Nudism in the New Misogyny
American nudism has never been terribly female-friendly. Both major nudist organizations, AANR and TNS, have always been quite male-dominated. And yet, there has always been an expressed desire to bring more women to nudism.
I had always believed that the desire to bring more women to the nudist movement was simply to create a demography that more closely matched the demography of the planet at large. Recently I have started to wonder if the drive to bring gender balance to nudism is to give nudist men more breasts to stare at, and more opportunity to get laid.
It is no secret that our world is becoming more misogynistic. From the use of rape in war to the growing Islamic rule in Europe to the anti-woman agenda of the Republican Party in the United States, the power of women is declining across the planet.
In nudism, I have noticed some disturbing trends that reflect this same downward spiral. Old-school nudist leaders (all male) seem to believe that female nudists have a responsibility to them, or to the movement. Women are expected to entertain male nudists with conversation and companionship. Male nudists in leadership positions feel comfortable slapping a nude female butt, or grabbing a breast. Often, when a complaint is made, other female nudists will assure the women that "He's harmless," or "He thought you were someone else."
Many nudists, both male and female, stick with the mantra of "That just doesn't happen here." We want to believe in the sanctity of our movement. Denial is a powerful thing.
Very recently, I have noticed a new trend amongst nudist men. I have actually heard the assertion that, since we chose to be nude, we are over-sexed; we desire male attention more than the average woman does.
That seems like something right out of the 1950's, doesn't it? "Just look at how she dresses, she must be a slut," has translated to this. "She's a nudist; she must want to have sex with me."
Regardless of what might be going on beyond the gates of our resorts or the shores of our beaches, the nude environment needs to be physically and emotionally safe for women. Nudist men need to realize that women serve a function in nudism beyond that of a simple commodity.
It's time to stop blaming the advertising world for deterring women from nudism, and start looking at our own behavior.
There was a time when nudist organizations discouraged nude dancing and nude dining. Even the most innocent public displays of affection were forbidden. The goal of these draconian rules was to keep everyone comfortable, and keep everyone safe. Sometimes, especially if alcohol is involved, simple nudity can degrade into something more lewd.
I do not want to return to those days. I want to be able to hold hands with my husband as we lounge by the pool. I want to be able to attend a dinner dance at a resort in my nudist uniform.
I also want to be treated with respect, and to feel safe. I want to bring my female friends from the textile world into the world of nudism and know that they will not be harassed. These things aren't mutually exclusive, are they?