by the public myth that it is illegal to be naked in public.

Some people will say “ but what about the children?!”, echoing a vague myth that nudity is somehow harmful or shocking to children. There is no evidence that nudity is in any way harmful to children, and what academic research which exists indicates psychological benefits. Naturism is a lifestyle for all ages, and there are many families who enjoy naturism together.

What is the law on nudity?
Simple, non-sexual nudity is not, and never has been illegal in England & Wales, though many people still believe that it is, and in the past it has occasionally been treated as if it were illegal. In the past there have been arrests for Disorderly Behaviour under 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, but following a series of failed prosecutions, and increasingly enlightened attitudes by the Courts and the public, in 2017 the Crown Prosecution Service issued guidance to Police and Prosecutors on the subject. This concludes that simple non-sexual nudity in a public place should not normally be prosecuted. This was followed in 2018 by the College of Policing’s guidelines on the subject, which also concludes that, in the absence of any aggravating factor, nudity in public does not in itself require a police response. Similar guidelines have now also been adopted in Scotland. There is some time lag between these guidelines’ issue and their universal understanding by The Authorities, so very occasional misunderstandings do still happen, however if they are reported on at all, it should be against the background of the actual Law and guidance.

‘Flashing’ is an offence, usually prosecuted under s66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and it should be reported along the lines of any other crime report. To obtain a prosecution, it has to be proved that the offender intended to cause harassment, alarm or distress.  The term ‘Indecent Exposure’ is still wrongly used by both the police and public, and should be avoided as it fell out of the law in 2003, and is now archaic.

Some flashers and pornographers have claimed to be naturists, though this is nearly always shown to be false, by the actual behaviour leading to a prosecution, or the nature of the material.

Conclusion
In reporting naturism, journalists should avoid trivialising the subject or poking fun at the people being reported on. It is a legitimate subject for journalism as it is a widespread and growing way of life, but prurient interest is not welcomed and will usually get a bad reaction. Reporting should be factual and well researched, and free of personal bias as far as possible. The best way of researching the subject is to try it for oneself.   

Be naked for a comedy play at Oxford

The narrow boat Tyseley. Photo courtesy of Jon Gascoyne.

Sandra Ballard has negotiated a performance, for a naturist-only audience, on Friday 9 August 2019 in Oxford, of the play Redcoatsby the well-known travelling Mikron Theatre. 

“Mikron’s radiant Redcoats will guide you through 80 years of Butlins splendour with their trademark mix of fun, pathos and songs. Join us as we delve into holiday huts, bonny babies and knobbly knees with guest appearances from Marlene Dietrich, Gracie Fields and Laurel and Hardy.”

This special performance will be at Toad Oxford Artisan Distillery, Old Depot, South Park, Cheney Lane, Oxford OX3 7QJ. Don’t forget to bring a towel to sit on!

Arrive on Friday 9 August at 6.30pm for tasting a gin or two, before the play starts at 7.30pm. Tickets for the play are £15.50 each and can be purchased from the BN website. Book early to avoid disappointment!

MIKRON is an award-winning Yorkshire-based national arts charity now in their 48thyear. Travelling on-board their historic narrowboat, Tyseley, Mikron is a professional theatre company that travels the country by inland waterways to give performances at non-theatrical venues by canal or river in the summer months. They also travel by van in spring and autumn.

“I have seen many performances by Mikron over the past 40 years, they are always good fun.” They commission two new plays each year, and the companion to Redcoats during the 2019 season is All Hands-on Deck; the story of two WRENS during World War 2, the polar opposites to each other. 

MIKRON perform in repertory and tour between April and October. Further details of their 2019 tour can be found on Mikron’s website.

John Paine
April 2019

Annual Report 2019 Published

Today, we are publishing the 2019 edition of our Annual Report giving an overview of efforts to get naturism as an accepted lifestyle in the year up to 28th February 2019. In our opinion, we had a good year, but we know we could have had a better one. If you wish to see NAG’s good year continue, please donate whatever you can to us, or you might like to consider volunteering to be a part of our Press and Media Group? Details of how to do either is on our website and in the Annual Report respectively.

Press and Media Group Launched

In March 2019, under the leadership of Duncan Heenan, Naturist Action Group launched its Press and Media Group, who will seek to challenge and educate editors and journalists when they misrepresent naturism through clumsy words and misplaced associations. By doing so, it is hoped that incidents like the one that happened outside Blackpool’s Sandcastle Waterpark will be prevented. Sadly, as the two events happened at roughly the same time, the group was unable to intervene; not that was a lot they could do at that stage as the damage had already been done.

One of the Press and Media Group volunteers carried out a bit of research and this is what he found out.

From their Facebook page, Templar Knights are a group of paedophile hunters but the root cause of the incident in Blackpool is an article posted on Cornwall Live from 25 February 2019, which was posted on their page. It concerns a husband and wife sentenced to 39-years in prison for the systematic abuse of his son and her three daughters, and of one other child. In the article, the journalist, Chris Matthews wrote: ‘…the male victim (Mr X’s son) recalls being groomed by being taken to nudist beaches and being made to feel being naked around two adults and touching each other was normal family behaviour.’ This is how it was described in court but with these words, Matthews has linked naturism with paedophilia in the minds of his readers. If the victim had said they were taken to any old beach and groomed there, would that have got a mention? Somehow, we doubt it and for the victim it didn’t matter what type of beach it was. And yet, the newspaper’s editor claimed it was in the public’s interest for them to know the grooming took place at a known naturist beach.

There are just seven volunteers in the Press and Media Group at the moment, but to cover the country properly they could do with 70 or more. That is not currently feasible, but volunteers are still being sought because, as they say, every little bit helps. If you’re interested, please contact Duncan through our website.

Summer 2019 – London

If you believe the weather forecasters, this summer could be a hot one. Our colleagues in London have a programme of events and actions that just might interest to you.

This an updated post London Summer 2019 that was originally published on 31 March and followed by a correction Gremlin Trouble, published on 5 April. These have now been withdrawn and with this post, everyone should see the correction.

John Paine
April 2019

But what about the children!

Not entirely sure how it came out on Yahoo! Movies but Good Morning Britain’s Lottie Day and comedian Kate Smurthwaite discussed on Friday, if children should attend BN’s Sandcastle Waterpark event.

Afterwards, there was a debate on twitter with views expressed for and against. A voxpop question in the article, asked: how healthy is Britain’s relationship with nudity? And 60% said it was unhealthy.

Isn’t it time we put this to bed, once and for all?

Article: Should kids be allowed to go to naturist events?

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