Should nudists be represented by beautiful people?

I was thinking about this whilst writing about Lady God1va.  Being an attractive woman, she is the sort of person the media want to have as a spokesperson for naturism.  It is unfortunate, but many people’s aversion to nudism is not directed to nudity as to ugliness.  How many times have you seen ignorant trolls posting “I don’t want to see that” and similar comments in response to articles which include pictures of old or overweight naturists.  A lot of people are very superficial.  Recent interviews in Portsmouth about whether men should be allowed to go topless often got the response “It’s ok if they are not fat.” The media would rather show (and the public would rather see) young, fit naturists; preferably female ones, who are seen as less threatening.

However, interviews with attractive female naturists are likely to attract the wrong sort of attention.  How many people watching “My daughter the teenage naturist.” chose to watch it because of an interest in naturism and how many were watching it because it featured a young naked woman?  Perhaps people might tune in to see boobs, but learn something useful and interesting about naturism.  However it could also perpetuate the sexualisation of nudity.

The use of attractive spokespeople also leads to the opposite effect, with people saying “It’s ok for people who look like her.”   This was the response of some people when nudists in Manchester were promoting a naked dinner party.  If attractive people are talking about being naked people with poor body confidence will compare themselves and think “I’m not good enough”.  If older, overweight people are advocating nudism, them shallow members of the public with take the attitude of “I don’t want to see that.” Which leads to wanting nudists to keep out of public areas.

The only solution seems to be having us represented by a mixed group of people of all ages and shapes, but this potentially invites both types of negative responses.

What do people think?


About Colin H

Ancient historian specialising in Greco-Roman siegecraft who also does 11th century reenactment. I am also a keen dancer and a nudist.
This entry was posted in Nudism and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Should nudists be represented by beautiful people?

  1. genevieveharvey18 says:

    Reblogged this on Naked Imp and commented:
    I’m not going to ‘over comment’ on this too much. I have just written a piece along a very similar vein. Quite simply people have to be able to break the connection between naked and sex. Then, and only then, can you stop looking at people as ‘attractive’ and see them as people.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with the premise of the article but something I am always hearing from within the naturist/nudist community is how upset that you never see the old, fat and not so good looking people represented in advertisements for various resorts, beaches and other activities. It is almost as if we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

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  4. Lucky13th says:

    It all boils down to the fact that we are all different, in both our appearence and also how we view the naked body. It would seem though, that those who are body conscious themselves are the first ones to declare “I don’t want to look at that” (and also those who are just plain ignorant). However, I feel that true naturist, or people who are open to naturism, when they look, just see skin, and don’t judge how much of it there is, how young/wrinkly it is; or what colour it is, mainly because they are not in the naturist environment to look at naked people, but for their own experience of social naturism and the feeling it gives them.
    So in my opinion, the best person or people to represent naturism would be someone who understands what it’s about and therefore how they look is irrelevant. Having said that, there is an obvious age group that appear to be missing from most social meets (late teens to late 30’s) and I would therefore suggest that a person or rather a group of people representing naturism should also represent all age groups.

    • Colin H says:

      Well said. As you say, it shouldn’t matter to naturists what other naturists look like, including those who are publicly representing us. Yet it may influence how non-naturists view us. I think it is best to have a group of people of all shapes and ages to represent us in the media when possible, just to show that naturism can appeal to everyone. But what about situations where there is just one person acting as a spokesman? I agree that the persons views and ability to articulate them more important than how than how they look, but I do think that looks influence how people view naturists.

      Naturism is often depicted as being a healthy lifestyle, and certainly has its origin in very health conscious culture. Would this be harmed by having a fat regional spokesman? Would a very attractive representative attract the wrong sort of people for all the wrong reasons? In an ideal world it shouldn’t matter, but I think that where it is necessary to have a single spokesman or woman, it is best that they be someone who comes across as an ‘everyman,’ someone whose appearance is unlikely to receive comment.

  5. Richard Sargent says:

    In my day to day conversations I state as all around me know that I am a naturist ,nudist, clothing free spirit, and simply someone who does not like to wear clothes!! I try to teach every day to all I meet the benefits both in ourselves learning to be Clothes Free and letting our children grow up that way for I believe this is the way to change this backwardness in society!! We plant a seed and nurture it thru the years if necessary!!!

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  7. Nicky says:

    Ah no, because then it would send a wrong message about body acceptance and accepting of all natural body types

    • Colin H says:

      I agree, but if mainly overweight people are shown harms the image of naturism as a healthy lifestyle. Older spokespeople will only serve to reinforce the stereotype that naturists (at least in the UK and US) are mainly old.

      Hence I think it is best for any PR work to have a whole group of people of all ages, shapes and sizes to represent naturism, rather than individual spokespeople.

      • Nicky says:

        The problem with Nudism, is that beautiful people would represent the face and front of Nudism. It would leave out average people. It would not show average bodies and different bodies. which is why Nudism should include all natural body types.

  8. Steve Yna NY says:

    Perhaps we could think of the textile problem with nudity in two ways – first it is the all pervasive phobia of being naked. Fear of others nakedness, fear of self nakedness. Second, there is the hyper-sexual nature of our society, created in large part by hiding the nude form, except the exceptionally beautiful where the nudity is sexually charged for largely commercial exploitation. Naturism needs to aggressively break down both dysfunctions. We need to demonstrate naked behavior in all kinds of non-sexual, non-commercial ways, where appropriate (at the beach, non-sexual gatherings and activities etc.). We should use representatives of all kinds when communicating this, in order to demonstrate that we are all naked bodies, and normal. People need to confront things beyond their comfort zone in order to dissemble these dysfunctions. Naturism can speak to ‘old’ because we are all heading there, and we need to love people no matter how old or beautiful they are. Naturism can speak to ‘fat’ because we should be offering up hope and teaching to get healthier, and to lose weight where apporpriate. Naturism can break down the naked-sex association by maintinaing strict non-lewd behavior and engage in strictly non-sexual activity (keep the sex private). Different representatives should address these different facets. Overweight naturists may want to address getting healthier. Older naturists way want to address the critical issues of accepting and caring for the aging and ill. Perhaps a very beautiful young naturist can discuss their appreciation for an environment where they can be naked without others objectifying them as sexual objects. The key is to match the right body type, age, etc. for the particular message – naturism and its message is not one size fits all. We need to get more sophisticated in HOW we represent ourselves.

    • Colin H says:

      That is an excellent and extremely well thought out response. Thanks.

      • Steve Yna NY says:

        You are welcome, and thanks for your affirmation – I am working hard to bring more concrete answers to the often confused, muddled world of naturism and its struggle to crystalize its identity and relationship to the textile world. I blog as Steve YNA Upstate NY on the Young Naturists of America website, and our chapter facebook page YNA Upstate NY

    • Nicky says:

      Part of the problem with society is that they can’t seem to separate sex with nudism. Which is a problem in America, where people equate nudism with sex.

  9. I believe it is important to show a diverse group (like your background photo). Too often, when visiting a nude beach or resort, I feel out of place because everyone is over 60. I don’t mind seeing less than attractive naturists, but it makes me feel out of place when I am the only person under 40. I also think that naturists need to start caring about their health. Some nudists think their looks don’t matter or should not matter, so they let themselves go. But if you weigh 300 pounds due to overeating and lack of exercise, you need to take better care of yourself. On the other hand, we should not accept the extremely narrow view as to what constitutes beautiful. Beauty can come in all shapes and sizes. Blogs on Tumblr, like “Naked State” do a great job showing a mix of people. I think it’s the best way to promote the lifestyle. I am a writer who has written the first naturist heroes in fantasy, Xandr and Thelana. My problem is that my heroes have to be attractive, as heroes. As an author and fiction writer, I try to walk a fine line between stereotypical/exaggerated beauty and realistic/natural body types.

  10. manuel duarte says:

    thanks for sharing some insights about Naturism and the spiritual values associated with it…

  11. Tim Shea says:

    Here in yhe states a clothing store “American Apperal” was featuering ethnicly adverage models ( offten semi nude) and it was much talked about. these models were not “classic” beauties but real women. That’s what is needed here, just real normal people. Not super models or seinors with a spread. Just my 2 cents.

  12. Reblogged this on home clothes free and commented:
    The challenge as I seeit is the same people who are needed to represent broad cross section of people and body types in nudism may not feel comfortable being photographed becuase of the social stigma against “imperfect” bodies

  13. The issue isn’t always restricted to purely naturism. Attractive, young women are the go-to for many examples of advertising and media. Those who use images of beautiful people do so because it supposedly makes whatever they are trying to sell desirable and aspirational.
    It’s also worth considering that often naturism is represented in media by people who aren’t themselves naturists. For example the ‘My Daughter the Teenage Nudist’ programme – that was a film about naturists made by non-naturists – and they chose that title (managing to convey in five words that the film was going to feature naked teenage girls). They were simply adhering to the same convention as everyone else – youth, beauty and sex sells.
    Of course, the problem is that as promoters of naturism we are selling an idea that doesn’t really consider youth, beauty or sex to be any more valuable than a hundred other things. As such, sticking young and beautiful people over everything is somewhat misleading. But it may be a game we have to play to be able to popularise naturism more widely.

  14. Christopher Judson says:

    I don’t think that’s needed. That’s the problem with many nudist websites.

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