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Just what it is that objectors object to?

June 1997

Our first letter comes from Eclectic Eric, a recently joined member who lives in the wilds of Hertfordshire:

Dear Sun,

The objections to nudists at Studland described in Update 3 (Dec 1996) were puzzling. Perhaps a good tactic would be to ask objectors just what it is they object to? What harm are nude people doing if they are merely nude? Clothed people can do harm in many ways without removing their clothes. Do objectors ever see nudes in paintings and statues? Do they think there is something objectionable about that very common age-old artistic practice? They are free to turn away if they wish but they should not expect the pictures or statues to be removed and hidden. This problem has worried me for years. Magistrates often fine people who are seen naked by objectors, but no harm has been done except to the clothes industry. The magistrates should be asked to explain the reason why they prosecute and if they are unable to say exactly what harm, if any, has been done, the charge should fail and should never have been brought.

One could also point out that the attitude in other countries which permit nudity on beaches and in designated areas does not cause any harm and is in fact beneficial to health if excessive exposure to the sun is avoided. Objectors may think that nudity is sexually exciting, but it is well known that certain types of clothing, commonly worn in public, are intended to be much more exciting. Any attempt to prosecute the wearers of these titillating garments would be treated as a joke. If nudists acting 'normally' are seen by children and people who are inhibited about removing their clothes, it would be educational and might encourage the observers to live a healthier life. I would like to see events where nudists invite textiles as spectators in swimming pools and other outdoor activities, so that they might get used to the idea and would perhaps want to join in.

Too many nudist groups think that they should hide away from textile observers behind screens of peep-proof materials, tending to confirm the common idea that there is something wrong and unnatural about nudity.

Eclectic Eric, Broxbourne

This is just the sort of contribution that is meat and drink to newsletter editors - about 350 words, thought-provoking, and topical. Our thanks to Eric, and keep 'em coming! The comment about "children and people who are inhibited about removing their clothes" set me off on a train of thought. I'm sure we've all seen on textile beaches - well, we usually have to trudge along them to get to 'our' bit, don't we? - that small children are not usually in the least inhibited about ditching their clothes and running about starkers, but how many times have you heard the parents shrieking "Johnny! Come here and put your clothes on! That's DIRTY!!"? Inhibitions are therefore instilled by their parents into children behaving naturally, who then grow up to instil the same inhibitions into their own offspring. That's the vicious circle we have to break, if we are ever to get a complete generation who don't see nudity as something "wrong and unnatural". Anyone else out there got any ideas? You've got plenty of time to set them out! (Ed.)

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