Wednesday is a day dedicated to women’s issues on clothesfreelife.com. Usually we are graced with a informative, stirring piece from our women’s editor @hontouniheart. I usually steer clear of this space. But today as someone who has learned a great deal in the past year from the women I have encountered both in and out of naturism/nudism I feel compelled to share this post. Apologies in advance to anyone who feels picked on or singled as a result of this piece, but you get to have your opinion and so do I. EarlD editor in chief clothesfreelife.com
It is no secret that naturism and nudism in the U.S. has a difficult time attracting women. This despite the fact that there of the national naturist/nudist organizations are headed or co-led by women. The subject of this post is an example of why that is the case. Normally I casually observe the plethora of images of young naked women posted on the internet with resignation and dismay. However, when I came across the post below from a so called nudist blog (followed by many who wear the nudist label online) I felt I needed to respond.
Now to be clear I chose not to link to the site, because I did not feel it appropriate to contribute more hits to that site and the specific post in question. In addition the image that accompanied the post seemed to fit the “barely legal” description and that was something I could not encourage. Anyone who needs to see can google the site, but I digress.
One of the key issues I have raised for the future of nudism/naturism is the ability to find intersections of purpose with other causes that have over lapping values. One such cause is the consent culture movement. If you are unfamiliar with the term here are a few resources I suggest you view.
The Consent Culture movement seeks to address a tendency in society to place the blame for sexual assault on something other than the actions of the perpetrator of the assault. Clothing or lack of it, the inebriation of the victim, have been used as mitigating factors to justify the actions of a perpetrator. One area of intersection is the consent cultures insistence that what a victim is wearing or not wearing when assaulted does not justify an assault. Simply put, only the explicit consent of an individual justifies sexual advances or sexual encounters anything else is assault! So the consent culture helps reinforces the idea that simple nudity does not automatically resolve to sex.
Given that background you may begin to see why the post referenced above raised more deep concerns than previous posts I had run across from that site. I don’t think categorical statements about the “great things” that nudism or naturism changes are very helpful, particularly when they can’t be backed up by facts. But this was especially egregious because it implied that the safety of a women and her right to not be objectified by male eyes was somehow tied to her taking her clothes off. The total lack of sensitivity to the plight of women who have been sexually assaulted with clothes on and off is glaring. All this to provide “click bait” for a web site that is pushing a product. Look at the hashtags naturism, nudism, hot, girl.
What does a hot girl, not an ordinary woman, but hot girl have to do with nudism or naturism? No operson’s nakedness, woman, man or whatever your gender identity should be used as a commodity to promote a business or sell a product. It dimishes the human being in that body by objectifying them and tarnishes the naturist/nudist cause by defining it through a sexual lens.
What’s at stake?
The Consent Culture folks can teach us that what’s at stake is a reinforcing of what they call a rape culture and the resulting impact. A convicted rapist get sentenced to six weeks because it was just a quickie, the victim was unconscious, and he has a future ahead of him. A father repeatedly sexually assaults his 12 year old daughter and receives a lesser sentence because he was stressed from losing his job. A 16 year old Argentinian girl is drugged, raped and dies in a brutal clothed attack by multiple perpetrators.
Posts like the one in question only serve to reinforce the notion that women are responsible for the actions of others who would choose to ogle, stalk or otherwise objectify them in a way makes them feel unsafe. It uses simple non sexual nudity in a way reinforces the sexualixation of the naked body and gives permission to so called “nudists” to shift focus away from their actions to the state of dress of the woman. It undermines the message and core value of nudism/naturism that simple nudity is non sexual. See this response to oir first tweet about the post.
This is especially true for me, since clothed women make me think lustful thoughts while nude women do not.
— David Colantuono (@David4Nudist) November 1, 2016
Our response to that kind of thinking based on our learning from consent culture is simple.
What is not so subtly implied by the post (with its image of a naked young woman maybe girl) is this what nudism/naturism is all about. The result is an untold amount of damage to the cause among women who don’t see themselves in that way. For example this post from a women who was actively participating in social nudism and started a blog to connect to other nudists. What she and found was this.
So many people claim to be naturists or nudists or whatever label you want to put on it and then post nothing but pics of young girls naked. Where is the representation of reality here. I have been to a couple of nudist resorts and I have not seen a lot of “perfect” bodies. The reality is lots of “imperfect” lovely humans. No wonder so many women are afraid to go nude when all they see represented are people in their early twenties. Life is hard on a body. We all age, sag, buldge etc. So many of my friends want to give it a go but fear being judged.
I just tell them to stand beside me and they will look great. Don’t misinterpret that either. I have no body issues. I am over 50, over weight according to society and have lots of stretch marks from babies. I am also very happy, outgoing and quite happy with who I am. Men find me attractive or so they say and I don’t believe that has anything to do with what I look like. We give men a bad wrap when it comes to that I think. Even still, I don’t go to nudist resorts to please others. I go because I love enjoying the outdoors without clothes.
There is nothing better than a summer day in the nude. Clothes make you hot and take away from the enjoyment of the day. Swimming in a bathing suit is no where near as lovely as swimming nude. Our bodies were designed to absorb vitamin D from the sun. If you are all covered up that can’t happen efficiently.
Bodies are nothing more than the vessel to carry our being. If your being is beautiful, so is your body. http://classicrockgirl.tumblr.com/post/123640962040
Can you feel the frustration and disconnection jump off the page? The blog has been deleted and what we are left with is an abundance of the kind of post we are addressing here.
I would never dare to describe myself as a feminist, I don’t think it appropriate. But I support the cause of women who are actively working to protect themselves and others from a culture that seems driven by the sexual desires and views of people who objectify human beings. I support the effort to give equal treatment to all people regardless of the gender, race sexual orientation or the size of their mammary glands. I am inspired by women who transparently give voice to the real experiences and concerns of women in naturist/nudist contexts and beyond.
I must admit I find it harder and harder to identify myself as a nudist/naturist when the dominant representation of those labels is one that functions like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. One that reinforces inequality and sexual objectification while proclaiming the opposite. Should we be surprised that the general public often perceive nudists and naturists as sexual perverts? I find it more disturbing that pointing this kind of thing out brings a firestorm of criticism instead a deeper self awareness. All I can say is really? I will continue to raise the divergent view for the sake of victims and the way of life we call clothes free life.
What do you say?