An event that might be of interest to women in southern UK, northern France, Belguim and Holland. More details can be found through the Diogenes Sun Club website. Help Diogenes – and by extension, British Naturism – to advance the cause of women in the UK and elsewhere. Be there – or be square!
Following on from the success of our Christmas skinny dip for women last December, we have arranged another event for Saturday June 4th from 6 till 9 p.m. as part of British Naturism’s ‘Women in Naturism’ initiative. Tickets are just £6 and give you access to our lovely indoor pool – but as our outdoor pool refurbishment nears completion, we’re rather hoping to have this available too, if we possibly can – imagine a dusk swim, watching the sunset as you skinny dip – beautiful!
Tickets available now from their Eventbrite website.
You might be wondering when the next version of the You & the Law leaflet will appear, having promised it some months ago.
Our progress towards publication had gone quite well and we sent a prototype of the final document to a friend of ours, who happens to be a retired solicitor, to try out. It was he who raised the question: is this something that NAG should be doing? He pointed out that British Naturism have published documents with a similar purpose for England and Wales, and more latterly, Scotland.
We are pleased that BN decided to follow our lead in this and have taken it further than our own resources would allow. A discussion at the spring meeting for the Management Collective came to the conclusion that publishing another You & the Law leaflet would mean we are just duplicating work already done and that is not what NAG is about. So we make a strong suggestion to make use of the excellent BN publication: Public Naturism and the Law. You will find buttons for the most appropriate document for you to download for free on the right hand side.
It’s understood that not everyone who has subscribed to the website live in the UK, but wherever you are put yourself forward to help your national representative body, local club or society, to help you enjoy more opportunities for nude recreation.
Don’t forget to share with those who might be interested.
We are re-publishing a message originally posted on the BN Forum by Judith Stinchcombe, British Naturism’s chairperson, about the forthcoming Women in Naturism. Inspired by similar events in North America, this is naturally aimed directly at the UK. The lack of women in naturism to give example and act as an inspiration leads to other women declining to even try naturism. Help BN to help you and encourage greater female participation.
2016 Women in Naturism is coming along nicely but we do need everyone to think about hosting an event, think about who you will invite to that event and how you are going to go about it.
I need to you to tell me about your plans so the British Naturism Marketing team can work with you to promote your event giving you the best start to your success.
There will be weekly updates on planning but I do need you to get involved with your information.
How we will go about it?
‘Tell your Story’ – at the National Convention, I ran some sessions on the subject of ‘Women in Naturism’ and got some great ideas. We decided that women talking to women was best and I encouraged all the attendees to write about how they came into Naturism and what they get from it. You can read a few of them later in this article. We want more! Please send in your 200 words to email@example.com and we’ll publish the best through the year and use them in our promotions and publicity. You can ask for your name not to be revealed.
We want clubs and swims to start a ‘buddy’ scheme so that newcomers have a named person to contact and perhaps meet in advance of their first Naturist experience
When the media start knocking on the door, they will be asking for Naturist women to appear on TV, speak on the radio and be interviewed for magazines, newspapers and websites. Could that be you? Plenty of training will be given. Please get in touch.
Bring a friend – I know from conversations with many ladies on my travels that they all have girl friends who they know would benefit from Naturism but never get round to inviting them to an event. Make 2016 the year you do!
There will be a big push this year on engaging those male naturists who have a girlfriend, a partner, a fiancée, or a wife at home who is hesitant and curious about naturism.
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
It has come to my notice that British Naturism has carried out a National Survey of Clubs. Or rather a survey of its members about what they find attractive in clubs. I would just like to take a moment to applaud BN for doing this, as it is long overdue.
Back in the early 2000s, I was part of the Executive Council that proposed and even helped a little to design the questionnaire for a previous attempt at this, but after Duncan Heenan and I left the EC there was no one to champion the need for a members’ survey and it was quietly dropped.
What I found surprising about this latest incarnation are the results and I’m left wondering what they might herald.
In an article for BN magazine, Tania Lang – the creator of the survey – explained some of the background. Briefly, for those not part of BN, in the Autumn 2014 Diogenes Sun Club wanted a better understanding of what attracted its members to the club and proposed a survey, but they needed the help of BN’s main office to send the survey out to all its members. It was then suggested that the club and BN work together on a wider survey to assist other clubs to understand their members. The survey was launched in November 2014 and was available online or as a paper document. The aim was to get as many responses as possible, regardless of club membership or not.
On the face of it, this was a reasonable thing to do as it gave a more accurate answer by creating a larger dataset. However it might not work that way, as the Government found out when it tried to expand an IT system created by HM Prison Service to manage the prison population to cover the whole of the justice system, so anyone caught up in it will have only one file. Its failure to deliver became national news and cost the public purse millions. Of course, this is nothing like on the same scale but the principle is the same.
The article listed the most important facilities as judged by the respondents and, as Tania said, it is not surprising that sunbathing areas and an outdoor swimming pool was mentioned among them. Other facilities that made it onto the list are: a lounge or quiet area and areas to pitch a tent or park a caravan. The ‘most important’ list was expanded with things such as the friendliness of other members and the ease of joining, as well as an all inclusive membership fee. These are not resources to help members to enjoy their time at the club, but add to its ambiance and could influence a prospective new member in their decision to join or not.
Naturally the article also listed the least important facilities and these included courts for volleyball, badminton, tennis and Miniten. A Gym and TV room were also listed. Doctors have remarked how we are becoming more sedentary as a society and these findings seem to bear witness to that. Another item on the least wanted list is ‘inter-club sports competitions’ and yet as I write this Diogenes Sun Club is promoting its inter-club Boules competition on Facebook.
So we come to my dilemma. Apart from indicating that naturists are no longer the active people we once were, it seems to be saying that we are not as social either. According to these results, a club could be a field with somewhere to swim plus a hut to make tea or coffee in and to hold socials, nude or otherwise. So my question is, is naturism fracturing, with the members of each club wanting it to go its own way instead of unifying under the British Naturism banner? It seems to be from Tania’s article.
What we don’t know from this article is, how many people responded to the survey or what age range did they fall into? It could be that most of the responses were from the older members of the community and therefore skewing the results.
To be fair, questionnaires are tricky things to compile and the analysis of the results by two different people can come up with two very different answers, so I can just as easily be wrong as right. The thing is, with surveys of this kind you must have a clear understanding of the question you want answered. In this case, a club wanted to find out what attracted it to its members. Expanding it to embrace all members without understanding the question was not the right thing to do, as the Government found out to our considerable cost.
I do hope they try again. It’s hard but well worth it. They just need to understand the question asked.
With summer around the corner (hard to believe I know, but in a fortnight’s time it will be June), I came across a couple of articles on the BBC News website and I thought it would be useful.
We all know about the harmful effects of UVB from the sun, and no doubt we rely on the blurb on the bottle of suntan cream or lotions of our choice to tell us. Sadly, not everyone knows what all the jargon means but the BBC have provided a handy jargon-buster for us.
Yet, even when we understand the jargon, can we trust what it says? Not according to Which?
Important as the sun might be to our good health, personally I try to follow the mantra my old mum use to frequently tell me: a little bit of everything does you good.
Campaign update – 21st November 2014
This is a brief update on the campaign that NAG and BN have been running jointly for about 4 years, which started with concern over the way the police and Courts viewed nudity as if it were unquestionably illegal, which it rarely is. This lead to our receiving reports, attending Court, assisting the accused and tracking the outcomes. As we were preparing our submission to The Authorities, the project was changed by the Crown Prosecution Service’s publication of its ‘Guidance on handling cases of Naturism’. The CPS guidance was prompted, at least in part, by the letters from NAG, BN and individuals. Though not perfect, this sought to address many of our concerns. It was therefore decided to alter the focus of our efforts on to trying to ensure that the front line police officers understood the CPS’s guidance. A survey of every Police Authority, and every Police & Crime Commissioner in England & Wales followed. Special thanks to Brian Johnson for his help with this. The survey was poorly responded to, despite follow-ups, but it disclosed that most Authorities had no plans for training in this area, and the few that did were unconvincing and inconsistent. So we sought to find out who could influence this, in order that we could have a dialogue with them. It emerged that police national training standards and syllabus is set by The College of Policing.
This whole process was long drawn out and frustrating and in part this was due to the police itself undergoing a significant reorganisation during this time. The former National Police Improvement Agency was being run down and replaced by The College of Policing (CoP), but the manning up of the CoP took time, and for a considerable time we simply could not find the right people to talk to. However a couple of months ago, a senior official at the CoP agreed to meet us to hear what we had to say. Malcolm Boura met him (as I was unavailable to join them), and had a very useful and cooperative conversation. However, circumstances limited actual progress at that time, as he was about to move on within the organisation, and responsibility for Public Order Policing was about to change again. However, he undertook to pass the matter on properly to his successor, which he did, resulting in a meeting between Malcolm, me and the new portfolio holder on November 14th.
We were very encouraged by the reception our concerns received and by the high degree of understanding we were met with. It is not appropriate to go in to details at this stage, as this could be counter-productive, but we came away with a mutually agreed strategy to carry our dialogue forward in a
Original article by Duncan Heenan (edited Reg Barlow)
About four years ago, British Naturism and Naturist Action Group came together to look at how the justice system in England and Wales approached incidents involving public nudity. Most of the cases we studied involved Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1988 and to be successful, prosecutors had to show the defendant’s behaviour was ‘likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress’ to a member of the public. Inevitably, much of the argument in court would revolve around whether non-sexual, non-aggressive nudity was capable of doing this and in virtually every case, the prosecution would state that ‘a child could have seen’ a naked adult. This brought an automatic assumption that, whatever the effect of the sight of a naked person may be on an adult, it was bound to cause alarm to a child. The reasoning or truth (if any) behind this statement has rarely, if ever, been questioned by those in court, simply accepting it as one of life’s “truths”.
The justice system is not wholly to blame as the same untested assumption is widely held within the general public, not only here, but the world over. Statements making reference to nudity are often peppered with references to it not being suitable for children – even the film classification system incorporates it – yet there is no real evidence to support this piece of ‘accepted wisdom’. Unchallenged, people are becoming scared to question the notion that the mere sight of a naked body is harmless, in case they are considered perverted. The precautionary principle, which surrounds anything to do with children nowadays, has grown so strong it has subverted common sense and science. Malcolm Boura summed this up at the recent BN convention when he said: “The moment someone shouts ‘Think of the children!’ all thought stops.”
Together, NAG and BN have come to understand that children and nudity is a stumbling block for public acceptance of naturism, as well a legal threat and that naturism as a whole needs to address this issue rather than hoping it will go away. As well as our general campaigning, it has been decided by both organisations to set up a joint project with the specific aim of persuading an academic institution with sociology and/or psychology departments to carry out a rigorous and objective study into the effects of simple, non-sexual adult nudity on children. In the past, there have been several studies of how exposure to nudity affects children, all with positive conclusions, but they are at least a decade old and may not look directly at the subject we wish to be studied. We are looking for an end product that will be equal to an expert witness in court, one that people will feel confident in quoting. As this could be of worldwide importance to naturism, such a study may also need an international dimension.
Can you help?
We are not looking for volunteers to carry out the study; we recognise that we do not have either the skills or the resources to do that but you might know institutions or academics that might help, how to approach them and how to obtain research funding? If so, please get in touch. If you have any information, suggestions or comments that you think might help, please contact Duncan Heenan by any of the methods given below:
by email: Duncan.Heenan@naturistactiongroup.org;
or by Personal Message via the BN website.
In the last week, an article celebrating 50 years of British Naturism has been published in The Daily Express. This is perhaps a surprising outlet for such a good article about naturism, as the newspaper is often mocked in satirical comedy sketch shows like Radio 4’s The Now Show for its persistent claims of a conspiracy over the death of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
If we were going to be super critical, there are two minor errors. Among a list of otherwise accurate facts, it suggested that Steve Gough was a naturist, something he has consistently denied himself, and got the name of the Clover Spa & Hotel wrong, giving it the name Clover Spain. Still, let this not detract from the overall quality of the article, and congratulate all those who participated in it, and who organised it.