One of my favorite things about naturism is how body-positive it is. This is going to sound pretty cheesy, but not only do we learn to accept our bodies and to find ourselves beautiful, but we also learn to find the beauty in other people’s bodies in a respectful manner. We learn about acceptance and that everyone is uniquely beautiful. We find the similarities between ourselves and others, but also the differences, which is all wonderful.
As I have mostly been engaging in nudism thus far through an online basis and started to post things and follow naturist accounts, I have also noticed a couple of things that I find intriguing. The first, and this seems so obvious in hindsight, is that almost every profile has to explicitly state that porn accounts will be blocked. This makes sense, as a majority of society associates nudity with being inherently sexual (though my thoughts on this are complex and I will have to make an entire post to just this at some point), so no one wants their photos of themselves practicing naturism to be used for the wrong intentions. But beyond that, I also have noticed that even though I am becoming more accustomed to the naked body, I still find myself having even the slightest of apprehension anytime I see a photo or think about posting a photo of my own. I always have a second thought and talk myself out of posting because I worry that people will assume that I am just trying to get my rocks off by pretending to be a nudist. So the question is…why?
One of the biggest myths I tend to come across about naturism is that it is all about sex. Ask any practicing naturist and this seems to be the furthest from the truth. As I stated before, naturism is about acceptance and getting rid of preconceived notations that the naked body is something dirty. It is about being around others without the “shield” that clothing can create. We get to connect with not only one another but also the outside world in the most natural way possible. However, I can’t help but worry where the thin line is that separates celebrating nudism and exhibitionism, especially when it comes to creating some sort of media that others will view.
If you watch any popular show, especially on HBO, it is not as uncommon to come across nudity, though it is almost always done sexually. Just watch a couple episodes of Game of Thrones and you’ll see plenty of this. However, one of the reasons I am still really apprehensive about posting pictures is that still very rarely will media depict any sort of frontal nudity of men. Using Game of Thrones as an example (I found a link to an interesting article about the nudism inside of GOT), it is clear that even the most nude of shows refrain from showing something like male nudity.
When it comes to film, the discrepancy of male vs female nudity is also apparent, as described in this article. In the article, there are a couple of things that I find interesting. The first is a reference to a 2018 analysis of 1100 films that shows that 25.4% of women appeared in some sort of mixture of “sexy attire/nudity”, while the number for men was at only 9.6%. The reason I bring this discrepancy up is to point out that male nudity is still much more rare, and therefore it plays into the stigma of wanting to post nude photos of our own as it is still made to seem bizarre to see a nude male to the larger public. It plays into the false thought that nudity is something intimate, and if someone is shown naked, it is supposed to be because it is titillating and meant to be exciting.
With all that said, there was one part of the article that really stood out to me that gave me some clarity on the topic:
There’s a difference between sexy and sexist, Smith says. We shouldn’t conflate the two. Take a woman in a bikini. If the woman actively participated in discussions and decisions around her appearance, “we have to recognize that she had agency, that she has an interest in these images and therefore they’re not sexist in the same way” as more lewd forms of representation where a woman has no say.
When I read that quote and think about the topic, I come to my answer. It all boils down to context and intention. Sure, this is the internet and no one can ever know our exact intentions. Anything can be misconstrued, but that should not stop us. Art is a picture taken to express something. It only turns into a dick pic when it is posted to cause excitement out of someone else. Art is going to be done when someone is sharing something to open up to others or bring them into their world to see them be vulnerable. A dick pic is going to be shared to get power over someone else, to make them have some sort of lust or desire for what they see. So, if someone’s posts intend to normalize the nude body and it is done so without a sexual context, then I say we should be able to post away without any worries!
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