A few nudesworthy items that grabbed our attention in January
Thanks for the news and views about nudity. Social nudity is something that's important to me and that I have thought about since before I was grown. My perception is that, during the time of Charles Daney's arc, American society has shifted its attitude toward nudity itself. Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blow Up" displayed pubic hair in 1967, Haskell Wexler showed us a nude couple chasing around a Chicago apartment in "Medium Cool" (an amazing movie which filmed the search for a lost child in the actual riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention). My friend had a poster of a Gage Taylor painting of naked hikers in a magical forest. Full frontal nudity featured in broadcast TV presentations about Elizabeth I and Paul Gaugin. Etcetera, etcetera. My girlfriend and I lived on the edge of the woods, explored them nude, and entertained friends nude. I relocated from the area around a university town to the big city in 1980, so my observations are a little corrupted, but it seems that it was the eighties when I stopped seeing nudes in film. Living in the city, I stopped experiencing spontaneous live nudity. Anger at erotic objectification of women on one side, and perverse moral hysteria on the other, were the chief culprits. It seems as though things are beginning to change, now, and I think nudists have queer activists to thank. There's always a lag between cause and effect. Think of it as a social form of ecological succession. My wife and I watched Disney's "Strange World" with our grandson recently. No nudity, and a formulaic adventure story, but the father is white, the mother black, and they take their son's gay crush matter-of-factly. (Also, the world's ecosystem turns out to be the metabolism of a giant turtle.) The world turns.
I have a series of posts on my blog with news like this one. The problem with this format (of both) is the difficulty of responding to individual items. In the item here about my newsletter discussion, I concede that there's a real lack of hard data about the decline of naturism for the past 30 years or so. But I still think the decline is real. Unfortunately, there are almost no scientific polls related to naturism in the U.S., especially in recent years. That's a bad sign right there. The Naturist Action Committee, formerly a part of the Naturist Society, used to sponsor a couple of polls. But polling isn't cheap, and NAC recently decided to split from TNS. (Another bad sign.)
I've been a naturist for 40 years, so I've seen the decline, which seems to be ongoing. There are increasingly fewer people using nude beaches. Fewer people (especially women) visit naturist clubs, and a number of those clubs have closed. There could still be many closeted "home naturists", but it's impossible to count those, and they don't really help naturism itself. Such observations are just anecdotal, but unfortunately that's about all we've got.
As for naturism in other countries, the UK seems to be doing pretty well. But even in Germany there seem to be declines. There were many naked people in Munich's Englisher Garten when I visited several decades ago. They even overflowed into the area behind a public museum. More recent photos I've seen show fewer. There are now reports of declines in Germany, although there are many popular indoor spas where nudity is normal.
For any improvement to occur, we've got to be realistic about what the current situation is.
Gotta respectfully disagree. Nudists are very definitely a minority group. Just as are gays. It is a minority that finds it very easy to stay in the closet. Step out of the closet and out of our personal social bubble and you'll find discrimination. If it had come to the attention of the school district where I once worked that I were a nudist, I'd have been immediately fired without recourse. Not because I broke any laws but because a certain subset of parents would be outraged. Much worse things could follow. Do not imagine that nudists are not oppressed.
But beyond that, discrimination isn't a part of the definition of minority. Republicans are a minority group within California but I don't see any calls for discriminatory laws.