Act Naturally

Mdens, CC BY-SA 4.0

Have you ever noticed how quickly and organically trends seem to catch on? Initially there are only a handful of people doing something. The next thing you know, everyone seems to be on the band wagon. Trends tend to die out just as quickly. If nobody is seen doing something, it seems to just fade into oblivion.

When I was growing up in NZ, it wasn’t uncommon to see people skinny dipping in streams, or sun baking sans bathers at the far end of a beach. Pre-Covid on many of the great tracks, it wasn’t completely out of the ordinary to see people skinny dipping in a lake or stream.

Even though it’s not technically illegal to be naked in NZ, you don’t commonly see people exercising this right even though they could be. Like a handful of similar jurisdictions, so long as you’re not performing a lewd or offensive act, you’re unlikely to be pursued by the law.

Skinny dipping is a highly relatable activity not likely to draw anyone’s attention when done respectfully. IE: At the far end of a beach, or unoccupied part of a stream. People might well notice you, but at a distance, not likely to be up in arms about it. Far more likely they’ll have a giggle. Maybe even question themselves whether their eyes are deceiving them and go about their business.

It’s on this basis that I do take full advantage of this situation and skinny dip at public beaches when I can. In a lot of instances, during work days, early evenings when the tide is right, it’s even possible to have the whole beach to yourself. An unoccupied beach is essentially a clothing optional beach when you genuinely don’t have anything to hide.

My personal perception is that over the years, naturism has tended to be a somewhat clandestine activity, that hasn’t exactly done much for it’s reputation. I’ve seen a great deal of commentary about how acceptable it should be; how accepting the general public should be of it. In spite of this, it’s always been something done in far flung places often behind closed gates and high fences. It’s not overly surprising that uninformed people have their suspicions about what goes on.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that a big mind shift needs to take place. We all need to stop assuming that others find nudity offensive. Even if there are laws asserting so. If we truly believed the human form was offensive, we sure have a bizarre way of practising this given popular swimwear fashions where buttocks are fully exposed. Statues throughout our metropolitan areas often depict the naked human form.

I think irrespective of all this, if we who support body freedom don’t act naturally in environments where nudity should be perfectly reasonable, there’s little hope that it will ever catch on in any meaningful way.

I missed the 60’s, but grew up in the tail end of them during the 70’s. How is it in the span of half a decade nudity became so widely accepted, but in the following decades fizzled out to near nothing?

In conclusion, if we haven’t got anything to hide, let’s start acting more naturally where and when we can. If people can’t see others redefining boundaries, the boundaries never get redefined.

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