Unashamed Nudists: Exploiting the Theme of Nudism in the 1930s

I located this post at the blog of Vadim aka t-maker. It’s a great one so I’m reposting it completely. Thank you, Vadim, for this great post!

Unashamed Nudists: Exploiting the Theme of Nudism in the 1930s

The technical definition of exploitation movies is cheaply made pictures distributed by roadshowmen or by local independents called states’-righters. A major studio was opening, in those days [the 1930s and 1940s], 400 prints. An exploitation picture never had more than 15 or 20, and they moved around from territory to territory…[1] (David Friedman)

Wikipedia defines “Exploitation film” as a “film which is generally considered to be low budget, and therefore apparently attempting to gain financial success by “exploiting” a current trend or a niche genre or a base desire for lurid subject matter” [2]. According to exploitation producer David Friedman, “exploitation pictures are as old as film itself” [1]. It is not surprising that “many exploitation genres relied on nudity as a source of spectacle” [3]. Eric Schaefer, an author of “meticulously researched, interdisciplinary study” of exploitation films [3], calls the “nudist films” (something about “unashamed nudists”) one of the “cornerstone genres of classical exploitation focused on the spectacle of the nude body”.

Recently, while browsing Internet Archive (which is a “non-profit digital library with the stated mission of “universal access to all knowledge” [4,5]), I came across the classical exploitation “nudist film” called “Expose of The Nudist Racket” (see [6]; it also can be found on Vimeo [7] and YouTube [8]). It was filmed in 1938 for “Hollywood Producers and Distributors”. Producer is, in fact, unknown. The Short Format film is now distributed under Creative Commons license (Attribution 3.0).

Image: frames from "Expose of The Nudist Racket" (1938)Image: frames from “Expose of The Nudist Racket” (1938)

In the first half of the 1930s, the American press considered nudism mostly unfavorably. “Crude jokes were made and the reporters liked nothing better than going to a nudist camp and teasing the members for a story, which was usually written up in disrespectful ways”. Later “nudism came to be viewed by the press as a benign, if unconventional, practice” [3].

Film producers used different strategies “for bringing nudism to screen”, in order to “legitimize” the subject. For example, it could be a pseudoscientific, “anthropological approach” with references to “customs among primitive peoples” [3]. The “Expose of The Nudist Racket” took a different attitude. The creators of the film tried to be funny employing “titles and narration for comic effect”. Jokes about fat women are the height of their humor capacity.

Eric Schaefer admits that “some spectators went to see the films to satisfy their curiosity about the nudist movement” , but he insists that “the nudist exploitation films were designed to create sexual arousal in, or at the very least titillate, viewers”. However, “despite the exploitation films’ sexualization of nudism, the nudist’s advocacy of sunshine and simplicity of life found an ideal vehicle for expression in the movies, in part because of their overlapping ideology” [3]. “Nudism was presented as a middle-class lifestyle option” and “a possible antidote to modern life”. The nudist films pointed to the “precedent of social nudity in ancient Greece, which was “simple” yet highly “civilized” according to modern standards”.

“Expose of The Nudist Racket” can convince you that time goes by, but nothing changes. The nudists still want “publicity for their movement”, while the second word in a word-combination “social nudity” remains the key one for most people.

1. David Chute, Washes of Sin: An Interview with David F. Friedman, Film Comment, July-August, 1986
2. Exploitation film – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
3. Eric Schaefer, “Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!”: A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959, Duke University Press, 1999
4. Internet Archive: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music & Wayback Machine
5. Internet Archive – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
6. Expose of The Nudist Racket. : uncredited : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
7. The Expose Of The Nudist Racket (1938) on Vimeo
8. Expose of The Nudist Racket. – YouTube

Our pornographic society

Yes, that’s what we’re living in: a pornographic society. So many things are permeated with sex or sexual innuendo, and everything (for me at least) points back to the incredible amount of sexual and/or pornographic implications everywhere around us. Look at advertising. The basic idea that ‘sex sells’ is still there. It gets worse even, I think.

Look at music videos or car ads.

How many of them show people (mainly women, as they’re the prime exploits in there) in half-dressed or even less situations to entice the viewer to keep watching?
I think that it is stuff like that which makes life so very difficult for people who just want to be naked without a fuss.


Women these days can get raped simply ‘because of what they’re wearing’. Again there is the influence of the overly sexualised society, the videos and the pictures that put women in a wrong light. As prey to be hunted and conquered. Because of that, woman will also be attacked when they wear nothing – because that’s seen even more as an open invitation to be groped, raped and so horribly forth.

I really worry about our society in that light. Something has to happen, and it has to happen fast. Otherwise things go out of control (I hope we’re not there yet). Nudism could be an answer to all this misconception and brutality towards women. Women should not be the victims of the horrible things that men (yes, it’s mostly men although not all women are without blame, I’m sure) have gotten in their heads. Nudism is clean. It has nothing to do with pornography, sexual exploitation and all those other things that modern society bestows upon us. I hope that nudism is the answer. That and common sense.

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