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News of the Nude, no. 1
A few nudesworthy items that grabbed our attention in January
Consider this the inaugural edition of News of the Nude—which we hope will become a regular feature on Planet Nude. With this infrequent report, we hope to examine a few recent happenings in nudity and the nude-adjacent, and explore why these headlines grabbed our attention with some editorial thoughts. We encourage you to share your feelings on these items in the comments as well.
Looking at headlines from the start of 2023 as a litmus test for the state of nudism in the United States today, all I can think to say is, sweet unholy hell. It feels like our hard-fought liberties and our unique way of life are under a barrage of threats of all varieties and on all sides in this moment, and my assessment is that many nudists are still asleep to the reality of that.
Whew. That got dark. Ha ha… Sorry about that. But as you read through the next few stories, you may come to agree with me. Anyway, let’s at least kick this off with some relatively good news. 🚀
Free the Nipple: Facebook and Instagram Told to Overhaul Ban on Bare Breasts
The Guardian reports that Meta’s oversight board, which consists of a group of academics, politicians, and journalists who advise the company on its content-moderation policies, has recommended that Facebook and Instagram change their rules banning bare-chested images of women. The board's decision states that the current adult nudity and sexual activity community standard "impedes the right to expression for women and trans and non-binary people" and is based on a "binary view of gender" that makes rules against nipple-baring unclear when it comes to intersex, non-binary, and transgender users. The ruling follows Facebook’s censorship of two posts from an account run by a trans and non-binary couple. The board recommended that Meta “define clear, objective, rights-respecting criteria” when it comes to moderating nudity “so that all people are treated in a manner consistent with international human rights standards”.
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The issue of nudity on social media highlights the broader concept of body autonomy and the right to express oneself as one chooses. The push to normalize nudity on social media has been a longstanding goal for nudists and other advocates of body autonomy. This particular case, involving the ban on bare-chested images of non-binary individuals on Facebook and Instagram, also highlights how issues of gender intersect with the nudist’s fight for body autonomy. The oversight board's recommendation to change the rules on nudity and sexual activity to align with international human rights standards, and to include a more inclusive definition of gender, is a step towards a more equitable society where all individuals have the right to express themselves freely without fear of censorship or discrimination.
Of course, nudists and top free advocates will benefit greatly from this change. 🚀
Participation in Naturism Has Followed a Pattern of Increase and Decline Like Many Other Social Trends
The article discusses the patterns and trends of naturism participation in the United States. The authorargues that naturism has followed a pattern of increase, plateau and decline, with a peak around 1980 and a decline since then, and correlates this pattern to similar trends in a variety of other social activities, such as PTAs, service clubs, labor unions, fraternal organizations, and professional organizations (as outlined in the book Bowling Alone). The author makes a compelling argument for studying the reasons for the decline of naturism and ways to address it.
A fair critique of the article is that the author does not provide enough specific data to support the claim that naturism is in decline. The author points to a previous article which uses shrinking organization memberships, and the reduction of number of clubs and beaches to support the idea of a decline, but the truth is these metrics only paint a part of the picture of nudist participation in the US. To their credit, the author acknowledges the lack of data to support the claim, a problem which underscores his original point about the need for more demographic data about nudism’s constituency to begin with. Some polls have been conducted by various organizations over the years, but the data points are few and far between, and much more needs to be done to get an accurate picture of the total participation rate in social nudism, as well as other demographic details about the people who participate.presents an interesting perspective on the decline of naturism in his Substack newsletter . His overall argument that naturists need to invest in studying these things is a valid one. The lack of specific data to support the claim that naturism is in decline is a limitation of the article, but it is a limitation of the nudism movement as well. The author's effort in researching and putting this information together is commendable. 🚀
New WV Obscenity Bill Would Jail People For "Transgender Exposure" To Minors
A new bill being proposed in West Virginia aims to jail people for "transgender exposure" to minors. According to the article, the bill bans any "transvestite or transgender exposure, performance, or display" if minors are present and defines it as "obscene matter." The bill modifies the existing law of obscenity to minors and directly includes "transvestite or transgender exposure, performance, or display" as obscene matter. Penalties for exposing minors to this "obscene matter" include fines and jail time. This bill goes beyond the anti-drag bills that have been proposed in other states and targets the transgender community specifically, leaving some to wonder about the implications for transgender teachers, parents, and performers. The law's definition of "transvestite or transgender exposure" is not clear, and it leaves a lot of questions open. This legislation is seen as an escalation in the anti-LGBTQ+ enforcement and could have far-reaching consequences for transgender people in West Virginia.
The proposed bill in West Virginia is just one example of the recent trend of anti-trans laws being introduced in the United States. These laws often take the form of "exposure" laws that limit body autonomy, and “obscenity” laws which seek to ban free expression for transgender individuals. Historically, these are the same types of laws that are levied against individuals arrested for nudity and nudism as well. This underscores what Naturist Society Founder Lee Baxandall was suggesting when he said, "[Naturists] should be a part of other vital liberation movements.”
Historically, minority groups are often targeted first by discriminatory laws and policies, while those who do not identify with the targeted group may not see it as a concern that directly affects them. In order to build strong and effective coalitions against these discriminatory laws, it is important to engage and mobilize those who may not initially see themselves as at risk. Nudists, as advocates for body positivity and self-expression, should take note of these anti-trans laws and their impact on the trans community, and think deeply about the implications of governments telling others how they can or cannot dress. Naturists should also be willing to show support and solidarity with the trans community and other marginalized groups affected by these laws, in alignment with the Naturist Society Founder's Lee Baxandall's principle. 🚀
A Serious Warning to Those Who Love Haulover
A post to the r/hauloverbeach subreddit by its Admin expresses concern over the increasing instances of lewd behavior at Florida’s clothing-optional Haulover Beach. The author says, “In the past six months, I have been flooded with messages from first-timers, regulars, and occasional attendees complaining about serious lewd behavior taking place,” also mentioning that the moderators of the r/hauloverbeach subreddit are struggling to keep up with the number of sexual posts, and that it's scaring them that the beach could be in jeopardy.
The writer goes on to report, “just last week, foot patrols DRAMATICALLY increased at Haulover. It's starting. Once the eyes of law enforcement are placed on an area, you get increased scrutiny because now you're drawing resources from other areas.”
The post ends by urging beachgoers to report any inappropriate behavior they witness to lifeguards, and by letting anyone engaging in this activity know that Haulover is intended as a family-friendly beach, and that behavior is not welcome at all.
As naturists, it is paramount that we take responsibility for protecting the spaces we enjoy, such as clothing-optional beaches like Haulover. This includes setting a good example by adhering to the rules and guidelines of the beach, and actively policing the area for any activity that may threaten the safety or acceptance of the beach by the community. It is essential that we work together to ensure that Haulover Beach remains a safe and enjoyable place for all who use it. 🚀
Are We a Minority Group?
The article ponders whether naturists, or people who practice nudity in various settings, could be considered a minority group. It touches on the idea that naturists may feel oppressed by societal norms and anti-nudity laws, but ultimately the original article from(a Substack newsletter I recommend) does not come to a clear conclusion on the titular question. To be fair, I don’t think the author means to draw any conclusions at all. I believe he is exploring a thought-provoking, provocative question rhetorically, and I appreciate the opportunity that he provides for discussion by doing so.
With that said, my answer is respectfully, no. Naturists are not a minority group. Naturists are a coalition, a constituency in and of ourselves, but we should not be compared to other minority groups who face much more significant challenges of discrimination and persecution.
Naturists are outliers, but not a minority. Naturists can not be persecuted as a category, because to avoid identification, all a naturist has to do is put on clothes. However, naturists do have a collective voice, and should put the power of our constituency behind the fight for body autonomy. This is a cause that threatens not only naturists, but also many other marginalized groups who are disproportionately targeted. By standing together with these groups and advocating for their rights, nudists can be an ally for minority groups, to foster more acceptance for our way of life among those groups, and simultaneously do our part to create a more inclusive and accepting society for all. 🚀
Nudist Resorts at a Crossroads
The original article Nudist Resorts at a Crossroads was actually written last year, but it appeared on Reddit as a post by the Naturist Action Committee last week, and the post generated a large response from members of the r/nudism community. The article is a word of caution as it highlights the challenges facing nudist resorts in America, specifically the lack of profitability and the potential for these resorts to transition to other business models. Lest you doubt the credibility of its argument, let me add that the author of the article, Bill Schroer, is a longtime chair of the Naturist Action Committee in Oshkosh, and his perspective on the matter distinguishes the warnings his article carries, and gives them serious weight.
Schroer, a career businessman, details some history of nudist resorts in America, including the challenges faced by early organizers in finding suitable locations, the legal and societal obstacles, and the limitations of scale and profitability. The article also cites specific examples of resorts that have closed or transitioned to other business models in recent years. Schroer argues that this trend is concerning for the future of nudism in America, and calls for alternative solutions to keep nudist resorts open and accessible to the public.
It seems quite evident that the economic makeup of social nudism is undergoing a broad shift, and will continue to do so. Will nudist resorts die? Maybe. Maybe not entirely. Some will adapt, or at least successfully persist. Nudists should take heed of this article by recognizing the importance of supporting and sustaining nudist resorts, as these spaces provide important opportunities for the practice and promotion of nudism. Nudists should also be aware of the challenges facing these resorts and consider ways to support them, such as volunteering, contributing financially, and promoting the positive aspects of nudism to the wider community. 🪐
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
Only darkness every day
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