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?

Comments

Tom Hatfield's picture

congratulations! You just expressed all the opinions I've been talking about for 50 years. Unfortunatly, I haven't seen much improvement by the male population. They still feel that if a woman undresses for anything but bathing, or allow photos taken of her nude or partially nude, she wants to have sex. I don't know how to change this. I've run men's consciousness raising groups and written about it, but still see no change. One of the first examples was a yahoo group named "Reluctant Partners." the members were all men (with one exception) who complained about their wives not willing to join them in the lifestlye - even around the house! I have no faith whatsoever in AANR or TNS. I don't see them really making more than a token gesture.

Thank you so much for that, Tom.  I used to have a great deal of faith in both those organizations, but now I am starting to wonder if they do more harm than good in the world.

I really appreciate you support!

Very interesting. I'm on the board of directors of AANR West (where a woman, Patty Faber is President). I am the PR chairperson for AANR where 4 of the 5 core press release and blog writers are woman, (I'm the token male). AANR is headed by a Wman President, Susan Weaver and TNS is headed by a woman, Nicky Hoffman.

My wife and I have owned The Terra Cotta Inn for over 17 years so we are not newbies to the nudist world.

Yes, I know of some places which are very male dominated. I also know of other places that are extremely first timer friendly and extremely friendly towards women. So you can't just make a blanket statement.

The desire to bring more women into nude recreation is a strategic move. We know once women enjoy nude recreation, they are hooked for life.

As far as your ideas about bringing women in to get laid, that seems so off base. I have never heard anything like that before until you wrote this. And slapping grabbing a breast? I know if anyone ever did that to Mary Clare (my wife) they would certainly get slapped and I encourage any woman to do the same. The jerk that did that should have their sorry ass tossed out of nudism.

Now that leads me to the next issue. Anyone can take their clothes off and call themselves a nudist. It doesn't mean that they have the right intentions. Someone that ruins another persons day is just a rude asshole, not a nudist.

I have never heared that nudsit women are oversexed BS. Must be an East coast thing.

I agree, that advertising is not the only thing detering women from trying nude recreation. Go to most nude beaches in the US and you will find lots of single naked men leering at women. They're not nudists, they're pervs, unfortunately a first timer doesn't know the difference.

I'm enjoying what you are writing and I encourage you to continue. My wife and I do NOT hide our heads in the sand. And I think if you get to know more people in AANR you will find they feel the same way.

HAve a fun Labor Day holiday weekend.   Tom

Thanks for your reply, Tom.  I have never been lucky enough to visit your place, but I would love to.  Please start a blog on this site (free and easy) or a forum post!

I do know a few non-nudist folk who have visited Terra Cotta as part of a California experience and just loved it.  They came back saying they understood better my decision to be a nudist, and to raise our kids in that environment.

Yes, there are women in leadership positions in both organizations.  Hopefully, the AANR women have more real power than Nicky does.  I love the job that Nicky does with N magazine, and I like her very much personally.  But the teeth of TNS still reside with the old white guys, I'm afraid.

I don't know the AANR people - I got somewhat turned off to the AANR a few years back, basically for hypocrisy, racism and sexism.  It is very possible that they have improved in my absence.  However, all the clubs at which I experienced unwanted touch were AANR clubs, so, there's that.  We currently reside at an unaffiliated club and are enjoying it very much.

Well, what would have happened if I had physically struck the person who touched me the last time that happened, as you suggest?  Hmmm... I had just spent days and dollars traveling to a brand new (to me) resort where I was scheduled to present six workshops at a week-long festival. The festival was being run by the owner of the resort my husband and I had just relocated to - our new home.  The person who touched me identified himself as the owner of the club that was hosting the festival.  He was clothed, I was not. This was during registration, in front of many people, the very first daylight hour after we had pulled in with our trailer.

Had I struck him, I would have risked the days and dollars we had invested to get there, my ability to present at the festival and grow my business, and our new home.  He was in a power position over me, and he knew it.  I said nothing, walked away, and spent the next six days hiding in our trailer, except for the times I was presenting and working.

The deeper issue, though, is this.  Often, when a person is surprisingly assaulted in a demeaning manner, especially by someone who holds power over them, they feel so demeaned, disheartened, afraid and vulnerable that all they want to do is run away. This may be especially true for nude women - there is a vulnerability there unlike any other. Of course I have had fantasies, replaying the event in my mind, imagining I called the police, told him off, kicked his ass in any number of ways - making him experience the shame and fear he made me feel. I think this is a normal reaction to many victims of assault.

A few years later, as a way of healing, I did lodge a complaint on-line with the resort.  they offered us a free vacation there (as if) and figured out who had touched me.  His excuse proffered by the woman who was dealing with me was that he had thought I was a friend of him.  I had two problems with that.  First, he treats his friends that way, and that's ok???  Second, I was in the first-timers registration line.  Again, a nudist woman was covering up for the error of a nudist man.  You can see why I have a hard time trusting the leadership of nudist women - this is not an uncommon occurrence.  I probably have done the same thing unwittingly over the course of my 20 years in the movement.

But your suggestion that is was my responsibility to defend myself at a resort that was responsible for my safety is simply another form of misogyny, and suggests that you are as out of touch with the needs of women in nudism as I suspect your AANR friends to be.  Do you think that women who are raped should have fought back harder, too?  Indeed, that is what your statement implied, and serves to prove my original point.  This makes it hard to feel sorry for my original blanket statement.

Nonetheless, I appreciate all the good work you do - Terra Cotta seems to be a shining example of a positive place to be nude.  Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.  I do hope you will use this website to share your views and promote your business!

I feel that when some of the mens's magazines started to use women in them they sort of shut the door on women nudity. Women began to think the all men were just after their bodies as a sexual thing. True some men just want one thing! But when you are married being nude together is a different... How would a couple get together and have childern if they didn't see each other in the nude?

Thanks for your comment!  I do not at all feel put off by sort or hard porn, nor do I feel the "door is shut" on female nudity.  I live in a nudist resort full time, along with many other people.

I am sorry if I did not make myself clear.  I was asking for greater consideration from the nudist community for the safety and comfort of women.  I'm really not sure how your comment fits in there, but if you would like to explain more clearly I would be happy to reply.

Thanks again for reading a responding!

Christina,

Please do not group all males into the group with the letches. They do make their presence known, and it is easy to assume that all males act the same way. We used to be a member of a nudist resort, and the curator would "flirt" or "proposition" females, under the guise of "testing' the females to ensure they were not swingers...we DID NOT appreciate being tested. We are not currently members of either AANR or TNS, but we were members of AANR when we members of that resort. We do not see AANR as a protective element in nudism, or at least they have not done a very good job. But, my wife has also been approached and propositioned by females also.

I do take a point of disagreement on your statement of the "anti-woman agenda of the Republican Party". We are all allowed to have our own opinions concerning personal choices and beliefs. The Republican party (as a group) may have chosen a stance different than yours. But that is a stance based upon thier beliefs, and a lot of women share those beliefs. It may be a war of beliefs, but not of women. You may or may not, have common or disagreements, with other women. If males were the ones that carried the child, I still would believe that ending a pregnancy was against MY personal beliefs. If a political group disagreed with my stance, I would not consider them anti-male, I would consider their belifs different than mine. That being said...back to nudism!

A funny story that sort of applies to your comments; several years ago, we were friends with a couple, we bowled on a league together, and were friends in and out of the nudist resort. We were at the resort one weekend, and we were sitting around the campsite, and suddenly the wife of the couple swatted my butt. Suddenly the whole "No Touching" rule came to her mind, and began to apologize all over her self. As it turns out, a wasp had landed on my butt cheek, and she was shooing it away. I apreciated her swatting my butt, it was much less painfull than getting stung. As much as she was apologizing, I was thanking her. I was also very confident, that her intentions were pure of heart, and I was truly thankful.  I am not making excuses for guys grabbing a woman's breast or butt, as I believe if we want more female, young, old, disabled, whatever persons to join our nudist activities, we need to make the environment safe, comfortable, and accessible; furthermore fun really helps too! I think if we could focus the emphasis on the comfort, and fun aspects of nudity, NOT the nude aspect, we might have more members! The point of CLOTHING OPTIONAL resorts. I have never been to a required nudity facility.

Well, there is my two cents,

Hi, Douglas - thanks for taking the time to read and respond. I was a hard-core AANR nudity-required kind of a woman for many years. I think my standards have softened there a bit. The resort we live in now is clothing-optional except for the pool. I am usually pretty ok with that.

I was not refering exclusively to being "hit on" or propostioned, although that can be innapropriate as well. I was talking about male leaders at nudist clubs thinking it is ok to randomly touch women. I don't think there is always an expectation of sex when this happens, believe it or not.

It's often pretty easy to weed out a perv, assuming the leadership of the resort wants to weed them out. It is not as easy when the leadership themselves are pervs.

A nudist leader propositioning people to "test" them???? Now THAT is exactly the sort of stuff I am talking about! Yuk!

I may share your feelings about AANR (not sure yet), although I have started to believe that TNS is worse.

Interesting that you jumped to the hot-topic issue of abortion when I mentioned the Republican party. Yes, I do believe legislation that takes away reproductive freedom is misogynist, because it will cause many women to die, and takes control away from women. But I was actually refering to the party's efforts to redefine rape - something that has been happening for more than a year in our country.

When we seek to qualify what a rape is and isn't, and to change the language in our laws to narrow the definition of rape, we make it legally OK for women to be sexually attacked. That was what was in my head when I wrote that - I am sorry I did not make that clearer. It is also true that Republican lawmakers have been less than enthusiastic about creating laws to protect women's salaries as equal to their male counterparts in the workplace. Financially devaluing women is also misogyny.

On a personal note, I will say that I am not a fan of the Dems, either, but the recent attacks on women have been Republican.

To suggest an alternative universe where men could get pregnant is just silly and distractive. You have no idea how you would feel if you could get pregnant, be raped and were usually physically smaller and weaker than those who tried to control you, any more than I could imagine what it would be like to be a man.

Being misogynist is not something reserved only for men. There are many women who demean their own gender, and feel shame in being female.

Your story about getting your butt slapped to remove an insect is funny, but misplaced. It is true that there have been times men have reached over in group shower situations to remove some bit of lint from my body, using that lint as an excuse to touch me. To me, that is heinous, but not the same thing that happened to you. In your case, there was embarrasment, humor and apology. The person who touched you was a friend. When I have been touched in this way and complained, the toucher has always been a stranger, and the answer has always been "geez, don't be so jumpy, I was just trying to help you out." In the shower, I think I am quite capable of cleaning myself, thanks.

To use that sort of story to de-vilify the things that regularly happen to women in our community is a typical tactic, and one we need to consider abandoning.

But, if you and I are in a social situation and there is a bug on me (especially a spider, yuk) you have my permission to remove it!

Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment - it is time for nudist men and women to have some serious conversations. I am glad you are willing to do that!

Douglas Napier's picture

As important as is the topic of equality of pay, I think the 23 million americans are more concerned about getting a salary first, then equal the playing field. On a simular note, where I work, now and in previous positions, my salary has always been an individual negotiation. The male of female working along side of me may make more or less depending on qualifications...and their negotiating skills. I am not sure how that could be equalized without collective bargaining. We both know where collective bargaining ends up...corruption. I have always believed in the idea of success based on personal talents, initiative and willingness to work. Let me ask this; if two equally qualified employees are tasked with the same task, one works 8 hours a day and goes home, whereas the other stays late and gets more done...do they deserve the same compensation?

Back to your discussion; I may have been off topic, but was trying to bring real life circumstances into the discussion, not just hypothetical situations. Every circumstance must be judged on the situation when determining it's appropriateness. This is a subjective decision, so it is difficult to make hard and fast rules.

So yes, it is a discussion we all need to have, but I don't think there is a lot black and white regions, but a lot of gray. Any time one person make physical contact with another, irreguardless of gender, appropriateness should be a concern. Keeping in mind, contact with me which I feel is appropriate, might not be with you. This is especially true if in a position of managment.

Sorry for any gramatical errors in the reply, I was writing fast and not spell checking.  :(

So are you saying that in a time of recession it is ok to pay a woman less than you would pay a man for the exact same job?  My point was that, in many states, it is legal to do exactly that, even though measures have been brought before state legislatures to correct it.  Why should gender determine salary?

Douglas Napier's picture

Do not misunderstand, I said it would be almost impossible to enforce. Different people of both genders and races make more or less than others in my group. No it is not acceptable to pay someone less based on gender...nor race...nor being a white male. but without several instances within a single organization and a whistle blower...how are you ever going to enforce any law banning such behavior?

Well, my wife just informed me it is time to go out...will be back tomorrow. I have to treat a lady with respect and dignity!!!

Doug

Douglas Napier's picture

To verify the definition of misogyny, I looked it up in  a dictionary. The definition was simply "Hatred of women".The current behavior at some nudists resorts that you discuss although inappropriate, demeaning, and condescending, I am not sure I would define as "hatred". Hatred to me is what a rapist, or serial killers that targets women do. The groping and fondling of which you mention, appears to me to be more of a jealousy. We have all heard of the demeaning term "Penis envy", I believe these people could suffer from "vagina envy". It appears; at least to me; they wish they had, what it is you have got.

The discussion mentioned equal pay for equal work, of which I am a believer. I am not convinced this is not a similar situation. If the management hated women, they would never have hired the woman, instead they just "put her in her place" by paying her less and expecting more (Yes, I believe women have to work harder than males in the same job, which is why my personal physician is a female(That, and smaller hands)). Maybe the term "Misogyny", is just a little bit of an exaggeration, used to get the attention of the reader...maybe?

I would probably go so far as to say that the people are untrustworthy of a leadership position. They use gender as an excuse for their own shortcomings, are threatened by a female, and are insecure with themselves. I keep thinking of the saying about the guy who drives a pickup truck jacked wayyy up in the air with the huge tires, and the vehicle is impeccably clean..."Nice truck, sorry about your penis".

I am by no means an expert in the field of psychology...but I do have a friend (Yes, I do have friends, believe it or not!) that is incredibly bright, and has some amount of formal education in this field. I will ask her to read the blog, and post her opinions, or maybe just give me her opinions, and I will share them. Hers would be an interesting perspective.

From Wikipedia "According to feminist theory, misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women."

Unwanted touch, at least here in Florida, a crime. "Battery is the crime of touching another person in an unwanted way, regardless of the outcome. Under Florida battery laws, your body is your sacred. Intentionally touching another in any unwanted way can lead to a battery charge, whether it was a simple unwanted touch or contact that leads to great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement." Source is K. L. Foote, P. A. website: http://www.tampabaycriminallaw.com/Battery-Defense-Attorney.html.

Thanks for the definitions and legal clarifications, Webmaster!

Isn't it funny that when a women tells people how she feels, honestly and from her heart, men will step up to tell her why she shouldn't feel that way?

This happens when I write for N, too.

And still we wonder why there are so few women in nudism.

Here are the facts.

Nudist men harrass nudist women.  It's not just the stray perv jerking off on the beach. It's the club owners, and it's the respected members of respected organizations like TNS and AANR.  It's not just stray incidents - it's business as usual.  It's not just me this happens to - I hear these stories from nudist women and ex-nudist women all the time.

Often, the men don't realize that what they are doing is actually harassment.

When they are told that what they are doing is harassment, they still deny it, minimize the concerns of the women, and try to make the women feel guilty for refusing to cater to their needs.

The reason they can do this and still look in the mirror is that they are either misogynists themselves, or simply reflecting the misogynistic values of our society, and the planet, at large.

Here are more facts.

If we want to make a comfortable environment for women, we have to actually do that.  We can't provide what we think women SHOULD be comfortable with, we have to provide what women are actually comfortable with.  To do that, we have to actually listen to them, and understand that their concerns are valid.

If someone touches me, especially when I am nude, that is an assault.  There is no qualification, no softening, and no way around it.

If someone corners me in conversation, that is harassment. I have no responsibility incumbent on me to make conversation with lonely men, although many club owners and nudist leaders insist that I do.

To condone and practice these behaviors is misogyny.  Otherwise, men would simply touch and harrass each other and leave women to enjoy the sunbeams in peace.

For the sake of clarity, I will say this too.  In our new home at Seminole Health Club I have had nothing make me uncomfortable - everyone has been completely appropriate. Here, nudism seems to be what it should be- peaceful, fun, relaxing and free.  These experiences don't happen all the time, or in every nudist venue.  But the fact that they happen at all is just too much of a liability.

You are correct that men don't always realize that what they are doing is wrong. That's why we created a brochure and web page specifically for that purpose. We have euphemistically called it "making friends in naturism". (I tried to put a link to it but it triggers the auto spam filter and won't let me post with it)

 

That sounds like a really good idea! Can you submit the url without the http part? That should make it through the filters!

Douglas Napier's picture

So according to your definition, if a man touches, looks at (even in a glance) says, or reacts in any way a woman doesn't like it's battery? Is it battery if I do any of these things to another male? Excuse me, but I do not mean to "corner you in conversation", I wouldn't want to charged with harassment or battery.

If this is the intolerance of this blog, I think I will be cancelling my account

 

Law is law. A man touching a man or woman, or a woman touching a woman or man, and that touch is unwanted, might get charged with battery in Florida.

You brought up glancing or talking. I don't think those things would be considered as as battery.

As for tolerance or intolerance, I simply pointed out that your statement seems inconsistent with the current use of the term "misogyny." It wasn't meant as a comment either way. You seem pretty intolerant of anyone who disagrees with you!

 

 

I can attest to witnessing the misconduct your talking about first hand and the continued denial by the nudist and naturist community. Even if misbehavior is brought to the attention of management/authority, unless a situation is high profile gossip worthy it is ignored, especially if the perpetrator is a long time member or resident. Most of the time it's not reported due to a number of factors and reasons. I have even encountered this behavior within my own home club and it is really shaking a creed in naturism the began very strongly for me. Its not just males creeping on females it's males on males too. A perfect example is a new person comes to a swim or other event and is propositioned or touched but they feel uncomfortable because they are the newb coming into an established social group and possibly making wild accusations against one or more individuals who are respected or well known by all. There is a chance that the perps are nobodies as well but if a person feels uncomfortable they end up hating themselves for trying to be nude in a social setting only for such a situation to happen. So they just leave and don't come back not to mention warn away anyone else they know sighting their own bad experience. Its no wonder clubs are not retaining new members. What is really disheartening is regardless of the fact that there was actually a witness, when a person has a bad experience and they do have the courage to tell a member like me, there is no way to go to bat for them.  They have to come to a meeting or something to stand up and alienate themselves by practically testifying allowed for everyone. Even a mock tribunal may not actually serve to change anything.

I know a lot of "men" get defensive on the subject even when a "simple" touch on the shoulder is the issue but what they fail to realize is that other males or people who have come to nudism for more than social nudity do witness the behavior of others and use it as an excuse to mimic it or take it further. They may even believe that they have learned that that is perfectly accepted behavior. A typical crutch to fall back on is "don't be such a prude" or "no harm in asking". No doubt there are individuals looking for a significant other that shares their enthusiasm for nudism but it ridicules how some people don't understand that others may want to just enjoy being nude and have no interest in dating or being courted in such an environment. The posturing is what is fueling the discrimination against singles. Getting back on topic whats misogynist is how the excuses made for such conduct are smoke-screened while making comparisons to some paragon of what the empowered female nudist should be and act.

There is even a bent towards titillation in most nudist magazines again overflowing into online content with almost glamor shot posing of mostly females within a particular age range. In reality the pictures being published are a gross exaggeration of what the social nude environment actually manifests as. It is especially apparent in the ads and some would argue that the body painting competitions that are the new rage are extenuating excuses to take pictures and allow "artists" permission to touch women. Far removed from just painting on yourself or painting a friend for the fun of it. The profiteering of the novelty of nudity is not at all helping to sustain nudism or naturism, instead it is being asked to keep quiet, keep the kids out of view because of the gaggle of awkward individuals that were let in and of don't forget count the money. -Oh and the committee has decided.

Thank you so much for putting into words some of the serious issues we face as nudists.  I really appreciate your view and agree with everything you have said.

I'm glad you mentioned the body painting in particular.  At the club we just left there is a very respected artist who is on the board of directors (the committee to which you refer).  He is a brilliant artist, and specializes in body painting.  I have heard complaints that he spends a lot of time painting the vaginal area, and have witnessed this myself.  I have also seen him show a significant amount of arousal whilst painting - extremely innapropriate.  And yet, he is a very respected and honored member of the community within that club, and the naturist community at large in and around the area.

No one feels comfortable calling him out about his behavior, for exactly the reasons you've stated.

I think a lot of the problem, overall, is education.  I was once innapropriately touched by a very respected naturist who actually became a friend.  When he touched me, I was freaked out completely.  I reported it right away to "the committee" and was told they didn't see a problem.

Later, it became clear that he really is a good guy, and just didn't realize he was crossing a line.  He still doesn't, because I failed to tell him, for all the reasons you mentioned.

Thanks for your support, and for summing up the situation so succinctly.

Tom Hatfield's picture

Please don't be offended by the comparison. Back in the 60s and 70s there were no Swinger clubs, so all of the activity took place in private homes. along came the clubs, many tried them and got turned off. So now there are networks of private groups who have parties in various private homes.

The same can be said for Naturist/nudist. In the 60s and 70s there were numerous beaches available for Naturism and a few resorts with mandatory nudity. The number of resorts and clubs grew and naturists/nudists tried them - with the results mentioned before. Now Naturism is returning to private homes. We have parties with a group of 2 or 3 families, and attend similar private parties in other homes. The ones with pools are the best! LOL Our feelings of safety are shared by the others including families with children. I don't think social nudism is dead, although I have read about a few resorts returning to textile, I just think it's happening away from the public eye.

Hmmm... most of the many nudist clubs I have visited have been around since at least the 1960s, many since the official beginning of the nudist movement in America in the 1930's.  I am not sure about the comparision with swingers clubs, or with your historical data.

Nor do I see the number of nudist clubs in the US dropping significantly.  I am also not sure that there are fewer nude beaches.

Where are you getting your statistics?

My concern is for the nudist demographics, not for the number of clubs.

The specific situation described in the main article is a classic instance of how a powerful person took advantage of the difference in power to assault someone. The problem is that the victim did not have an recourse to label that behavior a crime or to punish the crime once if it could be labeled as such. The question that needs to be asked about the nudist organizations that are inviting women to join is what power structures do they have in place for those women to express their discomfort with other people's behavior in a safe and supportive environment. Have the women in leadership roles in those organizations made any progress on creating mechanisms of power appropraite for women? 

The clubs should already have policies against such behavior, but policies are worthless if they do not effective mechanisms for enforcement. And even if the policies and mechanisms are in place there is the problem of getting the victims to know and act in defense of their rights. Given this idea that it takes a combination of policies, enforcement mechanisms, knowledge, and motivation to act, then where do the various organizations measure up, or not?

It seems to me the national organizations could take responsibility for creating a system for hearing such complaints, mediating and/or adjudicating resolutions, and enforcing sanctions against clubs that cannot maintain a safe and supportive environment.

I agree. That's why we prominently publish an anti-harassment policy and make sure that all visitors read it before they are allowed in.

Good points -  but here's the rub.

I can assure you that national organizations have been contact and are aware of the problem. Sadly, none of them want to touch it - no pun intended!

I think that the problem in many clubs is that naturism/nudism has become just a casual recreational option. The movement used to be about much more than just being nude. In fact, I frequently say that naturism is not about nudity. It is about accepting yourself, respecting others and living a more natural life. (as defined a long time ago by the International Naturist Federation) But nudity is the key tool that helps us achieve these goals.

Unfortunately, those values have been lost or deliberately set asside in many of the clubs. They've become places where you don't have to wear a bathing suit - a mere recreational activity.

At Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park, we're trying to bring back naturism as a life philosophy. Because the terms "naturism" and "nudism" have become so vague, I've introduced the idea of Ethical Naturism to make the point even more clearly. 

Having strong naturist values is woman-friendly by default. Of course, not everyone who visits comes with those lofty ideals. That's why we make it clear with our anti-harrassment policy. It could be the reason why we have more women on staff than men. It's not by design. It just happened. Women visit and are so enamored and empowered by the atmosphere that they want to work here.

Of the two genders, women feel the most pressure from society to meet to unrealistic expectations of physical beauty. They are told that their bodies exist for the pleasure of others. But that's also why women are most appreciative of a place where they can free their bodies without being viewed as promiscuous and accepted for who they are.

It seems to be working. In the five years we've owned the club, membership has grown from about 130 members to over 520. All serviced campsites have been full for years and there is a 10 year waiting list. Each summer, we get thousands of visits by non-members. This summer, we had several hundred people visit for the first time - about a quarter of which were young people under 30. We have many families with young children. Women seem particularly comfortable. Dozens of them came this year to visit for the first time either on their own or with a girlfriend. In a few cases, we've even had women visit without their husband/partner because they could not convince them to come.

Certainly, Bare Oaks is not for everybody. But that's OK. I would rather have a place that people love and are passionate about than trying to appeal to a broader group of people who are ambivalent about naturism.

 

Your club sounds like a great place - it would be great if you could tell us more about it!

One thing concerns me.  Whenever a man tells me that women are happy I always wonder why the women aren't telling me that. I would love to hear from some of the women at Bare Oaks and have them share their feelings.

Arrived from arizonavichi.tumblr.com. I appreciate the discussion. Feeling wired for nudism, a deviance from conventional behavior, other people's thoughts on the subject are a lot more attractive than the usual mixed bag of photographs.

I appreciated Stephane Deschane's posts, especially his notion of ethical naturism. Still, I don't think you can spell out how to behave (in any situation): A, B, C, D. There's always some new wrinkle. Maybe in trying, though, you can outline a pattern.

For instance, if you point out that touch can be a way of establishing hierarchy, you imply a skepticism toward hierarchy.

In this case, it's a male>female, in-group>newbie, or proprietor>customer hierarchy.

A lot of this stuff is unconscious. I used to dispatch interstate buses for a company -- not Greyhound -- most of whose drivers were white. Every time a white driver told me about an incident involving a black passenger, the passenger's color was part of it. I don't remember a time when that was a detail I needed to know, either as a supervisor or as a listener. It would have startled any of my drivers to say that they were racist. This seems to resonate with the "misogynist" discussion here.

In my lifetime, from mid-century, the amount of stuff like this that somebody needs to know has increased, often to the detriment of somebody's prerogatives, often to social discord. Even so, feminism has seemed, from my first encounters with the idea, forty-some years ago, to amount to simple fairness.

The pattern is what's important.

The pattern within social nudity has to be the same as the pattern elsewhere, although the appearance of social nudity in the last century or so has to have helped shape the pattern.

All this implies, for me, a need to refresh our ways of dealing with ethical and aesthetic things. The ethics and Aesthetics are there already, in, say, Christianity or democracy, but have been corrupted by misunderstanding, self interest, and novelty not anticipated by the ethical and aesthetic sources.

As an old hippie, I'm tempted to say, "Right the first time."

You and me both. Good points!