Being body positive doesn’t mean you have to find every body type attractive. It’s okay to not find thin girls attractive, or only be attracted to meaty boys. It’s also okay to not find fat girls attractive, or to only be attracted to skinny boys. Or anything in between! Just as long as you recognize that it’s only your personal preference and not some kind of fundamental flaw in people you don’t find attractive, you’re golden.
In the past thirty years we have become far more permissive of our teenagers seeing violence while natural bodies remain strictly forbidden. I recently saw Skyfall, rated PG13, and I left the theatre scratching my head:
- Breasts are off limits to a 13-year-old
- A man can shoot a tied down woman in cold blood and somehow that’s okay for a 13-year-old
- You pictured a 13-year-old boy when you read the above two points because that is the demographic to which we aim violence and misogyny
Now, I’m a huge James Bond fan but I’ve grown uncomfortable as these movies have become more grisly in the past few years. Take the movie Beverly Hills Cop from about 30 years ago and compare it to Skyfall. Skyfall had a higher body count, violence that was far more graphically depicted and hints of sex and earned a PG13 rating. Beverly Hills Cop was far less violent, it did have hints of sex, it was about as misogynistic as Skyfall, but it also had the briefest view of women’s breasts and thus earned an R rating (Restricted to those over 17).
If you don’t believe my thesis that we have become more permissive of violence, then think about how people reacted when Michael Keaton’s first Batman movie earned a PG13 rating. Parents complained that their children could not see a movie, based upon kids’ comics. Fast-forward about twenty years and no one batted an eye when Christian Bale’s Batman Begins was far more violent than Keaton’s. But the movie didn’t show any breasts, so it was okay for 13-year-old’s.
We are blatantly sending the message to teenagers that violence is more acceptable than the human form. I’m not saying violent movies should not be made nor am I saying that movies should have more nudity. Free speech and the market can decide that. I do think, however, that we need to reëvaluate the standards as to what we guide adolescents toward and away from. In the end, this is left up to the parents but I guarantee you, if I had a teenager, I would prefer them seeing Beverly Hills Cop over Skyfall despite some flash of the human form in the background.
CORRECTION: After writing this post, I went back and watched Beverly Hills Cop. It had one cold-blooded murder at the beginning and several other deaths that I feel were on par with Skyfall. Far fewer innocent people or “good guys” were killed in BHC. It had two topless women in a scene in a strip club. It had far more profanity than Skyfall. I believe the rating society gives this movie an R for the profanity and the topless women. I, personally, would still prefer a teenager see BHC over Skyfall although I do feel they are about even and Skyfall should have received an R rating.
Hints (some of which are seemingly obvious) that the Tumblr site your looking at is more about “sex” than true Nudism.
1) Only 1 Gender is seen or portrayed.
2) Sexual acts are portrayed (I don’t want to describe them here – but you know what they are.). These sights I would label more as people who like sex in public or who are (in a possibly dated term) “Swingers.” Both of which,in my view, are fine for Consenting Adults, but a true Nudist Resort or Nudist Beach is not the place for this behavior.
3) Only 1 age group (usually young) is seen or portrayed.
4) Only 1 body type (usualy thin) is seen or portrayed.
Let’s Get Naked: Sheila Kelley at TEDxAmericanRiviera
This isn’t about naturism, per se, but there is a lot here about body shaming, especially the shaming directed toward women.
Me in Zipolite, Mexico.
Telling people I’m a naturist has been an interesting experience. People I thought would really dig it have reacted with bewilderment. In a testament to the people I have chosen as friends that are close enough to tell, no one has reacted adversely. There have been no truly negative experiences. Here’s a small sample:
Let’s start with family. No one in my family knows yet. I expect it to come out inadvertently, maybe if my wife and I and I have kids who tell the grandparents about swimming naked at my club. I’m not trying to keep it a secret but I’m also not trying to broadcast it. When it happens, I just plan to say something like, “I swim naked and I avoid wearing clothes. It’s not a big deal. It’s quite liberating and I’d like for my kids to grow up without shame and body-image issues.” One friend I told that I had expected to be the most into naturism, ironically, shrugged it off. He definitely has what can be described as a hippie side so I thought he would like to check it out. Instead, we simply moved on to other topics. No harm, no foul.
When I told my closest friend E, a lawyer who maintains a professional persona, he started asking a lot of questions. They were not the usual questions about getting aroused or sun-burned in tender areas, they were much more respectful like, “How long?” or “Where do you go?” He told me of a time in high school when he and a friend went skinny-dipping/pool-hopping in his neighborhood. He also brought up that his young son asked why Elmo doesn’t wear any pants and that E simply did not have an answer ready that wasn’t based upon shame. I knew E wouldn’t judge me but I was surprised at how he was so open to it.
When I told my friend of twenty plus years K – the friend that has been in my life the longest – the conversation went something like this:
- NN: So I’ve been going to a clothing optional resort this summer.
- K: What! Wait, you mean a nudist colony?
- NN: I guess that’s what some people call it. It’s just a place where really chill people can hang out naked in the sun, skinny dip, hike naked and just be comfortable in the hot weather. Naked isn’t mandatory unless you swim. There are some spouses who go and never take their clothes off while their partners never put their clothes on. It’s just people who are comfortable as themselves.
K was the most interested and we probably talked for an hour or more. Maybe it was because we had grown up together and we come from -ahem- buttoned-up backgrounds where we ourselves never really fit in. I explained that the people who go don’t seem to have body-image issues. They are people who have simply gotten over themselves, whatever age they are. That does mean that a lot of people are older or have more weight than Victoria’s Secret models; it also means that these naturists are all beautiful and confident. I explained that once you realize, “This is the best I’m ever going to look and I accept it,” social nudity feels normal. It is pure joy to let go of that self-critical lens that society forces so many people to look through. It also makes me look at my wife, who is the most beautiful woman in the world to me, and realize that as we age together we are never going to look as good as we do now. At the same time, age will bring wisdom and love and a whole other beauty to our relationship as our superficial appearances become less tolerable to society. I see people of all shapes and sizes and ages who are just comfortable. The experience with K has been the most common among my close friends. K asked the most questions and was among the most interested so I relate our conversation here. My friends are truly wonderful people, many of whom want to know more instead of making jokes. Several have even asked to accompany me to my club in the spring.
My wife was a little overwhelmed at how much I enjoyed my first time to a clothing optional club. She was further overwhelmed by the fact that I couldn’t wait to go back. She accepts it cheerily, now, only a few months after my first time. In the fall, we went to Zipolite, a nude beach in Mexico, at her suggestion but she did not strip down. She’s just not into social nudity and that’s fine. We simply schedule around our free time together and I always let her know every time I go to an event or resort. I would stop in a heartbeat if she asked me to end it. So that has been my experience so far these last few months.
I would urge anyone with an interest to see how comfortable they are at home naked. If it feels right, try finding a welcoming clothing optional club or resort. You will meet amazing, relaxed people.
By Jean Teeters
Although Two Virgins was John Lennon’s first major display of “public” nudity, it wouldn’t be his last. And when you take a look at the arc that was John’s life, it seems he may have been born an exhibitionist.
John Lennon was clearly a supporter of a human being’s right to…
“Deciding when content supports the lifestyle philosophy that is Naturism, is helpful in educating people about a ‘Body Positive’ way of thinking and advances the family-oriented causes we often mention.”
Human beings are amazingly diverse and one of the values we hold above all else is freedom of speech, but the power of words deserves respect and the power of images even more so! I do not want people to think I would ever attempt to control your thoughts, just as I hope you would never try to control mine, Tumbl what you will – if it makes you happy. There are many, many images which are awesome, stunningly beautiful and should be considered as art, works of art, or tributes to the incredible beauty that is the human form. However, in the context of our present society there is also a ‘perception problem’ because CURRENTLY many images are understood for their solely erotic value! If the first thing people think when they see them is, “Hubba hubba!” or “Shew wee!” then this is not likely to teach anything about Nudism. The power of erotic imagery short-circuits the brain, overrides rational thought and causes the pleasure centers of the brain to light-up like a Christmas tree! From that point on it is possible you lost the audience, or potential to attract an audience toward Naturist ideals.
Naturism is beautiful; gently beautiful. Smiles are beautiful, gently beautiful.
The feeling of the sun on your entire body is… gently beautiful.
Erotic pleasure is, well, ‘knock me off my feet’ beautiful! Right?
So here is the internal monologue:
Self “A”: Well, some of this content is really great, but many of the Tumbls just do not agree with my philosophy of nudism.
Self “B”: Okay, then I think you need to stop Following them, because you know the person did not take any of those photographs themselves and they are also probably violating copyrights like crazy.
Self “A”: Yes. You’re right Self B, I agree.
Self “B”: Beside, you can always go and look up their content again if it is something you personally want to enjoy for a little while, but you have a bigger obligation to the Nudist and Naturist community at large. You set an example with all of the Tumbls you make, some are great and others pretty good just like theirs have been, but when the goal of the post is ONLY to give an erotic charge or highlight the type of images found in Adult magazines, that is not Naturism.
Self “A”: Ok. Done.
If you want to support the goals of Naturism and slowly establish new “strains” or trains of thought regarding social nudity, then YOU must talk about the philosophical side of it. What we are trying to achieve is greater freedom, more acceptance, body appreciation and an elevated level of “love” (yes, love) for our physical form. Love accepts, love understands, love allows (and forgives), love is good and we have been far to “bad” with some of our behavior lately.
Violence, war, the taking of innocent lives only just barely begun, and ignorance of the risks of mental disease. We need to stop putting barriers between ourselves and need to learn and teach how to “read people” completely, and if that means seeing their whole body and accepting signs of physical excitement and emotional distress, then we should make this a goal also!
This is from Agnès Guerzou’s photos: http://www.facebook.com/danyes.guerzou . Not sure how to link directly.
“Rule No. 1 is you don’t judge people by their appearance and any physical differences. The second rule is you accept your own body. And, the third rule is you accept others. No judgment, no gawking at some bodies and rolling your eyes at others, no beating yourself up for your tummy.”