Always Read The Label

Always Read The Label

Comments From the Peanut Gallery
Comments From the Peanut Gallery

Confession: I have been working on this post for months. Writing. Reviewing. Scrapping. Writing a new one. Reviewing. Scrapping it, too. The truth is that this is a really simple and exquisitely complicated subject all at the same time. What is it? Personal labels, namely, my dislike of the labels “nudist” or “naturist”.

Every previously completed iteration of a post on the subject was scrapped because I read another tidbit online. Another opinion from another person about another subject, or the same, but that opinion gave me pause enough to toss out yet another past version of this post. The most recent opinion I saw was someone frustrated that the subject of “to shave or not to shave” was still being brought up in the clothes free circles. Their beef was that whether or not people decide to shave (or wax) was a personal preference and it had nothing at all what-so-ever to do with anyone else. Why did people care!?

Sweetie, I feel your pain.

The fact is that much in life that people form very intense opinions about, myself included, have zero impact on any other person until or unless we begin to impose those opinions on them.

I think my dislike of labels in general is similar to my dislike of bumper stickers and decals on cars or clothing blasting a brand name (looking at you Abercrombie & Fitch). What I choose to call myself on any given day, at any given moment is for me alone to determine. That doesn’t mean other people won’t come up with some sort of label they feel is fitting to slap on my chassis, but as openly private a person that I am (that’s correct: “openly private”), I know that a good deal of the labels aren’t accurate. Labels like nudist and naturist, despite my calling myself the “Accidental Nudist” for an article, have never felt appropriate to me.

Yes, I have spent a fair share of time running around in my birthday suit, but so have a lot of other people. People have attempted to argue with me that because I’ve been to a nude beach I am a nudist. No, it makes me someone who has been to a clothing free beach and took advantage of it to sun my buns.

So, what does it take to label yourself a nudist/naturist? I think that’s up to you, and you alone. I believe that non-sexual nudity is a great thing, but I don’t hang out at resorts, clubs, events, meetings, etc., with other like-minded individuals. Mostly, because I’m somewhat of a hermit, but also because I’m busy with other interests that I am passionate about, interests that take priority to clothes free anything. Having labels we want is entirely up to us – like bumper stickers and decals on our cars (or bikes, or laptops, whatever). Just as we’d all (most of us??) be upset to find some stranger put a Justin Bieber sticker on our car, I think we all get upset when a label is applied to us from people who don’t really know us, that isn’t an accurate representation of who we are.

Labels have baggage, no matter what they are. We’re all advised to travel lightly when we take a trip. I think the same applies for personal labels. Make sure that what you take fits and that you are willing to carry the baggage that comes along with it.



The Amusing Muse is a writer, blogger, gardener, and beekeeper living in Southern Wisconsin. She’s allergic to most sunscreens and bug sprays, which makes summers interesting (and itchy), but did lead to her and her husband buying a pool which is off limits to both items.
About the author: musingsoftheamusingmuse
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7 thoughts on “Always Read The Label

  1. I think what you’re describing is that your identity is not tied up in the label “nudist” or “naturist”. A person can do an activity on occasion but not identify as an “-ist” of that activity. For example, you might ride a bike now and then, but that doesn’t mean you identify as a “bicyclist” – those are the people with the $1000+ bikes, who dress in those tight outfits, and ride around in packs.

    Adopting the label makes it part of your self-identity, makes it something important & significant to you. Some people dive into activities and wrap themselves in the label – sailor, reader, gardener. Others do things but don’t feel the need to stick that label to themselves. Yes, I do that thing now and then, but it doesn’t define me, it’s not part of my core identity.

    But from the outside, if someone sees you doing something – and doing it with more than a passing interest – they will likely stick the label of “-ist” to you. Because to them, your identity is associated with that thing. I don’t see that as something to bristle against. I understand not wanting to be pigeon-holed, defined merely by one or two labels, and not wanting others to think you’re REALLY into this or that. But you also have to admit that you do do that thing, you are interested in it, you do spend time on it. You are an “-ist”.

  2. I’m naked as much as possible because it is physically, psychically, and emotionally healthfull and wholesome. In other words, it’s human and humane. The labels nudist/naturist set us apart as if we’re the odd ones. I believe the “clothists” have the problem. That being said there has has to be a word for our belief just as there is for other beliefs like liberal or conservative.

  3. For me, nudist/naturist is unclothed when possible, clothed when necessary, and not lewd. Simple enough.

    I find it very disingenuous for people to complain about labels, because they use labels all day, every day. It’s how the human brain compartmentalizes data. Otherwise we’d talk like Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy.

    1. Jim,
      Thanks for the comment. You are correct in your description of how the brain typically but not exclusively gives meaning to things encounter. We can however become less reflective to labels and more mindful to people. We don’t have to be mental slaves to labeling. That is a good thing since we live in a new world like it or not where labels don’t serve the purpose they used to. They used to help define things in a very simple way so the brain could process it easily as you say. However that meant people might use those definitions to define others innways they don’t want to be defines. We see that happening with genre definitions today.

      I think amusingmuse is on target to say use what works for you but that also means we have to be mindful that what works for me does always work for someoneone else. Because of this it is editorial policy of this site to eschew label and focus on the lives exeperince whatever it is called. So we use the language of clothes free living and gymnosophy which incorporates both the philosophy and practice of clothes free living. I think this allows us to be more inclusive and intersectional in our approach.

  4. Really enjoyed your commentary. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to labels lately, particularly the outmoded labels applied to gender, sexual preferences, well labels applied to people in general. Most of the labels I see thrown around don’t fit anyone particularly well and I find them to be irrelevant.

    I’m ambivalent about the nudist vs naturist thing. I really don’t care and neither defines me. Like you, I have a lot of things going on that take priority over being naked. Nudity is a preference, one that isn’t always a viable option, so when it’s not an option, no big deal.

    1. Hey Rick! Thanks for your comment. Yes, lack of clothing isn’t a be-all-end-all for me. I honestly don’t think about it 99% of the time. If I can, great; if not, no worries.

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

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