British Naturism, one of the larger member federations of the INF-FNI, will soon launch its “Every Body” festival – a new event marketed as “a celebration of all things Naked”.
It’s one of a number of events and other initiatives that form part of British Naturism’s “Good Times” campaign. It sits alongside various long-standing events, including Nudefest, which this year attracted some 750 guests over a 6-day period, and the NKD festival aimed principally at young people.
One reason “Every Body” is innovative is because it is aimed at people who don’t feel they need to be a Naturist. It’s hoped it might appeal to younger people.
That set me thinking. It’s undoubtedly true that, increasingly, people do not like labels, especially younger people. Perhaps that’s putting people off doing things labelled as “naturist”.
For example, I’m a naturist (though no longer young), and I’ve been a member of my national federation for over 35 years. Although naturism is part of who I am (and, believe me, it takes up a lot of my time), it doesn’t define me exclusively. I like to think I’m also an internationalist, a lover of the countryside, a lover of amateur dramatics and music – and numerous other things beside.
Naturism has a long-standing definition that was agreed at international level in 1974. It says:
Naturism is a way of life in harmony with nature characterised by the practice of communal nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment.
It’s a pretty broad definition, and one which can be read in various different ways – which is probably a good thing because it can bring people with different outlooks within its embrace.
It seems clear that, according to the definition, being a naturist goes beyond merely being naked. Many millions of words have been written over the years (some on this very blog) about the philosophy of naturism.
It has sometimes been argued that the INF-FNI and, perhaps, the national naturist federations, should principally be concerned with those who accept the entire package and embrace naturism as at least part of their lifestyle.
That would exclude a lot of people who, for example, enjoy going nude on beaches a few times a year. Many such people probably would not identify as naturists simply because of their annual holiday.
The Netherlands naturist federation explicitly recognises this, by offering different classes of membership to people who see themselves as “lifestyle naturists”, and to people who simply enjoy “naked recreation”.
Arguably, however, the naked recreators and the holiday nudists have already taken the most difficult first step towards naturism by taking their clothes off in a public place like a beach, or in social situations where they will be with other naked people. Pretty much every naturist website – clubs, resorts, federations, guides – around the world offers advice to first-timers, demonstrating just what a big step that is for many people.
If we are to promote naturism and normalise nudity, arguably we need to encourage people to take that essential first step.
The British event is an interesting departure from the usual pattern. By focusing on “all things naked”, rather than labelling participants themselves, it may attract different people who might not otherwise think of attending an event branded “naturist”. And, who knows, it might encourage some of the people who attend to try other, different, nude experiences that they may not realise were possible, such as joining naturist clubs, attending other events, visiting naturist resorts in other countries where the weather is warmer than in the typical British summer.
Time will tell. Let’s wish BN good luck with this new event.