Like most human beings on this planet there are things about me I don’t like. Namely my boobs and my hips. Standard girl issues right? If I could change these two things I would be quite okay with myself.
Now, I could if I wanted to, deal with these issues, minor though they are in the great scheme of things. I just need about £20,000. But I am also aware that my parameters for my disappointment in my physical attributes come from the media. If tits that hang round your waist were in vogue, I wouldn’t be thinking how much a breast lift would apparently change my life.
I got caught up in a discussion on this thanks to Twitter, The Sun and a project called Bare Reality. It started with the Sun telling us in its own enigmatic way that ‘Brit girls are ‘aving it large with multi-cup-size boob jobs‘. There’s no doubt we seem to be going through something of an epidemic of breast augmentation surgery in this country right now. So much for the recession!
Programmes like ‘How Not To Get Old‘ are in their own way also telling us we can wave a magic wand that makes us acceptable. But to whom? And Bare Reality has discovered that going under the knife doesn’t always solve body confidence issues, it merely morphs into another problem.
Certainly I don’t think that viewers of programmes which suggest this is a one-stop solution are getting a good balance of what really happens after surgery and how people’s lives have changed both physically and emotionally. There are however serious studies going on into pre and post surgery subjects to see how it has improved quality of life. The results long term have not been encouraging within all the test groups.
That being said, there’s much to be said for body confidence and in some cases I don’t doubt it’s done a lot for a person’s self esteem and general confidence. I guess it depends on the motivations for surgery and your expectations of the results. I tried to Google for some initial responses but predominantly it turned up results along the lines of whether or not surgery improved a woman’s sex life. Which again harks back to why you’re having the surgery in the first place. To be sexually attractive?
I found this website called ‘Way To Be Healthy’ and was disappointed by the first ‘plus point’ to surgery which was that you will ‘look better‘. By who’s standards? It continued ‘A breast enhancement procedure enhances your figure and shapes your bust. When you get a procedure done, you balance your figure and you look curvier. If your body is lacking definition, a breast enhancement procedure can add curves and increase attractiveness.‘ These phrases, and others which appeared on the site including that you could wear ‘stylish clothing’ whilst inspiring to the would be patient, are also highly negative in their suggestion that the patient lacks attractiveness, definition or curves in the first place and therefore needs surgery. It is presumptive. They don’t know who is reading. But to someone thinking of surgery, lacking in confidence, these sorts of phrases can be the last straw.
Bare Reality is an ‘art and social project exploring how women feel about their breasts’. There is no doubt that women, and indeed many men, have a warped image of what a breast should look like. We see them in the media, in the press, on page 3 of the Sun and in film. But they are all on perfect women. Women that don’t really exist. And it’s left many of us feeling inadequate and less than sexy. For young women who’s sexual attractiveness is paramount, not meeting the criteria can be hard to bear. The Bare Reality project is helping women to realise that these images are not the ones you should be comparing yourself to. That you need to look at real women.
The only thing that got me out my warped sense of self was a hefty dose of reality and regular top ups to reenforce the point. It’s one of the reasons I swim naked every month at my local naturist swim and I go naked at home as often as I can. To remind me I am normal. I am human and no matter how I feel about my breasts, it’s what I’ve got and it’s no different to anyone else. it’s a constant battle.
I manage it by filtering out all the media perfectionism wherever I can, writing blogs like this, and staying involved in the naturist community. Because that’s where it’s at. And if more women could realise this, I think we’d all be a lot happier, healthier and more forgiving to our bodies.
Every so often I pop a naturism based article into my regular Facebook feed to see who’s reading and hopefully find a few closet naturists. It never works. I get crass, childish and sexual responses from guys and nothing at all from women.
I re-posted an article from a fellow blogger on social nudity yesterday. Only one response, which was that the writer should ‘get out more and stop writing shit columns about what you presume everyone else is thinking‘.
It’s why I keep my naturist lifestyle to myself, practicing naturists and those who have the decency to stop and try to understand. I think there is no hope for the human race and I’m happiest of all keeping it at arms length.
I am teetering on the edge of being able to market myself as a naturist service provider. It’s starting to look like I may be moving home again. But this time I will have enough space to take my business from its studio to my new home. And this means I will be able to work naked.
But my business as a seamstress is perhaps one of the strangest juxtapositions I have ever heard. I don’t know if I can sell my services on the strength of my own non-clothed status. But can any service? Or is being naked at your job just an interesting aside to whatever it is that you do anyway?
Of course, you can’t walk around naked all the time so you might as well spend your money on clothes you are comfortable in when you have to wear them. And I guess that’s where I come in.
I have seen occasional advertisements for naturist service providers – from legit masseurs to plumbers and gardeners. I know of nude photographers (that’s where you’re naked not just your model okay?) and naked artists. I am also aware of homeworkers who spend their office hours in the nude.
But do you work in an office or other mixed environment where you are naked? Are your colleagues all naked too? Or do you have to specifically set up a company for your naturist friends in order to populate it with the people you need?
I guess it would be too much to expect naturists to be able to work eau naturale in a standard office environment. However Nude House in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, which bills itself as ‘the first company in the world that utilises the selling skills of nudists to create a comfortable environment for these nudists to operate from commercially’ is aiming to start up other ‘Nude Houses’ around the world.
Clearly this is of wider interest to the community. The International Naturist Business Association seeks to provide support to businesses and services who earn all or part of their income from the naturism industry.
Many naturist websites have a business directory for those individuals who want to integrate nudism into their business.
A lot of creatives are able to work naked. Naked art is very popular. And I suppose that’s partly because of their working environment. They mostly work alone in a home studio or other stand alone space. Of course art also attracts more open minded individuals so it’s no wonder so many creatives work nude. So in a way its keeping the naked aspect very much behind closed doors. But is it even thinkable that people could work naked in a textile office environment in the future? I think not.
I honestly don’t think nudity in public as a lifestyle choice is ever going to happen. It will always be under a certain level privacy whether it’s a closed club, business such as ‘Nude House’ or someone’s home and I think that’s just the way it is. Because people’s reactions to nudity aren’t going to change.
I found a question on Yahoo Answers from a woman naked Danielle who suggested an optional ‘Naked Day’ at work could be quite fun. The responses were saddening. One responder described a naked day at the office as being ‘embarrassing, inconvenient, humiliating and just pointless’. Others said they didn’t want to see their coworkers even partially unclothed and someone suggested it would just be full of fat old men.
Until you can deal with this sort of attitude you will be struggling. And I don’t think you can challenge people with these attitudes. Because you cannot force people to understand what nudity is really about. They have to understand it for themselves.
This year has been good for finding naturist friends in our own age groups. We had already met a lovely couple at our local swim last year and our friendship has thankfully endured. But thanks to Twitter, WordPress and Facebook it’s been a productive year and we’ve met a number of singles and couples in their 20s and 30s for swims, skinny dips and beach visits. It makes me excited about the future and who else we might find along the way.
But it’s taken work. People don’t just appear from nowhere and being where we are in the country, many people and locations are not within convenient traveling distances. I’ve spent hours on the internet, blogging and promoting, posting messages on Facebook, we’ve driven hours to events, put people up at our house and endured cold conditions for skinny dips. All worth it of course.
But now that it’s September autumn, and cooler weather, will quickly follow. We were hoping to get in another beach visit before the end of the year, but the unpredictability of the weather has made organising group events very tricky, especially when others have to travel so far to get to our nearest coast line in the Midlands.
Our main focus of attention over the following months will probably be our local swim at Sleaford which is always accommodating to accompanied guests. We have been housed in a temporary pool for the last year whilst our regular location has been undergoing a total refurbishment and we’re all excited about going back there permanently in late October.
Additionally, living conditions have changed and my partner and I now have a parent and housemate free house so being naked is no longer a novelty or a special treat. There’s also the added perk of a hot tub and a secluded garden so really we are well set up here. Swims therefore, are going to be less of an opportunity to get naked and more of a social experience and a chance to meet new people we might invite to our home once we have got to know them. We always take great care when meeting new people and I think we should all be mindful of protecting ourselves in the first instance.
There’s no doubt that if you want to find people, you have to do the leg work. And if you want to keep your local naturist community alive you have to join in to keep things going. Sometimes it’s very tempting to just sit back at home and get on with your own life. But trying new things with other people and particularly if you are introducing new people to naturism or just staying in contact with friends further afield is a valuable and useful task.
Clearly I have missed something. What is all the fuss about ‘Go Topless Day’?
I had to check out the Wikipedia page to get some clarification on what the point of it actually is. According to Claude Vorilhon, the founder of ‘Raelism‘ (which incidentally is a UFO religion) which sponsors Go Topless Day: ‘As long as men can go topless, women should have the same constitutional right or men should also be forced to wear something that hides their chests.’
To be honest, I don’t actually see how this is an argument. It’s obvious why men can take their tops off, although many European countries still dissuade male foreign tourists with poor public etiquette from removing their tops in the streets (Barcelona and Venice for two). I think that as a woman who has just spent most of the last week naked at home, things like this go over my head. I enjoy being naked but you know what, I don’t really want to get my top off in public on a hot day. For one, I don’t want to get skin cancer. For two, the world is full of voyeurs.
I also think it defeats the object when articles like this from the Daily News post images with the nipples fuzzed out. You’re telling women to take their tops off and that it’s okay but that actually it’s not really acceptable – otherwise why would you have just fuzzed out part of the breast? How is that changing the message about bare breasts in public?
Artlcles like this from SFist are really doing nothing for the cause. Ironically it is not illegal to be topless in San Francisco. Maybe that’s why nobody turned out. They’re all elsewhere being topless but not having to beat off pervy photographers.
I’m not sure this is the way forward. If you’re trying to get people to accept things, shoving it in their faces (so to speak) or cornering them in an awkward live situation like this poor chap in Canada is not going to get people to warm to your cause.
If there’s one thing that annoys me, it’s why you can see female topless and full frontal nudity on tv on a regular basis but you rarely see full frontal nudity on men (thanks to the Huffington Post for re-educating me on that). Why is it less acceptable to see a penis on TV than a vagina or a pair of boobs? Why is one more sexual than the other? Please tell me, I’d love to know.
At the end of the day we are never going to be able to change the attitude towards nudity as a general rule. It will always have sexual connotations to certain groups of society or individuals. And that is the way it is. It’s partly because of media attitudes. It’s partly because of society’s attitudes. It’s partly because we are programmed with sexual urges and that is because we are humans. The very fabric of our society is based around attraction and procreation and unless you start up communes of A-sexual individuals that is never going to change.
So to a certain extent, we are all going to have to deal with it. It’s like going to the toilet. We all do it, but would you want to see someone taking a dump in the middle of your high street?
Okay so let me throw another one into the mix.
We’ve done the sexual connotations of nude photography and the naturist angle, alcohol and how it apparently turns us all into swingers. Now what about the naturist massage? Like the naturist photography session which may focus entirely on a nubile young female model, the naturist massage also has its fair share of unwanted sexual connotation. Many massage parlours that offer ‘happy endings’ list themselves under the banner of ‘naturist’.
But just as being naked should not mean sexual activity why does the act of giving or receiving a massage where one or both involved are naked suggest it should be sexual?
There are naturist masseurs who always remain dressed and it is only the recipient who is naked. There are genuine massages where both are naked. But it does not mean there will be sexual activity of any kind.
I am an advocate of massage. It’s one of my favourite past times. I give and receive. I even have my own table. If I had the money I would hire my own masseuse! I am not trained but I have taken a little instruction from a trained professional and it’s a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
With your partner it can be the most intimate of experiences no matter how far you do or don’t go, but equally it can be and is entirely platonic with friends or acquaintances. On the other hand I have visited a lovely lady who resides up north and gives full on ‘naturist massages’ with the happy ending. I don’t consider her a naturist just because she strips down to her underwear but I don’t deny it’s a very pleasurable experience. It’s a very separate part of her business for those who ‘need to know’. But I don’t equate this particular service with the naturist lifestyle at all.
I read an article on Naturist Freedom UK a while back which gave an interesting insight into the working practices of a naturist and masseuse who chooses to remain clothed whilst at work. A wider gap between naturism and sex you could not wish to see. I applaud her professional boundaries and for sticking to them no matter how many times she gets asked for the little ‘extras’. Of course she gets her fair share of enquiries, but when it’s made clear she is going to be clothed, she doesn’t get a booking. These callers aren’t naturists though – at least not as far as I’m concerned. But it does imply that the link between naturist and massage suggests a more sexual form of service is expected purely because of the nudity aspect of it.
I wish my local swim would offer naturist massage sessions. We have saunas, steam rooms and jacuzzi’s and to all intents and purposes it is a bit like a mini spa although not quite as luxurious and certainly not as expensive. But a massage or therapy room really would be the icing on the cake and to me is in keeping with the ethos of what naturism is about.
I haven’t been keeping up with all the news from Clover Spa lately but I finally got a chance to read up on its new alcohol licence in The Telegraph‘s travel section today.
I am stunned that there was opposition to the licence application and disappointed that those who opposed it assumed that alcohol and naked equaled what basically amounted to swingers parties. As The Telegraph wrote:
‘This is the scene feared by a group of local Conservative councillors and residents who opposed the liquor licence just awarded to the Clover Spa & Hotel. Appealing to Birmingham City Council, they said that permitting the sale of drinks could lead to “a rise ‘in inappropriate behaviour and displays of flesh” at the hotel…’
Frankly, I find this insulting. Once again, it’s another example of everyone assuming that naturists are predators who are just there for sex and frolicking with as many anonymous partners as they can find.
The article (which seems to me to be firmly on the side of the naturist message) highlighted the case of the Kestrel Hydro Naturist Spa in Surrey which was recently closed down after it was found to be operating as an adult private members’ club, complete with a dungeon.
British Naturism made a valid point by condemning the venue, saying there are “far too many adult clubs masquerading behind the respectable image of naturism”. But it is clear to everyone that these are NOT genuine naturist clubs. Latching on to the naturist word simply because people are naked does not make it naturism and it does not hide the adult nature of these places.
Well done to the Clover Spa and Hotel for winning their licence. And two fingers up to the prudes and bureaucracy that can’t accept the people who accept their own bodies on face value.
It makes me want to dance naked round my garden with the bottle of champagne that’s been nurtured in my cupboard for the past month.
I was reading about photographer Betsy Schneider who has had her work banned because it is deemed offensive. Why? Because it depicts the development of her child over nine weeks as an infant.
My immediate thought was how can a picture of a new born baby be offensive? And then it struck me that it must be the people who complained who must have the dirty minds if they thought that a baby could be sexual.
I was reminded of a blogger who haunts my WordPress (he shall remain nameless – regular readers will know who I mean) and often condemns naturism for being sexual and evil and ‘not right’. And I thought, there are all these naturists, happily walking around with pure thoughts of clean air, sun, beaches, not focusing on genitalia or sexual urges. And there he is – holier than thou – thinking ‘You’re nude! Sex! Evil! Dirty!’ But that’s his perception of nudity, not the naturists. And it does not make nudity bad, or evil and dangerous.
And I realised I had nothing to fear for being a naturist. I have done nothing wrong. It’s the complainers who have corrupt thoughts because of nudity. And to all those people who thought there were sexual connotations seeing a naked baby – shame on you!