Most of us are quite clear in our mission. We are going to #normalizenudity and bring naturism into the mainstream consciousness by posting everyday people doing everyday things – naked – on everyday social media platforms so that simple nudity becomes more commonplace, and thereby, acceptable amidst society-at-large.
How’s that going… exactly?
And by the way, I’m hoping readers will participate in this discussion by either commenting here on the blog, or on… ahem… social media.
I recently took the plunge back into the Instagram-Facebook shark-infested waters after my previous IG account (@naturistdan) was deleted about six months ago, along with some 14,000 followers. As most of these stories go, I was never able to identify exactly what got me in trouble on IG, nor was I able to elicit anything more than an automated response from the Zuckerberg corporate gods. That said, a slew of trolls on other platforms stepped forward with offers to help me recapture my account, starting at a price tag of about $100, to be sent to an anonymous account with a bona fide guarantee of “I can help you fix it!” I didn’t take the bait.
A few weeks ago, we took to the roads (and the skies) again to resume our naturist travels as the grips of the pandemic have started to ease, along with reduced restrictions at international borders, so I thought I’d take another crack at it. (You can find our new IG account here, in case you’re interested.) Don’t know that I’ll garner a following like my previous one, as internet naturism enjoyed something of a boon while we were all sheltering in place. Virtual Nakation was better than no nakation at all, and even travel writers from major publications like CNN, The New York Times, and Forbes were getting serious mileage with essays about the virtues of naturism at home and abroad. It was fun to watch our blog and social media numbers spike as I imagined hundreds of thousands of sequestered people sitting in front of their screens all aglow, making pledges like, “As soon as this freaking pandemic is over, I’m going to throw off all my clothes, run naked into the streets, and I’m not gonna stop until I’m up to my waist in the ocean 100 kilometers down the road.” In that regard, the pandemic was good for naturist dreamers.
It remains to be seen whether COVID-19 and all its variants are actually nearing containment or not, but one thing’s for sure: It’s becoming increasingly difficult to contain humans who have grown exhausted by solitary confinement. All over the world, most places where social nudity is allowed and encouraged have opened up again, and people who are truly curious about experiencing social nudity are either getting out there to give it a whirl, or conceding that it was only a delusional whim, and it’s time to squeeze back in that ill-fitted swimsuit and purchase a beach badge for the Jersey Shore.
In the meantime, I’m back on Instagram. This time, trying to focus specifically on creating a travelogue of location reports in hopes that readers will discover a naked place they weren’t aware of, perhaps one closer to their home than they might have even imagined. Additionally, when we visit a naked place where we think the proprietors have figured out the naturist hospitality thing particularly well, we’re eager to do what we can to help promote that place under the banner that all boats rise when the tides of holistic social nudity gain acceptance in the mainstream, textile web-o-sphere.
I’m frequently reminded that Twitter is one of the only mainstream venues that is, at least, somewhat tolerant about posting nudity, though Naked Earthlings, a popular blogger with a devoted following, just got booted from that platform for featuring nudity in their profile pic. (This is explicitly forbidden by Twitter, though they don’t seem to have a problem with highly eroticized, scantily clad women in a profile pic with a username like @xxxcumwithme. (I just made that user name up – I’m afraid to check and see if the account actually exists.) I’m sure I’ll hear from reddit fans about all the possibilities there, but I’ve found that even simple interactions on that board can become strangely contentious and argumentative, even in response to a simple trip report. And if you’re simply feeling grumpy and seeking companionship on that front, you can read a previous post about the “devolution” of Tumblr, where I have an account that has been left to wither and die. [SEE: A Eulogy for Nudity on Tumblr]
So that’s my long, rambling, wine-induced if not outright whiney set up to the question of the day. “FOR THOSE OF US WHO CONTINUE TO UTITLIZE MAINSTREAM CHANNELS OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN AN EFFORT TO NORMALIZE NUDITY, IS IT ACTUALLY DOING ANY GOOD?”
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve enjoyed the sense of community that has emerged over the Twitter airwaves with people who appear to be genuinely invested in the virtues of holistic social nudity, and similarly, I’ve enjoyed my interactions with several people I’ve met there. But is that still not simply preaching to the choir? Attempting to convert the converted?
I’ve also been experimenting with a few other channels where naturist banter does not typically take place, with a renewed effort to post TripAdvisor reviews about naturist places, post appropriately brief comments (along with a few choice pics) in the comment section of Google maps, (along with a comprehensive Naked Places index,) and most recently, establish a presence as The Meandering Naturist on a Wikiloc account, which is a trail guide that is widely utilized in Europe. (Seems I’ve picked up a couple new blog followers from the latter, which I take as a good sign.) I think it’s important to note that in each of those forums, the objective is not to identify naked people who enjoy travel and good food, but more accurately, to engage travelers and foodies who are not immediately put-off by the concept of casual (non-sexual) nudity.
What’s more, I remain intrigued with developing a presence on Medium, yet another platform that, as far as I can tell, seeks to encourage people who enjoy writing in a decidedly subjective manner, and all the better if your essay has a narrative quality about it that creates a sense of empathy amidst your readers. That, to me, seems like a perfect platform for advocating for social nudity, as you’re likely to find the aforementioned audience that wasn’t intending to stumble into a naturist community, but instead, was searching for something else when they found a piece that caused them to deduce, “Maybe those naked people aren’t nuts after all!” [SEE: Doing the Naked Macarena]
Maybe the objective here is not to #normalizenudity, but instead, to demystify (or decriminalize, even?) those people who already think nudity is normal. Those of us who’ve been at this for a while know that the demographics of the naturist community are remarkably reflective of the cross-section of humans you’re likely to meet at a grocery store, a (textile) waterpark, or on a commuter train from New Jersey to New York. If there is a case to be made, maybe it’s not for the normalizing of social nudity. It’s pretty likely that everybody knows a “normal person” who enjoys social nudity, and the only abnormal part of the entire equation are the societal mores that would cause someone to even think that social nudity is… well… abnormal.
Enough of all that. I need to get back to posting to my IG account so my naked friends will know I’m a real naturist. But in the meantime, maybe a few #normlaizingtextiles folks will stumble into my TripAdvisor or Wikiloc account and decide to visit a clothing-optional B&B in Spain, just to give it a whirl.
That would be a win!