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Talking in a bubble.
A contact I follow on Twitter, Dan, recently posted a Tweet announcing how wonderful naturists are at telling other naturists that they are naturists and asked
“what about telling those people who aren’t naturists?”
To be fair, one big criticism of many naturists is that we can be very vocal in our own bubble, but far more reserved in the public arena, about promoting the philosophy and its many benefits.
I myself am guilty of largely preaching to the converted. My Substack blog, which started out as a way of writing down my thoughts on naturism as if I were talking to non-naturists, may have largely retreated into articles bouncing around in a naturist echo chamber.
The Substack platform gives me the email address of people who follow my blog, but little other information, unless they also have a Substack account. It is impossible to tell from most email addresses the nature of the reader. I grant you that some email addresses (email@example.com) do hint at the nature of the owner, but most are innocuous and ordinary. I can’t see how many people read my blog but are not subscribers. As my work is free to read and open to all, anyone can read it without having to sign up.
I suspect that most people reading this are naturists, and while I hope not all are, I have no real idea of the percentage of naturists vs non-naturist readers that read my blog. I am quite interested if there are any non-naturist readers and welcome feedback from any, privately if you wish.
I have been reluctant to self-promote my writing beyond the naturist platforms that I belong to. One of the reasons is that I also have a day job, and while I am quite happy to discuss my naturism with people who ask, I am not yet at the stage of promotion where I will, unsolicited, share my philosophy with everyone.
Although I have had articles published in the UK magazine H&E Naturist, a number of naturist newsletters, and reproduced on some naturist sites, I have perhaps been remiss in not approaching mainstream media and publications with my writing.
Partly because I am not sure of the reaction that I might get and partly because I do not have the contacts or connections in mainstream media that I feel might present my content in a positive light. I’m also not sure if I am prepared for the possible hostile responses that may come with a wider audience. Viewing the feedback that UK couple Simon and Helen Berriman received about their naked Christmas plans, from a mainstream article published widely, it saddens me how many people treat the idea of simple nudity with vitriol and loathing.
Although better than it used to be, there are still plenty of examples where the mainstream media misunderstand or misrepresent the naturist message. While much of society may be supportive or even indifferent towards social nudity, the vocal minority who are opposed to the message make up for their small numbers with the loud volume and willingness to complain. I like to think that I am reasonably thick-skinned and capable of managing criticism, but a couple of vicious attacks from social media keyboard warriors has taught me that words are capable of damage despite the old adage that they can’t hurt me.
Should there be a reader amongst you with contacts to the mainstream media, then I may be happy to talk about my work being used, but I am not at the stage of self-promotion where I am comfortable pushing my work. Perhaps I subscribe more to the philosophy of attraction rather than promotion.
I am quite happy to discuss my naturism with people, should they ask, and have found that this may be a softer and more gentle approach to bringing naturism to the wider attention of the public. Most of those conversations have been in clothed and non-threatening situations, so perhaps the message is better received. If most naturists were prepared to have the conversations then I believe it would go a long way to normalising naturism in society. Unfortunately, too many of us are too frightened to admit our philosophy to others, and keep it hidden in the shadows.
Acceptance in society, or even just tolerance, will not come from a single event. No one blog, article or interview will suddenly flip a switch where society accepts something it largely struggles with. Change takes time, and often one conversation at a time, but slowly attitudes will change. By hiding our naturism and not having those conversations, we are drastically increasing the amount of time before any meaningful change can be recognised.
I accept that for some, openly admitting being part of something that may be illegal where you are, means that there may be risks not worth taking. But for those of us lucky enough to live in a more tolerant society, we owe it to ourselves and to those in less tolerant places, to be honest about our naturism. Honest to ourselves, and honest to others.
Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it'll always get you the right ones.
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.