Disclaimer: The opinions of this article do not necessarily represent those held by Nude Movement Incorporated, its board members, sponsors, partners, donors, or those held by friends, family members, colleagues, employers, clients, lawyers, service providers, or any other entities associated with such parties. This blog is intended for open thought and diverse discussion of difficult issues with a goal towards positive social change. The opinions of this author may change over time, and different authors may exhibit opposing views. We invite you to have an open mind.
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?
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.