Down a YouTube rabbit hole
One minute you are watching a tutorial on landscape photography, the next minute, it's 2 am and the Muppets are singing Bohemian Rhapsody.
One of the things that I do to pass the time in the evenings when I am travelling away for work is to watch YouTube videos. YouTube is not particularly naturist-friendly and there are a number of channels I follow around interests and hobbies that I have outside of naturism. Photography tutorials, film discussions, music documentaries and a disproportionate number of videos posted by people like former Mythbuster Adam Savage, German YouTuber, designer, and craftswoman Laura Kampf and Repair Shop regular Dominic Chinea.
Something that often happens during an evening of YouTube viewing is that I will end up clicking on more and more videos that are suggested to me by algorithms, and before I am aware, it is 2 am and I have a 6 am getup for an early meeting. It is not the best plan for healthy sleep patterns.
Occasionally, as I fall deeper and deeper into a YouTube rabbit hole, I come across content that while not specifically naturist, I would consider naturist adjacent. And so it was with a video from Dream Prague. (Link at the end).
Dream Prague is the work of Jennifer Preston, an American living and working in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. The particular video that piqued my interest was titled CZECHIA vs. USA (different attitudes towards nudity).
There are quite a few videos on YouTube about the differences between the attitudes, language and cultural norms of various countries around the world, and my first reaction was that this would be another example of a US citizen commenting on how weird the rest of the world is. It is, but in a refreshingly honest way.
The opening lines of this particular video, had me rethinking my assumption and put a smile on my face.
“This video contains content appropriate for Americans over the age of 18 and Czechs over the age of 4.”
The statement sums up my biased attitude as to how simple, non-sexual nudity is often perceived versus how I think it should be perceived.
Jen, the self-confessed never-nude, starts by saying that Americans are big-time prudes when it comes to nudity. I know, not all Americans, but from a non-US point of view, it is an easy generalisation to make.
The video goes on to list the top 10 places for Americans to avoid when visiting the Czech Republic. The beach, the parks, public squares, apartments, swimming pools, locker rooms, saunas, the high street, the metro and the doctor's office. In other words, if you are going to visit the Czech Republic, be prepared to see nudity.
Jen does make the classic mistake of calling naked people Naturalists (I’ll save that rant for my blog next week). Still, the rest of her video is an entertaining exploration of the Czech attitudes of acceptance and tolerance regarding public nudity compared to the reserved, some might say repressed, attitudes of the typical American. Again, not all Americans.
For me, the most significant part of the video is when Jen says that she agrees;
“…that our naked bodies are natural and that Americans shouldn’t be sexualising everything and demonising nudity”,
“Having been brought up in a Catholic house in a prudish country, it is something else that I have to get used to”.
Intellectually, she gets it, but due to her upbringing, it is something she struggles with. And that’s ok. Jen is aware that it is not her culture, and she is doing her best to make sense of it all.
I wonder if she had stayed in the States, would she still understand it intellectually, or if living outside the US has changed her perspective.
The video is a couple of years old now, but it is still an interesting watch and a reminder that we all have different lived experiences that make the world an interesting and colourful place.
I am aware that this blog may come across as overly critical of Americans, and for the record, I want to state that comments are about attitudes toward nudity, rather than about American people. Most of the Americans that I have met and indeed those that I communicate with regularly are wonderful people. Warm, welcoming and genuinely interested in what others have to say.
Americans suffer from the stereotype of being unable to differentiate between nudity and sex, and in reality, this attitude is prevalent in many other countries and cultures. Indeed there are many Americans who do not subscribe to prudish attitudes about nudity, and many non-Americans who do.
Videos like Jen’s clearly illustrate the cultural divide between attitudes toward public nudity in various cultures.
“Sure, some people might believe they are offended by nude bathers, but, if you never encounter anything that offends you in your community, you are not living in a free society.” – Anon
Thank you for reading. Have a comfortable day.
One of these things is not like the others.
And does it matter?
Dream Prague CZECHIA vs. USA (different attitudes towards nudity).
Former Mythbuster Adam Savage
YouTuber, designer, and craftswoman Laura Kampf https://www.youtube.com/@laurakampf
Repair Shop regular Dominic Chinea