Are we making a joke of ourselves?

Our friend and colleague blogger, The Meandering Naturist, decided some months ago to take a break from blogging. A pity, if you ask us, as this blog has numerous times been an inspiration for our own blog posts. Luckily, Dan’s writings don’t come with an expiration date and continue to influence our own thoughts and ideas.

 

Like the other day, when we stumbled upon this short article about the 5 funniest names of nudist events in New York. Truth to be said, the names “Northern Exposure Sun Club” and “Split Rock Hole” caused a wry smile around our own lips as well. We immediately remembered the Meandering Naturist’s blog post about the joys of living naked in which Dan has quite a ramble about the nudist puns that seem to be kept alive by ourselves, the nudists, in the names of our events and facilities. We asked ourselves the same question: Are we making a joke of ourselves?

The North American Nudist Joke

If you’re a follower of The Meandering Naturist blog, you probably know that although Dan is from the United States, he has quite a preference for European naturist resorts and will regularly compare how naturism is handled in both continents. Most often with the conclusion that the Europeans are just better at this naked way of living.

 

It’s true, you won’t find a Butt Hutt or Split Rock Hole on this side of the Atlantic. The restaurant at a European naturist resort is most often just called “The Restaurant”. Or they choose something more descriptive, like “The pizzeria”. And in some cases, they aim for a fancy name, like “Le Gaïa” at CHM Montalivet or “La Paillote” at Bagheera.

 

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We could argue that the European naturists might be more boring or less creative than their North American peers. Or that they just take naturism much more seriously. In any case, we’re pretty sure that this phenomenon is very location-dependent. Because even at the most European-style naturist resort that we found in North America, Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park in Canada, they did have a “Bare Bistro”.

The story of the little bird

Back in 2018, Belgium appeared in the international media from the USA all the way to New Zealand with a story about how a little bird prevented the creation of a second official nude beach. Long story short, the dunes behind the stretch of beach that was about to be declared clothing optional happened to be the breeding ground of a rare bird species. The local wildlife agency figured that this nude beach would result in “romantic subsidiary activities” in the dunes, which would disturb the birds. As a result, the local government disapproved of the creation of the new nude beach.

 

When we first heard this story, we thought “OH NO!”. Once again, the naturists would be pictured as perverts who just want to have sex in public. But then something interesting happened. Instead of writing a story about how those pervert naturists had been stopped right in time, the media contacted Koen Meulemans, former president of the Belgian Naturist Federation, to hear his side of the story.

 

This was a unique chance for a representative of organized naturism to explain the difference between naturists and “those people in the dunes” on a worldwide platform. And it worked. The articles didn’t talk about perverts, but instead about those funny naked people who don’t harm anyone. Not even a little bird.

The balance between creep and clown

The pendula had swung from one end to the other, as it often seems to do when we talk about non-sexual nudity. For the longest time, the naturists have tried to explain to the world that naturism has nothing to do with sex, until a point where we start realizing that we are picturing the naturist as asexual human beings. We’re all trying to take away the heavy weight of the terms “naturism” and “nudism” by making the topic lighter. And then we appear to be funny naked people who spend their time in the Butt Hutt and go skinny dipping in Split Rock Hole.

 

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We too are an example of this. If you look at our Instagram page as a non-naturist, it must be pretty hard to take us seriously. This has resulted in newspaper articles like SAY WHAT? This couple bares it all traveling the world naked or JINGLE BALLS: We always celebrate Christmas NAKED. Are we too becoming naked clowns? Are we, instead of promoting naturism, just a source of entertainment?

Do we need to get serious about naturism?

Introducing alternative ways of living into civilization is rarely successful from the first moment. And in the history of humanity, naturism is still something very very new. If we look at other controversial ideas that have been – or are being – widely adopted, like veganism for example, we see that they follow a similar trajectory: At first, people will hate it. Then people will make fun of it. And then follows a phase of scientific research that will generate proof of why the idea should better be embraced.

 

 
All promotors of naturism play their own role in this. The first naturist organizations had to counter the hate, our generation is the joke, and we think that it’s about time that science starts to get involved. Luckily, this is already happening. British Naturism is already funding scientific projects that investigate the influence of naturism on our mental health. Some of the proof is already there, and we hope that much more will follow soon.

 

We can’t tell you when this third step in the trajectory will be completed. Or if it ever will. So for the time being, we’ll just continue posting funny pictures on Instagram.

 
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16 thoughts on “Are we making a joke of ourselves?”

  1. I think you just have to be yourselves balancing the fun with the serious.The genuinely curious and newbies need to see both sides to get a real understanding of naturism.Just being who you really are is the most authentic way to encourage and promote naturism.

    Reply
  2. I agree with everything you’re saying except one thing: naturism is nothing new, or, at least, the idea of innocent nudity is nothing new. The Ancient Greeks practiced it, as have many primitive tribes of the Amazon. I think what’s new is having to defend naturism as a way of life in a largely textile society. It’s like I’ve said for years, the goal of nudism/naturism is to end nudism/naturism. We shouldn’t need a special word for simply living the way we were born. Hopefully, we’ll see that day in our lifetimes.

    Reply
    • That is very true, maybe we shouldn’t have taken all of human history as the benchmark, but just the last 2 decennia. We’re not historians, but we think that social nudity has pretty much moved away from western society after the fall of the Roman empire. A period in which most of our standards have been defined.

      The point we wanted to make is that acceptance of social nudity means an alteration to those standards. Especially for us in “the west”. We’ve always found it curious how in places like Bali, it’s very common to see stark naked people bathing in the river in clear sight, while topless sunbathing is considered not done and can get you into trouble. In those places, non-sexual social nudity already has a place in society, but recreational nudity hasn’t.

      Reply
    • It’s about finding a balance. We’ve met naturists who think it’s great when society thinks that they are just a bit crazy and awkward because “at least then they’ll leave us alone”. And this works if your goal is maintaining things as they are now. But it’s very hard to grow a movement when everyone thinks you’re strange.

      Reply
  3. Naturism to me should be relaxing and fun. It’s okay to make jokes and even parody ourselves at the right time and place. I do think that especially with the name of certain clubs and some vestiges of the golden era of nudism a modern rebranding can help. Just because many nudist are over 60 doesn’t mean the clubs or resorts have to be through-backs to 1963. Let’s stay true to classical nudist principals but with a modern edge!

    Btw love the watermelon tube!

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  4. Nick and Lins, love you guys just the way you are. Life is far too serious and you always make us smile with your content and your sense of humor. But understand your point and looking forward as always to where you take this more serious side to naturism. Happy Christmas.

    Reply
  5. Between your blog and Meandering, there is only one listing/review for the entire Southeastern United States. With the pandemic, I can understand your difficulty in visiting the US. Any plans to visit after the pandemic recedes?

    Florida has a dozens of resorts and a number of that are large with significant facilities. It also has at least four nude beaches. Georgia has a couple of resorts too.

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    • In fact, we were planning to come to Florida in spring 2020. But due to COVID, we had to cancel those plans. It’s definitely on the list for the future though!

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  6. Naturism and social nudity should be fun! A great time out and exciting. Not po-faced and a quasi-religious “way of life”. Being fun does not equal being a joke. In fact, it’s anything but that.

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  7. Naturism attracts lame jokes simply because it is outside the norms of society. Nobody makes jokes about people in different types of clothing – unless they are wearing them outside appropriate context; a man in a suit and tie while walking along a beach on a hot summer’s day, or a woman wearing stilettos on a bush hike would both be worthy targets for a joke! To a Naturist, there really isn’t anything funny about a naked person, but to a non-Naturist a naked person is fair game!

    The biggest culprits are the media. Every time, with very few exceptions, a story relating to nudity or Naturism in a newspaper, magazine, or television will contain some tired old pun that we’ve all heard a zillion times before, just in an effort to get a cheap laugh. Often, it’s the reporter’s effort to disguise his own awkwardness about the topic.

    I agree – we should be able to laugh at ourselves – so should anyone. But does laughing at ourselves always have to be relating to nudity? When I’m naked, I don’t consciously notice that I’m naked, any more than a clothed person goes around conscious of the fact that they’re wearing clothes. Just like everyone else, I laugh at myself for a whole host of reasons – mostly forgetting something, or saying or doing something stupid. I can’t ever remember laughing at myself for being naked, or making a joke about what I’m wearing or not wearing – it’s just not joke-worthy!

    I actually placed a piece of advice to the media about this very topic. You can read it here if you’re interested: https://www.haurakinaturally.nz/media

    I think it’s time we encouraged people to grow up and stop the tired, worn out innuendos regarding nudity. It’s just not funny any more.

    Reply
    • Totally agree Andrew. Naturism is still projected in the media as risqué and something to be sneered at. For Naturism and nudity to be taken seriously by the wiser population it needs to be something which is not a topic of conversation and is accepted as a natural state to be in. When naked people are seen it shouldn’t been seen as shocking or funny and the conversation should be about other things rather than them being naked.
      How we get to that point is difficult. There needs to be more accessible places where people are allowed to be visible and naked in public and not hidden away on inaccessible beaches or behind the high walls of resorts. Then it will slowly become seen by everyone that it is normal to be naked.

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      • This is why we advocate for the acceptance of nudity at appropriate places rather than everywhere.
        Accepting nudity is already a big step, changing the commonly accepted dress code would be another big step.

        Let us explain.
        Every place has one or more accepted dress codes. On the beach that’s mostly bathing suits and light clothes and at a wedding party it’s suits and dresses. Wearing a bathing suit at a wedding party would be considered weird or inappropriate. Just like wearing a cocktail dress at the beach. The next step forward should be that nudity becomes a dress code that is accepted on certain occasions and the most obvious occasion would be the places where bathing suits are now acceptable. The beach, the park, your garden, etc. This will still mean that it won’t be acceptable at a wedding party or the fancy restaurant, but we don’t think that this is a necessity.

        Reply
  8. You two are the best to represent this fun phase. I love what you do and I see the joy you’re having.
    Its difficult not to see it 😀

    Reply

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