Nudists fighting erasure in parts of Catalonia, Gavdos and France
I am waiting for the populist right in the US to draw a bead on nude beaches. After that, it will be nudist resorts. They've already attacked and shut down nudist events at private facilities. The accusations are usually that social nudity grooms children for pedophiles followed by threats of violence.
This is not ignorance, it is calculated. They use whatever claim generates the highest level of outrage to have their way without care for truth. It is a religious conviction that supersedes any attempt at education or compromise. Things could get very dark for us in some parts of the country.
It may not be so simple as "conservative ideologies". Here in the US, many nudists are pretty conservative politically. What really destroys our rights is confusion between naturism/FKK, alternate sexual practices, and pornography, especially among lawmakers.
I suspect that in an age of mass tourism it becomes ever more difficult to escape the elephantine herd of people who follow trends, whether that is finding places to be naked or going specifically to get off on gawping. Nudism was always about challenging normative behaviour and people have always been afraid of straying too far from their norms. Perhaps modern communications has simply made deviation more immediately visible to the mass of unthinking conformists?
Appreciate the comments and the originals article. I fear those of us who practice the clothes free life have no one to blame but ourselves. For some time now many of us have focused on the individual enjoyment of being able to be clothes free without being willing to invest in growing the movement by engaging in what Decamps calls the naturist social project. The lack of engagement with all segments of broader society beyond labeling them as textiles, created a relevance gap. Now there are political and economic reasons to exploit that gap and we by and large have no effective response. The conservative ideologies drive behavior and actions of their adherents, which are now working to the detriment of some our community. (Using the word very lightly) Ask anyone what is the naturist or nudist what is naturist/nudist ideology and you will get wildly varying answers.
The shift in nudism and to a lesser degree naturism towards a focus on individual enjoyment as the driving factor has left us vulnerable and without many allies. Posting pictures of naked people in their living rooms or exotic locales while it has enriched some in the nudist content creator class, has not grown the community to a movement. A movement that could capably and effectively response to the challenges of the current social climate. Many among us barreled headlong in that paradigm eschewing any philosophy basis for the practice and making sharing photos and individual enjoyment the definition of the way of life. Without a broader engaging philosophical raison d'etre a naturist/nudist movement cannot withstand shifting social tides and challenges. So as I have written before quoting Cassius in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, "The fault lies not the stars ... but in ourselves."
This will happen continuously as the society will have all types of people..
Interestingly a number of your commenters state that many of the problems for nudists involves conservatives or Christian or religious individuals. Why is that? Is it their mutual misunderstand the acceptance, history or theological basis for acceptance of nudism/naturism? Is it a misunderstanding of conservative thought? Is it a lack of research to discover the reasons for conservative concern with much of the perverse writings/ videos being placed in curricula and elementary/middle school libraries?
I am a traditional, conservative Catholic and politically conservative. I have been a nudist for 14 years. When I started my journey into nudism, I met with my Catholic pastor to get his thoughts. He felt that a non-sexual social nudist life was no problem at all. That is backed up by Pope St. John Paul II's book, Theology of the Body. Conservatives look at humans with respect for human value and dignity. In my opinion nudism includes both.
I first went to Gavdos around 1990, I'd been told about it by a Greek couple from the neighbouring island of Crete that we'd met on a nude beach at Plakias on that island. They described it as having about 50 residents who were mostly in the port area with a few more scattered around the island. Elsewhere it seemed that some more intrepid backpackers were free camping alongside a small number of nudists at a few beaches, which sounded great. Many of the beaches were at least a 20 min walk from the nearest road, so it was not for the wheelie-suitcase visitor. Fred might have liked it ;-) They suggested taking some supplies there to top up the basic provisions sold on the island. A small passenger ferry made the journey from Paleochora in Crete to Gavdos a few times a week, weather dependent.
We'd camped on beaches alongside other nudists on an earlier visit to Crete and on Naxos too. There had been tavernas at those beaches where provided you ate there (dressed) you could use showers etc
There were a few places where you could eat at on Gavdos but they were not as conveniently sited near the beaches, so we tended to make a trip to the store every few days and spend the rest of the time at the beach or exploring the island, nude all of the time if we avoided passing near homes. From what we saw other people did similar, staying naked unless close to occupied housing. Locals knew that most visitors were nude away from the harbour etc, they seemed fine with that and happily provided supplies and meals. This was about as near as I've ever got to living at a desert island where clothing was an alien concept, almost a paradise with lots of friendly people, mostly European, quite a few Greeks from the mainland, some backpackers from various far away places and just about all were nude 24/7 at the camp sites. It has the most southerly European beach.
We returned to Gavdos several years later, there were more visitors then, most were nudists and there still seemed to be a mutual respect, locals and nudists giving each other space to be themselves without imposition. We went with friends on this second visit, they returned with other friends a few years later. On their return they said that they'd seen more visitors and some who were not respecting the locals in a similar manner to how this had been done on our earlier stay there. Some were naked while in the small settlements and some were leaving huge amounts of rubbish and gear behind, this had not been evident previously, it had seemed to be on a 'leave only footprints' basis.
Gavdos was one of the places that the Greek government included in a scheme to attract new residents to re-populate them, with Greeks and other nationalities, it may have been EU only. I believe this was in the late 90s, offering support for a year or so to settle there and set up some type of self-sufficiency or business.
I don't recall ferries from Paleochora to Gavdos going via Agia Galini and Sougia on Crete back then, or there being a regular ferry from Chora Sfakia as there seem to be now. I guess that visitor numbers to Gavdos have increased.
I've seen that nudists are not as welcome now at the place on Naxos where we camped freely and were accepted as we chose to be, they've mostly been driven south to a much smaller part of a very long beach. Locals would turn up at that beach on mules selling plums/apricots/peaches to the nudists back then. Visitor numbers increase, developers move in, concrete gets poured (hopefully not RAAC concrete!) and clothes gets sold to the new tourists. Nudists get told to do one. Life does not need to be as divisive as it often turns out to be. Coexistence can exist, as proved by the above examples, then new people follow and some of them want to change things, often for financial reasons. You wouldn't have found many nudists who were club members at the beaches on Naxos, Crete or Gavdos back then. I can't say that there is a link between capitalism and nudists getting grief for sure, but I'm inclined to think there is in situations like that reported about Gavdos.