It is with some alarm that I read about a number of events and changes that seem to be limiting the rights and freedoms of individuals and may signal a less tolerant attitude to social nudity.
Recently, I read an article about a surf-lifesaving club in Australia that has made the strange decision to ban nudity in their changing rooms. People are no longer allowed to shower naked and have to get in and out of swimwear without exposing themselves. The reasons given by the club were that the changes were introduced to protect children. The change in rules defies common sense and negates the single purpose and function of a changing room.
Many people have an image of Australia as a sun-filled land of freedom but their laws around nudity are not as progressive as one might believe. Apart from a few dedicated nude beaches, nudity is not allowed. Curious given the climate and vast open spaces available.
While this is perhaps an extreme example, there are other causes for concern. Online, social media seem to be tightening their tolerances of nudity. Twitter, the one platform that many nudists and naturists use to curate their worldwide naturist connections, has blocked or removed genuine naturist accounts for breaches of community standards, while still allowing hard-core and extreme accounts to remain. One of the bastions of common sense and information about naturism, the Bare Oaks family naturist park had its account removed, and despite appeals, remains closed.
When I first drafted this blog, I read that Twitter was making moves to block links to Substack posts, and I expected that by the time I publish this edition, I would no longer be able to promote it on Twitter. The changes appeared to be a reaction to the news that Substack was about to launch a Twitter-style feature for its users and for a platform that is supposed to support free speech, some of Twitter's recent decisions seem to be restrictive and anti-competitive. Thankfully, it seems that common sense has prevailed, and the block appears to have come and gone but it highlights the fragility with which we are allowed to operate and exist in these large social media groups.
There are a myriad of other platforms that allow nudity and naturist content, but none seem to have the ease of use or immediacy of Twitter. Some are free and others sit behind a paywall.
Part of the problem that I see is that if Twitter suddenly shuts its doors to the naturist community, then it will be much harder to connect with like-minded people and naturists will become more isolated. While many of us may be happy to simply be naked in our own little bubbles, for many people, their social media connections are the strongest support that they have for their naturist life, especially in countries where nudity is frowned upon or illegal. Limiting those connections will have a detrimental effect on the naturist community as a whole.
There are many naturists from around the world and my only connection with them is on Twitter. We don’t have a strong enough connection to email each other directly, but I really enjoy their updates and banter and would have a real sense of loss should that connection be removed.
I have accounts on several other social media platforms and enjoy some really good connections with genuine naturists, but I always seem to be drawn back to Twitter with its ease of use and immediacy. There are a couple of social media sites that require a subscription to belong. Those able to afford to get through a paywall can enjoy less explicit and more naturist-appropriate content, however, a paywall is a barrier to many people.
Other free apps such as MeWe have some merit, but I find the navigation between groups and individuals is not as easy as it might be.
The Naturist Hub is a unique option in that membership is by invitation rather than subscription, so its content is more naturist focused without the unwanted explicit images.
I have tried Mastodon, Reddit, Tribel, Disqus and CounterSocial, but none of these felt right or particularly naturist friendly, and I have since abandoned them.
The increasing restrictions imposed by Twitter may necessitate a shift to other social media groups, and perhaps if forced to use these more frequently, I might find ways to tweak the settings and come to use and rely on them to a greater degree.
But who knows what changes are in the pipeline on any social media site that may impact the naturist community? We can’t take continued access for granted.
So what is plan B? What do other naturists think is the best way to connect and stay in touch with their naturist network? What will you do if all of a sudden Twitter closes the door to our community?
I am keen to hear what people think.
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.
In England, the change rooms in swimming pools have all become mixed. What that means is that you can only change in a cubicle because there will always be a mum with her children in the room and in fact, the whole change room is often open to the public. My feeling is that although there is constant pressure on naturists, the very widespread use of social media sites for a wide variety of "nude" activities, including those which are pornographic, is numbing people to the horror of seeing people without clothes to such a point that it will become hard to find anyone who is actually shocked by it at all.
This may be a bit off-topic, but I offer it as a sign of hope for naked living. It comes from an item on the BBC website regarding some upcoming elections and the perils facing candidates:
Forget about the politics for a second - I've heard some pretty hair-raising stories about what can go wrong in that encounter. And the most common way in which the chat on the doorstep goes awry?
"It's naked people," says one MP. "There's an awful lot of naked", says a long-time political activist. A former cabinet minister remarks in a quintessentially British way that the voter's state of undress always goes unmentioned, "even when they are doing their best to take it to the limits of parental guidance".
Another MP told me he was so flummoxed when a woman in her 50s opened the door leaving little to the imagination that he blurted out, "Is your mum in?", while his fellow campaigner ran off screaming
One of their colleagues said they had to cover the eyes of their seven-year-old daughter, who was helping with door-knocking, because a man "opened the door stark naked with his dangly bits out". Another recalls, when walking up a drive one evening, "a fully naked man emerged from the garden shed and calmly said hello. I just ran off!"