When Full Vermonty had a Twitter account, I tried to hashtag “ReclaimNudism” in response to all the pornbots that decided to follow me. It did not catch on. Shortly after I posted my last article about naturism and social media, the hashtag “NormaliseNaturism” popped up in a feed for a different account I have. It hails obviously from lands where the Queen’s English is spelled.
No matter how you spell it, normalizing naturism can come in many forms, both overt and covert, depending on one’s comfort level. Some naturists/nudists have no problem posting a lot about naturism and its finer qualities on social media. They aren’t shy about their own bodies or don’t feel that they have to maintain adornment due to the general discrimination by society at large. It’s the Naturist Society and AANR providing guidance and leadership in the naturist space, particularly around advocacy and getting the word out. It’s the resorts that post frequently about their welcoming sites, often in a warm locale, and the northern ones that remind you that it will soon be warm where many of us live, as well. In many ways, it’s showing up for the cause.
In my article for N magazine (“Born This Way;” Issue 38.3), I wrote about how I simply didn’t have any naturist role models, though I was drawn toward the clothing optional life from a young age. There was no social media and nude beaches or naturists events were often mentioned with a snicker. Imagine laughing at the vessels that carry each one of us around this world. Today’s newbies don’t have to search very long for credible information about nudism, don’t have to wonder how to find community in person or online, and hopefully feel less of a stigma attached to nudism/naturism as a way of being. For me, it’s always been a part of me. I don’t know if it’s genetically possible, but it certainly didn’t come from outside influences.
And yet, with the internet and social media, there is also a lot of misinformation about nudism/naturism, which is dangerous to the cause. I mentioned all the porn accounts and exhbitionists that found me on Twitter. That gives a skewed view of what a U.S. movement has spent nearly a century trying to build here – that nudity must always be intertwined with sexual activity. And because that view holds sway in the public mindset, thereby contributing to discrimination against us, people who run those accounts are not helping. They are certainly not normalizing naturism.
So, I’m thrilled to see naturists and nudists taking our way of being back, providing good examples that are representative of the heart and spirit of naturism. We just want to hang out without clothes, as nature intended. There’s nothing better than the breeze on skin on a warm summer evening, just before you dive in for that final dip before heading home. There’s nothing better than a group of kind, like-minded individuals who find kinship in who we are as beings, rather than in what sports team, deity, or politician we love. There’s nothing better than knowing that no matter how we look or feel within our skin, acceptance is there from a community that embraces the whole self.
To all those working to #NormaliseNaturism, thank you. You provide hope.