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Taking back #WorkingNakedDay
Injecting a naturist message into a fake holiday
Naturists the world over have embraced Working Naked Day, a fictional holiday which was invented by author Lisa Kanarek in 2010 to promote her book and brand Working Naked. The “holiday”, which falls on the first Friday in February every year (that’s this Friday if you’re paying attention), was originally meant to promote the idea of working from home and creating simplicity in your home workspace, and wasn’t really about nudism—or even nudity—at all. In fact, the publishers cleverly played off of a few existing nudist holidays, such as World Naked Gardening Day—which was founded by Mark Storey and Jacob Gabriel of Body Freedom Collaborative in 2005—and smartly used viral internet marketing (still somewhat new territory for advertisers in 2010) to spread news of the holiday and attract cheeky media stories. In the context of the book’s clear marketing strategy and the tendency of advertisers to tack “Naked” onto the names of any widget they can as a means to move more units, it seems clear that the book’s intentions were never really to normalize nudity at all.
Of course, none of that matters to us nudists, who are generally looking for any opportunity to celebrate (and talk about) our nudism. This is further evidenced by the existence of several other such “nudist holidays” we excitedly participate in and promote throughout the year, including World Naked Gardening Day (May), Skinny Dip Day (July), National Nude Day (July), International Read Naked Day (July), and more. One starts to wonder what differentiates “Working Naked Day” from a few of the others—if you’re a professional gardener, you get two work naked days!
You might note some cynicism in my tone, but before you point out that I’m always a stick in the mud when it comes to harmless fun stuff that nudists like, let me just say I have no qualms with nudist holidays of this nature. I think they’re a great excuse for everyone to embrace nudity, and as good a way as any to continue destigmatizing normal every day tasks done nude.
Furthermore, some of the aforementioned nudist holidays absolutely do have a naturist message, a history, and a purpose. I am a big supporter of the fundraising efforts behind Skinny Dip Day, for instance. As for Working Naked Day, sure. Go for it. Like most nudists privileged to have a job that supports remote work, you bet I intend to celebrate.
Alright look, there is just one stick-in-the-mud sort of point I would like to make about the whole thing, and that is that while destigmatization is a totally noble goal for nudists and naturists, I think we must also find and express the meaning behind naturism and nudism, which for many is about far more than merely being nude more often. These holidays are a great foot-in-the-door for that conversation. However, I find the specific meaning of Working Naked Day to be confusing at best. Not only has the author’s original notion of Working Naked been somewhat lost in a post-COVID world where remote work is far more common than it was back in 2010, but it doesn’t really relate to naturism in any way other than the word “naked.” Since this day was made up by a book publisher anyway, I think we should usurp the holiday, discard its original message of “decluttering” and adopt a message reflecting a truer notion of working naked: working with honesty and authenticity. Working for the betterment of everyone in your orbit. Working as you are, without pretense. Since nudists have already co-opted this holiday to represent something it never meant anyway, all I’m suggesting is that we go the rest of the way and start claiming this day as our day. Sorry Lisa, time to write a new book!
Maybe that’s a little much. I’m sure Lisa is a wonderful, well meaning person, and a fine writer, and I mean her no disrespect. But at least for the nudists or nude-inclined who make up the readership of this newsletter, let us agree to use Working Naked Day this year as an ice breaker to share with someone else why working naked is about more more than just keeping your Zoom screen framed from the neck up, and let’s see if we can instigate just one discussion that goes beyond snickering jokes by the water cooler. Let’s use this day to proudly go nude—physically or metaphorically—at work and at home, with our colleagues and friends. And then let’s do it again tomorrow. 🪐
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