Post Updated: April, 2021 – This post feels a bit dated since it refers to the 2018 “mid-term election,” and so much has transpired since then. That said, I feel even more vehemently about tolerance and open-mindedness than when I first wrote this – even if that means that some people think I’m crazy for wanting to go on nakation. I did update a few references and links.
So I read the Nick and Lins piece about naturism on Facebook the other day on Naked Wanderings when they lamented the many ironies of social media policies where simple nudity is forbidden, while all sorts of other atrocities somehow slip through the cracks. To be sure, navigating the internet in search of reliable information about people who are earnestly interested in social nudity is a slippery slope that will almost certainly lead your favorite search engine into various porn sites, while helping you find “new friends seeking benefits,” not to mention an unsolicited fan club willing to send you pictures of their genitalia. Who could have imagined any of this back before the digital age?
But here’s a thought for the day: What about all of us who feel so passionately about the naturist cause that we’ve barricaded ourselves in the naked cyber-fortress. That is, surrounding ourselves in naturist propaganda, if you will, until we actually lose perspective of how one’s quirky desire to doff his clothing is actually perceived in the greater context of the textile-loving masses.
Here on the eve of the 2018 mid-term election, I have grown acutely aware of how deeply people have aligned themselves to very specific ideologies. Of course, at the moment, most of the attention is on political perspectives and how those will influence the upcoming election, but it seems to me that the unintended consequence of social media is the emergence of so many factions who mainly pride themselves on their inability to understand the other side of the argument, regardless of what that argument is about.
What does that have to do with social nudity on the internet? Everything! As my blog has developed over the years, I’ve cultivated my own news-feed from other naturist bloggers, keeping a particularly keen eye out for those that are up-to-date and insightful for the greater naturist cause. (Clothesfree Life, Write Nude, and Naked Wanderings are regular go-to outlets on this front.) But over time, I have found Twitter, reddit, and Instagram also to be good sources of information when looking for news stories about the naturist cause, or finding a new place to explore during our next nakation. While the nudism and naturism boards on reddit are well moderated, it’s taken a bit of time and tweaking to develop a Twitter feed that’s not overrun by stuff I really wasn’t looking for, but even with the harsh policies regarding nudity on Facebook and Instagram, there’s no question that those two platforms reach a wider audience, and arguably, do more to bring naturism into mainstream consciousness than most of the others combined. In fact, I just read an article this morning about the naturist movement afoot in Australia where over 8500 photos have shown up on Instagram with the hashtag #getnakedaustrailia, which has started to bleed into mainstream media threads normalizing nudity for 20 and 30-somethings. That seems like progress.
[Authors Note: Since this post, Get Naked Australia has become one of the most successful social nudity movements in the world. Definitely progress.]
But to my point…
I have spent so much time on naturist social media platforms that it’s difficult to imagine what I might find there that I would find shocking or offensive, including all that stuff that doesn’t belong on a naturist forum. That’s where the barricade thing takes hold! Begin each day with a fifteen minute dose of naked news, and after awhile, you no longer notice that anyone would go to social media with the expectation of seeing anything else? It’s a slightly different argument than becoming desensitized to nudity itself; it’s just that you don’t think it odd that there is casual nudity all over the internet, as one loses total perspective – the perspective that not only would my friends mark most of these threads NSFW, but may actually be downright offended.
“Offended? It’s just nudity!” we say.
Strangely enough, I have become most sensitive to this phenomenon while listening to several podcasts as people wager various opinions about the possible outcomes of the upcoming election. I thought two of these programs to be particularly thought-provoking: the first one that talked about the influence of “nationalist websites” on recent acts of violence, and the second that included an interview with a Russian journalist whose job is running a website known widely as an American news source. [Yes, you heard that right!] In the case of the latter, the news is “factual” and drawn from real sources, but carefully selected to elevate fear and despair among citizens of the U.S. of A. Each of these examples represent the barricades of social media, as we all sit by our glowing computer screens absorbing opinions we already embrace about “stuff we already know!”
Despite the fact that my political leanings are probably well defined by my podcast playlist, that’s not actually relevant to this post. What IS relevant, however, is that in 2018, we can easily barricade ourselves within an impenetrable fortress in a forever “lock-in” with others who think, see, and feel exactly the same way we do! How many studies have we all seen about lonely people who spend night after night surfing the web, looking for community or someone to talk to, whereas twenty years ago maybe they would have joined a bowling league, or a model train club, or a sports league at the YMCA in an effort to connect with other humans… Other humans that would have that one thing in common (bowling, model trains, or basketball) but would surely have differing opinions on the big ticket issues, like religion, politics, and even social nudity.
Bury yourself in the naturist communities of Twitter and Instagram, and you will be inundated with memes and one-liners that relentlessly preach to the converted that nude is the new normal and the rest of the world just needs to deal with it. But the rest of the world is emphatically screaming at one another right now, making it clear that “We believe what we believe, and don’t even try to clutter my mind with an opposing perspective!”
I admit, when I think about the gravitas of promoting social nudity in comparison to some of the other pervasive causes out there on the internet right now, my default position is, “Pfff… my cause is harmless by comparison! Just let me go on nakation and soak up some Vitamin D.” But I think we – the naturists – are being unrealistic when we fail to acknowledge that some will be as deeply offended by our Twitter feeds – offended as I would be by any number of social media sources crowding the airwaves right now spreading highly biased rhetoric that will most certainly shape the future of the human race.
Ironically, I think I have always thought of social nudity as a channel of tolerance, that in the best case would read something like this…
You don’t have to practice naturism, and I will respect you for that, but I hope you will return the favor by letting me enjoy total exposure at my local beach or on a forest walk.
But tolerance is not particularly in vogue at the moment. And while that may not be the best news for the naturist movement, it seems that should be the least of our worries when we think about the level of intolerance and single-mindedness that is gripping the minds and hearts of humans all over the planet right now.
At the risk of concluding with a message of cynicism, I offer you these immortal words of Kermit the Frog:
“Take a look above you.
Discover the view.
If you haven’t noticed, Please do. Please do. Please do.”
A shout-out DeAnza Hot Springs in Jacumba, California for their most excellent memes included in this post. They convey a great message, and they run a beautiful operation in the high desert. You should grab a friend with opposing views and go for a naked walk in the abandoned railway – maybe even take a moment to discuss something you don’t agree on!
I agree, I have tried many times to find a sight that is dedicated to social nudity and family nudity only to find smut and porn , I have become so disappointed where do one find on social media that which we are looking for and that is Nudity in all it beauty without the crap.
In the past, we all had a group of friends and acquaintances with whom we talked about everything, and who fortunately didn’t always agree with us. But now with social networks it’s easy to create groups of “friends” specific to each topic. “Friends” who believe that our football team is the best, that our political ideas are always right, and that nudity is the only normal thing. And although it’s important to feel surrounded by people who support you, this takes away the possibility of contrasting points of view and accepting that what others think, no matter how wrong it may seem, is as valid as what we defend.
Because if what we want is to convince others, the first thing we have to do is to know their arguments in order to stand in their shoes. With the intolerance and the maximalist positions that exist in all groups (yes, also among nudists) we can possibly get strong and united groups, but we’ll never grow to become a majority.
Spot on Natbiss! Thanks for putting the thread back on topic!!!
“political perspectives …… their inability to understand the other side of the argument,”
I don’t see it so much as inability to understand the goals and arguments of political opponents as a conflicting and often incompatible set of life goals and values.
Likewise the “Nudist” demands to exclude “others” who’s values are more sexual or physical, and those who are offended by nudity or sexuality. Personally I get irritated with the “sit on a towel” and other rules compulsive people prevalent in organized nudism. Its not that I don’t understand what they are saying, I just don’t agree with their perspectives and values.
“factions who mainly pride themselves on their inability to understand the other side of the argument”
LOL! Ain’t it the truth! I read that and it cracked me up so much I laughed until I coughed. You gotta make a meme out of that. Maybe even copyright it. Then I can use it with attribution in good conscience.
I have blogged a lot about the increasing polarization of society. Your phrase describes it perfectly. The internet allows us to surround ourselves with intellectual and emotional clones. It make the perfect “echo chamber” possible.
Back when I was a kid there were only 4 networks, 3 major news magazines and maybe 5 newspapers with a national audience. They were all competing for the center (with slight preferences for the left or the right) because that is where all the audience is. You couldn’t run a network by appealing to the 10% on either end because the 80% in the middle is where the money was at.
Today, if you have an interest, no matter how small, you can find every one of the 325,000 other people in the country who share that interest and spend your life immersed in it. You can ignore the entire 99.9% of the country who have no use for your interest.
For every person who thinks organized social nudity is healthy and wonderful, there are 10 who think it is sickness and perversion, 20 guys who only want to look at naked chicks but are repelled to see a dude’s “junk”, and 20 gals who would suffer severe “rape fear” encountering a naked guy or if she were naked in public herself. Another 10 just want to show off their “hot naked body” and have others to drool over them. Thirty would think it is fine but only as long as kept between consenting adults in private. Probably another 30 who are cool with it anywhere but would never do it themselves. Maybe 50 who don’t give a crap, one way or another. They always tend to break from the status quo out of laziness.
Plenty of opportunity for “factions who mainly pride themselves on their inability to understand the other side of the argument” on all sides. Not something that the .1% of the people who are active naturists can afford to do.
Love your response, Fred… including your analysis of how this all weighs in (or not) into the global fabric of discussion in any meaningful way. AND… I’m glad I made you laugh. You’re welcome to use that quote however you wish! (Though I certainly wouldn’t mind attribution or a link! 🙂 )
Sometimes I try to get into this on my own blog and would appreciate your comments. Discussion is important.
Another quote I love is by Sigmund Freud, “The narcissism of small differences” where two groups with very few differences are more likely to engage in fighting and hatred than two groups with large differences. The fighting emerges as a desperate attempt to exaggerate differences and keep a separate identity rather than compromising and “risk” becoming one.
SO TRUE DAN, CHINA
Reblogged this on Naturalian's Blog and commented:
Oh yes, lets be #NormalisingNaturism