On Twitter I found a link to this website: Nudity in Public – Guidance on handling cases of Naturism. It’s a British website.
The first section is already interesting, and… alarming:
Naturism is used to describe the activities of persons who espouse nudity as part of their lifestyle. Whilst many naturists will restrict their activities to specially designated areas and/or places where there is a tradition of naked activity, such as nudist beaches, others may wish to enjoy nudity more widely.
In the case of naturism a balance needs to be struck between the naturist’s right to freedom of expression and the right of the wider public to be protected from harassment, alarm and distress.
I am not sure how ‘harassment’ made it to this list. When someone like us, a real naturist, is lying in the grass somewhere to enjoy the sun, is that harassing someone? I understand that the clothing-only society can be “alarmed” when seeing someone naked. Plenty of people will feel distress when they look at a nude body. It’s sad but it’s how the world ticks at the moment. But harassment?
Is there some general fear that nudists will run up to clothed people and shake their breasts or genitals in front of their faces?
That’s more the expertise of exhibitionists, I’d say, but I’m not one of those so I speak without experience in that area.
Luckily the website clarifies this a little in the next section:
In the absence of any sexual context and in relation to nudity where the person has no intention to cause alarm or distress it will normally be appropriate to take no action unless members of the public were actually caused harassment, alarm or distress (as opposed to considering the likelihood of this).
Here is the problem of words versus people again of course. When do we speak of harassment? Some people can’t be harassed by anything, others feel harassed already when you say you heard a child’s doll fart. We’re in a tough line of life-style, folks.
It’s up to us to find and set the balance. Others can’t. Or won’t.