Funny how some people snicker, and crack dumb jokes, when you mention social nudism to them. Actually, it’s not so funny if you are serious about nudism, also known as naturism. Naturists/nudists take the practice of being textile-free very seriously. To them, it’s almost a religion. So, when celebrities ridicule nudists — often about body size and shape — during TV talk shows and such, many nudists take it personally. They respond with words like “bigotry,” “persecution,” “discrimination,” ” ignorance” — in fact, they use many of the same words that LGBTQ people use when someone discriminates against them.
Thing is, I imagine that many people who crack wise about nudists don’t really mean to discriminate. I think they may be poking fun at themselves, too, knowing that they are naturally naked beneath their textiles. In a way, they are showing that they have hangups and insecurities about body image — whether they realize it or not. Sadly, though, when celebrities do it, they are introducing unfair stereotypes and prejudice to millions of viewers, and encouraging them to be insecure about their bodies, too.
I think humour at the expense of dedicated naturists is grounded in one word: ignorance. Perhaps it is partially because so many people, especially celebrities, are caught up in industries that stress body image and fashion. There is nothing wrong with that, of course. To each their own, yes? But celebrities — such as talk-show hosts and their guests — do need to keep in mind that many people are very passionate about nudism, and they need to be treated with respect. It’s as simple as that.
Never before did I get so close to Nature; never before did she come so close to me… Nature was naked, and I was also… Sweet, sane, still Nakedness in Nature! – ah if poor, sick, prurient humanity in cities might really know you once more! Is not nakedness indecent? No, not inherently. It is your thought, your sophistication, your fear, your respectability, that is indecent. There come moods when these clothes of ours are not only too irksome to wear, but are themselves indecent.
–– Walt Whitman, A Sun-bathed Nakedness