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Born this way
Sometimes people forget that everyone is naturally naked
"I don’t care if they are all in one place enjoying each other’s company, I don’t want to be in the same town as that lot. It comes to something when you have to get out of your own home because you feel uncomfortable. But that’s what happened here and it’s symptomatic of what’s going on in this country with the minority seemingly taking precedence over the majority."
That was one Michael Stevens, 64, a resident of Langport, Somerset in the U.K. being quoted by a Sun newspaper in an article with the headline NAKED & AFRAID Our quiet village is being invaded by hundreds of naked tourists… we’re scared of bumping into them.
The naturism event in question, Nudefest, was billed as the U.K.’s “biggest nudist festival.” It took place “on the doorstep” of Langport for a week in early July. Stevens said he left the area for the week as a result.
Other residents are quoted in the article voicing their concerns, like a retired nurse who told the Sun that it's not nice to think about what the nudists "will be getting up to.”
Way down at the bottom of the article, British Naturism’s Andrew Welch is given a chance to voice a few thoughts about naturism. But the gist of the article is the negative and bemused reactions of the locals in this quaint little village, population 3,500, that sounds like something out of a Midsomer Murders movie — minus the murders, one hopes.
Stevens’ comment about “the minority seemingly taking precedence over the majority" echoes similar conservative talking points aimed at minority groups — except naked people are not a minority. As the headline to this piece says, we are all naturally naked, every single human being including Stevens. We wear clothes when we have to or when we choose to
What Stevens is saying, whether he realizes it or not, is that he and many others have hangups about the naked body and social nudity, and we should cater to his hangups by keeping events like Nudefest far away from him.
I hope the Nudefest folks reached out to him and perhaps invited him to attend. So often people who have phobias and hangups about social nudism get over it at their first nude event. They wonder what the fuss was all about, maybe even laugh at how silly they were to ever be ashamed of their natural bodies. Indeed, maybe it turns out to be the revelation that starts a process of spiritual enlightenment?
Which leads me to the next segment of this post . . .
A spiritual aspect
I’ve been meaning to post on this subject for a while now. A recent headline on The Guardian site took a spiritual angle about social nudity: ‘Almost a spiritual aspect’: the NSW naturists attempting to normalise nudity.
The quote in the headline is from a gentleman named Mick, the head of the Australian Naturist Federation.
Reports the Guardian: “Nudism and naturism are often used interchangeably to refer to non-sexual nakedness. But the way Mick tells it, it’s more of a spectrum from those who just like being nude, and those who wrap a philosophy around the practice that’s based on harmony with nature.”
The difference between nudism and naturism is something we’ve talked about here before. But I don’t think we’ve used the word “spiritual” because it is ambiguous.
Spiritual: (1) relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. (2) relating to religion or religious belief. (From Oxford)
For sure, social nudism is good for human spirit, as in “they were in good spirits.” Ditto for “soul,” as in “they were happy souls.”
But how about if you believe we are spirits in the material world? I’d say naturism benefits that sort of spiritual philosophy — and the spirit itself — the same way yoga and meditation can: it gives us greater harmony with the universe as well as nature.
But what about traditional religious beliefs? Many religions — with members who consider themselves to be spiritual beings — frown upon social nudity, pointing to the shame of such biblical characters as Adam and Eve when they discovered they were naked. Indeed, religions are largely to blame for body shaming and the repression that comes with it, such as we see in countries like Afghanistan and Iran. I’ve only heard of a few religious groups that embrace naturism.
What do you think? Is there a spiritual aspect to social nudism and/or naturism for you? If so, in what way, given the word “spiritual” can imply different things?