Best effort, involuntary stereotyping

Stereotyping

I keep seeing it and it keeps surprising me. Stereotyping. It is (actually it was) very visible on my Twitter feed. All those people posting images of nudists and naturists. Not themselves, of course.

They post pictures of young, fit, happy people in the nude.

Mainly young women.

Wrong

You may wonder why I think this is wrong. Let me explain.

When I go to a nude beach, a naturist resort or a clothes-free sauna, I see all kinds of people. The thing is: least of all I see the young, fit, nude women that are splattered all over the naturism promotion feeds.

Instead I see the kind of people here on the right. The older, balding, not so slim, not so fit one. The people with wrinkles, who have been nudists and/or naturists all their life without giving a damn about how they look. They have the right attitude. Don’t make everyone think that your body becomes young, fit and pretty once you pretend to be a nudist or naturist. That’s not going to happen, not now and not in thirty years when you’re even older and wrinklier (unless someone comes up with a happy pill that does it for you).

Be a real naturist. Go naked because it makes you feel good. That is the happy pill we have now, and it works on another side of you. On the inside. The mind. Having the right mindset will make your mind, your spirit young and fit. And you have the benefit of real freedom, inside and out.

Twitter feed

As I said, my twitter feed had a lot of those images.

It doesn’t anymore. I have stopped following those picture-cannons which spread false images and ideas about our life style. I don’t agree with them so I don’t need to see them.

I’m convinced they feel they’re doing naturism a favour, otherwise they wouldn’t be putting so much effort into all this. I’m also convinced they’re missing the point and attracting the wrong audience.

 

Naked Dreamers – No to body shaming

I am going to promote a group of people from Norway here. Why? Because they are going to make a film about body positivity. Anyone who is in any way active about that deserves my – and your – support!

HAVE YOU HAD IT WITH BODY SHAMING? ARE YOU UNDER 25? GIRL OR GUY. ARE YOU UP FOR BEING PART OF AN INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM?

If so, then go to http://bodyshaming.no/

Shoot a short video (e.g. with your mobile phone) or send us a few words where you present yourself and tell us about your relationship with your body.

Is it important to you how others see you? How do you deal with being naked? How are you affected by all these things, and do you want to change how you feel in relation to this?

Remember, we also need: your full name, email address, mobile phone number, date of birth – and attach a photo of yourself.

Send the email to film@bodyshaming.no
Use wetransfer.com or similar if you attach a video.
More information: http://bodyshaming.no/

If you want to see and hear Dalchows Verden, the person who wants to make this film, go to their facebook page and look at the video he made and where he addresses you.

What do you do?

As I was in the kitchen, cooking dinner, suddenly this question popped into my head as I was thinking about why some people shun naturism. Many of them consider naturism from (as we all know) the wrong viewpoint. They think that it’s not pleasant to look at all those bodies that “aren’t nice to look at”. And a moment later it hit me why these people are wrong (at least in my idea).

They go to look at bodies.

Naturists don’t go out to look at bodies. Of course, I see the bodies of the people I meet, but I go out for the people.

I’ve met the most wonderful, interesting and kind people in nudist/naturist settings. Honest people. Fun people. Shy people. Weird people.

But always real people who don’t feel the need to hide behind fabrics. It’s one of the things I like a lot about naturists; they are themselves. Natural. Au naturel.

People who think that nudist areas are places to gawk at people are wrong. Wrong.

The body

There is so much talk about the body these days. Everyone has one but so many people don’t like theirs because they allow themselves to be influenced by the media. Media who tell they they have to look like they’re 18, fit, blond, slim, smart, and more of that. I call bullshit on that.

A body apparently also is ‘sexual’. Even more bullshit. When you are in the shower (and I assume you won’t wear much there) do you feel sexual? Perhaps sensual – because of your senses noticing the water running down your skin – but sexual? Only with a specific intent. Yes, the intent for sex. Then I can understand the mistake. But intentions don’t come from bodies. They come from minds. Minds that are fed by stimuli from outside. And guess where ‘outside’ is? The media. Because they are everywhere.

native americans

Look at these Native Americans. They show their bodies. Is this a sexual scene? If you think this is then please explain to me what makes you think so.

african tribe

People from an African tribe. Most of them naked. Is this sexual? I think they’re looking at something, discussing something. These people aren’t ashamed of their nakedness. They take it as a given (which it is, they live this way) and there are no media around to poison their minds about it.

Every body is a good body, be it slim, not so slim, round, square, triangular (please send me a picture of that if you run into one because this somehow just popped up with the shapes) or whatever other shape you can be in. It’s you, and you count. Not the ideas that others try to force onto you.

Every body is beautiful.

Not that again!

And why not? It’s not me who’s reading this, it’s you. And I agree if you’re moaning. Not every body is beautiful. Not in the light of modernday standards anyway. On a side note I am not sure which standards that would be because like everything in life, standards have a tendency to jump around and do different things every few days, weeks, month or years. Look at fashion (hey, a nudist who talks fashion!). What was great last year is entirely impossible this year.

beautyqueens 1920sCan you guess when the girls on the left were beautiful? Do you think these women are beautiful? This is 1920s beauty. It’s quite different from these days, isn’t it?

beauty_queen_t580Compared to a 2015 beauty queen the 1920s girls won’t stand a chance with most modern people.

 

The odd thing is that there’s nothing wrong with either period. We’re real people with real bodies (although that might be reason for discussion in these days). With the visual overload and indoctrination of the media that we all have to be young and happy and smiling and all that crap, it’s no wonder that many people go berserk trying to live up to ‘the standards’.

Plastic is fantastic when your butt sags, or when your boobs are the wrong shape.  (How can something natural be the wrong shape, can someone explain this to me? We’re people. We get old. Some don’t (often thanks to the attempts to keep up with being young and pretty).

Naturists / nudists have a much more healthy concept of beauty. They don’t give a damn about how someone looks. If there’s a nice person inside, that’s what counts. That is what makes someone beautiful.

It’s not about the body, folks

Really.

Nudism and naturism, nude recreation, they’re not about the body, and certainly not the bodies of other people. Many people, certainly the unenlightened ones, will think otherwise. Why else would you hear things like “when you go to a nude beach you see the people you don’t want to see“?

That makes me wonder why such people go to a beach. To stare at others, probably, not to have a relaxing time.

Naturism (for me at least) is about body freedom. The awareness that nearly no body is perfect (mine certainly isn’t) and that you can be happy with that.

We’re not here to be perfect in every way, even when advertising tries to convince us otherwise. They’re wrong and they just try to get into your wallet. After all, unhappy people are more willing to spend money on ‘improving’ themselves than happy people.

Happy people don’t need all that. It basically comes down to “Love the person that looks back at you in the mirror, that’s where it all starts.” (Via twitter, by @AphroditeAfter5)

When you go to a nudist beach…

You may have heard this whining before:

When you go to a nude beach you see all the people you don’t want to see.

male-nudistsYes. That’s probably true for the people who go to such a beach to look at people. The way they probably also go to a dressed beach, to ogle people and try to see what they can’t see because of the wonders of modern bathing suits (although those aren’t very covering lately).

The people who go on about this don’t have a clue about nude beaches. They may not even have a clue about textile beaches, because people – as far as I understand – go there to enjoy themselves and have a good time. Not to be stared at as if they’re strips of bacon hanging in a window to make other people drool over them. And that goes for both kinds of beach: nudists aren’t there to be stared at. They are not the super model kind of folks. I think I mentioned this before: there are perhaps 20 supermodels in the world (those are the skinny, malnourished people who have to live on air and a slice of lettuce, remember?) in a world population of 7 billion. That is 1 supermodel on every 350,000,000 normal people. How big do you think the chances are to catch all those supermodels on the same beach? Let’s forget the nude part here for convenience’s sake.

I’ve been to nude beaches. I don’t go there to stare. I go there to relax, to meet nice people and have a good time. The folks whining about us (yes, I include myself here) should stop that and be satisfied with photoshopped photos and manipulated videos of people who aren’t real. I’ll even throw in a beach background for them to make them entirely happy. As long as the whining stops.

Maybe someone can show me how wonderful, healthy and fit these whiners look themselves…

When you’re naked you’re honest about your body

More and more I think that nudists and naturists are – in a way – the most honest people. They are honest about their body.

A nudist doesn’t feel the need to hide being skinny or large beneath layers of clothing that have patterns to ‘flatter’ their shape. They are the way they are.

The same goes for people who have what many others consider a ‘good body’ but who have scars and other deformations. Accidents, surgery, giving birth (for women) and so forth, these things leave marks on a human. These are nothing to be ashamed about, even when modern society makes people feel that way.

After all, we all have to be eternally young and beautiful, in the impossible way that many supermodels look.

It amazes me every time that so many people allow themselves to chase such unattainable goals and looks. These people are the “lucky few”, and to be honest I am not so certain if they are really the lucky ones. They have to keep up this look, adjust their diet and what not all the time because the scrutiny of the world’s eye is on them.

And all that when there’s nothing wrong when you look like this lady on the right.

What’s not to like? She’s healthy, she is laughing and she is more than comfortable with her appearance. And all that with difficult diets and a regime for living that makes life not worth living.

Be honest. Don’t try to be the supermodel you’re not. Be happy. I’m convinced many of them aren’t, and in that light you win.

No wrong way to be naked

A picture taken on August 19, 2012 shows nude women under a sun shade and sunbathing at lake Grillensee in Naunhof near Leipzig, eastern Germany.
A picture taken on August 19, 2012 shows nude women under a sun shade and sunbathing at lake Grillensee in Naunhof near Leipzig, eastern Germany.

WALTRAUD GRUBITZSCH / GETTY

It’s become a summer tradition for a nudist to encourage me to switch my bathing suit for a birthday suit. The first time was last year at Hanlan’s Point Beach, the stripped-down portion of the Toronto Island. Though I had swum naked earlier in the day, a man who is basically the beach’s ambassador of nudity approached me and my friend as we were about to leave. He said we really should have felt comfortable shedding our clothes sooner. It made me very uncomfortable.

My next solicitation happened last weekend in Ottawa when a friend and I stumbled upon a secluded inlet on Meech Lake known as “Little Beach.” A man was tanning naked beside a woman in a bathing suit, and another guy who looked north of 60 pulled down his leopard-print Speedo and dove in the water. We looked at each other like “Ah, it’s that kind of joint.” As we were packing up to leave Mr. Leopard Print walked over and encouraged us to check out the many Ontario naturist organizations (to a layman, naturist and nudist are interchangeable). We smiled politely and tried to act like we were in a hurry. He didn’t take the hint.

There’s something off-putting about being evangelized by someone who is naked when you’re fully dressed. But if you can look past the proselytizers, nudist communities might be one of the best places to build self-esteem. Body images issues that keep women (and some men) from joining a nudist community actually dissipate in buck-naked environments.

The idea is counter-intuitive. If you’re insecure about your body, isn’t being naked around others like being a vegan locked in a slaughterhouse? For most of us (and for the record, I’ve never been a nudist group member) these events seem like an ideal breeding ground for insecurity, especially given the fact that almost 100 per cent of women admit to having at least one “I hate my body” moment each day. But while the regular world is obsessed with how nude bodies look, nudists have a different mentality. Rather than aesthetics, they’re are obsessed with how it feels to not wear clothes.

In Ontario, there are are about 16 clubs or resorts where people who want to be naked can swim together, have barbecues or take vacations. During the colder months, the Ottawa Naturists/Naturistes de L’Outaouais (ON/NO) rents out Ottawa-area pools for its 200 members.

Because we’re all a bunch of 13-year-olds, “nudist community” seems synonymous with “orgy.” But the motivation to bare all is a lot more wholesome. The man at Meech Lake said he likes swimming nude because he can dry off naturally and doesn’t have to deal with wet bathing suits (and no matter how prudish you are, swimming naked just feels better. Admit it). Still, the fact that nudism doesn’t appeal to women in particular isn’t surprising.

My Facebook feed is full of stories about women’s bodies being judged – from the bikini-clad Edmonton mother who was taunted for showing stretch marks on a beach to the woman who says Instagram removed her butt-selfie because of her weight (to bolster her case, see the untouched tome of Paulina Gretzky cheek-shots). But nudist communities aren’t concerned with traditional beauty standards. There is no wrong kind of naked.

Being around naturists is actually like the reverse of the nightmare in which you’re standing naked on a stage in front of clothed people. Everybody fits in. All the parts we fetishize become like wallpaper nudists no longer think about. I spoke with a gender transitioned woman who said joining the ON/NO helped her feel accepted as a female. A British woman joined a nudist community after an operation left her with a huge scar on her torso. She told the Daily Mail she went from not being able to undress in front of her husband to being confidently naked around others. Yet as women, surmounting our own insecurities is only half the battle.

We also have men to worry about. When cops and politicians imply that we’re just a too-short-skirt away from rape, that message makes ditching the skirt seem like a bad idea. But nudist communities have us metaphorically covered. Since more men are drawn to nudism, organizations try to balance the gender ratio of members they admit to make women more comfortable. The majority of parks in Quebec do not accept single men and ON/NO created a bylaw that puts them on a waiting list if the male-female ratio exceeds 2:1.

And contrary to popular belief, nudist communities aren’t populated by gawkers and sexual predators. The ON/NO, for example, has a pretty intensive screening system for new members that involves at least four meetings in a mix of clothed and nude settings to make sure no creeper alarm bells go off. If more women knew how safe these communities are, they could reap the body-image benefits of being au naturel around others.

Of course nudism isn’t for everyone. I’m not even sure it’s for me. But I know this lifestyle doesn’t deserve the stigma it receives. Sure, having naked men convince you to get naked on a beach doesn’t foster a wholesome image. But for most people who go bare, nudism is an escape from society’s scrutiny of their bodies. It certainly sounds a lot better than cutting carbs to fit into that bikini.

Angelina Chapin is the blog editor for Huffington Post Canada.

Every body is beautiful

Found via the Dutch site famme.nl:

A video that will change the way you feel about yourself. And this is specifically geared towards the ladies, although I am convinced that gentlemen can benefit from watching this as well.

Australian Taryn Brumfitt is a chick on a mission! The mother of three children wants to change your (negative) view of your body through her documentary ‘Embrace’. It all started when she put her all but traditional before-and-after-photo on the Internet. That went over the world at high speed and brought her a wave of positive and negative criticism. This motivated her to make a documentary.

“People didn’t understand it. How can a woman still like to see her body (after)? When my courage was cheered upon by many, others blamed me that I was promoting being overweight and being a bad role model for kids. The only thing I could think of was to understand that the world is brainwashed,” says Taryn on her Kickstarter page.