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very nice article which creates concern about the future of the naturism because of the vanishing naturism opportunities. Looking for further ideas from you which naturists may follow for naturism to grow & flourish.

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Aug 3, 2023·edited Aug 3, 2023Liked by Charles Daney

Joshua Tree National Park is over 1200 square mile in area and hundreds of miles of trails. Hike where there hasn't been a recent fire and there's still plenty of opportunity. I go out there every year just to do that. CA has vast areas of BLM land and National Forest land available for hiking. There are National Parks and Preserves . Most trails never see a hiker for days on end.

https://aunatural.org/2022/09/07/naked-in-joshua-tree-national-park/

It isn't that the opportunity has disappeared. Almost nobody ever takes advantage of it. There are no California nude hiking groups other than the San Diego Camping Bears. They are pretty small. There just aren't enough nudies interested. That's the problem. And there aren't enough nudies because we're comfortable enough with an occasional visit to a beach or a club and not at all comfortable with leaving the closet to let textiles know about what we love.

I'm not arguing for Jehovah's Witnesses style of proselyting or evangelical behavior. There are communities where a public nudist would get excoriated and ostracized.

OTOH, nudists feel subconscious shame, too much fear, and too little value is placed on being authentic to be open about it. Just letting their close friends, significant other, or even a spouse know they're a nudist without any particular advocacy is more than many are capable of. I don't see a fix for this.

The place for nudist blogs is in the main stream blogging community, Blogging to the nudist community is just preaching to the choir.

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Aug 3, 2023·edited Aug 3, 2023Author

I mostly agree with all your points... but there are some important details to consider.

1. "There are communities where a public nudist would get excoriated and ostracized."

A news article (https://auburnpub.com/news/local/cayuga-county-nudism-festival-canceled-due-to-allegations/article_efff8610-3130-11ee-99b0-2fdcb2d454e2.html) just showed up today reporting that the Northeast Naturist Festival in New York was cancelled by the host club. The festival has a history going back more than 30 years. Reason for the cancellation? A social media "influencer" on Instagram alleged that one of the festival's sponsors (Nudism.TV, https://www.nudism.tv} produces videos of volunteer naturist families - with naked children (shudder!). According to the host club, the cancellation was due to actual death threats against Nudism.TV - and potentially to the club itself.

I'm not in a position to say whether Nudism.TV is a 100% legitimate naturist outfit. But if it is, the fundamental idea is great. However, the basic issue is that many in our poorly informed society take a very dim view of participation in naturism by families with young children. That's a problem in Canada too, where the Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park (Stéphane Deschênes' place) has been in trouble for images of naturist children on their website. Far too many people in our sadly misinformed society automatically equate that with child pornography.

TNSF itself could be in a precarious position, as most issues of their magazine, including the latest, contain images of family nudity. Fortunately for TNSF, hardly anyone besides TNSF members sees the magazine. But unfortunately, for the same reason, non-naturists can't grok the normality of family naturism.

2. "It isn't that the opportunity has disappeared. Almost nobody ever takes advantage of it. There are no California nude hiking groups other than the San Diego Camping Bears. They are pretty small. There just aren't enough nudies interested. That's the problem."

That is the problem indeed. Surely almost everyone understands the adage "Use it or lose it." That applies to anywhere naturism can be practiced. But of course, the problem is that being open about naturism invites mild to extreme disapproval in our fractious society. LGBTQ+ people have become more open to some extent. But that's lead to a fierce culture war against decent people who're often viewed as threats by the "mainstream".

3. "The place for nudist blogs is in the main stream blogging community, Blogging to the nudist community is just preaching to the choir."

This is a complicated issue. Many naturist publications, both in print and online, simply "preach to the choir". That's true with TNSF, for example. And it's very different from, say, 50 years ago when many naturist publications could be found on U.S. newsstands. The fact they aren't now is part of the problem. Historically, in countries like France, especially, acceptance of naturism increased along with relaxation of laws against nudity in printed material.

Naturists really do - urgently - need to present their case to the mainstream. On the other hand, "preaching to the choir" is what professional preachers do - incessantly - for a living. Every Sunday, at least. Naturist writers on social media like blogs and Substack need to address both communities. Of course, it's much more comfortable to write for the already committed rather than risk ostracism by the unenlightened multitudes. So committed naturists need to be prodded into openly defending their lifestyle. All naturists would benefit if enough more would endeavor to change the minds of family members, friends, or acquaintance who'd respect the naturist's opinion.

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I have four blogs. Two of them are inactive but still up on WordPress. One is on Medium. These are viewed by the general public. Some nudists see them and subscribe but the main audience is textile. I do periodic nude posts along with a little of everything else. I don't go out of my way to antagonize right wing sites. Nobody complains.

"Use it or lose it!" is true of any freedom.

Substack is the home of the Naturist Community, which I write for. It is as secure as it gets for nudists. Nudists need lines of communications within the "movement" and to keep morale up. I get that. But circling the wagons is not the way to get more wagons in the train. ***Most of the nudist blogging needs to be done in the textile realm,*** preferably by people other than elderly white cis-het males. (Unfortunately I am all of those things.) But I do what I can.

Who watches Nudism TV? Is it outreach? Is it nudists? is it textile guys looking to see random pretty women? Some of the videos looked like good outreach and some looked like I wouldn't want that out there. Some are hosted on Vimeo and some are hosted on site and can't be linked directly to. I didn't catch their business model.

Children are the third rail of nudism. Pedophiles are considered the lowest dregs of subhuman life, beyond mass murderers. The radical right tested the word "grooming" and found it really stirs up true believers and intimidates the people it is directed at. I got dumped on once by a guy who thought the WNBR was all about grooming children to accept nudity as a preamble to sexual abuse.

Fortunately most of the other people on the forum (for autistic people!) supported me. The guy attacking me even apologized later about going overboard - but he'd been "triggered!" Otherwise I would have left the forum and never returned. I would be hesitant to bring up nudity there again without very careful wording. It was ugly.

How many nudists will calmly talk through an ugly confrontation over something innocent, even if it was online and anonymous?

The only big wildfire I know now of that size is the York Fire happening in the NE corner of the Mojave Preserve, not Joshua Tree. It covered 94K acres at latest report. I am unaware of any active nude hiking up there but it is remote enough that it would work. In a couple of years it will be hikeable again. I've hiked through burn areas before and it is interesting to see the recovery. This winter is expected to be a wet one.

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Bottom line: let a thousand (naturist) flowers bloom. We should all do what we feel best at doing. The important thing is to DO it, not leave it to others. As far as communicating with textiles is concerned, I think it's best done in person, to demonstrate (at least a little) that we're regular people, not sex-fiends or weirdos. It really helps if you know you have something in common with whoever you're addressing - non-naturist interests, gender, ethnicity, age, occupation, etc. And the more in common, the better.

Words on paper or computer/phone screens are just words to most - much less than a dime-a-dozen if one knows almost nothing about the source. The exception being when one knows something positive about the source of the words or feels some emotional connection - philosophical, empathetic, or whatever. Successful politicians, celebrities, media "influencers", salespeople, demagogues, etc. all understand this.

Always keep in mind that naturism is about positive feelings and emotions. Logic plays a very minor role.

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Here's an article by Stéphane Deschênes that discusses children and naturism: https://www.bareoaks.ca/children-need-naturism/

It might well be responsible for some of the anger that Stéphane - and other naturists - have experienced as a result of explaining family naturism. It could have had something to do with why Bare Oaks was kicked off Twitter (before Elon took over).

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If you think nudity = sex, then you are easily convinced to think nudity around children = child sexual abuse. Once the mind is closed on that, any effort to change that mind is interpreted as an attempt to legitimize child sexual abuse. It is like a short circuit in their head. A level of hate is generated that blocks any kind of reasoned discourse. You can only try to reason with people who have not closed their mind.

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Please see Mark Walsh at British Naturism:

https://www.bn.org.uk/index.php?/topic/1438888209-&_fromLogin=1&_fromLogout=1

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That link just goes to a general BN page. (BTW, I'm a BN member)

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Oct 22, 2023Liked by Charles Daney

The Canadian wildfires didn't really impact naturists, many of the places that were impacted aren't habitable. :)

I think naturists need to realize that they aren't the only group who enjoys nudity nor do they own the narrative on body acceptance. I'm not talking about swingers or sex clubs in regard to groups. I mean queen communities, feminist communities, multicultural communities, Wiccan communities, green communities, etc.

The values of naturists are incredibly important. Not every nudist subscribes to these values. Yet there's acknowledgement of a mutual interest. This intersection is available in many other places.

While the PR side of naturists proclaim being open, there are a lot of silent scripts that chafe against that. I bristle when I hear ignorant and hateful comments towards others in clubs, not just because they don't sit well with my values, but because they lead to stagnation and attrition.

To grow, you can't attract more of the same. You need different people and to let them have a role in defining what is what. This is true for any brand, service, etc.

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I tend to doubt that most naturists disapprove of other groups that approve of nonsexual nudity, including the ones you mention. Perhaps some do, but that would be a mistake. Open (nonsexual) nudity is poorly accepted by society in general, so all who think nudity is a good thing for people who enjoy it should deliberately work together to improve the situation. Wiccans (for instance) should feel a connection with naturists, and vice versa, and if they're so inclined they ought to participate in some of each others' activities. There's strength in numbers, so the more people who share any reasonable interest (like social nudity) ought to cooperate with each other. Thank you for bringing this up.

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I hope the same as you. We all need each other as allies in this regard.

I want to clarify what I wrote, which was not intended to say that naturists would disapprove of other groups. What I was hoping to convey is that sometimes naturists approach dialogue as if they "own" the topic of bodies. I believe that incorporating language that acknowledges this is one of many aspects and approaches when talking about bodies will help encourage dialogue between different groups. It's a subtle shift and in no way diminishes the work that naturists have done and are doing. But it acts as an invitation for others to come onto the stage.

If you have the time and inclination, I'd like to hear more of your thoughts. 😊

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I've read a little about Wiccans, but don't have a strong interest. And I don't really know how nudity fits into their worldview. It's good that they find satisfaction in their rituals. I have even less insight into the other groups you mentioned in regard to the importance they put on nudity. The thing about naturists is that nudity and body acceptance is central to the whole idea. I don't think it's as central in the other cases, so body acceptance wouldn't be quite as salient. But for those where nudity is important, I'd hope they and naturists could work together to help cleanse society of its nudity aversion. Perhaps naturist clubs and resorts could reach out to the other groups and invite them to participate. If that occurs, then individual naturists might become interested in one or more of them.

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Personally, I don't see German/European-descended naturism as the origin point of nudity. I would love to learn more about Indigenous people and their relationship to it on different continents; the practices in sub-Saharan Africa and the Amazon. Places where women have had the enduring right to be topless and have not been sexualized for it. So, I see multiculturalism as a path.

Skyclad is a practice some of my Wiccan friends observe and a path.

From a female oriented perspective, nudity and body acceptance are pieces of Korean spas. But beyond that, experiences like pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, menopause, etc. all have elements of nudity and acceptance that fall outside of the cages of society. Free the nipple is a path. I follow an artist on Instagram whose entire art is drawing women's vulvas to normalize the variety and help women accept themselves just as they are. That's also a path.

I come to this discourse with a female lens because I live in a female body, and I see body acceptance and positivity in many many places. For me, it's like the move away from talking about work/life balance and instead talking about work/life harmony. It's not either/or, it's both naturism and all the above and more.

I'm keen to understand if this exists for men in other ways. Raising two boys on my own, I've had an interesting experience in teaching about body parts that don't belong to me but are important for them to know about. If I can have that dialogue with them, then I guess men can also have it with each other.

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Oct 23, 2023·edited Oct 23, 2023Author

I'm not enough of an anthropologist to have a clear opinion. But it seems that in most indigenous cultures with a suitable climate, full, near, or partial nudity was fairly normal, especially for children. That's in most places - North and South America (before the Europeans came), Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania. It was simply a cultural norm. Margaret Mead would probably agree. I seem to recall that "going native" was common for her. Apparently, even in the most southern parts of So. America like Tierra del Fuego (pretty cold) nudity was normal.

But somehow, when societies in Europe and the Middle East developed more "modern" societies with cities, social stratification, etc. things changed. Perhaps wearing some sort of clothing signified higher status. So, really, everything is a matter of culture. Today in most places the culture demands wearing clothes. It's just been that way for many generations, so people in most places simply believe public or even communal nudity is outrageous. Ingrained culture is very difficult to change. So rational arguments for the advantages of nudity simply aren't up for consideration.

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