Nudism/Naturism: Discrimination

I encountered my first bit of discrimination against nudists/naturists who read this blog recently. A reader dumped on us — I won’t get into the details.

But clearly, nudists/naturists face all sorts of discrimination around the world — from countries in which social nudism is illegal to others that have allowed nowhere near enough public spaces for naturists to journalists and celebrities who take a wink-wink-nudge-nudge approach to the subject and, finally, to misinformed individuals who confuse social nudism with wild swingers’ events.

And all most naturists want to do is just free themselves from the confines of textiles and to overcome body image hangups — because social nudism does those things, and more.

And, hey, we are all naturally naked — we’re born that way.

I thought I would open up this post to my many naturist readers here to talk about discrimination you may have experienced and/or still experience — and to share some wisdom for people looking in who have reservations about it all.

What say you?

Jillian

25 thoughts on “Nudism/Naturism: Discrimination

  1. We have all confronted the issue of discrimination and I have learned some things. When someone asks me about being a nudist I tell them that is easiest way to relax and to get to know people for their true selves. All the smokes and mirrors that we use in general society tend to come down. As a nudist I have learned to be myself and have been amazed by how many new friends I have acquired. You tend to find true friends who get to know and accept the real you.

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  2. As a naturist I have not personal discrimination – but I have met with disapproval and rejection of a general nature based on typical public fear of nudity . For example when trying to hang up posters around town fora nudie event I have been turned down if the poster has a nudie photo on it, for example. Most people are ok knowing I am a naturist – they are just afraid to get too close to nudity because of the societal stigma against it.

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  3. I was a closet nudist my whole life until I returned from war. I decided life was just too short. That was twenty years ago I’m an out nudist now to my family friends and the entire world on fb. The only issues are being judged by those who don’t understand true social nudism. The mosy judgemental seem to be the religious hypocrits. They refuse to listen to anything they already have judged sinful.

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  4. I wanted to add that i feel as though i am breaking down some of the stereotypes that exist about nudists. The dominant one being that we are swingers and sex freaks. By outing myself and expressing my own opinion about what nudists are I have been able to change some minds. That is the key because its harder to discriminate against someone once you get to know and like them.

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  5. With discrimination comes human ignorance. You only have to look at the world outside to realise people really don’t care at all. With naturists the discrimination comes when people brand them as being abnormal when the absolute opposite is true. It’s their own insecurities that fuel that descrimination and their own fear of being naked that make them hit out at others. For me im happy being naked anywhere I feel too that a lot of the sex crimes around the works would reduced enormously if people took their clothes off and experienced the naked lifestyle.

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  6. Discrimination is a difficult word. If we look at the freedom to be nude, that is compromised by silly “exposure” laws around the world. So in that sense there is discrimination of our lifestyle. Are we such a threat to civil authority?

    As naturists we are misunderstood. Few see or ever experience the peace and freedom that being clothes-free allows. Park rangers in California are offended by our freedom. The public thinks that we are weird and a threat to societal norms. Mothers fear for their children. Nudity is not perversion!

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  7. I have not been the brunt of any discrimination. Having been on TV, radio, and I the print media, someone would have to be living under a rock to not know I am plus my car is a moving billboard. LOL

    I usually use the term skinny-dipper at first and then in the conversation come out with a quip: The only difference between nudists and others is that after a large meal, nudists are more comfortable.

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  8. Interesting article about discrimination against nudists. Personally, we do not feel it. Business wise we still feel it everyday. For instance even though our Local newspaper the Desert Sun gave us an award in November 2013 for being the Best Boutique Hotel in the whole Palm Springs area, we are still ignored all the time when the media contacts our town wanting to do stories about fun places to stay. Our city does not recommend us unless a reporter specifically asks about nudist resorts. When they ask about nice, romantic, fun, resorts we’re ignored.
    In February, there is the Palm Springs modernism event. We are a historic Mid-Century modern small resort designed by Albert Frey, Palm Springs most famous architect who himself was a nudist. Yet, we are completely ignored by the modernism committee because were nudist.
    It gets very frustrating at times that some small minded people in power feel they have the right to steer people away from learning about us.

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  9. I can’t claim to have experienced any discrimination for being a naturist either. A selection of comments I have received while walking naked on Holkham beach (near Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, England):

    From a young lady “I wish I had the nerve to do what you are doing”.

    From a rather posh lady on a horse “Are you supposed to be totally naked?” When I explained that it was an official naturist beach she was fine with it.

    From a grumpy older bloke “Put some trunks on. There are kiddies about.” When I again explained that it was an official naturist beach, he ambled off grumbling.

    By the way: In my experience kids actually have no problems when they come across naturists on the beach. They may giggle and grin a bit, but otherwise they just see it as a bit of a lark. By and large the adults just mind their own business.

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  10. We have been swingers a long time and encounter similar… any time you act outside the commonly accepted norms those of small limitations are going to judge you. By daring to challenge the commonly accepted standards you force them to have to think about things they don’t want to have to think about and you make them uncomfortable in doing so… so they want to say shame on you for that. Oh well… just remember it is their problem not yours and don’t let them make it your problem.

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    1. Jim and Kristi, Please do what you want with your lives, but please do not mix swinging with nudism. The only similarity is that both are usually nude/naked/clothes-free. Swingers and other sexual activity has caused the USA to lose a number of beaches and public lands and many who visit those locations do not know the difference.

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  11. As a single male nudist, I am often discriminated against even amongst the nudists.

    Just because I am a single male (also a nudist), I am trieated by many resorts et cetera in the nudist world as being prohibited. Granted that there are many single males (non nudist) that will visit a nudist park to get a glance at some naked female flesh…However, those types of individuals do NOT speak for the entire single male population.

    This issue has only gotten worse. Now that I am in my 50s and single and a nudist, I am also thought of as being a molester and have to prove my innocence; whatever happened to innocent being proven guilty.

    For a single male nudist of any age, it has become guity and PROVE your innocence.

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    1. We have single male nudists who travel extensively to nudist parks and resorts and never have a problem. Are you a TNS or AANR member through a club? There have been times when I’ve called ahead for a couple of members.

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    2. Anudist I can totally relate. I’m 50 so therefore there must be something wrong with me because I enjoy being a Naturist. Guilty until proven otherwise petty much somes it up. It’s time couples and single women were educated that being male and unaccompanied does NOT equal being someone to be afraid of, or someone at fault for making them “uncomfortable.”

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      1. Most nudist parks, clubs, and resorts do welcome single men. You didn’t say where you tried to gain entrance. Did you call ahead and say you’re a card-carrying nudist (TNS or AANR) and aware of the code of behaviour expected?

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  12. Without question, there is discrimination for ALL naturists / nudists at some point in time in some location. Fear based on all the negative projections of sex, sin and evil are at the root. I simply have said the hell with it all and carved out my own tiny niche. My poetry tells the story of that journey. Thanks, Jillian for taking a stand in this cold (politically, geographically and moral fundamentalism corner of the world.

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  13. Personally I have not suffered any discrimination, but I some who have, like the couple who had new neighbours move in next door only to be persecuted by them for their back garden Naturism (if they leaned far enough out of an upstairs window they could see apparently). The problem was that this persecution caused one of them to lose her job as a headteacher, quite apart from them suffering considerable daily harassment. She named her neighbours “Bigot & Prude”. Thankfully they have now moved on.

    The police were no help though and that brings me on to the worst discrimination that we suffer here in the UK – the police, council officials, etc. – anyone in authority basically. Naturism isn’t illegal anywhere in the UK, but some of those in power seem to think it should be. The person we fear the most is the off-duty police officer, they have caused more Naturists to be wrongly arrested than any other category of person. We believe the reason for this has its roots in the “I don’t mind it, but think of everyone else” school of thought. It is a VERY common reaction, so common that we wonder who is the “everyone else”? Someone in authority reacting this way will believe that that ‘have to do something’ if they come across a Naturist, so we get arrested/banned/whatever.

    There are many for whom Naturism is a belief – a belief that the human body is not something to be ashamed of, but rather to be celebrated. This belief can, and often is, complimentary to any religious beliefs Naturists may hold, so we have Christian Naturists and so on… We (BN) have therefore drafted a statement of Naturist beliefs, which has now been adopted by the International Naturist Federation. In the UK, beliefs are a protected characteristic under the Equalities Act 2010. We just need to get the authorities to see this.

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  14. Even here Jim & Kristi are subjected to silly closed minded people… not once did they say we perform on a nudist venue !!! I think the problem here is one we all suffer, that is a very small proportion of the community does something wrong and then everyone gets labelled the same ! Don’t become a bigot just because we sometimes have to suffer bigots views !!!

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  15. I get it all the time, since it’s part of my career. People think it’s the only thing I write about. My fellow filmmakers only want to exploit it, and as a writer, I’ve lost clients once they see my website.

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  16. Discrimination against naturism it not usually direct but it certainly underpins society. If we try to promote a naturist event or business in mainstream media it is often rejected on the basis of adult content, or when liaising with those outside of naturism they claim they do not want to be associated with ‘that kind of thing’. Often it is claimed that it is not *they* who have a problem with it, but it is others. The fact is, these ‘others’ are completely unknown as they are a creation in the imagination to support their own prejudice. So yes prejudice is alive and well. But almost every single person you meet will say that that they have no problem with it.

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  17. Discrimination? Absolutely, however, but by whom might surprise you.
    It will take some reading to get to the discrimination part of my comment, but bear with me, what precedes it is important. It may seem rather circuitous addressing various issues but I do arrive at where you find some of the most vociferous discrimination.

    In the post, Jillian writes: “And all most naturists want to do is just free themselves from the confines of textiles and to overcome body image hangups — because social nudism does those things, and more.”

    1) If that is what “most” want, what do the others want? Is there a limit to those wants? Who decides?

    2) “(S)ocial nudism does those things, and more.” What “more”? Is that “more” something that is acceptable to some and not to others? And, at what point does the “more” move from acceptable to unacceptable?

    To be fair, Jillian is describing “social nudism,” and that will be addressed, but a simple definition is needed… What is nudism, really?

    Merriam-Webster defines it as: “the practice of going nude especially in sexually mixed groups and during periods of time spent at specially secluded places.” Of course, practitioners of “nudism” therefore, are “nudists.”

    “…(E)specially in sexually mixed groups… spent at specially secluded places.”

    In numerous other articles “for health reasons” is added.
    Does that mean that in order to qualify as a “nudist,” one must be nude in sexually mixed groups at specially secluded places?

    Ordinarily, when somebody thinks of people participating in a social setting in which everybody is nude, at a secluded place, “nudist” does come to mind.

    However, is that definition exclusionary if the two modifiers after “the practice of going nude” don’t apply?

    A single man, who doesn’t go to sexually mixed special places, yet when he gets home he wears no clothes as a regular practice, is he not a nudist?

    A partnered woman, who doesn’t have a job outside the home, she chooses to be nude as a regular practice at home, and maybe in her secluded backyard, is she not a nudist because she doesn’t go to sexually mixed special places?

    Would the nudist purist say: “No, neither of these people is a nudist. They don’t get nude in front of people they don’t know.” I seriously doubt anybody would consider making or taking that argument seriously.

    If person in Europe visits a non-secluded nude beach, is that person not a nudist? Does frequency factor into the equation? Is a person who visits once a year a nudist? Is a person who visits weekly not a nudist?

    Is location a factor? Nude beach; Nudist Resort; alternative vacation resorts, e.g. Sandals (where you may well encounter swingers)?
    Merriam-Webster has failed to properly define “nudism.” Rather, it has defined “social nudism” that takes place, but only at “secluded” places. This is what most people think of when speaking of nudists and nudism.

    Stripped (pun intended) to its simplest form, a nudist is a person whom practices going nude; one whom does NOT wear clothes, at least some place and at least at some time, preferring nudity to the wearing of clothes. Leave the modifiers out.

    Can a person be a nudist without ever having gone to a nudist resort or nude beach?

    Is there any really logical justification to add singularly, or combinations of restrictions such as: 1) in sexually mixed groups, 2) at specially secluded places, 3) for health reasons, to the definition of nudism? No.

    Back to “social nudism.” “Social,” here, is an adjective, that describes a particular form of nudism. It requires at least some type of interaction between two or more people. It could be taken to the absurd level, e.g., two nude people talking on the phone, but that’s not the point here.

    Discrimination? You bet. And where can you find it most practiced? By nudists themselves. Look at the comment from the swingers and the two responding comments.

    Responding to a comment by Jim and Kristi Barclay, cheridonna, in part, states: “…do what you want with your lives, but please do not mix swinging with nudism. The only similarity is that both are usually nude/naked/clothes-free.”

    Jim and Kristi Barclay’s comment nowhere equated nor mixed “nudism” with “swinging.” The statement by them is clear:
    “… (A)ny time you act outside the commonly accepted norms those of small limitations are going to judge you.”

    The message is simple, those with counter-cultural practices are judged by others. Nothing, not one word about equating or mixing “swingers” and “nudists.”

    It was, in fact, ONLY cheridonna who mixed them together by referring to the fact that: “both are usually nude/naked/clothes-free,” and Happy Bare who stated: “…don’t mix swinger values with nudist values.” It is obvious that the cheridonna and Happy Bare make the implied point that swingers, who are also “nude/naked/clothes-free” are NOT nudists. Of course, I disagree, it should be: “They are not my kind of nudists.”

    The danger here is that by going beyond that very simple definition “…the practice of going nude…” it allows all kinds of restrictions to be place by those whom think they own the term. Who has the right to say swingers are not nudists?

    Cheridonna entirely missed the point of the comment and twisted it into something it clearly was not.
    Further, cheridonna goes on to clearly blame (in part) swingers: “Swingers and other sexual activity has caused the USA to lose a number of beaches and public lands…”

    Swingers? How on earth does somebody identify swingers at a beach? By closely spying people at the beach? So closely that somebody is compelled to studiously watch people arriving at a nude beach, watching them interacting, coming together, switching partners and engaging in sexual acts on the beach? Really?

    If not observed personally, what is the evidence that swingers have caused any such losses? Surely, the cheridonna could provide at least some evidence, but no, nothing.
    Has sexual activity caused these referred to losses? Maybe, but certainly not always. One time, my wife and I were at a nude beach (nudity at that beach was tolerated, not legal, mind you) where the police showed up because of reports of sexual activity by homosexuals at the other end of the beach. That beach, where the law says it is illegal to be nude, remains open and nude and we’ve been back numerous times.

    On a personal note, I don’t have a problem with it. If illegal behavior that I am uncomfortable with occurs, I’ll go elsewhere, after all, clothed people who happen to find themselves amongst nude people on a beach where it is illegal to be nude, may well feel that the nudists there are weird, perverted and engaging in offensive behavior.

    Cheridonna’s implication is clear, “I’m a nudist and swingers are not. We may both be nude, but only I practice “nudism.” Only people who practice it as I do, believing as I do, sharing my own values can be in this elite club known as nudists. Because they bring something more to it, and that is different from what I do, therefore they are unacceptable as a ‘nudist’.”

    Does any one person have a lock on the definition of the term and possesses a right to add further restrictions to “the practice of going nude.” Perhaps prospective nudists could fill out a form to ensure that only candidates who fulfill the requirements will be allowed to call themselves nudists and be allowed where nudists congregate.

    Jillian writes: “But clearly, nudists/naturists face all sorts of discrimination around the world… to misinformed individuals who confuse social nudism with wild swingers’ events.” Yes, some do confuse the two. And, as you can see by some of the posts, some nudists want to distance themselves entirely from swingers who are also nudists.

    Let’s face a reality that the purists may not like: there are different types of people who practice nudism. No one class, or belief system has the right to claim the term for themselves. Perhaps nudists that insist on adding to the simple definition should be referred to as “purist,” “modifier,” or perhaps “restrictive” nudists.

    Perhaps a definition could be set in stone, in changeable for all time. A “purist” is a person who practices nudity:

    1) in a social
    2) secluded setting,
    3) that is non-sexual (including thoughts),
    4) and all must share the same values and beliefs about “nudism.”

    There should be no doubt that this type already has a preferred term for themselves: “true nudists.” There are only “true nudists,” and if one subscribes to any other type of nudism, it is not nudism, but is an aberrant, perverted, morally deficient, and bad nakedness.

    Yet, “modifier/restrictive/purist/true” is nothing more than a type of nudism, albeit, an exclusionary type of nudism; one that discriminates against the values, practices and finally acceptance of other types of nudists and their type of nudism.

    “Accept my behavior, but I’m not going to accept your behavior.” Seems more than hypocritical.

    Who can be found at the various nude venues whether it be nudist resorts, nude beaches, and other places?

    Swingers? Yes.

    Self-proclaimed “true” nudists? Yes.

    Nude people who enjoy looking at other nude people? Yes.

    Exhibitionists? Yes.

    Voyeurs. Yes.

    Religious People. Yes.

    Atheists. Yes.

    Read what “anudist” wrote: “As a single male nudist, I am often discriminated against even amongst the nudists.

    “Just because I am a single male (also a nudist), I am trieated by many resorts et cetera in the nudist world as being prohibited…
    “Now that I am in my 50s and single and a nudist, I am also thought of as being a molester and have to prove my innocence; whatever happened to innocent being proven guilty.
    “For a single male nudist of any age, it has become guity and PROVE your innocence.”
    Here is an apparently “purist” nudist being discriminated by a “purist” nudist resort because of his single status. But, purists allow themselves the luxury of overlooking certain discriminatory practices, even when it comes to certain of their own type.

    “But clearly, nudists/naturists face all sorts of discrimination around the world…”

    I add… “and sometimes that discrimination comes from a certain type of nudists themselves.

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