Just say the word “naked” out loud amidst a group of people and see how many turn round to listen to what you’re saying. You’ll see their ears flapping! Now say the word “Naturist.” Did that cause as much interest? Probably not,but to us they are one and the same, so why is it so different to the unconverted?
Although, thinking about it, it’s good that nakedness gets more of a reaction than Naturist, as that is exactly what we are striving for – complete blasé, which would mean complete acceptance instead of the perceived shock that some Naturists still think will occur.
Television channels often give out a warning before a programme if it contains something that “you might find offensive.” The categories are usually “violence, strong language and scenes of nudity.” Now I understand you might not want to watch somebody having their head sliced off or people ‘effing and blinding’ from the word go, but why do they suggest we’re going to find nudity offensive? Whilst most of us wouldn’t want to watch a couple copulating, there is a vast difference between unnecessary, sexual nudity and a casual glimpse of a bare body as they get out of bed, though they are usually wrapping themselves in the sheets as if they are ashamed of their body, not wishing their partner, who must have seen them the night before, to see them in the light of day!
I think we need to get people comfortable with seeing nudity in everyday situations before we can ever expect them to accept what we do as a perfectly healthy, family lifestyle. Take some time to listen to the TV adverts, instead of using them to go to the loo or put the kettle on, and you’ll hear about nudity and catch a glimpse or a suggestion of a naked person, all in a way to advertise something that has no connection with nudity except for the fact that it will draw people in. It doesn’t work at selling the item to me, as I rarely recall the product! I realised this when I tried to think of examples to quote here and realised it was only a vague memory, and I had to sit and watch ITV in the hope of catching these weak attempts of provocation on our screens. But their attempt at teasing the viewers can be to our advantage, as it is usually done quite tastefully and is widely accepted.
There’s even a range of wholesome cereal bars called “Nakd” and a range of granola breakfast cereals called “Naked”, and I deduce the reason for these namesis to show they contain only the real thing, the good bits with no unnecessary additives – a bit like Naturists being people without clothes!
In the ten years that I’ve been a Naturist I am sure there is now more on TV or written in the press about Naturism and usually in a positive way. Some of us have become braver about speaking out and sharing what was once, very much, a secret pastime.
Since I’ve been advertising Blackthorns in our local free publications we’ve used a selection of photos, but the one that is most popular with the editorial teams is that which pictures what they refer to as “the bare bums”. They love that one; a couple walking through the trees. It’s simple, but not too risqué, and they obviously think it goes down well with their readers, otherwise they wouldn’t suggest we use it. We seem to be losing the ridicule of naked people bouncing their bits up and down, as portrayed in the Carry On films, and people are more interested in finding out what we do and why we do it, and that’s a good place to start. Try to keep it simple, but not too simple – don’t say, “I go into the woods and get naked with people”, as that might worry them!
We want people to understand why we do it, and not think it rude or scary behaviour!
If we all aim to bring it into conversation at the right time with sufficient information to inform and interest people, one day it will be perfectly acceptable and you will no longer need to make up stories about where you go and what you do at weekends.
I don’t think they’re ready to share your holiday snaps just yet, but one day that will happen and it’s down to us to play a part in making it so.
This is how I explain what I do to someone who has heard I do it and shown a glimmer of interest:
“Imagine 15 acres of woodland full of trees and pretty flowers, birds and butterflies that shuts the world out and creates a little bit of paradise to calm our stressed out bodies and minds. In the centre we have a heated outdoor pool and a patio that catches the sun. We share a barbecue and each cook our evening meal together and dine as the sun goes down. We have a kiosk dispensing ice creams and cold drinks and we lounge on the lawns enjoying a drink and good company with lots of laughs and banter, and if the temperature is warm enough we shed our clothes and feel even more relaxed and comfortable!”
By the time I get to the clothes bit, they are hooked and ask if they can tag along, and when they realise we go naked they actually visualise not the naked bodies or perceived awkwardness, but the comfort and relaxing mood that I’ve painted.
That’s how to get people interested! No hard sell. No knocking what they do instead. No demands that they must do it, too. Nothing but describing the benefits.
Just say it as if it’s perfectly normal, and one day it will be!