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Promotion rather than attraction.
I have seen a lot of chatter online recently about the need to promote naturism as a valid lifestyle option and many groups asking, "How can we spread the word and encourage new people to try naturism?”
I started this blog as a way of demystifying the philosophy and hoping that some people might read it and consider giving social naturism a go.
The reality, I suspect, is that most of my subscribers are already naturists and that I am largely preaching to the converted. If you are reading this and don’t or didn’t consider yourself a nudist or a naturist, then send me a message and let me know how you discovered the blog.
The promotion of naturism seems to be the stated goal of many naturist groups, and yet I can’t help feeling that they are silent when the opportunity arises to capitalise on community events and media reports.
Part of me doesn’t care. I really don’t mind if no one else gets it. I do, and even if I am alone in my thinking, I am happy with my naturist life.
On the other hand, I am convinced that so many people could benefit from the naturist philosophy and its positive benefits, that I simply want to encourage everyone to experience it for themselves. Not everyone will be able to accept it, as many have been conditioned for too long to see simple nudity as something to be avoided and definitely not enjoyed in any way other than sexually. Having said that, I firmly believe that there are large numbers of people who would benefit from giving naturism a try. Furthermore, I honestly believe that society as a whole could benefit if more people tried naturism. Naturists tend to be less judgemental, more tolerant of differences and less prone to objectifying people. Anything that increases tolerance and reduces objectification should be seen by society as a positive thing.
There is a rather large and arguably successful organisation that has a specific approach to recruitment, and that is one of “attraction rather than promotion”. Anyone who has been to one of their 12-step meetings will be familiar with the strategy.
The attraction over promotion tradition is often misunderstood to mean that rather than spending money and effort advertising to find people who would benefit from their support, or chasing membership numbers, someone in need will see the positives of the programme and say “ I’ll have some of that”.
Some believe that attraction rather than promotion means that the programs cant be promoted, but this isn’t the case. The original intent of the 11th tradition was that no one person should represent the organisation in the media. This has created the perception that you wait until someone wants it badly enough before engaging with them.
The truth of the success of the 12-step program is that word of mouth and outreach are effective. Waiting until people want it badly enough misses many opportunities to have a conversation and introduce new people to the program, or in our case the philosophy.
I suggest that many naturists think that the misunderstood tenet of attraction rather than promotion is the way to introduce new people to naturism. Apart from a handful of vocal advocates, many naturists are content to sit back and let others find their own way to the philosophy. Naturists are often quick to identify the positive changes in their own lives since embracing the lifestyle when talking amongst themselves, all we need to do is share those stories with others when the opportunity arises. Relying on the national or international federations to promote the naturist philosophy can only go so far, it is up to us all, where we can, to help with our own efforts at our local level.
Keeping our naturist life secret and hidden does nothing to keep the philosophy alive.
I accept that for some people in some communities, there may be serious even legal consequences of owning up to enjoying a naturist life, and I am not advocating that anyone put their lives or liberty at risk. For those of us who do not face persecution, social ostracisation or even jail time for owning up to enjoying naturism, we owe it to all naturists the world over to step up and keep celebrating the positive benefits.
More importantly, as well as sharing the positive stories of our naked journey, we also need to challenge the negative reactions and reporting that often seem to accompany media discussions around naturism. Far too frequently we see media articles that paint naturism or social nudity in a negative light or as something eccentric and not to be taken seriously.
Perhaps some more naturist voices objecting to biased or ill-informed media comments might encourage more people to think about naturism rather than dismissing us as a fringe group of eccentrics. Ok, they might not all line up to join the local naturist group, but at least they would be thinking about it from a more balanced point of view rather than hearing only one side of the argument from a few angry people shouting loudly.
Whenever we hear these ill-informed or mocking attitudes to social nudity, by simply sitting back and quietly complaining to ourselves while doing nothing, we effectively allow them to continue and gain further public acceptance.
The outrage recently hurled at the UK show Naked Education was an opportunity for naturist groups and spokespeople to put up their hands and say something, rather than letting a vocal minority perpetuate negative attitudes about our lifestyle. It may be that I missed the commentary from naturist organisations, but from here, they seemed conspicuously quiet on the matter.
I imagine that most people really don’t care one way or the other, but all they hear is the negative press. What is often needed at these times is a balanced response. Sure there are lots of comments and justifications in our online social bubbles, but how much of that commentary reaches the average person in the community?
“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” — Albert Einstein
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.