62-68. Naturism is socially constructive.
62. Naturism is a socially constructive philosophy.
As defined by the International Naturist Federation, "Naturism is a way of life in harmony with nature
characterized by the practice of communal nudity, with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others
and for the environment." 82
63. Naturism, by philosophy, is tolerant of others and their differences. It expects only the same in return.
Naturism rejects obstreperous, provocative nudity--but because it is anti-social effrontery and disorderly
conduct, not because it is nudity.
64. Nudity promotes social equality, feelings of unity with others, and more relaxed social interaction in
general. As mentioned earlier, clothing locks us into a collective unreality that prescribes complex responses to
social status, roles and expected behaviors.83 As the artificial barrier of clothing is done away with, social class and
status disappear. People begin to relate to each other as they are, and not as they seem to be.
This is a phenomenon that is intimately familiar to the Finnish people. L.M. Edelsward writes: "People can
relax in the sauna in a way that is difficult to do in other contexts and with others than one's family, for here the
tensions associated with maintaining one's social mask disappear. . . . Without their social masks, sauna bathers are
able to meet others not in terms of their social personas, but in terms of their inner personalities. . . . Sweating
together in the sauna, removed from the impinging demands of ordinary life, Finns can be the people they 'really'
are, and can recreate their relationships with others as they ideally should be--open, equal, and trusting. . . . Sweating
together in the sauna, stripped of all symbols of rank, wealth or prestige, all are equal; distance and respect become
openness and sincerity." 84
65. Naturists tend to be especially accepting of other people, just as they are. This is an attitude that is
undoubtedly related to the fact that Naturists are generally more accepting of their own bodies, just as they are, than
the general public.85
66. Socially and demographically, nudists are almost exactly like the rest of the population, except that they
are tolerant of nudity. There are few other trends, social or psychological, positive or negative, that correlate to a
statistically significant degree with nudists as a demographic group.86
67. Naturism rejects blind conformity to cultural mores and assumptions about the body, which see clothing
as a constant necessity, in favor of a more reasoned, rational approach which recognizes the need for clothing to be
dependent on context.
68. For Americans, non-acceptance and sexualization of their own nudity encourages a biased or racist
attitude contrasting "clothed civilization" against the "naked savage." 87
Rob Boyte asks, "Why is it permissible [in National Geographic] to show the penis and scrotum of an
African Surma (Feb. 91) or a Brazilian Urueu-Wau Wau (Dec. 88) but not a Yugoslav Naturist in his natural setting?
Why are photographs of breasts on Nuba (Feb. 51, Nov. 66), Zulu (Aug. 53), Dyak (May 56), Masai (Feb. 65), Yap
Island (May 67, Oct. 86), Turkana (Feb. 69), Adama Islands (July 75), New Guinea (Aug. 82), Woodabe (Oct. 83),
Ndebele (Feb. 69), and Surma (Feb. 91) women shown, yet not one white Canadian can be found to face the camera
at Wreck Beach? Why are the breasts shown of Josephine Baker (July 89), a black native of East St. Louis, but the
breasts of white native women of Miami Beach are not shown? The unanswered question implies but one
conclusion: that the National Geographic has in fact a Eurocentric bias (racist) in portraying nudity." 88
Jeremy Seabrook writes: "The absence of self-consciousness is not some natural 'primitive' impulse to
acknowledge the universal truth that sex is the centre of their world. . . . The nakedness of tradition speaks of a
social order in which sex, although not denied, has its place in the totality of living and growing things; it speaks of
another ordering of the world, one that is a reproach to, and denial of, those nude westerners [vacationing on nude
beaches far from home], although at the same time, is dismissed, marginalised, not taken seriously by them." 89
82. Quoted in Baxandall, World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts 19. For further details and discussion of
naturist philosophy, see pp. 12-19; "Who Are the Naturists" 22-23; Skinner 30; and, in general, the publications of
The Naturist Society. The American Association for Nude Recreation also promotes nudism, though with less of an
emphasis on comprehensive lifestyle. See, for example, North American Guide 9-29.
83. North American Guide 13.
84. Edelsward 194-95, 198.
85. See, for example, DeGoede; Story, "Comparisons of Body Self-Concept" 99-112; and Story, "Comparison
86. D. Smith 174; Hartman et. al.; Weinberg, "Nudist Camp;" H. Smith. One of the few defining demo graphic
characteristics of nudists is that, as a group, they tend to be better educated than non-nudists. See Ilfeld and Lauer.
87. For an excellent analysis of the differences between "white" and "native" nudity, see Seabrook 22-23. For a case
study of the eroticization of indigenous nudity by British colonialists in Africa, see Corbey.
88. Boyte, National Geographic 24. Photos of visitors to Camp Koversada naturist resort in Yugoslavia in the
August 1990 issue, and Wreck Beach, Vancouver in the April 1992 issue, show caucasian nudists, but from behind.
89. Seabrook 22-23.