Tarnished Perceptions

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For the last 10+ years there’s been an anguished rally cry that somehow the social stigma associated with nudity needs to be removed. At the core of this cry is the desire to “normalise nudity”. Maybe people just aren’t understanding the term ‘non-sexual’ clearly enough. How can we emphasise more strongly that nudism is non-sexual?

This particular term has never sat well with me because the fact this needs to be mentioned at all implies that there is sexual nudity, which is a nonsense. Sex is sexual, nudity is no more or less sexual than clothes could be considered sexual. Nobody distinguishes fashion as ‘non-sexual’ fashion. One might even argue that this damaging association reinforces the vile notion that a woman was asking to be raped because of the clothes she was wearing. It’s the psychological illness of the rapist that’s at fault here. Not how someone is attired.

An interesting thought that some have explored, is that the hashtag “NormalisingNaturism” is in itself a flawed concept. By it’s very nature It suggests that Naturism isn’t normal. By using this term it’s implied that Naturism is categorising itself as an abnormal activity that needs to be normalised. The issue at hand here is unintended reinforcement of negative attributes rather than exclusive promotion of the positive. Marketing 101 stuff.

Where perception is all too often seen as reality, naturism has a real marketing dilemma, because far too often Naturism and Nudism are closely associated with sex, swinging and other such lifestyles of this ilk. Apple Podcasts recommendations really highlighted this for me after looking at the recommendations associated with a naturist podcast, and seeing after four “You might also like”. The remaining recommendations were all sexual in nature. The Meetup platform is similar. When I joined a local nudist Meetup group, Meetup suggested my interests might lie with swingers and other sexually orientated interests.

For the vast majority of participants, naturism is predominately about health and wellness of the mind and body. It’s on this basis that it should be wholly framed in this context. By everyone. Least of all Naturists and Nudists. If one considers yoga, meditation and mindfulness, these all fall under health, well-being and self improvement. So too should naturism be in this category.

What the naturist community perhaps needs to seriously consider pivoting to, is focusing on the positives and appropriate classifications. Drop the term ‘non-sexual’. Forget “NormalisingNaturism”, which implies it isn’t normal. Let’s instead focus solely on the health and well-being of mind and body.

Perhaps if enough people also chase companies like Apple, and platforms like Meetup to correctly classify naturism as health and well-being, this will contribute to the change in perception.

I imagine if naturism was correctly seen as a health pursuit, far more people would be interested in taking it up. They’d at least consider finding out more about it.

Under current circumstances, it’s difficult for those not in the know to clearly distinguish what naturism is actually about. When the 3rd or 4th recommendation is sexual in nature, naturism is fighting an age old losing battle.

Health and well-being. .

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