Naturism – A Human Remedy
It’s been a crazy few years! The whole world seems to be falling apart with major issues confronting the entire planet: global warming, Russia’s attack on Ukraine and unrest in many other areas, viral pandemics, crumbling economies and soaring inflation and cost of living . . . the list goes on!
How have we as advocates of naturism responded to these matters? A short time ago, I happened to bring up a social issue that I considered important in a certain social media group and was soon lambasted for doing so.
“This is a naturist group,” they cried. “Stay on topic and keep your opinions to yourself!” Looking down all the posts, the conversations revolve around nakedness – being naked, seeing others naked, posting nude photos and gathering affirmative emojis. Dare to speak of other things and you are likely to be vilified and gagged! Why? Is naturism just a drug that anaesthetises our brains to the things going on around us? Is it just another form of escape from reality? When did it become taboo to talk about the social and political challenges of our everyday lives? When did we become so single-minded that nothing but how, when and why you spent today without clothes really matters? Why can’t we see that naturism is far more than just being naked?
Those of you who have seen our website will know that we at Hauraki Naturally stand with the people of Ukraine in their fight to preserve their right to self determination and their desire to be free to determine how they should live. After all, is that not the same freedom that we naturists seek in a society that largely believes that nakedness is inappropriate?
Hauraki Naturally stands against those who seek to trample on people's rightful liberties. Why? What has it got to do with naturism? Well – everything, actually!
The Statutes from the 2014 INF-FNI Congress give this definition of naturism: "Naturism is a way of life in harmony with nature whose activities are not directed towards profit. It is characterized by the practice of common nudity, with the intention of encouraging respect for oneself, respect for others and respect for the environment."
How can we possibly claim to be part of a movement that promotes self-respect and respect for others when we deliberately shut down any conversation that raises matters of oppression and injustice towards fellow humans? It wasn’t always like this. Lucille Hansen, co-owner of the Circle H Nude Ranch in the 1960s said, "Naturism is nudism with a social conscience.” And then there was Lee Baxandall, (1935 – 2008), an American writer, translator, editor, and activist, known for his New Left engagement with cultural topics and then as a leader of the naturist movement in America, who famously stated in his 1991 mini-documentary Experience the Freedom of the Naturist Lifestyle, “Naturists seek a remedy to civilization that has turned dangerous. Naturism is a civilized characteristic.” He saw Naturism as a model of respect that he believed had the potential to heal a broken world. And it behoves us to follow in his footsteps.
Marc-Alain Descamps (1930-2018) was a French psychologist and yoga teacher, who wrote several books about naturism and naturist living. He held a much disciplined view of Naturism that would be at odds with most naturists today, in that he rejected the idea that “everyone lives their naturism as they see fit”. Rather, he insisted that Naturism is a system of production of values:
The rehabilitation of the human body
The vital need for close contact with nature
The ability to self-control
The management of looks (the gaze)
Naturism as a laboratory of democracy
Lee Baxandall, known for his New Left engagement with cultural topics, founded The Naturist Society in 1980 and was the first editor of its magazine, Clothed with the Sun, launched in 1981 and renamed Nude & Natural in 1989.
Descamps saw Naturism as a “human remedy”, participating in a larger social project designed to bring about a richer more evolved civilization that understood real freedom. He saw naturism as embracing social issues as an importance far beyond mere nakedness. And he believed naturism was a precursor to environmentalism, saying that naturists should be thinking about protecting the environment in order to protect humanity from the effects of climate change. In his book, A Naturist Society Project, he stated, "Naturism engenders a peaceful attitude. It considers that international problems must be settled by diplomacy and not by wars."
People like Hansen, Baxandall, Descamps, King and many more remind us that standing by, silently watching the freedoms of others being trampled underfoot, is simply not the Naturist
way! By doing so, we would unwittingly deny ourselves the freedoms we want for ourselves. And that’s why we at Hauraki Naturally had no hesitation, when asked by our website host, to place the banner on our homepage declaring that we stand with the people of Ukraine. It’s the right thing to do and the naturist thing to do.
30 July 2022
"A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”
Dr Martin Luther King jr