Family Skinnydippers

205 Arguments in Support of Social Nudity
as presented by The Naturist Society

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 Preface
 Nudity is often more comfortable and practical than clothing
 Naturism promotes mental health
 Some observations on the nature of modesty
 Naturism promotes sexual health
 Naturism promotes physical health
 Naturism is socially constructive
 Naturism is healthy for the family
 Naturism is especially consistent with feminism and the struggle for women's freedom
 Naturism is more natural than clothes-compulsiveness
 Accepted clothing requirements are arbitrary and inconsistent
 Naturism is growing in acceptance
 Constitutional support for Naturism
 Additional legal support for Naturism
 Historical support for Naturism
 Historical origins of the repression of nudity
 Christianity supports Naturism
 Personal experience supports Naturism
 Bibliography


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 precedent nationwide.199

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 activity." 201

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 prohibited.203

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."

Continue to arguments 150-166

NOTES:

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.


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