So far this week on Planet Nude, we've examined creative works that feature women in the world of naturism. We started the week with an eye-opening look at Running Around Naked, a memoir that offers a firsthand account of a woman's childhood in a nudist camp, shedding light the highs and lows of growing up female in a nudist setting. We followed that with a thought-provoking review of the film Educating Julie, which candidly explores the challenges a young woman faces when she chooses to experience the naturist lifestyle.
These narratives have us thinking about how gender impacts our experiences in naturism—a topic which raises many questions that we think should be discussed openly and honestly by our community. Here is this week’s #UndressedThread:
Thanks for adding your voice to this important conversation. Your insights contribute to making our community more inclusive and enriching. As always, feel free to leave a comment. 🪐
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This is a very good point in our society’s puritanical view of naturism. As a single male, I have found that there is a bit of reluctance from some of the resorts I have visited recently (and understandably so )from the view point of couples who don’t know me or my intention of being there as a naturist. I too am reluctant to attend because I’m some cases I do not feel welcome at all. Therefore, I am reluctant to even go at all. I feel the only answer is to find a partner who would go with me. Unfortunately, there are those single males who have a different and unhealthy reason to attend and I totally understand. That is why it is so important that education is vital to society. Naturism is getting a bad reputation in the current society’s narrative. I do hope there will be a day when events, gatherings, etc., can safely be all inclusive.
I just clicked 'Neutral spaces' which I think is important for gaining experience, but I ought to have made 'education' my first priority as that is the most important way of changing embedded attitudes. In respect of your questions. Gender is core - I am a penis owner and find that, even in naturism, I am not perceived as equal. Since vulva owners are rarer and tend to be in company with a penis owner, I am aware that being a penis owner seems to mark me out as a competitor to other penis owners - but maybe that is just me being over-sensitive. On the second question, I have been to male-only events and some more liberated events where vulva-owners have more autonomy, but never an event that I thought or felt was designed to be gender-inclusive. Part of the reason, I think, is that vulva owners tend to be disempowered either by power imbalance within a gendered binary relationship or quietly discriminated against if a vulva owner strives to take a position where there is no inequality of power. I have written elsewhere that I am coming to believe that if naturism is really to become the transformative influence it could be, it needs to become led and directed by vulva owners on the model of bonoban social groups. But maybe I'm just odd...
During 50+ years as an adult nudist, I have experienced both gender discrimination and male privilege. But, overall, I would have to say the scale has tipped more toward privilege.
In the 1970s and '80s I was unwelcome at family nudist clubs and resorts without a female companion. As a gay man, this hurdle was even more difficult than it might have been for straight guys (not that they should be excluded for being single, either), so I gave up. In fact, I never visited a family naturist resort until 2016.
I believe non-sexual nudity should be welcome and considered "normal" in most locations and social settings. As a matter of principle (and for my own sense of well-being), I tend to push the nudity envelope. I have often been naked in public (i.e., city streets) and in social situations where everyone else was clothed.
In our misogynistic culture, I have no doubt that being male has sometimes made me less vulnerable than a woman would be, both physically and in terms of so-called "slut shaming." On the flip side, I think my motives are regarded with more suspicion because I'm male, and I get more remarks about how it's always "the wrong people" who get naked.
If you'd like to read more about how I've navigated these issues, please visit my blog: https://thenakedgentleman.wordpress.com/2018/07/01/my-life-in-the-nude/
What is "neutral space?"
Women do attend clothing-optional activities, not under the nudist umbrella but at more new-age type events. Nudist movement needs to update from old ‘recreation’ model to more modern new-age model such as Elysium was in Los Angeles🙂
France naturist campsites inclusive to all genders
At naturist venues I often times find myself overly aware of gender, mine especially. In other words, as a man, am I behaving correctly, am I making anyone uncomfortable, did I look in a direction too long, etc... I think it’s simply part of being considerate to others. But if it gets too deep into your headspace, it can completely overshadow what is generally viewed as a carefree experience.
I have felt judged before. But, could have been in my head. Maybe the disapproving looks is just a look? But I also know that I have a certain amount of privilege driven by my gender. The naturist journey can be much easier for a man. I’m not oblivious to that.
Personally, I really enjoy the mix of genders, body types, ages, cultures, etc.. that exist in the naturist communities. Sure, they aren’t always in balance. But when I go to our nude beach, I love seeing a great cross section of life among my fellow nudie beach goers. It provides a good reminder that we are all unique but are all the same at the same time.
As a woman, I dislike when single men face barriers to participation. Some of the single men I've met at naturist events are incredible people. I find there can be more problems with partnered men but they get a pass because of a woman being with them.
I understand there may be good intentions when people try to gender-balance, but per the above, it's a lot more nuanced than partnered status. The atmospheres I've experienced harassment in were mixed gender settings. The few times men have heavily outnumbered me were first noticed by a single male friend who then checked in on my comfort level and stayed by my side.
Having said that, if this is a poll about how to get women more involved in naturism, why are men allowed to vote in it? Sorry (not sorry), women don't need education. As had already been shared here, women are claiming nudity on their terms in their own spaces outside of naturist areas.
Women's experience of nudism is very different than men's, which is why we need female polls, leaders, spaces and more. I suggest it's the men who need education on the way unconscious male privilege creates barriers and how they can act as allies. This has little to do with where their eyes are going. Women don't need our own world mansplained to us, tyvm.