129-149. Additional legal support for Naturism.196
129. Case history demonstrates that laws requiring women to cover their breasts are not justified by cultural
prejudices and preconceptions.197
130. Laws requiring women, but not men, to cover their breasts are written entirely from a male
perspective, assuming that men's bodies are natural and normal, and that women's bodies must be covered because
they are different.
Reena Glazer observes that "under sameness theory, women can get equal treatment only to the extent that
they are the same as men." 198 Physical differences among the races do not justify discrimination, and neither
should physical differences between the sexes.
131. Laws requiring women to cover their breasts are not justified by claims that women's bodies are
significantly different from men's; nor by inaccurate claims that breasts are sex organs; nor by the fact that breasts
may play a role in sex or sex play; nor by the fact that breasts are prominent secondary sex characteristics.
It can't be argued that women have breasts and men don't, because both do; nor can it be argued that
women have larger, often protruding breasts, because many women are flat-chested while many men have large
breasts. Breasts are not sex organs, for they are not essential to reproduction, and in fact have nothing to do with it.
A woman with no breasts can have a baby. Breasts serve the physiological function of nourishing a baby--but this is
a maternal function, not a sexual one. Breasts may play a role in sex play, but other body parts do too, and are not
censured--particularly the hands, and the mouth (which, incidentally, is veiled by Shi'ite Moslems, partly for that
very reason, though only on women). And while breasts are secondary sex characteristics, so are beards, which are
not restricted on men.
132. Mere nudity is not in itself lewd or "indecent exposure," a distinction upheld by extensive legal
133. Mere nudity cannot be offensive or immoral "conduct"--for it is not conduct at all, but merely the
natural state of a human being.
It should be no less legitimate to be in this natural human state than to be clothed. One's ethnicity is also a
natural state of being, and discrimination on this basis is illegal. It should be equally illegal to discriminate on the
basis of appearing in the natural state common to all humanity.
134. Given the challenge of defining modesty standards, which are by nature ambiguous, legislators have
often found it to be more complicated to prohibit nudity than to sanction it.
For example, in the local anti-nudity legislation of St. John's County, Florida, we find this painstakingly
elaborate definition of "buttocks:" "The area at the rear of the human body (sometimes referred to as the gluteus
maximus) which lies between two imaginary straight lines running parallel to the ground when a person is standing,
the first or top such line being a half-inch below the top of the vertical cleavage of the nates (i.e., the prominence
formed by the muscles running from the back of the hip to the back of the leg) and the second or bottom such line
being a half-inch above the lowest point of the curvature of the fleshy protuberance (sometimes referred to as the
gluteal fold), and between two imaginary straight lines, one on each side of the body (the 'outside lines'), which
outside lines are perpendicular to the ground and to the horizontal lines described above, and which perpendicular
outside lines pass through the outermost point(s) at which each nate meets the outer side of each leg.
Notwithstanding the above, buttocks shall not include the leg, the hamstring muscle below the gluteal fold, the
tensor fasciae latae muscles, or any of the above described portion of the human body that is between either (i) the
left inside perpendicular line and the left outside perpendicular line or (ii) the right inside perpendicular line and the
right outside perpendicular line. For the purpose of the previous sentence, the left inside perpendicular line shall be
an imaginary straight line on the left side of the anus (i) that is perpendicular to the ground and to the horizontal
lines described above and (ii) that is one third of the distance from the anus to the left outside line. (The above
description can generally be described as covering one third of the buttocks centered over the cleavage for the length
of the cleavage.)" 200
135. A large portion of state and local government anti-nudity regulations have been legislated by
individual high officials or small groups, without public review. This is undemocratic and contrary to the principle
of due process.
Florida, for example, closed most of its nude beaches in 1983 without public review.
136. By extensive legal precedent, it is unquestionably legal to be nude in private, on private property.
137. Many state or local governments have also explicitly legislated the right to be nude in designated
public areas, such as legally-sanctioned nude beaches.
Legal nude beaches are rare but not non-existent in North America. British Columbia, for example,
currently has one legally sanctioned nude beach, and Oregon has two.
138. There is no universal federal prohibition against nudity on public land. In general, public land agencies
view nude recreation--conducted with discretion and sensitivity to the varying values of others--as "legitimate
Many state and local governments (notably Oregon, Vermont, and the California Department of Recreation
and Parks) have followed the federal policy as well, without conflict.
William Penn Mott, a former Director of the National Park Service, wrote: "NPS must consciously seek to
respect and accommodate wide ranging differences among visitors and professional colleagues in lifestyles and
values with sympathy, dignity, and tolerance. I believe that parks are a place where the human spirit is more free,
more capable of permitting people to be themselves, closer to a oneness with universal truths about humankind and
about our relationship to nature and the sacred truths by which we live. . . . I believe it is too easy for government
employees--all of us--to think there is only one way to enjoy and use the parks and that when the visitor enters 'our
parks' they must 'do it our way.'" 202
139. The nude use of most federal lands is, in fact, constitutional because there is no universal federal law
prohibiting it. The Ninth Amendment specifically says that no freedoms shall be denied which are not specifically
140. The mandate of public land agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service provide for diversity of
recreation. Historically, provisions have been made even for extreme minority forms of recreation. Recreational
diversity ought to also include provisions for nude recreation.
A 1983 Gallup poll found that 14% of Americans occasionally enjoyed nude recreation.204 How many
activities does 14% of the American public participate in, of any kind? Surely not hunting, snowmobiling, mountain
biking, or the use of off-road vehicles, all of which have designated areas set aside for their use!
141. Clothing-optional recreation is less offensive to most people than many other forms of recreation
which are openly tolerated and even promoted on public land.
A study by Dr. Steven D. Moore of the University of Arizona demonstrated that encountering nude bathers
on public land is five times more acceptable to the public than encountering hunters.205
142. Naturists certainly deserve at least as much consideration by land management agencies as resource-damaging
activities such as off-road vehicle use.
As Pat O'Brien points out, "avoiding nude people in places where they're expected to be is easy. That isn't
true when it comes to other sanctioned uses of our public lands and waterways. The roar and stink of a snowmobile
or other off-road vehicles can't be ignored, and you'd best not overlook a jetskier in the water near you. Why then is
it so objectionable for us to ask to use a small amount of space on a non-exclusive basis, in ways that do not pollute
and do not drive others away?" 206
143. The Wilderness Act of 1963 defined wilderness areas as "lands designated for preservation and
protection in their natural condition." They are to be managed in a manner that maintains them in as natural a state
as possible. It follows that human should be able to enjoy wilderness areas in their own most natural state, free from
the artificial constraints of clothing.
144. Public wilderness areas ought to be places where human freedoms, including nude recreation, are
observed more freely than anywhere else. Wilderness should be our measure of carefully controlled anarchy, our
refuge free of any but the most necessary intrusions by government rules and regulations. Do we not go to
wilderness for these very reasons, and would it not be compromised by undue outside interference, such as
unnecessary clothing regulations?
145. Recreation managers unfortunately often "solve" the issue of nude recreation, not by managing it, but
by ignoring it.
Thus managers "permit" nudity on remote beaches without facilities or lifeguards, then point to litter, drug
use, and other problems as a consequence of the nudity rather than the lack of active management.
146. If public nude recreation can be widely accepted in societies considered repressive by Americans (for
example, formerly-socialist Yugoslavia, once-communist East Germany, Orthodox Greece, or Catholic France), it
ought to be tolerated in democratic Europe and in America, "the land of the free." 207
Lee Baxandall has reported that "almost every town [on East Germany's coast] has an FKK [nude] beach,
some 90 sites serving 200,000 campers/lodgers annually; more FKK than textile beaches. A GDR poll found 57% of
the population approving of nude recreation, 30% had no opinion, and only 13% opposed." 208 Unfortunately, with
the reunification of Germany, the West has exported to the East both pornography and beach restrictions: now that
East Germany is "free," many of its beaches aren't. A June 1992 UPI dispatch from Ahlbeck noted that "the
controversy stems from the introduction of western German-style regulations on traditionally nude eastern German
beaches." 209 Ironically, authority for the new prohibitions of nudity stems from a Nazi-era regulation carrying the
signature of Heinrich Himmler.210
147. Anti-nudity laws are demeaning because they replace individual responsibility with state control.
148. It is inappropriate to use police resources to crack down on peaceful bathers at a beach simply because
they are nude, while taking valuable resources away from other more urgent needs.
149. It is a cruel reversal of justice when the law frowns on innocent skinnydippers, while gawkers on the
fringe of the nude beach, who pervert and fetishize the body, are accepted as "normal."
196. Legal questions about nudity are hotly debated in current politics, especially as part of the conservative agendas
of groups like the so-called "Christian Coalition." Most legal challenges mistakenly seek to restrict all nudity in an
attempt to censure pornography, especially topless bars. Naturist advocacy organizations, such as the Naturist
Action Committee, have been working hard with limited resources to combat these legal challenges. Current
updates on legal issues may be found in The Naturist Society's Nude & Natural magazine, and in the "Naturist
Action Committee Newsletter." In any case, the specific details regarding legal tolerance of nudity are constantly
changing. The wise naturist should check current conditions before venturing out in the buff.
197. Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan, 458 U.S. 718, 725; People v. Santorelli, 80 N.Y.2d 875 (1992). See
also Glazer 128; Fahringer 138-40.
198. Glazer 117. See also Agate 75-76.
199. See Baxandall, World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts 30; Wyner 68; Semple 11; In re Chad Merrill Smith,
497 P.2d 807 (Ca., 1972); Goodmakers v. State, 450 So.2d 888 (Fla.); Duvallon v. State, 404 So.2d 196 (1981);
Felton v. City of Pensacola, 390 U.S. 340 (Fla., 1967); People v. Gilbert, 338 N.Y.S.2d 457 (1972); People v.
Hardy, 357 N.Y.S.2d 970 (1974); People v. Ventrice, 408 N.Y.S.2d 990; Bruns v. Pomerleau, 319 F. Supp. 58, 67
(Md., 1970); House v. Commonwealth, 169 S.E.2d 572 (Va., 1969); United States v. Central Magazine Sales, 281
F.2d 821 (1967); et al.
200. "Well-Defined Buttocks" 32; O'Brien, "The Florida Puzzle" 30.
201. Baxandall, World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts 15-16. See also Naturist Action Committee 26.
202. "National Park Service" 46, quoting from the April 1986 issue of the National Park Service journal Courier.
203. Note that while the vast majority of federal areas are legally open to judicious nude use, a few have special
management guidelines prohibiting nudity; and in recent years a few others have fallen under new "concurrent
jurisdiction" guidelines, which require them to enforce anti-nudity state or county ordinances.
204. "Gallup Poll" 4.
205. Moore 10, 20-22.
206. O'Brien, "The Naked Truth" 46.
207. Officially recognized nude beaches are common in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, The
Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Scotland, Russia, and
Cuba; but the U.S. casts its lot with China, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, and much of Central and South America in
condemning nude recreation (O'Brien, "The Naked Truth" 46).
208. Baxandall, World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts 194.
209. "Losses on Germany's Nude Coast" 33-35.
210. "The Ostsee Beaches" 34.