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Now there’s an idea.
One of the things that I do to help give me ideas about topics for these blogs, is setting Google alerts for news items about nudity. Every couple of days I get an email with a list of topics from around the world relating to nudity. Most of them are repetitive and uninteresting, like how much nudity is in some newly released film, or which actress was bothered by nudity and which actress wasn’t.
Many of the articles fall into the category of clickbait or offer insight into how biased people are about nudity. Grandmother shocked to see naked men on a walk (spoiler alert, she wasn’t shocked) or NIMBYs in the local village complaining that the bunch of nudists at the festival nearby should go somewhere else.
Occasionally there will be an item that sparks a stream of consciousness. Sometimes I will get an idea for a blog, but when I start writing I fail to get near my self-imposed goal of a minimum of 800 words. These usually end up in a folder for future consideration.
Other times the words simply flow and there is enough to put together a first draft for a blog entry. These end up in a folder for proofreading and tidying up before publishing. Usually, at this point, I will reach out to anyone being quoted or mentioned for permission to reference and include links to them. Touch wood, no one has yet objected or refused.
This blog is a recent example where the first draft was written in one sitting and was prompted by a Google alert regarding an annual body painting event in New York that was to cease.
I thought to myself, here we go again, some small-minded member of the local community has objected to an established event and forced them to shut down. The short article illustrated to me the danger of making assumptions. The reality was that after holding the event for the last 16 years, the organiser simply wanted to move on and concentrate on other things. I wish them well.
Many people who might have issues with simple nudity appear to be less bothered by events such as body painting. It seems that the artistic element gives the practice some credibility rather than simply being allowed to enjoy being naked in itself. I would venture to say that some people who would never strip off at a beach or in public, might try body painting.
I recall some years ago, the annual Petone Street Fair was in full swing with a 1.6 km (1 mile) stretch of the road closed to traffic and all manner of stalls, exhibits, entertainers and food outlets catering to more than 35,000 visitors. Nearly all the staff at an interior design shop called “new objects of desire (nood)”, were topless with body-painted orange t-shirts. Most of the staff were female, and many of the customers didn’t notice until they were face-to-face at the checkout, and even then some were oblivious. It was all done in good taste and received positively by everyone.
The fact that the organiser of the New York event wanted to move on after 16 years is perfectly understandable. It would be nice if they emerged after some time with a new event or activity, but they have every right to sit back and let others step up.
Often it is thanks to a few key people in our community that events happen at all, and we should all applaud their efforts and commitment. We must also be careful not to simply assume that these people will continue to come up with ideas and organise events.
My feeling is that it is the responsibility of the local naturist clubs and groups to engage with their community and promote naturism, but it is not their responsibility alone. With fewer people belonging to clubs, it is increasingly likely that events may be organised by someone outside the traditional nudist club framework.
Clubs should embrace any opportunity to be involved, even if it is not organised by them or one of their members. All naturists, where they can, should support and get in behind activities that have been organised, otherwise, these events will slowly die out, and we are left complaining that there are no local activities anymore.
Many of us are lucky to live in a society where such events are allowed. Those members of the naturist community struggling in countries where their nakedness is punishable by fines, imprisonment or physical harm, must look on in despair when people in communities that tolerate nudity don’t step up and support naturist events.
I hope that a small news article about a well-regarded and popular annual event being cancelled by the organiser because they want to move on to other things results in naturists and naturist groups worldwide seeing this as an opportunity to be more proactive in their community rather than something to mourn.
I expect that no one will give it a second thought, and the naturist community will lose another regular event to help promote and celebrate body acceptance.
I challenge naturist groups and organisations to step up and try to replicate events like this in your local communities. At best you end up with new members, at worst you can raise your profile in a way that is less likely to get you yelled at or criticised for being weird.
Booking a stand at a local community event or festival and offering body painting might help spread the naturist message, or at least softly introduce the idea to people. Of course, this would have to be done properly, requiring some organisation and someone with a modicum of talent to be involved. If I were to be the artist offering to paint bodies, I am sure that after my first attempt, people would say thanks but no thanks. I am not known for my artistic prowess.
Naturist groups often bemoan how difficult it is to recruit new members, perhaps body painting is a gateway activity to help normalise nudity in a non-threatening gentle way.
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.