by DARRELL DANDRIDGE
What must nudist enthusiasts do in the United States to make nudism more attractive and acceptable to the American people?
Many believe that the country is still too puritanical, even in 1965, to disengage the idea of sexual license from the unclothed body.
Nudists must still make an apologia for their practice much as atheists and agnostics attempt justification for their unpopular views.
This is an unfortunate thing. In a democracy, where the right to dissent from majority opinion is the very cornerstone, this should not be the case. Nudists should be entitled to as fair a hearing as other minority groups: the civil rights organizations, the political parties not in power, or freethinkers who challenge accepted orthodoxy.
Beginning then with the agreement that toleration and fair play should, unquestionably, be granted to the gymnosophic movement what can be done specifically to achieve this fair play?
Before this can be considered, we must be certain of why nudism is a desirable phenomenon in the first place. Though conventional nudists accept the unclothed body as the most natural thing in nature, the majority of Americans believe that the assembly of naked persons for nonsexual purposes is not only unnatural but downright eccentric.
Since only true nudists accept the absolute natural quality of gymnosophy, it is necessary to examine the basic attitudes that prevent all people from seeing the world through the eyes of the nudists.
Nudism is attacked on moral grounds. It is probably true that the attackers are the types who write indignant letters to editors complaining about some imagined indecency in an ad or photograph. They usually sign their letters “Mother of Four.”
She is puritanical, yes, is the type who sees a Communist under every bed, and is secretly envious of the sexual freedom she attributes to others but publicly condemns.
In a recent nudist movie, which we will leave nameless, the plot includes a scene in which irate and “upstanding” members of a small town meet in the high school auditorium to protest the opening of a nudist camp near the community.
A fat, unpleasant lady in her fifties gets up before the group and hysterically condemns the camp:
“We have a respectable town and these ungodly people have come here to spread their evil ways. They aren’t content to practice their nakedness among themselves, as if that were not bad enough! What they want is to recruit our young people, even the children who are so impressionable! If you could drive out there and see how grown men play in the swimming pool with young ladies and touch them all around and explore their bodies for sexual purposes, you would put a stop to it. What are our churches and schools for if they teach our children patriotism, the love of God, home and parents and then, these nudists move in to contradict these teachings we have tried so hard to instill in our youth?”
Another way that the country now entering and planning for President Johnson’s “Great Society” can come closer to realizing the Naked Society is for nudist camps to blossom over the country and attract recruits from all professions and walks of life.
Nudists must campaign subtly to show the benefits of wearing no clothes. They can talk and talk and talk themselves purple about the ideals of sunshine and good health but they must demonstrate these benefits in concrete fashion, not in mere discussions or movies. Concretely they must build so many nudist camps that they become a common phenomenon like swimming pools or golf courses. Then more people will see the already joyful sun worshipers basking in their unfettered existence and this alone will convince many of the timid and unindoctrinated to join the clubs.
YMCA’s have nude swimming for their young men and the advantages and pleasures of “skinny dipping” are apparent to all who partake in it. Summer boys’ camps are wise to the wonders of an afternoon spent with counselors and their young charges stripping away cumbersome clothes, stretching out on boats docked on the far sides of inlets and bays. Boys prefer naked swimming way above the artificial experience of wearing a bathing suit!
The more familiar nudism is, the more accepted it will become. The Naked Society must recruit new members from those leaders in politics and the professions who have the influence and prestige to change archaic laws, overcome false ideas, and spread gymnosophy to every segment of the population by putting in a good word.
One obvious defect in the progress of nudism in this country is the lack of distinguished people in nudist ranks. We cannot name any really famous people who belong to a nudist camp or who would publicly support nudism! Without leaders, the movement remains more or less underground. This failure to bring nudist ideals out into the full light of society tends to give the whole movement a shady, disreputable tinge which is alien to its true nature and goals.
Thus, the second objective in making nudism more necessity than nuisance is to attract society’s leaders and people with position and good will. Together with understanding of the movement and of those who oppose it, we need a better image and more public support.
Without these forward steps, nudists in the United States will continue to march in the rear of the nation’s cultural activities!
The American Sunbather №1
ISSUE: Number 1, March 1967
Publisher: American Sunbather and Nudist Review