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All the real people.
There is an internet post that has been doing the rounds for some time and pops up occasionally which says something like, why is it that most nudists are people that you don’t want to see naked?
To me, this highlights the depth to which marketing and social conformity have permeated most people’s thinking. Naturists are people. We come in all shapes and sizes. We are a cross-section of society. Take a look at the people in your local shopping mall, I bet most of those people don’t fit the conformist view of looking good naked, and yet there will be practising nudists going about their daily business amongst that crowd.
Society pushes an unrealistic ideal onto people through marketing and advertising, where only the physically perfect are displayed. Pick up any women’s magazine and the cover will have articles about losing weight, changing your body or some article about how some celebrity has lost too much weight or, God forbid, put weight on.
How many “Real” people do you see on television and in commercials? How many magazine images are untouched by digital manipulation? How many “real shape” mannequins do you see in shops?
Dr Gail Dines summed it up well when she said,
"If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business."
Advertisers and marketing companies generate money for their clients by making people feel insecure about how they look and then selling their client's products to overcome the insecurities that the marketers have created.
There is too much money to be lost if people were happy with the way they looked.
Perhaps if there was money to be made from a naturist lifestyle, advertising companies would have sold us the dream by now and nudity would be mainstream. As there is very little money to be made from nudism, it remains un-promoted and poorly understood by the public at large.
Those already embracing the naturist philosophy have discovered that body confidence and a sense of self-worth come from things other than clothing, makeup and other material possessions. The freedom found when disengaging with the heavily marketed consumerist world can be quite liberating.
Admittedly the television program Naked Attraction does feature normal people of various body shapes and sizes, however, the tone of the program seems to have become more sexual and explicit. The truth is that naturists are pretty boring, doing everyday stuff just without clothes, possibly not a recipe for good ratings on television, hence the titillating and explicit elements of the program.
It’s hard to say how many nudists there are in the world as not everyone defines themselves as a nudist, even if they enjoy spending some time naked.
Some surveys suggest that up to 40% of the population regularly sleeps naked, although other surveys put the number closer to 15%. Whatever the true number, do these naked sleepers count as nudists?
BN (British Naturism) has a membership of 9100 amongst a U.K. population of about 67,000,000. The 130 or so U.K. clubs cater to 0.013% of the population.
By comparison, the American AANR claims a membership of 30,000. This is from a U.S. population of around 330 million, so roughly 0.009% of Americans are members of AANR.
According to the New Zealand Naturist Federation, 3000 people are members of naturist clubs here. Out of a population of 5,000,000 that is roughly 0.03%, seemingly much higher than in the U.K. or the U.S.
Of course, the number of people who consider themselves naturists would be greater than this as not all naturists will be a member of a club or their local Naturist Federation. In 2011 BN employed a survey company to find out how many naturists there were in the U.K. The results came back at around 6% or just under 4,000,000 people.
The UN projects that the world's population will reach 8 billion by November 2022. Taking an average of the club membership between the U.S. and the U.K of say 0.01%, we can guess that there are at least 800,000 naturist club members in the world but the number identifying as naturists seems to eclipse the number of club members by some margin. While according to one survey 6% of the population in the U.K. identify as naturists, I doubt the worldwide number is as high as 480 million. It would be wonderful if it were, but this would be wildly optimistic.
This is all back-of-the-napkin maths, not scientific and prone to wide inaccuracies, but there are likely more people engaged in naturism than we think.
The reality is that most naturists practice their lifestyle in the privacy of their homes, or at dedicated clothing-optional venues, and integrate clothed with the community daily. They are among you, and you don’t notice as they pass for normal everyday people. Strangely, this is because that is exactly what they are, normal everyday people.
There is a paradox in the naturist world: after a short time at a naturist venue or in the company of other naturists, you stop seeing naked bodies and just see people. Real and genuine people. It is as unremarkable as wandering around your local supermarket or mall, all shapes and sizes. Just people.
So going back to the original idea that nudists aren’t people that you wish to see naked, it would seem that this is the view of people who are still blinkered by the manipulation of the advertisers and marketers telling them how they should look because being yourself doesn’t cut it.
We might not be the type of people that society wants to see naked, but then society has a warped, unnatural and arguably sexualised view of the world and the people that live in it.
Of any dozen random people, only 12 have bodies worthy of being nudists.
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.