Why I no longer call myself a nudist.

Glen Ocean West

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I lie. I tell people that I’m a nudist in the public mainstream on average one time a day. I say it with passion, I say it with shamelessness, and I say it with pride.

But I hate the title.

I feel exactly like composer Steve Reich in the 1960s, when the term ‘minimalist’ was applied to his music by everyone around him.

It didn’t represent how Reich saw his place in art, and to him was a ‘stigma’ that limited the scope and audience he wanted to reach.

Well, my musical hero, this is me and the word ‘nudist’.

I keep on telling myself – in that same, on average one time a day – that actually I’m a PERSON goddammit, who just loves to be nude!

The real reason I’m having this identity crisis is that I’m on a mission to change the world. I no longer want to retreat to an obscure tribe of people outside the mainstream society. I want to change it.

Nude Movement was created for exactly this purpose. Its aim?

Make nude cool again.

The already obscure terms ‘nudist’ and ‘naturist’ – if people even get it right it – elicit images of flabby fifty-somethings playing volleyball at a corny, run-down, struggling ‘nudist colony’.

In 2016, who wants to identify with that? Who would go anywhere near that word?

We have an *audience* to persuade – and it is time to play a different game.

Already the word ‘nudie’ has popped up as an alternative gaining steam among the mainstream-minded and social media-savvy, and that along with the universal nude are ones that don’t carry yesteryear’s baggage of stereotypes no one wants to identify with.

The future of social nudity is with a new crowd – the Instagram and Snapchat youth – the people who already watch porn and aren’t complaining that they’re saturated in sexualized media ranging from the ‘creamy’ voiceovers of TV chocolate ads to the soft pornographic levels of the most viewed music videos on YouTube. They know that the body is sexy and are not going to deny that part of its reality any time soon. They’re going to enjoy it. It’s how our bodies work.

So if porn is ‘cool’, if sex is cool – then why can’t nude be cool too?

Nude and Nudie are concepts that will appeal to the new generation. They’re fresh, they’re universal, and because of that they’re unable to be stigmatized.

It’s already increasing my appeal when inviting people to nude beaches – friends who are ‘non-nudists’ and friends who definitely have a problem with what that word can mean.

Now that I’m no longer a ‘nudist’, I’m just like, ‘C’mon, it’ll be fun, its 2016, do you really still have a problem with the nude human body?’, instead of sensing a tacit pressure to become a ‘nudist’ because that’s what it seems I’m inviting them to do.

We’re just friends, and we like go nude. Sometimes. Big deal.

See the difference?

Words are words, but words change the world. They define people. And those definitions can mean a lot.

So what should we be saying to this brave new generation of Snapchat and Instagram?

Go Nude.

Get Nude.

After all what do we want? We want more nudity in the world – not more ‘nudists’!

I don’t want to market myself as some different category of person anymore. I understand the joys and comforts of identifying with a tribe – it’s like being vegan, or paleo, or a bikie – you feel pride in your group, you feel relief from the criticizing, misunderstanding world outside. You feel validation.

But I am here to tell you that if you want to ensure the future of everything nudists love and stand for while the world becomes increasingly sexualized – it’s time to step out of your tribe.

Nudity needs a reinvention. It needs a 2.0.

And it is here. It has started.

It starts with you choosing a ‘normal’ beach close-by to swim and sunbathe nude at a tasteful distance instead of driving to an official ‘nudist’ beach far away where no one new will discover the idea of nudity as an awesome and harmless thing to do.

It starts with you promoting nudity as a normal part of normal mainstream culture with the attitude of a shoulder shrug (and letting people ‘deal with it’ at worst, or discover it and start a conversation at best) instead of waving a giant ‘nudist’ disclaimer instantly painting yourself into that corner of ‘weird people’ that nudism tends to mean.

It starts with breaking FREE.

I now simply say, ‘I love being nude!’, which is instantly more appealing, interesting, and open conversation-inviting than anything I ever said before.

I’ll still call myself a nudist sometimes. But it’s a phrase I’ll use less and less.

I’ve just removed it from the bio of my Facebook profile on my wall. It feels great. And I’m already sensing my appeal to non-nudists will improve as a result.

Nudists all yearn for society to change in ways that are utterly iconoclastic to it. It is a cultural seismic shift for all involved. Luckily we have already had victories of change like the newfound mass acceptance of LGBTQ culture now (and with Cannabis quickly following suit in losing taboo), and social nudity will require even more of people’s courage, listening, input, and above all … willingness.

They need to be willing to change.

Are you?

18 thoughts on “Why I no longer call myself a nudist.

  1. Bob Dess Reply

    I had a lot of gatherings at my home where we skinny dipped and tanned nude. When I talked about them with people, they often asked, “How did you find so many nudists to join you?” The truth is that these were NOT NUDISTS, they were just friends who were happy to try it for an afternoon, and often returned to repeat the experience. Without the label they enjoyed themselves. Why would I want or need to hand out AANR applications?

  2. Daniel Kidwell Reply

    A good idea Glen. I have been doing a form of this turning labels on their ear for years, calling myself a free range nude and referring to what my friends and I practice every day as “free range” nudity. The green walls of yesteryear only served to promote suspicion and fear on both sides, tribalism if you must. They are long ago obsolete. In any case, you have offered a possible long term fix. Kudos.

  3. wdonbeard Reply

    A nudist is a person who likes to be nude whenever possible, participate in nude recreation and socialize nude with other people without sex being involved. Anybody who says “nudist colony” and think nudists are just flabby older people hiding behind walls do it due to ignorance. The resort I go to has members of YNOTU (Young Nudists Of Texas United). They are not old and flabby and they are nudists. There are older people there as well as a children. Nudists go to nudist resorts, beaches, clubs, events, etc. primarily because that is where other nudists are. Most nudists have morals and most resorts have rules, but not all exactly the same. Porn is not cool and inappropriate behavior is not cool. It has nothing to do with being a nudist. Saying you are a nudist means that you like to be nude. Why not just educate people what “nudist” means?

    1. Visaman Reply

      Why the stigma of being old and flabby? You too shall have it happen to you.

  4. Eamonn Reply

    I hear what Glenn is saying though I don’t agree with it entirely. He comes across as a born again person who has recently learned how to express his opinion.
    There are echo’s of the past in “this is 2016”. When I was very young I remember hearing “this is 1968 you know” coming from the mouth of a friend. No doubt Glenn will hear similar echo’s when HE is “in his 50s” .
    It is easy for the younger generation to criticise the existinghing infrastructure. though they have not contributed to it. ie hospitals, roads etc. and in this case naturist clubs.
    I have enjoyed being naked as long as I can remember and went to secluded beaches, as a young man I was glad to discover a naturist club existed in Ireland and applied for membership, I suppose I was age-ist then too as the first question I asked was “are there old people in It😂”
    Glenn and others will be surprised how quickly he becomes a naturist in his 50s Oh horrors!
    Naturist V Nudist? Another subject. Eamonn

    1. Glen Donnelly Reply

      Thanks for that perspective. But realise that this is a game. And it’s absolutely a re-package. We’re not advocating anything new. The NM pics show that we’re actually wanting to go back to Ancient Greece. ANCIENT GREECE! 3000 years ago.

      1. Naked Before God Reply

        Actually, it may be that we want to go all the way back to the Garden of Eden!

  5. bareoaks Reply

    The problem is not with the word. The problem is with people co-opting the word and misusing it. Attracting young people to the movement is not complicated. We have been doing it for years at Bare Oaks. We get lots of new young people every year. We are successful because we have brought back the meaning of “naturism”. It’s not ABOUT nudity. Not wearing clothes is simply a tool to achieve the objectives of a much more complex and meaningful philosophy. A lot of young people are idealistic so they will participate in a movement with ideals. Listen to how Bare Oaks is doing it: http://www.naturistliving.bareoaks.ca/2012/09/attracting-youth.html

  6. misterwooley Reply

    I thoroughly approve of the ideas expressed by Glen. Indeed, I have been trying to ‘normalise’ the nude state for a few years now.
    I enjoy being nude, clothes free, naturism. I spend a lot of time at home (retired full time carer) nude both inside at home and outside in my garden. And yes, my garden is not particularly secluded and yes, I don’t care much if Mr or Mrs Xxx can see me by looking out of their upstairs window. Further, I don’t have my curtains closed facing the front, road side of our cull de sac when I am nude inside.
    I have enjoyed an allotment for almost 20 years, again not particularly secluded. I advised the committee that I intended to start gardening naked after having canvassed the views of 10% of the plot holders who garden near my plot. Without exception they expressed only surprise that I would want to garden naked but no objections.
    Not so the committee (and Parish Council, site owner) who without exception expressed absolute horror and disgust. The immediate reaction was to propose and pass a motion to ban nudity on site. So started a long acrimonious battle. Legal advice was sought by both the results of which seemed to surprise both. Nudity per se IS NOT UNLAWFUL.
    The rule proposal was withdrawn and committee reluctantly agreed that they would not seek to prevent naked gardening.
    So, am I being just a little arrogant in placing my views and lifestyle above those who oppose? Well perhaps I am but I make no apology for that. I advocate an approach of tolerance in most if not all things providing that no dmonstrable harm results. Is my view reciprocated by others?
    Unfortunately not. I am the only person on our allotment site to have been attacked by an uncontrolled dog, being bitten on the leg twice before it was controlled. Although a direct breach of the rules the attack did not merit any kind of action by the committee or PC.
    I surely cannot be the only person who hates suffering other people’s cigarette smoke. I see smokers smoking wherever and whenever they want without the slightest care or thought for the disgust they cause others. I have recently observed patients at Leicester Royal Infirmary smoking right outside the main entrance to the ambulance area, some smokers attached to drips. And on a hospital site the bans smoking site wide. Have often wondered what reaction I would get if I stripped off where the smokers are?
    We need a much more enlightened attitude to the nude body.

  7. JAMES M Reply

    You can call yourself anything you want, but society will call you whatever they want. You can label your textile-free living as Gymnothearapy. No one will understand. If you wish to express your meaning to others, you have to talk in their language.

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  9. jonathannyc2014 Reply

    Exactly. There’s no need to be labelling people or getting into tiresome talk about the “nudist lifestyle.” It’s just an activity. The person I know who is most enthusiastic about being naked never ever calls herself a nudist.

  10. Naturist Dan Reply

    Love this blog! I so appreciate your frank, yet tactful approach to nudity and all that goes with, and I especially agree that we need nude 2.0. Hope the nude movement really takes hold!

  11. All-Nudist Reply

    Reblogged this on All Nudist.

  12. Alan Hardy Reply

    I was getting a little excited about this site until I read the negative comment about over 50’s flabby nudists. I am over 50, stocky (not flabby) and have been naked wherever possible since I was 19. I wasn’t stocky then, but today as ever, I am enthusiastic about naturism and its positive lifestyle. To all those under 50, enjoy it. Because one day you may be stocky, or even flabby, but you are no less a naturist.

  13. Jim Reply

    We all use labels everyday, all the time. It’s how the brain organizes information. Otherwise we wouldn’t even have names. All nudism is, is unclothed when possible, clothed when necessary, and not lewd. Because the porn industry has co-opted the word, some people want to run and hide from the word. You’re just further marginalizing yourself.

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