Naturism |ˈneɪtʃ(ə)rɪz(ə)m| noun:
"A philosophical belief in a natural, naked lifestyle" characterised by respect: for oneself, for others and for the natural environment.
The challenges we face
Naturism has a long history in the UK and a recent survey indicated that some 4 million of us enjoy some part of our lives clothes-free. Yet despite this, naturism and naturists still face a range of significant challenges:
1. Legal ambiguity and confusion
There is often a presumption that someone who is naked in a public place is either up to no good or possibly even mentally infirm. Despite clear guidelines from the Crown Prosecution Service, this presumption often includes police officers, the courts' service and other civil authorities with the consequence that naturists can sometimes be wrongly challenged, arrested and even prosecuted. BN works to challenge these presumptions, to provide guidance to those involved in law enforcement and to support members who are wrongfully arrested as a result of going about lawful Naturist activities.
2. Media Pressure
The modern 24/7 media has a powerful influence on our lives and not always for the good. Across all forms of media there is a predominance of 'beautiful' and 'perfect' models who are not representative of most 'normal' people. This can often leave us feeling dissatisfied with our bodies, feeling that they somehow don't measure up and consequently ashamed and self-conscious about ourselves. BN works to challenge unreasonable expectations for how we should look and live our lives and to promote healthy living and body confidence.
3. Media and Government Censorship
In today's sexualised society there is a strong irony that pictures of naked people are often removed or pixelated because they are believed to be sexual in nature and somehow harmful - especially to children. BN works to challenge the fallacy that non-sexual nudity is harmful - especially to children - and to promote non-sexual nudity as a healthy contribution to support healthy body confidence.
BN is the national representative body for naturists in the UK, so we campaign not just for our 8000+ members but on behalf our all naturists in the UK. Our objectives are to:
- Achieve greater acceptance of and participation in Naturism.
- Promote greater understanding of Naturism and social nudity, especially amongst public authorities and officials.
- Improve facilities and opportunities for Naturism.
- Promote body confidence and well-being.
What We Do
So what do we mean by ‘campaigning’? Basically, it’s a combination of all the work we do in connection with promotion and protection, including:
- Educating the public about Naturism.
- Raising the profile and spreading the word about what a wonderful, life-affirming, healthy thing it is to do.
- Challenging any misconceptions or prejudices about the purpose of Naturism or the motivations of Naturists.
- Spreading understanding about the fact that Naturism is Legal.
- Working with authorities, including the Police, to minimise wrongful arrests, but also...
- Helping Naturists who do get into trouble, if necessary supporting them right up to any court appearances.
- Encouraging Naturists to be open and confident to talk to friends and colleagues about it.
- Correcting errors in media articles, blogs, in fact anywhere anyone gets it wrong!
1. National Campaigns
As a UK wide organisation with over 8000 members, BN is ideally placed to organise large national campaigns. Our campaigns team, supported by BN staff, media and social-media managers, a network of nearly 100 members' clubs and a huge mailing list gives us the leverage to make a real impact. We utilise these resources to organise a range of ongoing national campaigns such as The Great British Skinny Dip, Tell Just One Person and Women In Naturism. We also work in partnership with other appropriate organisations where we face similar issues or share similar goals.
2. Regional and Local Campaigns
Many of the challenges that naturists face are best challenged at a local level. Individual local councils or public officials often need to be challenged on case by case basis; elected officials will pay closest attention to concerns raised by their constituents. BN therefore supports a network of dedicated and enthusiastic regional and local campaigners who identify issues, challenge discriminatory behaviour and engage positively with local officials to promote opportunities Naturism. A personal approach often gives the best outcome.
BN's legal team leads on our ongoing efforts to engage with the police, courts' service and other public bodies at a national level. They provide specialist advice and guidance on a range of issues around naturism, body confidence, censorship and regulation and child safety. They worked with the CPS to produce their guidance for prosecutors and the courts service and produced BN's own Legal Guides for members.
4. Research and Advice
The legal and campaigns teams work together to support a range of ongoing research and guidance. For example the drafting of BN's ground-breaking Children Deserve Better report produced in 2016 was led by our Campaigns' Director but was contributed to by a wide range of BN members and volunteers. Everyone's contribution helped to shape the final document. Also in 2016 we worked on a ground breaking research project in partnership with Dr Keon West of Goldsmiths University and in September 2016 helped to present the findings at the British Psychological Society Social Section Annual Conference in Cardiff. This research is ongoing, encouraging and supporting the academic world in properly researching the benefits, and lack of harm, of naturism.
Our legal team, supported by a range of volunteers, are on available to provide direct support to members who may be arrested and face prosecution because of their naturism. Our team liaise directly with defence lawyer, the police and court service and if necessary attend court in support of members or as expert witnesses.
6. Legal Fund
BN maintains a separate legal fund to help support any legal campaigns or to help defend court cases when important points of principle are at stake.
Campaigns and Case Studies
Great British Skinny Dip Current Campaign
The Great British Skinny Dip is BN's annual campaign aimed at helping people to enjoy the benefits of social nudity. Launched in 2016, The Great British Skinny Dip (GBSD) enters its second year and thanks to the documentary we made that was broadcast in February on Channel 4, many millions of people are now aware of it and looking forward to joining in.
Women in Naturism Current Campaign
Women in Naturism is an ongoing initiative to try and attract more women into Naturism and to help build body confidence.
Just One Person Current Campaign
A scheme to encourage people to talk about Naturism outside of the Community. We hope to inspire those who do not talk about their Naturist lifestyle choice outside to tell just one person.
Holkham Beach Campaign Case Study
A good example of a successful regional campaign against the closure of a popular naturist beach in Norfolk.
Children Deserve Better Report Case Study
A ground-breaking report by British Naturism which received widespread acclaim.
Nudity and the Police Case Study
A long running project to try to address the problem that nudity in a public place is not illegal, but it is often treated as if it is by the Police, Crown Prosecution Service and the Courts.
This was a campaign, arising from a grass roots idea of BN members, many of whom had volunteered to help run it. It was aimed at declaring 5th August 2017 to be National Be Naked Day.