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The unmasked naturist

Naturists are often asked why do you like to go naked? In a media interview it’s often followed by a distancing statement by the interviewer as if to say I may be interested to interview a naturist, but I am definitely not one myself. The interviewer tacitly aligns with the (presumed) audience. Let us try to understand this person’s behaviour. Maybe when the normal social rules are pointed out the errant will just dress?

The question of when and where to undress is often asked. You don’t have a changing room? The key is in the word changing. For a non-naturist there is no state of nudity implied when changing. We are merely swapping one set of clothes for another. If we are swimming then it’s obvious that we don’t want to get our normal clothes wet as there is no chance to dry them. However, we are prepared to sit around in wet swimming clothes because of the problem of changing back without the naked transition brief thought it might be. So we can only conclude that that there is a fear of nudity. We can’t be afraid of nudity when we are born, so it must be learned behaviour and so neither can it be natural.

So to answer the question why do you like to go naked we need to point out that the textile world concentrates on the idea of undressing. To a naturist the problem is dressing, not undressing. As we are born undressed this is not a chicken and egg problem. So the question is why you would dress when it’s not necessary? This question is never asked!

To explain clearly, the current pandemic gives us an appropriate example we can all relate to. We are asked to wear a mask, something we would rarely consider otherwise. Indeed a minority seem very resistant. Masks are uncomfortable to wear and they inhibit our social communication and compromise our natural breathing. If, like me, you wear glasses your vision may also be impaired by misted lenses. As soon as we are permitted the mask comes off and we feel more comfortable again both physically and socially.

For naturists everything we wear is like a mask. We therefore choose not to dress, rather then to get undressed. Undressing is not a statement – we are simply returning to a state free of clothes and free of the symbolism of clothes. We are removing a false layer that has been a sign of civilisation only in Western society in very recent times. Maybe we can lay the blame at the foot of the Enlightenment and the introduction into painting of the onlookers gaze – something not otherwise permitted in polite society. There is now an unhealthy fixation on partial nudity – complete nudity is rarely shown and often artificially masked. In fact with digital manipulation the other idea of the Enlightenment – the ideal body – has now virtually displaced all other forms of representing the body. Now we stare more because we no longer normally see real bodies, but only those in the artificial worlds of media, department stores and designer clothing.


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