Some of my best inspirations hit me during the wee hours after midnight. More often than not I wake up in the morning knowing full well I've had a radical idea that could change the world, but completely forgotten what it was! I've tried to get in the habit of having a notebook by my bed so that I can write down these pearls of wisdom before the morning light forces them back into the shadows of the night.
But last night was the exception. I woke up and remembered exactly what I should do to revolutionise the world! I'm going to start a radical new philosophical movement that I will call "Shorteeism". And its followers will be known as "Shorteeists".
So what is Shorteeism? I will define it as: "The belief in, or practice of, wearing a pair of shorts and a tee-shirt, both alone and in social and usually mixed-gender group settings." My aim will be to get the wearing of a pair of shorts and tee-shirt to be accepted in society as just another form of casual dress. Just think! A society where the wearing of a T-shirt and shorts becomes so commonplace that you could walk down to the local shops wearing just that attire and nobody will bat an eyelid! Imagine how freeing that would be!
By now you're wondering what the hell I'm on about! Why do we need a militant group to promote a dress code that already exists? Well, obviously we don't. But you might be surprised to learn that the wearing of a pair of shorts and a tee-shirt in public wasn't always acceptable! Within the not too distant past my radical militant Shorteeists would have been persecuted by the authorities, arrested and thrown in jail for disturbing the peace and inciting deviant behaviour!
Take America, for example. The city of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, for instance, banned the wearing of shorts in 1938, according to the Moberly Monitor-Index in Missouri. "Honesdale is a modest town, not a bathing beach," one city leader told the newspaper.
The city council of Monahans, Texas, passed an ordinance in 1944 that banned women in shorts from public streets, according to The New York Times of the day. And during the summer of 1945, women were prohibited from wearing shorts in certain Illinois municipalities such as Decatur and Vandalia, the Associated Press reported.
As recent as May 1959, the Associated Press noted that the city council of Plattsburgh, New York, had voted to ban the wearing of shorts by anyone over 16 years old on city streets. Violators were liable to receive a $25 fine or 25 days in jail!
It wasn't just America. Shorts have often caused a great deal of contention amongst those who take an interest in matters of appropriate dress code. Sir Edwin Hardy Amies was a 20th century English fashion designer, founder of the Hardy Amies label and a Royal Warrant holder as designer to the Queen. Amies wrote in his 1964 style bible, the ABC of Men’s Fashion, “The natural desire to relax is often the cause of the abandonment of all standards of taste” and declared that a man “should never wear shorts except when actually on the beach or on a walking tour”.
It's not that long ago that shorts were considered appropriate only for boys, and when the time came to switch to longs, it was seen as a sort of "rite of passage" into manhood. But with the continued relaxation of dress codes, shorts have become not only acceptable as everyday wear, especially when the mercury is on the rise, but stylish too. They are even often seen as acceptable office attire, which was unthinkable only a few decades ago.
Montgomery Clift in
"A Place in the Sun" (1951)
And what about the Tee Shirt (or T-shirt)? Now unisex and all-purpose, the T-shirt began its life way back in the Middle Ages as an undergarment worn by men. Right up until the mid 20th century there was no way that the T-shirt was appropriate as an outer garment. But, like many things, it was the influence of the movie makers that changed society's attitude towards this humble garment.
By the time that Hollywood’s rising method actors began donning white T-shirts to signal their character’s rebelliousness — Montgomery Clift in "A Place in the Sun" (1951), Marlon Brando in "The Wild One" (1953) and James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955) — the T-shirt officially entered the man’s wardrobe as a garment that could be worn on its own outside of the workplace. It would take another 60 years or so for the T-shirt to be accepted as office attire, though. Today, it’s come a long way from its humble beginnings as a utilitarian undergarment from another age. In fact, it’s hard to imagine any wardrobe today without a T-shirt.
As Naturists, we can take a lot of encouragement from the fact that my imaginary militant activists - the Shorteeists - are a superfluous entity in today's world. What was unthinkable as a standard of dress at one time, has now become normalised as totally acceptable attire in modern society. If we extrapolate that example to nakedness, then the utopian ideal we all dream about - that wearing nothing at all is a totally acceptable form of casual dress - is not that far-fetched!
Several studies have shown that never before have so many people, of all ages, been open to nudity. It's been estimated that about 10 percent of the world
population has at one point in their lives enjoyed social nudity in one form or another. That’s about 780 million people! Naturism is also becoming more and more accepted, especially in Europe, U.S.A., Canada, Australia and here in New Zealand, but also in South Africa and several South American and Asian countries. More people than ever give nudism a try and feel that they can talk openly about it. The taboo that has been on nudity, historically and culturally, is slowly being conquered.
Now that the options for naturists have significantly grown or been realised, fewer people seem to feel the need to join an organisation, especially younger people. With the interpretation of New Zealand Law relating to public nudity being tested in the courts in recent years, our beaches, forests, rivers and hiking trails are now largely accessible for Naturist activities. We have camps and resorts such as Katikati Naturist Park and Ngatuhoa Naturally, and activities like organised skinny dips and the World Naked Bike Ride. And of course we can make use of online resources such as Hauraki Naturally and other websites, as well as Social Media platforms. Before the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic, nudist holidays were booming in many parts of the world. The number of facilities has increased and there's now a much bigger variety of resorts, cruises, nakations, and even travel companies catering specifically for nudists. Destinations like Thailand or the Caribbean are embracing nudism and realising the tourist potential. For a lot of people a nakation was their first step into the nudist lifestyle. Once the pandemic is brought under control they will certainly be on offer once more.
Riders participating in the World Naked Bike Ride
New Brighton, U.K., 2010
Many existing landed nudist clubs are struggling to reach the younger crowd. The average age of their members is reaching the fifties or sixties or older, and they fear that soon there will be no members left. I believe that the committees of those clubs would be wise to lay aside all those tired attempts to revitalise their establishments, and start to think beyond their own walls into the future of nudity in the wider community. I love Henry Ford’s quote, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. They will keep losing members if they don’t change their strategies. Most people these days would rather pay for spending a day at Katikati Naturist Park or Wai Nature or whatever nudist place of choice than paying big money to join a club and going to the same place over and over again, where they have to attend "voluntary" working bees and play miniten.
If the clubs really want to attract youth, then they really have to focus on that part of the demographic and start catering for them in a way that fits their 21st century lives. For example, most of the websites of the nudist organisations still look the same as they did 20 years ago, some don't even have a presence on social media, and they organise events that just aren’t interesting to the typical teenager or twenty-something. Who of that age wants to play miniten or petanque? And hell will freeze over before any youth will fork out $400 for membership to a club full of geriatrics, when they can get together with their mates and head to Muriwai or Opoutere for free! Really, the whole membership structure is totally outdated and needs a complete re-think. Running the clubs as an open public camp site such as Katikati would be a step in the right direction. This process should have started ages ago, but better late than never!
So . . . where to from here?
As a Naturist or Nudist, the first question to address is what lies in your ideal future? How would you like to see our lifestyle fitting into everyday life? Naturism / Nudism are of course very broad terms and there are many different kinds of nudists. There are the closet nudists, the home nudists, the social nudists, the occasional nudists, the full time nudists, the ones who only go nude on holiday and probably many others. And all their expectations for the future are likely to be quite different. The dream of a closet nudist could simply be to get accepted by their family and friends, whereas the dream of a full time naturist could be a fully nude world. What kind are you?
The second question is how do we achieve that ideal? Is clothing optional the new nudism? While national and international naturist federations, nudist clubs and resorts, and other naturist / nudist organisations have had an important role thus far, I believe some fresh and radical ideas and strategies are going to be needed to advance our lifestyle into the future. Some might say that nudist organisations are just meant to go away, but that would be really bad for nudism. We shouldn’t forget that the reason why nudism has become more accepted and why we have so many options today are all because of those organisations! As individuals, we would never have been able to get where we are today. But we now need to be more organised in order to secure our future. There’s still a lot of unfinished work, laws to be amended and clarified, public attitudes to change, a lot of people to convince that we are actually enjoying a great lifestyle that could address so many of society's ills, given the chance. There are so many things that we could still achieve.
For the purposes of this short article, let's focus on a typical social naturist - one who likes to spend time naked, both alone and among others, and who regards clothing as having practical uses only - to keep warm when it's cold, for protection from work hazards, or for work-related identification (uniforms), etc. This person would rather stay naked unless there was good reason to put clothes on, and regards nudity as just another form of casual dress code. That typical person would be me! So here's what I think . . .
General acceptance of nudity should be the first thing to strive for. We need to show our society that we’re not just weirdos or perverts, that we’re not the strange kids on the block. For a long time we have been happy with our secret areas but those days are gone. We are aching to be accepted, not because we want to show our naked bodies to everyone - that's just exhibitionism - but because we want people to see that we have a unique lifestyle, based on confidence, respect, harmony and equality.
But how can we do this when we restrict ourselves to our secluded areas? "Clothing optional" is the first step. This is the perfect way for textiles to get in touch with nudists without having to become a member of a club or without being forced to get naked from the first minute. Here in New Zealand and in various other countries, nudist clubs are organising “open days” so that textiles can have a look at what nudism is really all about. How successful these open days have been would, of course, depend on how many textiles attended and how many of those changed their preconceived ideas about public nudity.
One of the biggest fears about the "clothing-optional" approach seems to be that if textiles would be allowed in nudist spots, they would soon become the majority, making the nudists feel uncomfortable. Another fear is the risk of more perverts and voyeurs who’ll spend their days watching the nudies. These concerns may well be valid in stage 1, but I still think that this is the direction we should go. And there are certainly ways to minimise those concerns, such as socialising in groups rather than individually, or choosing activities such as hiking and river rambles and cycle rides, which aren't as attractive to the "meerkats" as the sand dunes at the beach. And maybe we just need to bite the bullet and get over ourselves and our timidity. All of us need to learn how to confront the meerkats and stomp out that behaviour. Remember - if we are successful in bringing about general acceptance of everyday nudity in society, then voyeurism should disappear, since a nude body will become so commonplace and nothing special.
The next step is for naturists to stop focussing on "us" (the nudists) and "them" (the textiles). Instead, we should be looking solely on just "us" as in the whole of our society. There really is no need to continue with those labels. What we're aiming for is a general respect among everybody - all of us - over our choice of what to wear and what not to wear - including wearing nothing at all. Some people like to wear jeans, some like to wear a suit, some like to wear shorts and a T-shirt, and some like to wear nothing. Does this mean that everyone should be naked at all time? Of course not! We don’t stick to the same dress code all the time. We wear different types of clothes for different occasions. We shouldn’t expect to be able to go to a job interview naked, or to a wedding or funeral naked. But wearing a suit for that job interview should be considered with no more or less respect as wearing nothing on the beach, or in your garden, or in the park, or when you go shopping on a sunny day. Nudity should become just another style of casual clothing, acceptable and available to everyone in our society.
One of the greatest obstacles to achieving this level of nudity normalisation is the proliferation of body shame. We humans have become very self-conscious about how our bodies appear to others, and many are terrified about what others will think about their imperfections. Of course this situation would never have happened if nudity was always the norm, because we all would have grown up knowing what bodies of different ages look like and what to expect. But clothes have become a very convenient way to hide our bodies' imperfections and to present a very fake veneer of pretense.
Body shame seems to kick in as soon as a child starts school. Children start to notice each other's differences and try to use them to gain a social advantage. So they pick on the "fat kid" or the kid with big, stick-out ears, or the redhead with freckles, or the kid with some deformity. It's all about gaining a respectable position in the pecking order, and bullying is one of the worst phenomena with sometimes tragic consequences.
Then comes puberty and all the trauma associated with it. What should be a joyous time for a youngster to celebrate his or her transition into adulthood becomes, for many, a source of extreme embarrassment and shame! How tragic is that?! Even kids brought up in nudist homes are affected. Just look around many of the Naturist clubs at the ages of the children who are there with their families. Plenty of kids up to around 11 or 12, but strangely absent above that age.
As we mature into adulthood, we start to take notice of the constant barrage of propaganda from the media, fashion trends,
Bullying is one of the worst phenomena associated with body shame and self worth, with sometimes tragic consequences.
and advertising about what our bodies should and can look like if only we fork out our dollars on this beauty product, that piece of exercise equipment, those vitamin and mineral supplements, and the latest fad diets and "slimming" undergarments. And all these "health" products are advertised using airbrushed and photo-shopped models of perfection whose image almost nobody can ever hope to achieve! But we allow ourselves to be sucked into believing the hype, and when the products don't come anywhere near to performing their promised miracles on us, we become disillusioned and ashamed of our failure to improve our looks, so we hide under layers of clothing. At least then other people won't find out how hideously disfigured we are! The situation only gets worse from here, as middle age approaches, complete with love handles and middle-age spread. And as the years progress, the wrinkles deepen and become more prolific as the skin starts to sag in a hundred different places.
But it’s the story of the chicken and the egg. Do we have to lose our shame to become comfortable naked? Or do we have to become comfortable naked to become body confident? It appears that both go hand in hand. While some people pluck up the courage to jump in the deep end and go to a beach to skinny-dip, others need to progress gradually - perhaps starting in the privacy of their own home, then secluded parts of their property, before venturing out to beaches and other outdoor locations. But as general acceptance of nudity grows, so too will body confidence, as kids grow up seeing the bodies of other people of all ages and stages of development, along with all the battle scars of life.
Imagine now that public nudity is finally accepted, and the options to wear either something or nothing are as valid as each other. The possibilities now seem endless! Just think about the many things that you would like to do naked or that would actually be a lot better if done naked. When we promote nudism, we often talk about swimming and the joy of not being restricted to wearing togs, but there are so many other activities where clothes are actually redundant. Naked Yoga is one activity that has already seen a rise in popularity, but think about going to the gym. Wouldn’t it be so much better if you could work out naked?
What else would you do? Go shopping? Why not? You grab the first shirt and pants you find, just to wear something.
You could just as well go naked.
How about going to a party? How much time do we spend deciding what to wear? Should we wear a suit, or is it casual? Which shirt? Which dress? Slimming underwear? With naked parties, all those decisions disappear. No more ridiculous competitiveness for the "best dressed". No more outlaying huge amounts of money for the best clothes. Nudity is the great leveller. When you see another person arrive, you see his or her body. It is what it is!
What else would you do? Go shopping? Why not? You wake in the morning to discover you need to pop down to the dairy for milk and bread, so you grab the first shirt and pants you find, just to wear something. You could just as well go naked. And there are many minor things such as getting something from the car, taking out the rubbish bin, collecting the mail, mowing the front lawn and other home chores.
What if we could go naked to McDonalds or Burger King or even a restaurant? What if we could go jogging naked in the morning? Visiting our family and friends? How about work? If you have an office job there’s really no need for clothes. A common trick to
overcome nerves when having to give a public speech or presentation is to picture the audience naked. Wouldn't it be better if they actually were?!
Realising the Dream
By now you're probably thinking this is all pie-in-the-sky stuff - an unrealistic dream. Is it possible? Can society's attitude towards nudity really be changed? Let's consider, for a moment, another group in society that needed acceptance, tolerance, and law change - the LBGT community.
The Homosexual Law Reform Bill was introduced to Parliament in March 1985, but it wasn't until August the following year that it came into force. During that period the controversy and arguments were hardly ever out of the news. It was a tumultuous time. Fran Wilde, the MP who introduced the bill, reported that she'd received several death threats, while other campaigners for the bill were verbally and physically attacked. Hauraki MP Graeme Lee was vehemently against the bill, and when it reached the select committee stage he declared that it was "a dark day in the history of our nation". But when the bill was passed on the night of 9th July, 1986, by 49 votes to 44, the floor and public gallery in Parliament erupted into cries of excitement and jubilation.
Bill Logan, who describes himself as an old-fashioned Marxist-Leninist-Trotskyist, was one of the coordinators of the Gay Task Force in Wellington during the campaign for the Homosexual Law Reform Bill.
"It was sixteen months of hard, intensely stimulating work, physical and nervous exhaustion, and a certain amount of pure terror. The vote in Parliament at the end was finely balanced, but it was a victory, and as happy an ending as you get in real life. But there were casualties along the way. Homosexuality was the subject of intense debate and social polarisation, and bigotry got more violent than usual. Two people I knew had their lives destroyed by severe head injuries. Sometimes you wondered if it was worth it.
"Every teenager in New Zealand who was worried about his or her own sexuality, particularly every teenage gay male, knew that this was a debate about whether he had any worth as a human being. There were more gay-related suicides than usual. And we went on, presenting our side, pretending to be calm and rational. The debate brought about a change in the law, and a change in perceptions, and it’s now easier to be gay or lesbian than it was. Much easier. So it wasn’t a mistake. The law reform wasn't important in itself, but was important, and the fight around it, to change people's thinking."
In 2005 Des Smith and John Jolliff were the first gay couple to enter into a Civil Union.
"The Homosexual Law Reform Act helps, no doubt," says Smith, "but with the law and the battle going on for so long, there was a lot of visibility. One thing we learned was how important visibility is. A lot of people would like us to go away, but being visible is part of our survival."
So what about us - the Naturist Community? What lessons can we learn from the LBGTQ experience that would provide us an effective methodology in the pursuit of our cause? Let's have a look at some. . .
1. Naturist organisations need a united front.
The first thing needed was a united front, established through a recognition of the desired outcome. For us, Naturist federations, clubs, and other nudist organisations need to start connecting, not falling out with each other like some
The law reform campaign gained a high profile through marches, meetings and extensive media coverage. Street marches in Wellington drew several thousand supporters of law reform, including this group with their placard 'What are you afraid of?'
clubs in New Zealand are doing. What is it with these people? Is it a desire for power, to be recognised as the leader and authority in all things naturist? Is it different ideologies? Whatever it is, it's not helping!
2. Naturists need to focus on the common task and not our differences.
We naturists need to put aside everything that's irrelevant to naturism and learn to work together. Disunity and disharmony are a sure recipe for failure. Let's stop discriminating against each other for stupid and irrelevant reasons. For example, single males have just as much a right to the naturist lifestyle as anyone else. Clubs that discriminate between single people and those in a relationship are showing their ignorance of one of the most basic tenets of naturism - inclusivity. They do it mainly to try and reach the (as yet) impossible dream of a 50 / 50 gender balance. I say "as yet" because I believe that as nudity becomes more and more commonplace in our society, gender balance will take care of itself.
Sexuality is another one. Clubs are known to refuse membership to anyone they suspect of identifying as anything other than straight. And to counter that, we have "naturist" enterprises set up to cater for gay people - particularly gay men. Newsflash! . . . Naturism has NOTHING to do with sexuality! Wake up, people! This kind of separatism works against the naturist ideology - not for it! Why? Because while we proclaim to the world that our lifestyle is non-sexual, that premise is never going to be believed by the general population, who know nothing about our lifestyle, seeing clubs and other establishments set up on the basis of sexual preference, or obviously geared to attract people of either a straight or some other gender identity.
3. Naturists need to learn the Law.
We cannot fight for our rights if we don't know the Rules of War. It's understandable that many non-naturist people think that being nude in public is against the law. But it's disappointing to come across so many naturists that don't know what is allowed and what is not. There is plenty of information on this website and others that explain the wording of the law, how the courts deal with cases of public nudity, how "Common Law" is administered, and how the police have been instructed to respond to complaints. Many naturists still can't get their head around just how much liberty we already enjoy. Every naturist should be fully conversant with the law and how to explain it clearly to others. Knowledge is power, and knowledge of the law will give you greater confidence.
4. Naturists need to stand up and be proud.
Here's the question: If we truly believe that Naturism is a valid, healthy and wholesome lifestyle choice, then why are we so ashamed that we have to hide it away from our friends, work colleagues, even our families, as though it's so vile and disgusting that we face being ostracised if they found out? If we believe in something, shouldn't we stand up for what we believe in? Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBT rights movements. Pride should be our motto as well!
I've been told that I'm lucky to live on a farm where I'm free to be naked, whereas some people long to be able to sunbathe naked in their backyard, or to do their gardening while naked, but believe their neighbours would frown on them. How do these naturists know that their neighbours disapprove? In most cases they don't know - it's just an assumption! And when asked why they don't approach the neighbours to find out, many are unwilling to do so - preferring instead to keep their lifestyle under wraps and to carry on just wishing for naked freedom in their own backyard! As for me being lucky? No. In fact, only a small percentage of our property is secluded. I'm relaxed about being naked at home because I've bothered to find out how the neighbours feel about it. It's as simple as that. No "luck" is involved!
The embarrassment and shame around nudity is not so much with the clothed masses - it's in our own heads! Promoting the normality of nudity will depend on naturists becoming proud of who they are, and not filled with this false sense of shame over their involvement in our noble lifestyle.
5. Naturists need to learn to be advocates of the lifestyle.
How do we sell the concept of nudity as a casual clothing option to the masses? Instead of rushing off to make a coffee during the ad breaks on TV, take a moment to actually study the ads and find out what makes them work. They all follow a basic set of principles to achieve their goal. You don't have to be an advertising guru to promote naturism, but two or three points are worth noting.
Firstly, know your product. How well do you know the basics of the Naturist Philosophy? Do you know the definition of Naturism, either as stated by the I.N.F., or the fuller definition on our website's FAQ page?
Secondly, become fully conversant with all the benefits that time spent without clothes can bring, physically, mentally and spiritually. They are listed comprehensively on our website under the "Benefits" tab.
Thirdly, discover the needs of your audience. Our modern society suffers in many areas of life, for example body shame, depression, ill health, loneliness, lack of confidence, prejudice, and many more. Think about the ways that Naturism addresses these issues and how people can benefit from this lifestyle.
With at least these three skills in your kitbag of knowledge, you're well on the way to selling our product to the world!
6. Naturists need to be visible.
What do you do when you're naked on a beach and you see clothed people walking towards you? Do you quickly throw your shorts back on or wrap a towel around you? What about when you're hiking nude in the forest and you meet people coming the other way? Do you stop and cover up or duck into the surrounding bush? What message do you think is sent to the clothed people by quickly covering up? The fact is you look like a child who knows he's been naughty and tries to hide! And it just reinforces, in the clothed person's mind, the notion that being naked is inherently rude and socially objectionable, and that the naked person knows it!
I feel frustrated every time I read a report or article in some naturist newsletter about people out on a walk or tramp or on a beach somewhere and meeting clothed people coming towards them and feeling compelled to wrap a sarong or towel around themselves. Here's an example from the January 2021 newsletter of a local group: "As well as working on our garden projects we did manage some lovely walks around the countryside near to where we live and on some of these, we
Body Painting is an annual event at Times Square, New York City. Public visibility is key to the ongoing push for normalisation of nudity. It can only progress if naked people are seen by clothed people in the same appropriate environments.
were able to strip off and walk for miles. We met a couple of female dog walkers at a stile on one occasion and quickly donned sarongs, but they weren’t really fazed by us being unclothed."
Covering up is the worst possible response in those situations! Instead, you should stay as you are and act exactly the same way as you would if you were clothed. As the people walking up the beach pass you, be polite, say "Hi", and carry on what you're doing. On a forest trail do the same - greet the other folk politely as they pass and don't be embarrassed. In some situations, they might pass comment and you may get the chance to promote the lifestyle to them. Nudity is not about getting out of your comfort zone. It's about modifying your comfort zone to include nudity.
Normalisation of nudity can only progress if naked people are seen by clothed people in the same appropriate environments. In the unlikely event that someone passes a negative comment, remember, the law is on your side and you should be able to inform them of the legality of what you're doing.
7. Naturists need to "think outside the box".
We should not overly disparage the landed nudist clubs and resorts around the country. As I mentioned before, they have played an extremely important role in getting the Naturist lifestyle recognised to the point it is today, and we should acknowledge that fact and be grateful.
But I believe the future will revolve around the non-landed clubs, such as folk who set up email subscriptions like the Bay of Plenty group, or internet-based groups such as Hauraki Naturally, because they are forced to think outside the box. They rent public facilities so their members can enjoy activities which they otherwise would never be able to experience naked. We've done hikes in National Forests that were attended by both naked and clothed people together. Non-landed groups can focus on promoting the lifestyle without all the burdens and hassles of owning and maintaining their own buildings and facilities. Naturists are concerned about nature, so why not getting in touch with the DoC offices and offer help in conserving the place and maintaining tracks? By working with authority groups we get to demonstrate that we are decent, law abiding people who simply like to be naked at times, for no better reason than that it's comfortable. In return, they become more accommodating when we need their assistance for activities.
8. Naturists need to focus on the future.
I dream of the day when the terms "Naturist", "Nudist", "Textile" no longer exist! Growing up as a kid on our Northland farm, clothing was always optional at home. Clothing was chosen and used for specific purposes when going out. If "going out" meant to the beach, then being naked was a clothing option for that purpose too. I had never heard the terms "naturist" or "textile", and a "nudist" was a person who belonged to one of those secret communities hidden away in the bush! We never used those terms to describe ourselves because we were all of those things at different times.
Hopefully the day will eventually come when we naturists/nudists will lose the need to keep holding onto those terms and stop using them. In fact, we naturists/nudist will cease to exist at all, because there will be no more "us" and "them" - just a society where everyone will be happy and comfortable to wear clothes or not wear clothes wherever and whenever they choose. How close are we now to the realisation of that dream?
A 2008 poll by Research New Zealand reported that 54% of New Zealanders supported the right of naturists to go nude on beaches currently used, with over half that number finding nudity acceptable on any beach. That was over 12 years ago. I think it's time for an updated poll, and I believe the results would demonstrate progress.
Young people growing up in today's society are taught to be more tolerant of other's differences and belief systems than were previous generations. The matter of Human Rights is more in the limelight today, and that makes for a fertile ground in which to plant the seeds of clothing-optional normality in the future.
31st December, 2020