205 Arguments and  Observations In Support of Naturism

Extensively documented with  quotes, references, supporting research, and resources for further study.

Compiled by K. Bacher

Nudity is often more  comfortable and practical than clothing.

  1. There are times when clothing is physically uncomfortable. Nudity, on the other  hand, is often much more comfortable.
  2. For many activities, nudity is often far more practical than clothing.  Bernard  Rudofsky writes: "The custom of wearing a bathing suit, a desperate attempt to  recapture some of our lost innocence, represents a graphic expression of white  man's hypocrisy. For, obviously, the bathing suit is irrelevant to any activity  in and under water. It neither keeps us dry or warm, nor is it an aid to  swimming. If the purpose of bathing is to get wet, the bathing suit does not  make us wetter. At best, it is a social dress, like the dinner jacket." 1 Yet  Americans spend $900,000,000 each year on bathing costumes.(2)
  3. Clothing also restricts movement, and encumbers the athlete. Studies done by the  West German Olympic swim team showed that even swimsuits slow down a swimmer.(3) 

     Naturism promotes mental health.
  4. A nudist is not a body lacking something (that is, clothing). Rather, a clothed  person is a whole and complete naked body, plus clothes.
  5. Many psychologists say that clothing is an extension of ourselves. The clothes  we wear are an expression of who we are.
  6. Clothes-compulsiveness creates insecurity about one's body. Studies show that  nudism, on the other hand, promotes a positive body self-concept.(5)  These  effects are especially significant for women. Studies by Daniel DeGoede in 1984  confirmed research done 16 years earlier,6 which established that "of all the  groups measured (nudist males, non-nudist males, nudist females, and non-nudist  females), the nudist females scored highest on body concept, and the non-nudist  females scored lowest." (7)
  7. Nudism promotes wholeness of body, rather than setting aside parts of the body  as unwholesome and shameful.(8)
  8. Clothes-compulsiveness locks us into a constant battle between individuality and  conformity of dress.  Nudity frees us from this anxiety, by fostering a climate  of comfortable individuality without pretense.
  9. The practice of nudism is, for nudists, an immensely freeing experience. In  freeing oneself to be nude in the presence of others, including members of the  other sex, the nudist also gives up all the social baggage that goes along with  the nudity taboo.   The North American Guide to Nude Recreation notes that "one  reason why a nude lifestyle is so refreshing is that it delivers us temporarily  from the game of clothes. It's hard to imagine how much clothing contributes to  the  grip of daily tensions until we see what it's like to socialize without  them. Clothing locks us into a collective unreality that prescribes complex  responses to social status, roles and expected behaviors. In shedding our daily  'uniforms,' we also shed a weighty burden of anxieties. For a while, at least,  we don't have to play the endless charade of projected images we call 'daily  life.' . . . For once in your life you are part of a situation where age,  occupation and social status don't really count for much. You'll find yourself  relating more on the basis of who you really are instead of who your clothes say  you are." 9 This analysis is borne out by experience.
  10. The   sense of "freedom" that comes from the nudist experience is consistently rated  by nudists as one of  the main reasons they stay in it.10
  11. Nudism, by freeing the body, helps free the mind and spirit. An irrational  clothes-compulsiveness may inhibit psychological growth and health. Dr. Robert  Henley Woody writes, "fear of revealing one's body is a defense. To keep  clothing on at all times when it is unnecessary for social protocol or physical  comfort is to armour oneself in a manner that will block new behaviors that  could introduce more healthful and rewarding alternatives; and promote  psychological growth." 11
  12. The  nudist, literally, has nothing to hide. He or she therefore has less stress, a  fact supported by research.12 In the words of Paul Ableman: "Removing  your clothes symbolizes 'taking off' civilization and its cares.  The nudist is  stripped not only of garments but of the need to 'dress a part,' of form and  display, of ceremony and all the constraints of a complex etiquette. . . .  Further than this, the nudist symbolically takes off a great burden of  responsibility. By taking off his clothes, he takes off the pressing issues of  his day. For the time being, he is no longer committed to causes, opposed to  this or that trend, in short a citizen. He becomes . . . a free being once  more." 13
  13. Clothing hides the natural diversity of human body shapes and sizes. When people  are never exposed to nudity, they grow up with misunderstandings and unrealistic  expectations about the body based on biased or misinformed sources--for  instance, from advertising or mass media. As a result, breast augmentation has  long been the leading form of cosmetic surgery in the U.S. In the 1980s,  American women had more than 100,000 operations per year to alter their breasts.14  Helen Gurley Brown, past editor of Cosmopolitan, says, "I don't think 80 percent  of the women in this country have any idea what other women's bosoms look like.  They have this idealized idea of how other people's bosoms are. . . . My God,  isn't it ridiculous to be an emancipated woman and not really know what a  woman's body looks like except your own?" 15  Paul Fussell notes, by  contrast, that "a little time spent on Naturist beaches will persuade most women  that their breasts and hips are not, as they may think when alone, appalled by  their mirrors, 'abnormal,' but quite natural,  'abnormal' ones belonging   entirely to the nonexistent creatures depicted in ideal painting and sculpture.  The same with men: if you think nature has been unfair to you in the sexual  anatomy sweepstakes, spend some time among the Naturists. You will learn that  every man looks roughly the same--quite small, that is, and that heroic fixtures  are not just extremely rare, they are deformities." 16
  14. Clothing hides and therefore creates mystery and ignorance about natural body  processes, such as pregnancy, adolescence, and aging. Children (and even adults)  who grow up in a nudist environment have far less anxiety about these natural  processes than those who are never exposed to them. Margaret Mead writes,  "clothes separate us from our own bodies as well as from the bodies of others.  The more society . . . muffles the human body in clothes . . . camouflages  pregnancy . . . and hides breastfeeding, the more individual and bizarre will be  the child's attempts to understand, to piece together a very imperfect knowledge  of the life-cycle of the two sexes and an understanding of the particular state  of maturity of his or her body." 17  Some observations on the nature  of modesty.
  15. Children are not born with any shame about nudity. They learn to be ashamed of  their own nudity.
  16. Shame, with respect to nudity, is relative to individual situations and customs,  not absolute. For example, an Arab woman, encountered in a state of undress,  will cover her face, not her body; she bares her breasts without embarrassment,  but believes the sight of the back of her head to be still more indecent than  exposure of her face. (James Laver notes that "an Arab peasant woman caught in  the fields without her veil will throw her skirt over her head, thereby exposing  what, to the Western mind, is a much more embarrassing part of her anatomy.") In early Palestine, women were obliged to keep their heads covered; for a woman, to  be surprised outside the house without a head-covering was a sufficient reason  for divorce. In pre -revolutionary China it was shameful for a woman to show her  foot, and in Japan, the back of her neck. In 18th-century France, while deep  décolletage was common, it was improper to expose the point of the shoulder.  Herr Surén, writing in 1924, noted that Turkish women veiled their faces,  Chinese women hid their feet, Arab women covered the backs of their heads, and  Filipino women considered only the navel indecent.18 The relative nature of  shame is acknowledged by Pope John Paul II. "There is a certain relativism in  the definition of what is shameless," he writes. "This relativism may be due to  differences in the makeup of particular persons . . . or to different 'world  views.' It may equally be due to differences in external conditions--in climate  for instance . . . and also in prevailing customs, social habits, etc. . . . In  this matter there is no exact similarity in the behavior of particular people,  even if they live in the same age and the same society. . . . Dress is always a  social question." 19
  17. The   dominant idea that clothing is necessary for reasons of modesty is a cultural  assumption. It is an assumption that is not shared by all cultures, nor by all  members of our own culture.20
  18. There is evidence that modesty is not related to nakedness at all, but is rather  a response to appearing different from the rest of the social group--for  instance, outside the accepted habits of clothing or adornment.21   For example, indigenous tribes naked except for ear and lip plugs feel immodest  when the plugs are removed, not when their bodies are exposed.22  Likewise, a woman feels immodest if seen in her slip, even though it's far less  revealing than her bikini.23 This also explains why clothed visitors  to nudist parks feel uncomfortable in their state of dress. Psychologist Emery  S. Bogardus writes: "Nakedness is never shameful when it is unconscious, that  is, when there is no consciousness of a difference between fact and the rule set  by the mores." In other words, for first-time visitors to a nudist park, there  is no hint of embarrassment after an initial reticence, because it is not  contrary to the moral norms.
  19. Shame comes from being outside mores, not from specific actions or conditions.  Because nudity is unremarkable in a nudist setting, nudists may even forget that  they are nude--and often do.
  20. Psychological studies have shown that modesty need not be related to one's state  of dress at all. For the nudist, modesty is not shed with one's clothes; it  merely takes a different form.24  Psychological studies by Martin  Weinberg concluded that the basic difference between nudists and nonnudists lies  in their differently-constructed definitions of the situation. It isn't that  nudists are immodest, for, like non-nudists, they have norms to regulate and  control immorality, sexuality, and embarrassment. Nudists merely accept the  human body as natural, rather than as a source of embarrassment.25
  21. Many   indigenous tribes go completely naked without shame, even today. It is only  through extended contact with the "modern" world that they learn to be "modest." 26 Paul Ableman writes: "The missionaries were usually disconcerted  to find that the biblically recommended  act of 'clothing the naked', far from  producing an improvement in native morals, almost always resulted in a  deterioration. What the missionaries were inadvertently doing was recreating the  Garden of Eden situation. Naked, the primitive cultures had shown no prurient  concern with the body. . . . the morality was normally geared to the naked state  of the culture. The missionaries, with their cotton shorts and dresses,  disrupted this. Naked people actually feel shame when they are first dressed.  They develop an exaggerated awareness of the body. It is as if Adam and Eve's  'aprons' generated the 'knowledge of good and evil' rather than being its  consequence." 27 Many Amazon rainforest people still live  clothing-optional by choice, even given an alternative.28 The same is  true of the aborigines of central Australia.29
  22. Even   in North America, nudity was commonplace among many indigenous tribes prior to  the arrival of Europeans. Lewis and Clark reported nearly-naked natives along  the northern Pacific coast, for example,30 as did visitors to  California.31 Father Louis Hennepin in 1698 reported of  Milwaukee-area Illinois Indians, "They go stark naked in Summer-time, wearing  only a kind of Shoes made of the Skins of [buffalo] Bulls." He described several  other North American tribes as also generally living without clothes.32  The natives of Florida wore only breechclouts and sashes of Spanish moss, which  they removed while hunting or gardening.33 Columbus wrote of  the  Indians he encountered in the Caribbean in 1492, "They all go around as naked as  their mothers bore them; and also the women." 34 The Polynesian  natives of Hawaii wore little clothing, and none at all at the shore or in the  water, until the arrival of Christian missionaries with Captain Cook in 1776.35
  23. For   some indigenous tribes, nudity or near-nudity is an essential part of their  culture.  Paul Ableman explains, "very few primitives are totally naked. They  almost always have ornamentation or body-modification of some kind, which plays  a central role in their culture. . . . Into this simple but successful culture  comes the missionary, and obliterates the key signs beneath his cheap Western  clothing. Among many primitives, tattooing, scarification and ornamentation  convey highly elaborate information which may, in fact, be the central  regulatory force in the society. The missionary thus, at one blow, annihilates a  culture. It was probably no less traumatic for a primitive society to be   suddenly clothed than it would be for ours to be suddenly stripped naked." 36
  24. Yet   missionaries have consistently sought to impose their own concepts of "decency"  on other cultures, ignoring the elaborate cultural traditions regarding dress  already in place. Bernard Rudofsky writes: "People [in other cultures] who  traditionally do not have much use for clothes are not amused by the missionary  zeal that prompts us to press our notions of decency upon them while being  insensitive or opposed to theirs." 37 Julian Robinson adds:  "Eighteenth and nineteenth century missionaries and colonial administrators were  blissfully blind to their own religious, cultural and sexual prejudices, and to  the symbolism of their own tribal adornments--their tight-laced corsets,  powdered wigs, constricting shoes and styles of outer garments totally unsuited  to colonial life. These missionaries and administrators nevertheless took it  upon themselves to expunge all those 'pagan, barbaric and savage forms of body  packaging' which did not conform to their body covering standards. . . . Thus  the social and symbolic significance of these traditional forms of body  decoration which had evolved over countless generations were, in many cases,  destroyed forever." 38  Russell Nansen records that "Henry Morton  Stanley, the rescuer of David Livingstone in the Belgian Congo. . . . from 1847  to 1877 . . . wandered across Africa suffering every hardship but when he went  back to England he made a notable speech to the Manchester Chamber of Commerce.  He explained to the audience how many natives there were in the Congo, and the  fact that they lived naked. He told the audience that their duty as Christians  was to convert these misguided naked savages to Christianity and to the wearing  of clothes. And when this missionary work had progressed sufficiently to  convince the natives of the need for wearing clothes on Sunday, that would mean  three hundred and twenty million yards of Manchester cotton cloth yearly.  Instantly the audience rose to its feet and cheered him." 39
  25. Most   anthropologists consider modesty an unlikely reason for the development of  clothes. J.C. Flügel writes: "The great majority of scholars have unhesitatingly  regarded decoration as the motive that led, in the first place, to the adoption  of clothing, and consider that the warmth- and modesty-preserving functions of  dress, however important they might later on become, were only discovered once  the wearing of clothes had become habitual for other reasons.  The  anthropological evidence consists chiefly in the fact that among the most  primitive races there exist unclothed but not undecorated peoples." 40  Anthropologists agree nearly unanimously on this point.41
  26. Many   psychologists and anthropologists believe that modesty about exposure of the  body may well be a result of wearing clothes, rather than its cause.42
  27. It  is interesting to note that it is only possible to be immodest once an accepted  form of modesty has been established.43
  28. Modesty with respect to nudity is a social phenomenon, not biologically   instinctive. This is evidenced by the fact that nudity is venerated in art.44  Naturism promotes sexual health.
  29. Nudity is not, by itself, erotic, and nudity in mixed groups is not inherently  sexual. These are myths propagated by a clothes -obsessed society. Sexuality is  a matter of intent rather than state of dress.  In our culture, a person who  exposes their sexual parts for any reason is considered to be an exhibitionist.  It is assumed that they stripped to attract attention and cause a sexual  reaction in others. This is seen as a perversion.  Hypocritically, if someone  dresses specifically to arouse sexual interest, they are considered to have  pride in their appearance. Even if they get great sexual gratification out of  the attention others give, there is no suggestion of  perversion or sexual  fixation.
  30. Nudists, as a group, are healthier sexually than the general population. Nudists  are, as a rule, far more comfortable with their bodies than the general public,  and this contributes to a more relaxed and comfortable attitude toward sexuality  in general.
  31. Sexual satisfaction in married couples shows a correlation to their degree of  comfort with nudity.45
  32. Studies show significantly less incidence of casual premarital and extramarital  sex, group sex, incest, and rape among nudists than among non-nudists.46
  33. Studies have demonstrated that countries with fewer hang-ups about nudity have  lower teen pregnancy and abortion rates.47
  34. Clothes enhance sexual mystery and the potential for unhealthy sexual fantasies.  Photographer Jock Sturges says, "our arbitrary demarcations [between clothing  and nudity, sexual and asexual] serve more to confound our collective sexual  identity than to further our social progress. America sells everything with sex  and then recoils when presented with the realities of natural process." 48  C. Willet Cunnington writes: "We have to thank the Early Fathers for having,  albeit unwillingly, established a mode of thinking from which men and women have  developed an art which has supplied so many novel means of exciting the sexual  appetite. Prudery, it seems, provides mankind with endless aphrodisiacs, hence,  no doubt, the reluctance to abandon it." 49
  35. Clothing focuses attention on sexuality, not away from it; and in fact often  enhances immature forms of sexuality, rather than promoting healthy body  acceptance.50
  36. Complete nudity is antithetic to the elaborate semi-pornography of the fashion  industry. Julian Robinson observes, "modesty is so intertwined with sexual  desire and the need for sexual display-- fighting but at the same time  re-kindling this desire--that a self-perpetuating process is inevitably set in  motion. In fact modesty can never really attain its ultimate end except through  its disappearance. Hiding under the cloak of modesty there are to be found many  essential components of the sexual urge itself." 51
  37. Clothing often focuses attention on the genitals and sexual arousal, rather than  away from them. 52 At various times in Western history different  parts of female anatomy have been eroticized: bellies and thighs in the  Renaissance; buttocks, breasts, and thighs by the late 1800s (and relatively  diminutive waists and bellies). Underwear design has historically emphasized  these erogenous body parts: corsets in the 1800s deemphasized the midriff and emphasized the breasts--using materials including whalebone and steel; the  crinoline in the mid 1800s emphasized the waist; and the bustle, appearing in  1868, emphasized the buttocks.53 Bathing suit design today focuses  attention on the breasts and pubic region. E.B. Hurlock writes: "When primitive  peoples are unaccustomed to wearing clothing, putting it on for the first time  does not decrease their immorality, as the ladies of missionary societies think  it will. It has just the opposite effect. It draws attention to the body,  especially for those parts of it which are covered for the first time." 54   Rob Boyte notes wryly that "textile people, when they do strip in front of  others, usually do it for passion, and find the bikini pattern tan-lines  attractive. This is reminiscent of the scarification practiced by primitive  societies, and shows how clothing patterns become a fetish of the body." 55  Havelock Ellis writes: "If the conquest of sexual desire were the first and last  consideration of life it would be more reasonable to prohibit clothing than to  prohibit nakedness." 56
  38. The   fashion industry depends on the sex appeal of clothing. Peter Fryer writes: "The  changes in women's fashions are basically determined by the need to maintain  men's sexual interest, and therefore to transfer the primary zone of erotic  display once a given part of the body has been saturated with attractive power  to the point of satiation. . . . Each new fashion seeks to arouse interest in a  new erogenous zone to replace the zone which, for the time being, is played  out." 57
  39. Differences of clothing between the sexes focus attention on sex differences.58   Psychologist J.C. Flügel writes: "There seems to be (especially in modern life)  no essential factor in the nature, habits, or functions of the two sexes that  would necessitate a striking difference of costume--other than the desire to  accentuate sex differences themselves; an accentuation that chiefly serves the  end of more easily and frequently arousing sexual passion." 59
  40. Many  psychologists believe that clothing may originally have developed, in part, as a  means of focusing sexual attention.60
  41. Partial clothing is more sexually stimulating (in often unhealthy ways) than  full nudity. Anne Hollander writes: "The more significant clothing is, the more  meaning attaches to its absence and the more awareness is generated about any  relation between the two states." 61 Elizabeth B. Hurlock notes that  "it is unquestionably a well-known fact that familiar things arouse no  curiosity, while concealment lends enchantment and stimulates curiosity . . . a  draped figure with just enough covering to suggest the outline, is far more  alluring than a totally naked body." 62 And Lee Baxandall observes,  "the 'almost'-nude beaches, where bikinis and thongs are paraded, are more  sexually titillating than a clothes-optional resort or beach. What is natural is  more fulfilling, though it may not fit the tantalize-and-deliver titillation of  our consumer culture." 63
  42. Modesty--especially enforced modesty--only adds to sexual interest and desire.64   Reena Glazer writes: "Women's breasts are sexually stimulating to (heterosexual)  men, at least in part because they are publicly inaccessible; society further  eroticizes the female breast by tagging it shameful to expose. . . . This  element of the forbidden merely perpetuates the intense male reaction female  exposure allegedly inspires." 65
  43. Topfree66 inequality (requiring women, but not men, to wear tops)  produces an unhealthy obsession with breasts as sexual objects.
  44. The   identification of breasts as sexual objects in our culture has led to the  discouragement of breastfeeding, the encouragement of unnecessary cosmetic  surgery for breast augmentation, and avoidance of necessary breast examinations  by women. Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer write: "When a woman learns to  treat her breasts as objects that enhance appearance, they belong not to the  woman, but to her viewers. Thus, a woman becomes alienated from her own body." 67
  45. Naturism is the antithesis of pornography.68 Nudity is often confused  with pornography in our society because the pornography industry has so  successfully exploited it. In other words, nudity is often damned as  exploitative precisely because its repression causes many to exploit it.
  46. Pornography has been defined as an attempt to exert power over nature. In most  cases in our culture, it manifests itself as an expression of sexual power by  men over women.69 Naturism, by contrast, seeks to coexist with nature  and with each other, and to accept each other and the natural world in our most  natural states.
  47. Non-acceptance and repression of nudity fuels pornography by teaching that any  form and degree of nudity is inherently sexual and pornographic. In the words of  activist Melissa Farley, "pornography is the antithesis of freedom for women. .  . . to treat the human body as anything less than normal and beautiful is to  promote puritanism and pornography. If the human body is accepted by society as  normal, the pornographers won't be able to market it." 70
  48. Naturism is innocent, casual, non-exploitative, and non-commercial (and yet is  often suppressed); as opposed to pornography, which is commercialized and  sensationalized (and generally tolerated). In some American communities it is  illegal for a woman to publicly bare her breasts in order to feed an infant, but  it is legal to display Penthouse on drug-store magazine racks.
  49. Many   psychologists believe that repression of a healthy sexuality leads to a greater  capacity for, and tendency toward, violence. Paul Ableman writes: "We have  divorced ourselves from our instincts so conclusively that we are now menaced by  their perverted expression. The blocked erotic instinct turns into  destructiveness and, in our age, many thinkers have perceived that some of the  most ghastly manifestations of human culture are fueled by recycled eroticism.  Channelled into pure cerebration, the sexual instinct may generate nightmares  impossible in the animal world. Animals are casually cruel and are usually, not  always, indifferent to the pain of other animals. Animals kills for food or,  rarely, for sport but they do not torture, gloat over pain or exterminate. We  do. What's more, we can tolerate our own ferocity. What we cannot tolerate is  our own sexuality." 71 Thus extreme violence is tolerated even on  television, while the merest glimpse of sexual anatomy, however innocent, is  enough to cause movie ratings to jump. Naturism promotes physical health.
  50. Clothing limits or defeats many of the natural purposes of skin: for example,  repelling moisture, drying quickly, breathing, protecting without impeding  performance, and especially sensing one's environment. C. W. Saleeby writes:  "This admirable organ, the natural clothing of the body, which grows continually  throughout life, which has at least four absolutely distinct sets of sensory  nerves distributed to it, which is essential in the regulation of the  temperature, which is waterproof from without inwards, but allows the excretory  sweat to escape freely, which, when unbroken, is microbe-proof, and which can  readily absorb sunlight--this most beautiful, versatile, and wonderful organ is,  for the most part, smothered, blanched, and blinded in clothes and can only  gradually be restored to the air and light which are its natural surroundings.  Then, and only then, we learn what it is capable of." 72
  51. Exposure to the sun, without going overboard, promotes general health. Research  suggests that solar exposure triggers the body's synthesis of Vitamin D, vital  for (among other things) calcium absorption and a strong immune system. 73  Exposure to the sun is especially essential for the growth of strong bones in  young children.
  52. Recent research has suggested an inverse relationship between solar exposure and  osteoporosis, colon cancer, breast cancer, and even the most deadly form of skin  cancer, malignant melanoma.74
  53. An   obsessive sense of modesty about the body often correlates with a reluctance to  share healthy forms of touch with others. Research has increasingly linked  touch-deprivation, especially during childhood and adolescence, to depression,  violence, sexual inhibition, and other antisocial behaviors. Research has also  shown that people who are physically cold toward adolescents produce hostile,  aggressive, and often violent offspring. On the other hand, children brought up  in families where the members touch each other are healthier, better able to  withstand pain and infection, more sociable, and generally happier than families  that don't share touch.75
  54. Tight clothing may cause health problems by restricting the natural flow of  blood and lymphatic fluid. Recent research by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma  Grismaijer demonstrated that women who wear bras more than twelve hours per day,  but not to bed, are 21 times more likely to get breast cancer than those who  wear bras less than twelve hours per day. Those who wear bras even to bed are  125 times more likely to get breast cancer than those who don't wear bras at  all. Testicular cancer, similarly, has been linked to tight briefs. The theory  is that tight clothing impedes the lymph system, which removes cancer-causing  toxins from the body.76
  55. Clothing can harbor disease-causing bacteria and yeast (especially underclothing  and athletic clothing).
  56. Medical research has linked clothing to an increased susceptibility to bites and  stings by animals such as ticks and sea lice, which hide in or get trapped in  clothing.77
  57. Clothing fashions throughout history, especially for women, have often been  damaging to physical and psychological health.78 For instance, the  wearing of corsets led to numerous physical ailments in women in the late 19th  century. Men and women both suffered through many ages of history under hot,  burdensome layers of clothing in the name of fashion. Footwear has been  especially notorious for resisting reason and comfort in the name of fashion.
  58. The   idea that clothing is necessary for support of the genitals or breasts is often  unwarranted. For example, research shows that the choice of wearing a bra or not  has no bearing on the tendency of a woman's breasts to "droop" as she ages.  Deborah Franklin writes: "Still, the myth that daily, lifelong bra wearing is  crucial to preserving curves persists, along with other misguided notions about  that fetching bit of binding left over from the days when a wasp waist defined  the contours of a woman's power." Christine Haycock, of the New Jersey Medical  School, says that while exercising without a bra may be uncomfortable for  large-breasted women, "it's not doing any lasting damage to chest muscles or  breast tissue." In fact, given the tendency of sports bras to squash breasts  against the rib cage, her research concluded that "those who wore an A cup were  frequently most comfortable with no bra at all." 79 Complete nudity  presents no difficulties for conditioned male athletes, either; and thus the  athletes of ancient Athens had no trouble performing entirely in the nude.80
  59. Clothing hides the natural beauty of the human body, as created by God. In the  words of Michelangelo: "What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot grasp  the fact that the human foot is more noble than the shoe and human skin more  beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?"
  60. Clothing makes people look older, and emphasizes rather than hides unflattering  body characteristics. Paul Fussell writes: "Nude, older people look younger,  especially when very tan, and younger people look even younger. . . . In  addition fat people look far less offensive naked than clothed. Clothes, you  realize, have the effect of sausage casings, severely defining and advertising  the shape of what they contain, pulling it all into an unnatural form which  couldn't fool anyone. . . . The beginning Naturist doesn't take long to master  the paradox that it is stockings that make varicose veins noticeable, belts that  call attention to forty-eight-inch waists, brassieres that emphasize sagging  breasts." 81
  61. Clothing harbors and encourages the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Naturism is  socially constructive.
  62. Naturism is a socially constructive philosophy. As defined by the International  Naturist Federation, "Naturism is a way of life in harmony with nature  characterized by the practice of communal nudity, with the intention of  encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment." 82
  63. Naturism, by philosophy, is tolerant of others and their differences. It expects  only the same in return. Naturism rejects obstreperous, provocative nudity--but  because it is anti-social effrontery and disorderly conduct, not because it is  nudity.
  64. Nudity promotes social equality, feelings of unity with others, and more relaxed  social interaction in general. As mentioned earlier, clothing locks us into a  collective unreality that prescribes complex responses to social status, roles  and expected behaviors.83 As the artificial barrier of clothing is  done away with, social class and status disappear. People begin to relate to  each other as they are, and not as they seem to be. This is a phenomenon that is  intimately familiar to the Finnish people. L.M. Edelsward writes: "People can  relax in the sauna in a way that is difficult to do in other contexts and with  others than one's family, for here the tensions associated with maintaining  one's social mask disappear. . . . Without their social masks, sauna bathers are  able to meet others not in terms of their social personas, but in terms of their  inner personalities. . . . Sweating together in the sauna, removed from the  impinging demands of ordinary life, Finns can be the people they 'really' are,  and can recreate their relationships with others as they ideally should  be--open, equal, and trusting. . . . Sweating together in the sauna, stripped of  all symbols of rank, wealth or prestige, all are equal; distance and respect  become openness and sincerity." 84
  65. Naturists tend to be especially accepting of other people, just as they are.  This is an attitude that is undoubtedly related to the fact that Naturists are  generally more accepting of their own bodies, just as they are, than the general  public.85
  66. Socially and demographically, nudists are almost exactly like the rest of the  population, except that they are tolerant of nudity. There are few other trends,  social or psychological, positive or negative, that correlate to a statistically  significant degree with nudists as a demographic group.86
  67. Naturism rejects blind conformity to cultural mores and assumptions about the  body, which see clothing as a constant necessity, in favor of a more reasoned,  rational approach which recognizes the need for clothing to be dependent on  context.
  68. For   Americans, non-acceptance and sexualization of their own nudity encourages a  biased or racist attitude contrasting "clothed civilization" against the "naked  savage." 87 Rob Boyte asks, "Why is it permissible [in National  Geographic] to show the penis and scrotum of an African Surma (Feb. 91) or a  Brazilian Urueu-Wau Wau (Dec. 88) but not a Yugoslav Naturist in his natural  setting? Why are photographs of breasts on Nuba (Feb. 51, Nov. 66), Zulu (Aug.  53), Dyak (May 56), Masai (Feb. 65), Yap Island (May 67, Oct. 86), Turkana (Feb. 69), Adama Islands (July 75), New Guinea (Aug. 82), Woodabe (Oct. 83), Ndebele  (Feb. 69), and Surma (Feb. 91) women shown, yet not one white Canadian can be  found to face the camera at Wreck Beach? Why are the breasts shown of Josephine  Baker (July 89), a black native of East St. Louis, but the breasts of white  native women of Miami Beach are not shown? The unanswered question implies but  one conclusion: that the National Geographic has in fact a Eurocentric bias  (racist) in portraying nudity." 88 Jeremy Seabrook writes: "The  absence of self-consciousness is not some natural 'primitive' impulse to  acknowledge the universal truth that sex is the centre of their world. . . . The  nakedness of tradition speaks of a social order in which sex, although not  denied, has its place in the totality of living and growing things; it speaks of  another ordering of the world, one that is a reproach to, and denial of, those  nude westerners [vacationing on nude beaches far from home], although at the  same time, is dismissed, marginalized, not taken seriously by them." 89  Naturism is healthy for the family.
  69. True  nudists emphasize a decent, family atmosphere and morality.
  70. Research shows that children who grow up in a nudist setting tend to be more  self-confident, more self accepting, and more sexually well-adjusted. They feel  better about their bodies, and more comfortable with their sexuality.90  Research conducted at the University of Northern Iowa found that nudist children  had body self-concepts that were significantly more positive than those of  non-nudist children--and that the "nudity classification" of a family was one of  the most significant factors associated with positive body self-concept.  Furthermore, nudist children showed a significantly higher acceptance of their  bodies as a whole, rather than feeling ashamed of certain parts.91 A  study by psychologists Robin Lewis and Louis Janda at Old Damien University  reported that "increased exposure to nudity in the family fosters an atmosphere  of acceptance of sexuality and one's body." They concluded that children who had  seen their parents nude were more comfortable with physical contact and  affection, had higher self-esteem, and showed increased acceptance of and  comfort with their bodies and their sexuality.92 Research by  Marie-Louise Booth at the California School of Professional Psychology found  that "individuals with less childhood exposure to parental nudity experienced  significantly higher levels of adult sexual anxiety than did the group with more  childhood exposure to parental nudity." 93 Separate research by Diane  Lee Wilson at The Wright Institute reached the same conclusion.94   Research by Lou Lieberman of the State University of New York at Albany, in the  late 1960s, found that "those young people who had casually seen both of their  parents nude in the home were far more likely to feel comfortable with their  bodies and to also feel mo re satisfied with the size and shape of their  genitalia and breasts." 95
  71. In   general, "experts" such as Joyce Brothers and Dr. Spock speak out against family  nudity without empirical evidence to back them up. When research is actually  done, it contradicts their dire warnings.96 In several years of  research at major national research libraries, I have yet to come across a  scientific study which contradicts the premise that openness about nudity is  healthy for children.
  72. Most   commentators say that it's the context in which family nudity takes place, not  the nudity itself, that determines whether it's problematic. Children respond  far more to parents' attitudes toward nudity than to the nudity itself, and  nudity is only a problem when it is treated as one.97
  73. Many   psychologists argue that the implicit message conveyed by a lack of nudity in  the home is that the body is basically unacceptable or shameful--an attitude  which may carry over into discomfort about nudity in the context of adult sexual  relationships.98
  74. Children of "primitive" tribes, surrounded by nudity of all forms, suffer no ill  effects. Neither do children who grow up in other societies which are more open  about nudity than our own.99 Presumptions that exposure to nudity  will lead to problems for children grow out of the preconceptions of our  culture. Paul Ableman writes: "It is interesting to speculate as to what kind of  model of the human mind Sigmund Freud would have constructed if he had based it  not on clothed Europeans but on, say, a study of the naked Nuer of the Sudan.  Almost all the processes which he discerns as formative for the adult mind would  have been lacking. Freud assumes that children will not normally see each other  naked and that, if they do happen to, the result will be traumatic. This is not  true of naked cultures. . . . Thus great provinces of Freud's mind-empire would  simply be missing. There would be no Oedipus complex (or not much, anyway), no  penis envy or castration complex, probably no clear-cut phases of sexual  development. We are emerging rapidly from the era of Freudian gospel . . . and  can now perceive the extent to which he himself was the victim of prevailing  ideas and prejudices." 100
  75. Children who grow up in a nudist environment witness the natural body changes  brought on by adolescence, pregnancy, and aging. They have far less anxiety  about these natural processes than children who are never exposed to them except  through layers of clothing.
  76. Research has demonstrated that countries with fewer reservations about nudity  (and sexuality in general) also have lower teen pregnancy and abortion rates.101  A 1985 study by the Guttmacher Institute found rates of pregnancy and abortion  among teenage girls in America to be more than twice those of Canada, France,  Sweden, England, and The Netherlands. The disparity couldn't be explained by  differences in sexual activity, race, welfare policies, or the availability of  abortion, but only in cultural attitudes toward nudity and sexuality. The study  found American youth to be particularly ignorant of biology and sexuality,  partly due to a climate of moral disapproval for seeking such knowledge. It  found that lower levels of unwanted pregnancy correlated with factors such as  the amount of female nudity presented by public media and the extent of nudity  on public beaches.102
  77. Clothes-compulsion intimidates millions of mothers from breast-feeding their  children, even though breast-feeding is healthier and often more convenient for  both the child and the mother.103 In the U.S., barely half of all  mothers breast-feed; only 20% do so for a full 6 months, and only 6% for the  Surgeon General's recommended 12 months.104 Breast-feeding is also  declining in developing countries.105 Gabrielle Palmer writes: "In  Victorian England, famous for its prudery, a respectable woman could feed openly  in church, yet in contemporary industrialized society where women's bodies and  particularly breasts are used to sell newspapers, cars and peanuts, public  breast-feeding provokes cries of protest from both men and women." 106  Lisa Demauro notes that "our society is far more at home with the idea of sexy  breasts than functional ones." 107 "Millions of boys and girls have  grown up never having seen a mother breast-feeding her baby," adds Marsha  Pearlman, the Florida Health Department coordinator for breast-feeding. "This is  a sad commentary on our culture." 108 Naturism is especially  consistent with feminism and the struggle for women's freedom.
  78. The   repression of healthy nudity, especially for females, has been one of the chief  means of mind and destiny control by the patriarchy. Breaking this pattern  shatters the invisible bonds of an inherited sex role.109
  79. Limitations on women's nudity, an acceptance of pornography, and demanding  fashion requirements may, individually, seem like minor issues. Taken as a  whole, however, they form a pattern of repressive male oriented expectations.  Marilyn Frye explains: "Consider a birdcage. If you look very closely at just  one wire in the cage, you cannot see the other wires. If your conception of what  is before you is determined by this myopic focus, you could look at that one  wire, up and down the length of it, and be unable to see why a bird would not  just fly around the wire any time it wanted to go somewhere. . . . There is no  physical property of any one wire, nothing that the closest scrutiny could  rediscover, that will reveal how a bird could be inhibited or harmed by it  except in the most accidental way. It is only when you step back, stop looking  at the wires one by one, microscopically, and take a macroscopic view of the  whole cage, that you can see why the bird does not go anywhere; and then you  will see it in a moment. It will require no great subtlety of mental powers. It  is perfectly obvious that the bird is surrounded by a network of systematically  related barriers, no one of which would be the least hindrance to its flight,  but which, by their relations to each other, are as confining as the solid walls  of a dungeon." 110
  80. Topfree inequality (requiring women, but not men, to wear tops) is demeaning and  discriminatory toward women, and reinforces patterns of male domination over  women.111 In our culture, breasts may be exposed to sell drinks to  men in bars, but women may not be top free on a beach for their own comfort and  pleasure. Reena Glazer writes: "The criminalization of women baring their  breasts, therefore, indicates that society views women's bodies as immoral and  something to hide. There is something potentially criminal about every woman  just by virtue of being female." 112 Herald Price Fahringer writes,  "men have the right to cover or expose their chests as they see fit--women do  not. Men have the right to enjoy the sun, water, and wind without a top; women  do not. Few men would be willing to give up this right. Then why shouldn't women  enjoy the same advantage? . . . Requiring women to cover their breasts in public  is a highly visible expression of inequality between men and women that promotes  an attitude that demeans women and damages their sense of equality. . . . For  centuries, men have held the power to generate these misconceptions. The male  view on the exposure of a woman's breasts is crucially influenced by the need of  men to define women. . . . This reaction stems from a masculine ideology that  has . . . doomed generations of women to a secondary status." 113  Raymond Grueneich writes: "So what is really at stake is whether women will be  free to bare their own breasts in appropriate public places for their own  personal purposes on these occasions in which they feel free to do so, or  whether they will only be allowed to bare their breasts in public on an occasion  that can be exploited commercially and that reinforces the idea that the sole  function of the female breast is for the satisfaction of male fantasy. It is as  though it is a crime for a woman to be undressed in public, unless she was  undressed in the service of a corporation or a commercial entrepreneur." 114
  81. Laws   banning exposure of female breasts do so in part because of the reaction such  exposure would supposedly cause in men. Such laws are written entirely from the  male point of view, and ignore the point of view of women, who may want to go  top free for their own comfort.
  82. By   refusing to accept the need to "protect" themselves from men by covering their  bodies, women gain power, and shift the burden of responsible behavior to men,  where it rightfully belongs. Reena Glazer notes that "male power is perpetuated  by regarding women as objects that men act and react to rather than as actors  themselves. . . . their entire worth is derived from the reaction they can  induce from men. In order to maintain the patriarchal system, men must determine  when and where this arousal is allowed to take place. In this way, the  (heterosexual) male myth of a woman's breasts has been codified into law.  Because women are the sexual objects and property of men, it follows that what  might arouse men can only be displayed when men want to be aroused." This  emphasis on women as temptresses "shifts the burden of responsibility from men  to women; because women provoke uncontrollable urges in males, society excuses  male behavior and blames the victim for whatever happens. . . . To sanction the  concept that men have uncontrollable urges implies that violence against women  is inevitable." 115
  83. Patriarchal laws strip women of the right to control their own bodies, but there  have always been "exceptions" to obscenity laws which permit the use of women's  bodies in consumer seduction. Thus female nudity is considered inappropriate on  the beach, but is ubiquitous in advertising and pornography.
  84. By   enforcing arbitrary clothing requirements for women (requiring them to cover  their tops), the government acts in loco parentis, in the role of a parent. This  is demeaning to women. Like children, they aren't conceded the ability or right  to decide how to dress, much as they formerly weren't allowed to vote, own  property, or exercise other rights.116
  85. The   repression of healthy female nudity fuels pornography. Herbert Muschamp  observes: "To object to the nude figure in a general interest magazine while  allowing it to remain in men's skin magazines is one way of keeping women in  their place." 117
  86. Pornography, in turn, limits women's ability to participate in healthy nude  recreation, and to be casually nude in other ways. Naturism breaks the power of  pornography over women. As mentioned earlier, in many places it is legal to  display Penthouse on drug-store magazine racks, yet it is illegal for a woman to  publicly bare her breasts to feed an infant. Pornography seeks "freedom,"  particularly "freedom of expression." But an acceptance of pornography restricts  women's capacity to go top free or nude for their own enjoyment. It limits the  freedom to control their own bodies, and silences their own freedom of  self-expression. Our pornographic culture has contributed to attitudes which  often discourage women from even trying clothing-optional recreation, even  though Naturism is in many ways the antithesis of pornography.
  87. The  fight for freedom should mean civil rights for women--not license for  pornographers.
  88. Clothing fashions and legal requirements have historically contributed to the  repression of women.118 For example, in the mid-nineteenth century, a  tiny waist was considered a sign of beauty, and, in order to achieve this  standard, women bound themselves into corsets designed to constrict the stomach  (and other internal organs) inward and upward, creating the appearance of a tiny  middle. In addition, women wore up to fifteen layers of petticoats and  crinolines under their floor-length skirts. In the latter half of the century  the wire hoop and springlike bustle were also added for the appearance of  fullness. The weight of this assemblage came close to 20 pounds. We now know  that many of the physical characteristics associated with the "frail sex"  resulted from such restrictive clothing, including "bird-like" appetites, a  tendency to fainting spells, and reduced physical activity. Thorstein Veblen has observed that "the corset is in economic theory substantially [an instrument of]  mu tilation for the purpose of lowering the subject's vitality and rendering her  personally and obviously unfit for work." A variety of respiratory and  reproductive ailments (including frequent miscarriages) from which women once  suffered have been directly linked to the unhealthy dictates of the "hourglass"  fashion. Many of the associations of female frailty which have their roots in  the nineteenth century remain with us today, though they are now  unsubstantiated.119 Corsets and, in modern times, cosmetic breast  surgery also damage the internal physiology of the breasts, often eliminating  the capacity to breast-feed.120
  89. Naturism defies relationships based on a balance of power, and is thus consistent with contemporary feminism, which seeks to break down power hierarchies. Naturism is more natural than clothes-compulsiveness.
  90. Naturism, as a celebration of the natural human body free of the artificiality  of fashion, is highly compatible with the ideals of a natural, simple, and  environmentally friendly lifestyle.121
  91. As   we work for the good of nature, we must also work for the good and the freedom  of our bodies, especially as they may be integrated with the rest of nature. As  the Quebec Naturist Federation has observed, "Nature is not just the trees; it  is also our bodies." 122
  92. The   goals of Naturism and environmentalism are often parallel. Like  environmentalism, Naturism usually seeks to preserve the natural character of  landscapes, and opposes development and commercial exploitation. The greatest  risk to most beaches is not nudity, but development--the takeover of pristine  public areas by private resorts or hotels.
  93. One  feels much more a part of a natural setting in the nude than clothed.123
  94. The  nudist is far more sensually aware, because nudity enhances responsiveness and  sensory experience.
  95. Clothing cuts us off from the natural world, by inhibiting the skin's ability to  sense the environment. It in fact distracts from our ability to sense the  natural environment, by artificially irritating the skin. Paul Ableman writes,  "if primitives lost their culture [through being clothed by missionaries], they  also lost their environment. They lost the sun, the rain, the grass underfoot,  the foliage which brushed their skin as they moved through forest or jungle, the  water of lake, river or sea slipping past their bodies, above all the ceaseless  communion with the wind. Anyone who has ever spent any time naked outdoors knows  that the play of the elements over the body produces an ever-changing response  that may reach almost erotic intensity. The skin becomes alive and responsive  and a whole new spectrum of sensation is generated. Clothe the body and this  rich communion is replaced by mere fortuitous, and often irritating, contact  with inert fabric. It is a huge impoverishment and its measure can perhaps best  be judged by the reluctance of the Indians of Tierra del Fuego, who live in a  climate so harsh that Darwin observed snow melting on the naked breasts of  women, to adopt protective clothing. They preferred dermal contact with the  environment, hostile though it was, to the loss of sensation implied by wearing  clothes." 124
  96.  Clothes-compulsiveness is incompatible with the natural patterns of nature, as  expressed by every other member of the animal kingdom. Humans are the only  species to clothe themselves.
  97. Some   psychologists theorize that humans developed clothing, in part, to set   themselves apart from animals. Fred Ilfeld and Roger Lauer write: "Man's major  goal is superiority . . . and one way that he strives for it is through  clothing. Not only do clothes protect and decorate, but they also give status to  the wearer, not just with respect to peers but, more importantly, in relation to  man's place in nature. Clothes make a human being appear less like an animal and  more like a god by concealing his sexual organs." 125 Lawrence  Langner adds: "Modern man is a puritan and not a pagan, and by his clothing has  been able to overcome his feeling of shame in relation to his sex organs in  public, in mixed company. He has done this by transforming his basic inferiority  into a feeling of superiority, by relating himself to God in whose sexless image  he claims to be made. But take all his clothes off, and it is plain to see that  he is half-god, half-animal. He is playing two opposing roles which contradict  one another, and the result is confusion." 126
  98. The   physical barrier of clothing reinforces psychological barriers separating us  from the natural world. In our clothing-obsessed society, we have distanced  ourselves so much from nature that the sight of our own natural state is often  startling. Allen Ginsberg writes: "Truth may always surprise a little, because  we are creatures of habit, especially in our hyper mechanized, hyper  industrialized, hyper militarized society. Any presentation of nature tends to  appear shocking." 127
  99. Lifestyles which are incompatible with the natural patterns of nature (including  clothes-obsessiveness) may be psychological damaging. Robert Bahr writes:  "Nakedness is the natural state of humankind; clothing imposes a barrier between  us and God, nature, the universe, which serves to dehumanize us all." 128  "Paradoxically," muses Jeremy Seabrook, "the very presence of the westerners [on  nude beaches] in the south is an expression of some absence in their everyday  lives. After all, whole industries are now devoted to enabling people 'to get away from it all.' What is it, precisely, they want to get away from, when the  iconography of their culture is promoted globally as the provider of everything?  Many will admit they are looking for something not available at home (apart from  sunshine), something to do with authenticity, a state of being 'unspoilt'. . . .  They have been stripped of their cultural heritage; and this is why they have to  buy back what ought to be the birthright of all human beings: secure anchorage  in celebrations and rituals that attend the significant moments of our human  lives." 129
  100. A   Naturist lifestyle is more environmentally responsible. For example, the option  of going nude during hot, humid weather greatly reduces the need for air  conditioning. Most air conditioners use tremendous amounts of energy, and many  use coolants which are damaging to the stratospheric ozone layer.
  101. Clothing is produced by environmentally irresponsible processes from  environmentally irresponsible sources. For instance, synthetics are developed  from oil; and cotton is grown with intensive pesticide-loaded agricultural  techniques. Cotton constitutes half of the world's textile consumption, and is  one of the most pesticide sprayed crops in the world. Clothing manufacture may  also include chlorine bleaching, chemical dyeing, sealing with metallic  compounds, finishing with resins and formaldehyde, and electroplating to  rust-proof zippers, creating toxic residues in waste water.130  Accepted clothing requirements are arbitrary and inconsistent.
  102. Clothing standards are inconsistent. For instance, a bikini covering is accepted  and even lauded on the beach, but is restricted elsewhere--in a department  store, for example. Even on the beach, an expensive bikini is considered  acceptable, whereas underwear- -though it covers the same amount--is not.
  103. Clothing requirements are arbitrarily and irrationally based on gender.131   Until the 1920s, for example, female ankles and shins were considered erotic in  Western cultures, though men wore knickers. The Japanese considered the back of  a woman's neck erotic, and contemporary Middle Eastern cultures hide the woman's  face. During the 1991 Gulf War, female U.S. army personnel were forbidden from  wearing t-shirts that bared their arms, since it would offend the Saudi Arabian  allies. Women (but not men) were forced to wear full army dress in stifling  heat.132
  104. Today   in America, women's breasts are seen as erotic and unexposable, even though they  are anatomically identical to those of men except for lactation capacity, and no  more or less a sexual organ. Medical experts note that men's breasts have the  same erotic capacities as women's.133 In addition, studies suggest  that women are as sexually attracted by men's unclothed chests as men are by  women's.134
  105. The   arbitrary nature of clothing requirements is reflected by different standards in  different cultures. For example, a review of 190 world societies in 1951 found  that, contrary to the standards of our own culture, relatively few considered  exposure of a women's breasts to be immodest.135 Julian Robinson  observes, "few cultural groups agree as to which parts of our bodies should be  covered and which parts should be openly displayed. . . . Indeed, many people  find it difficult to comprehend the logic behind any other mode of clothing and adornment than what they are currently wearing, finding them all unnatural or  even uncivilized. The thought of exposing or viewing those parts of the body  which they generally keep covered so frightens or disgusts them that they call  upon their lawmakers to protect them from such a possibility." 136
  106. The   arbitrary nature of clothing requirements is reflected by history. Even in the  same culture, taboos about what parts of the body could or could not be revealed  have changed radically over time.137 For example, until statutes were  amended in the 1930s, men were arrested in the United States for swimming  without a shirt.138 Many of the paintings and sculptures today  considered "classic"--for example, Michelangelo's Last Judgment--were considered  obscene in their day.139 The body taboo reached its height in mid  19th-century England and America, when it was considered improper to mention  almost any detail of the human body in mixed company. Howard Warren writes: "A  woman was allowed to have head and feet, but between the neck and ankles only  the heart and stomach were permitted mention in polite society. To expose the  ankle (even though properly stockinged) was considered immodest." 140  On the other hand, in the early part of the 19th century, women's clothing  fashions in France were so scant that an entire costume, including shoes, may  not have weighed more than eight ounces.141 Lois M. Gurel writes:   "One must remember that clothing itself is neither moral nor immoral. It is the  breaking of traditions which makes it so." 142 The degree to which  women's breasts may be exposed has varied especially in Western cultures. At  various times in history, women's necklines have plunged so deeply that the  breasts have been more exposed than covered. Historian Aileen Ribeiro notes that  in the early 15th century, "women's gowns became increasingly tight-fitted over  the bust, some gowns with front openings even revealing the nipples." Breasts  came back on display throughout the early 17th century, and again in the 18th   century, especially in the Court of King Charles II of England. Ironically, in  this latter period, a respectable woman would never be found in public with the  point of her shoulders revealed.143 Naturism is growing in  acceptance.
  107. Most  world societies are much more open about nudity than the United States.144   For example, many cultures, especially in Europe, are more open to nudity on  beaches and in other recreational settings. A 1995 poll conducted by a French  fashion magazine found that only 7% of the population was shocked by the sight  of naked breasts on the beach, and that 40% of women had tried going topfree.145  A 1983 poll found that 27% of French women went top free on the beach on a  regular basis, while another 6% went nude. A 1982 Harris poll found that 86% of French citizens favor nudity on public beaches.146 In Munich and  Zurich, top free and nude sunbathing are permitted in many parks. A Zurich  municipal ordinance in 1989 officially accepted nudity in municipal pools after  a public opinion poll found only 18% opposition.147 Two separate  polls conducted in the mid- 1980s found that 68% of Germans did not object to  nude bathing.148 A 1983 public opinion survey in Greece found that  65% of the population favored legislative establishment of four official nudist  facilities.149 A 1984 poll found that 82% of a cross section of  Lisbon residents approved of nude beaches reserved for that purpose.150  In Denmark, judicious nudity is legal on the seashore except on a few  specifically clothed beaches!151 Sweden's coastline is nearly as  tolerant as Denmark's.152 Beach nudity has also become the norm in  inflation-stricken Romania, where the average monthly wage is about $65 and a  swimsuit costs from $4 to $20.153 Saunas are ubiquitous in Finland,  with a sauna for every 3.5 inhabitants, and are always used nude, commonly in  mixed company.154
  108. Participation in nudist organizations is high in other parts of the world. In  Holland, 1 in 422 members of the population is a dues-paying nudist. In  Switzerland, the number is 1 in 519; in France, 1 in 630; in Belgium, 1 in 890;  in New Zealand, 1 in 1250; in the U.K., 1 in 2784; in English-speaking Canada, 1  in 5200; and in the U.S., 1 in 6856.155 According to a French survey,  one in ten members of the nation's population have tried nudism at least once,  and an equal number are ready to give it a try.156
  109. Naturist vacations are a significant part of the tourist trade in many countries. As of 1983, about 2 million people vacationed at French Naturist  clubs and resorts each year.157 Before its devastating fragmentation  and civil war, more than one hundred thousand tourists visited Yugoslavian  nudist camps and resorts every summer.158 According to the president  of the Naturism and Camping Department of Yugoslav Tourism, Naturist vacations  in 1984 accounted for 25% of the foreign tourism income.159 And while  American travel brochures make almost no mention at all of nude or top free  beaches in other countries--essentially lying to vacationers--foreign travel  agencies offer opulent, uncensored brochures, and openly advertise and promote  Naturist resorts.160
  110. Nudity   is much more common in foreign media. For example, one of Brazil's most popular  TV. shows, "Pantanal," has featured frequent nudity; a survey conducted by the  local newspaper found that 83% of viewers were "comfortable" with the nude  scenes. A University of Sao Paulo survey in June 1990 counted 1,145 displays of  nudity in one week of television.161
  111. Public   nudity, including clothing-optional recreation, enjoys growing acceptance in  North America. A 1983 Gallup poll revealed that 72% of Americans don't think  designated clothing-optional beaches should be against the law, and 39% agreed  that such areas should be set aside by the government. One third said they might  try going to one. Fourteen percent said they'd already tried coed nude  recreation.162 A 1985 Roper Poll agreed, reporting that 18% of all  Americans--including 27% of those age 18-28, and 24% of college-educated  Americans--had already gone swimming in the nude with a group that included  members of the other sex; other studies suggest these numbers are on the  increase.163 A Psychology Today study found that 28% of couples under  the age of 35 swim in the nude together, 24% of couples age 35-49, and 9% of  couples 50 or older, and that such activities tended to correspond to a higher  level of satisfaction in the marriage.164 A 1990 Martini and Rossi  poll reported that 35% of Americans would "bare it all" on a nude beach.165   A 1986 poll conducted by People Weekly asked people how guilty they would feel  if they engaged in any of 51 activities, rating their probable guilt on a scale  of 1 to 10, where 10 represented the greatest feeling of guilt. Nude sunbathing  came in second to last with a rating of 2.76, behind not voting (3.07), swearing  (3.34), smoking (3.38), and overeating (4.43).166 In 1991, visitation  at Wreck Beach, British Columbia on a nice day was estimated at 15,000, and  90,000 beach users were recorded in one month on a single access trail.167   A survey conducted by West Area Park Staff revealed that half of those visitors  go nude. When that option was threatened in 1991, more than 10,000 people sent  letters or signed petitions to protect the beach's clothing-optional status.168  Given the opportunity and license to do so, women do take advantage of the  option of going top free. During the 1984 Olympics in L.A., Police decided not  to arrest European women who went top free on local beaches. American women,  noting the double standard, took their tops off too, and feigned inability to  understand English when told to cover up. Police called it "taking advantage of  the relaxed rule," 169 though it should more accurately be considered  "taking advantage of a more civilized custom."
  112. Membership in nudist organizations is growing rapidly. Membership in the  American Association for Nude Recreation, for example, topped 40,000 in 1992, up  15,000 in just five years!170 By 1995, the number had climbed past 46,000.  According to a study commissioned by the Trade Association for Nude Recreation,  participation in nudism is currently growing by about 20% per year.171
  113. The   tourism industry is discovering that it is in their economic best interests to  accept clothing optional recreation. When it became a favorite vacation spot for  Europeans in the mid-1980s, Miami Beach began permitting G-string swimsuits on  its beaches, and ceased enforcing its ordinance against top free swimming and  sunning.172 Dade County is the only county in Florida that  experienced an increase of tourism in 1991, a year of deep recession. All other  counties, and Disney World, had significant losses in tourism. 173  Nikki Grossman, director of the Ft. Lauderdale Convention and Visitors' Bureau,  acknowledges that "requests for nude or top-free beaches rank among the top five  priorities of international conventioneers," 174 and Fodor's Travel  Guide has observed that "nudism" is "tourism's fastest growing sector." 175  Nudism, in the United States, brings in about $120 million per year in direct  revenues alone.176 Constitutional support for Naturism. 177
  114. In a  free society such as the United States, one's lifestyle should not be dictated  by anyone else (majority or otherwise), especially if that lifestyle does not  infringe on anyone else's rights. In the words of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor:  "Our Constitution is designed to maximize individual freedom within a framework  of ordered liberty." 178
  115. The   Constitution was, in fact, written to protect the rights of minority points of  view. This principle alone should justify the right to recreate peacefully in  the nude without government interference. Justice William O. Douglas, for a  unanimous court in 1972, wrote: "These amenities have dignified the right of  dissent and have honored the right to be nonconformists and the right to defy  submissiveness. They have encouraged lives of high spirits rather than hushed,  suffocating silence." 179
  116. The   Constitution has been interpreted to protect individual freedoms except where  they are overridden by a "compelling state interest." It is never the  responsibility of individuals to justify their freedoms. It is rather the  responsibility of government to justify any restriction of freedom. Justice  Douglas enumerated three levels of rights: "First is the autonomous control over  the development and expression of one's intellect, interests, tastes, and  personality. Second is freedom of choice in the basic decisions of one's life  respecting marriage, divorce, procreation, contraception, and the education and  upbringing of children. Third is the freedom to care for one's health and  person, freedom from bodily restraint or compulsion, freedom to walk, stroll, or  loaf." 180 Douglas would permit no state restriction of the first  level of freedom; only narrow restrictions on the second; and in the third,  "regulation on a showing of 'compelling state interest.'"
  117. Naturism has always claimed that nudity offers "freedom from bodily restraints."  Such freedoms may only be restricted in the case of "compelling state interest;"  if none can be shown, the restriction is invalid. Unfortunately, though the  courts have "recognized as a protectable, if minor interest . . . an individual  right concerning one's own appearance and lifestyle," especially where supported  by tradition and custom, in the case of public nudity such protection is not  "fundamental" or directly "constitutional" 181 and thus can be  overruled or limited by other considerations, such as environmental concerns 182 or "community standards." 183 Often the reference is  to moral principles. These can usually be shown to be "overbroad" by  constitutional standards, because they prohibit innocent behavior (such as  skinny-dipping) along with behavior of legitimate government concern (such as  lewd conduct).184
  118. The   Constitution has repeatedly been interpreted to protect the right of individuals  to associate with others of similar philosophy, and also to raise their children  in the context of a particular philosophy. This principle protects the right of  nudist families to associate and recreate in the nude.
  119. The   First Amendment guarantees the right to freedom of expression. This protects  every other form of clothing, and should protect the right not to wear clothing  as well.
  120. Recent  court decisions in Florida, New York, and elsewhere have upheld nudity as part  of the expression of free speech.185 Unfortunately, the courts have  consistently concluded that mere nudity per se (for example, nude sunbathing on  a public beach), without being combined with some other protected form of  expression, is not protected as free speech under the first amendment.186  The courts have distinguished between protected First Amendment beliefs and actual conduct based on those beliefs, arguing that going nude on a beach is  "conduct" rather than merely the natural state of a human being.187
  121. The   "body language" of the nude human form has extraordinary symbolic and communicative power which should be protected by the First Amendment. Examples  may be seen in painting, photography, sculpture, drama, cinema, and other visual  forms of communication throughout history.188
  122. The   Supreme Court has ruled that people can't be forced to communicate ideas they  oppose (for example, saying the Pledge of Allegiance). It has also ruled that  clothes can be a protected form of free speech (for instance, students and  public employees had the right to wear black armbands to protest the Vietnam  War). It is unconstitutional to force Naturists to express conformity to ideas  of modesty and body shame that they disagree with, by forcing them to wear  swimsuits at the beach. As attorney Eleanor Fink says, "If people are allowed to  wear the clothes of [Nazis], should they not also be allowed to wear the  clothing of the Creator?" 189
  123. The   courts have thus far permitted the publishers of pornography to express  attitudes which are exploitative of women, on the grounds that this is protected  free speech; but it has been unsuitably reluctant to grant the same protection  to the natural expression of body freedom through casual, non-exploitative  nudity on the beach.
  124. Clothing is both publicly expressive and privately symbolic, connoting identity  in a particular cultural group. Restricting the state of dress of nudists is no  less restrictive than prohibiting any other cultural group from wearing the  clothing particular to their group. Preventing nudists from going nude is  equivalent to preventing a person of Scottish descent from wearing the family  colors, or preventing a priest from wearing his robes.
  125. With   the emergence of national organizations promoting nudism as a doctrine, nude  recreation may eventually come to be seen as a protected medium of speech  expressing that doctrine, and as an example of protected free association.190
  126. The  Ninth Amendment makes it clear that no freedoms shall be denied that are not  specifically prohibited.191 Thus, mere nudity is not illegal except  where there are specific laws that prohibit it. Most laws prohibit only lewd  conduct, not nudity per se; and there is in fact no universal legal prohibition  against nudity on public land.
  127. Many  prohibitions against nudity stem, historically, from the political climate of  the early Christian church.192 Even today, much of the objection to  nudism is based on religious principles. The constitutional separation of church  and state should make this an invalid argument.
  128. Extensive legal precedent suggests that laws requiring women, but not men, to  conceal their breasts are sexist, discriminatory, and unconstitutional.193  For example, in 1992, the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court,  unanimously overturned the conviction of two women found guilty of exposing  their breasts in public. The ruling held that the state's antinudity law was  intended to apply only to lewd and lascivious behavior, not to "non-commercial,  perhaps accidental, and certainly not lewd, exposure." Herald Price Fahringer,  the women's lawyer, said that the ruling meant that women in New York State  could sunbathe top free or even walk down the street without a top, as long as  this was not done in a lewd manner, or for such purposes as prostitution. Judge  Vito Titone pointed out that women sunbathe top free in many European countries,  adding: "To the extent that many in our society may regard the uncovered female  breast with a prurient interest that is not similarly aroused by the male  equivalent, that perception cannot serve as a justification for different  treatment because it is itself a suspect cultural artifact rooted in centuries  of prejudice and bias toward women." 194 This ruling, however, is  just one of many statutes and legal precedents nationwide that uphold the  position that breast exposure is not inherently indecent behavior.195  Additional legal support for Naturism.196
  129. Case   history demonstrates that laws requiring women to cover their breasts are not  justified by cultural prejudices and preconceptions.197
  130. Laws   requiring women, but not men, to cover their breasts are written entirely from a  male perspective, assuming that men's bodies are natural and normal, and that  women's bodies must be covered because they are different. Reena Glazer observes  that "under sameness theory, women can get equal treatment only to the extent  that they are the same as men." 198 Physical differences among the  races do not justify discrimination, and neither should physical differences  between the sexes.
  131. Laws   requiring women to cover their breasts are not justified by claims that women's  bodies are significantly different from men's; nor by inaccurate claims that  breasts are sex organs; nor by the fact that breasts may play a role in sex or  sex play; nor by the fact that breasts are prominent secondary sex  characteristics. It can't be argued that women have breasts and men don't,  because both do; nor can it be argued that women have larger, often protruding  breasts, because many women are flat-chested while many men have large breasts.  Breasts are not sex organs, for they are not essential to reproduction, and in  fact have nothing to do with it. A woman with no breasts can have a baby.  Breasts serve the physiological function of nourishing a baby--but this is a  maternal function, not a sexual one. Breasts may play a role in sex play, but  other body parts do too, and are not censured--particularly the hands, and the  mouth (which, incidentally, is veiled by Shi'ite Moslems, partly for that very  reason, though only on women). And while breasts are secondary sex  characteristics, so are beards, which are not restricted on men.
  132. Mere  nudity is not in itself lewd or "indecent exposure," a distinction upheld by  extensive legal precedent nationwide.199
  133. Mere   nudity cannot be offensive or immoral "conduct"--for it is not conduct at all,  but merely the natural state of a human being. It should be no less legitimate  to be in this natural human state than to be clothed. One's ethnicity is also a  natural state of being, and discrimination on this basis is illegal. It should  be equally illegal to discriminate on the basis of appearing in the natural  state common to all humanity.
  134. Given   the challenge of defining modesty standards, which are by nature ambiguous,  legislators have often found it to be more complicated to prohibit nudity than  to sanction it. For example le, in the local anti-nudity legislation of St.  John's County, Florida, we find this painstakingly elaborate definition of  "buttocks:" "The area at the rear of the human body (sometimes referred to as  the gluteus maximus) which lies between two imaginary straight lines running  parallel to the ground when a person is standing, the first or top such line  being a half-inch below the top of the vertical cleavage of the nates (i.e., the   prominence formed by the muscles running from the back of the hip to the back of  the leg) and the second or bottom such line being a half-inch above the lowest  point of the curvature of the fleshy protuberance (sometimes referred to as the  gluteal fold), and between two imaginary straight lines, one on each side of the  body (the 'outside lines'), which outside lines are perpendicular to the ground  and to the horizontal lines described above, and which perpendicular outside  lines pass through the outermost point(s) at which each nate meets the outer  side of each leg. Notwithstanding the above, buttocks shall not include the leg,  the hamstring muscle below the gluteal fold, the tensor fasciae latae muscles,  or any of the above described portion of the human body that is between either  (i) the left inside perpendicular line and the left outside perpendicular line  or (ii) the right inside perpendicular line and the right outside perpendicular  line. For the purpose of the previous sentence, the left inside perpendicular  line shall be an imaginary straight line on the left side of the anus (i) that  is perpendicular to the ground and to the horizontal lines described above and  (ii) that is one third of the distance from the anus to the left outside line.  (The above description can generally be described as covering one third of the  buttocks centered over the cleavage for the length of the cleavage.)" 200
  135. A large  portion of state and local government anti-nudity regulations have been  legislated by individual high officials or small groups, without public review.  This is undemocratic and contrary to the principle of due process. Florida, for  example, closed most of its nude beaches in 1983 without public review.
  136. By  extensive legal precedent, it is unquestionably legal to be nude in private, on  private property.
  137. Many   state or local governments have also explicitly legislated the right to be nude  in designated public areas, such as legally-sanctioned nude beaches. Legal nude  beaches are rare but not non-existent in North America. British Columbia, for  example, currently has one legally sanctioned nude beach, and Oregon has two.
  138. There   is no universal federal prohibition against nudity on public land. In general,  public land agencies view nude recreation--conducted with discretion and  sensitivity to the varying values of others--as "legitimate activity." 201  Many state and local governments (notably Oregon, Vermont, and the California  Department of Recreation and Parks) have followed the federal policy as well,  without conflict. William Penn Mott, a former Director of the National Park  Service, wrote: "NPS must consciously seek to respect and accommodate wide  ranging differences among visitors and professional colleagues in lifestyles and  values with sympathy, dignity, and tolerance. I believe that parks are a place  where the human spirit is more free, more capable of permitting people to be  themselves, closer to a oneness with universal truths about humankind and about  our relationship to nature and the sacred truths by which we live. . . . I  believe it is too easy for government employees--all of us--to think there is  only one way to enjoy and use the parks and that when the visitor enters 'our  parks' they must 'do it our way.'" 202
  139. The   nude use of most federal lands is, in fact, constitutional because there is no  universal federal law prohibiting it. The Ninth Amendment specifically says that  no freedoms shall be denied which are not specifically prohibited.203
  140. The   mandate of public land agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service provide for  diversity of recreation. Historically, provisions have been made even for  extreme minority forms of recreation. Recreational diversity ought to also  include provisions for nude recreation. A 1983 Gallup poll found that 14% of  Americans occasionally enjoyed nude recreation.204 How many  activities does 14% of the American public participate in, of any kind? Surely  not hunting, snowmobiling, mountain biking, or the use of off-road vehicles, all  of which have designated areas set aside for their use!
  141. Clothing-optional recreation is less offensive to most people than many other  forms of recreation which are openly tolerated and even promoted on public land.  A study by Dr. Steven D. Moore of the University of Arizona demonstrated that  encountering nude bathers on public land is five times more acceptable to the  public than encountering hunters.205
  142. Naturists certainly deserve at least as much consideration by land management  agencies as resource damaging activities such as off-road vehicle use. As Pat  O'Brien points out, "avoiding nude people in places where they're expected to be  is easy. That isn't true when it comes to other sanctioned uses of our public  lands and waterways. The roar and stink of a snowmobile or other off-road  vehicles can't be ignored, and you'd best not overlook a jet skier in the water  near you. Why then is it so objectionable for us to ask to use a small amount of  space on a non-exclusive basis, in ways that do not pollute and do not drive  others away?" 206
  143. The   Wilderness Act of 1963 defined wilderness areas as "lands designated for  preservation and protection in their natural condition." They are to be managed  in a manner that maintains them in as natural a state as possible. It follows  that human should be able to enjoy wilderness areas in their own most natural  state, free from the artificial constraints of clothing.
  144. Public   wilderness areas ought to be places where human freedoms, including nude  recreation, are observed more freely than anywhere else. Wilderness should be  our measure of carefully controlled anarchy, our refuge free of any but the most  necessary intrusions by government rules and regulations. Do we not go to  wilderness for these very reasons, and would it not be compromised by undue  outside interference, such as unnecessary clothing regulations?
  145. Recreation managers unfortunately often "solve" the issue of nude recreation,  not by managing it, but by ignoring it. Thus managers "permit" nudity on remote  beaches without facilities or lifeguards, then point to litter, drug use, and  other problems as a consequence of the nudity rather than the lack of active  management.
  146. If   public nude recreation can be widely accepted in societies considered repressive  by Americans (for example, formerly-socialist Yugoslavia, once-communist East  Germany, Orthodox Greece, or Catholic France), it ought to be tolerated in  democratic Europe and in America, "the land of the free." 207 Lee  Baxandall has reported that "almost every town [on East Germany's coast] has an  FKK [nude] beach, some 90 sites serving 200,000 campers/lodgers annually; more  FKK than textile beaches. A GDR poll found 57% of the population approving of  nude recreation, 30% had no opinion, and only 13% opposed." 208  Unfortunately, with the reunification of Germany, the West has exported to the  East both pornography and beach restrictions: now that East Germany is "free,"  many of its beaches aren't. A June 1992 UPI dispatch from Ahlbeck noted that  "the controversy stems from the introduction of western German-style regulations  on traditionally nude eastern German beaches." 209 Ironically,  authority for the new prohibitions of nudity stems from a Nazi-era regulation  carrying the signature of Heinrich Himmler.210
  147. Anti-nudity laws are demeaning because they replace individual responsibility  with state control.
  148. It is  inappropriate to use police resources to crack down on peaceful bathers at a  beach simply because they are nude, while taking valuable resources away from  other more urgent needs.
  149. It is a  cruel reversal of justice when the law frowns on innocent skinny-dippers, while  gawkers on the fringe of the nude beach, who pervert and fetishize the body, are  accepted as "normal." Historical support for Naturism.
  150. Social  nudity is part of a long historical tradition.211 Recent Western  civilization stands almost alone, in the entire known history of humanity, in  its repressive code against nudity.
  151. Nudity  was commonplace in the ancient Greek civilization, especially for men.212   By the Classical Period of ancient Greece, nude exercise and athletic competition had become part of the way of life for Greek men, and a practice  which separated "modern" Greeks both from other, "barbarian" cultures and from  their own past. The original Olympic games were conducted in the nude. Plato  described nudity in exercise as a practical, useful, and rational innovation;  Thucydides promoted it as simpler, freer, and more democratic, a cultural  distinction between the Greek soldier who must be in shape, lean and muscular,  not portly and prosperous, and the "barbarians" who announced their status and  wealth by wearing expensive garments that gave a false impression of elegance  and authority.213
  152. Old  Testament ceremonial washings, including baptism, were performed in the nude.214  Christ, too, was probably baptized naked--as depicted in numerous early works of  art.215
  153. Roman   citizens, including early Christians, bathed communally in the nude at the  public baths throughout most of the second through the fourth centuries. Nudity  was also common during this period in other parts of ancient Roman society.
  154. The   writings of early Christians such as Irenaeus and Tertullian make it clear that  they had no ethical reservations about communal nudity.216 Christian  historian Roy Bowen Ward notes that "Christian Morality did not originally  preclude nudity. . . . There is a tendency to read history backward and assume  that early Christians thought the same way mainstream Christians do today. We  attribute the present to the past." 217
  155. For the  first several centuries of Christianity, it was the custom to baptize men,  women, and children together nude. This ritual played a very significant role in  the early church. The accounts are numerous and detailed.218 Margaret  Miles notes that "naked baptism was observed as one of the two essential  elements in Christian initiation, along with the invocation of the Trinity. . .  . In the fourth century instructions for baptism throughout the Roman Empire  stipulated naked baptism without any suggestion of innovation or change from  earlier practices." 219 A typical historical account comes from Cyril  of Jerusalem, bishop of Jerusalem from A.D. 387 to 417: "Immediately, then, upon  entering, you remove your tunics. . . . You are now stripped and naked, in this  also imitating Christ despoiled of His garments on His Cross, He Who by His  nakedness despoiled the principalities and powers, and fearlessly triumphed over  them on the Cross." After baptism, and clothed in white albs, St. Cyril would  say: "How wonderful! You were naked before the eyes of all and were not ashamed!  Truly you bore the image of the first-formed Adam, who was naked in the garden  and was not ashamed." 220 J.C. Cunningham notes that "there is  nothing in the present rubrics of the Roman rite against doing this today. In  fact, in the Eastern rites the rubrics even state the option of nude adult  baptism." 221
  156. Nudity   was common and accepted in pre-medieval (circa 6th century) society, especially  in places like Great Britain, which had been "barbarian" lands only a few  hundred years before.222 E.T. Renbourn notes that nudity was  widespread throughout Ancient Britain and northern Europe, in spite of the  climate. Even as late as the 17th century, travelers such as Coryat and Fynes  Moryson found the Irish people living nude or semi -nude indoors. He writes that  Moryson, in his Itinery (circa early 17th century), found Irish gentlewomen  "prepared to receive visitors and even strangers indoors when completely   unencumbered by clothing." 223
  157. Nudity  was fairly common in medieval and renaissance society, especially in the public  baths and within the family setting.224 Havelock Ellis records that  "in daily life . . . a considerable degree of nakedness was tolerated during  medieval times. This was notably so in the public baths, frequented by men and  women together." 225 Lawrence Wright observes that nudity was common  in the home, too: "The communal tub had . . . one good reason; the good reason  was the physical difficulty of providing hot water. No modern householder who . . . has bailed out and carried away some 30 gallons of water, weighing 300 lb.,  will underrate the labour involved. The whole family and their guests would  bathe together while the water was hot. . . . Ideas of propriety were different  from ours, the whole household and the guests shared the one and only sleeping  apartment, and wore no night-clothes until the sixteenth century. It was not  necessarily rude to be nude."226 The high-ranking nobles of Edward  IV's court were permitted by law to display their naked genitals below a short  tunic, and contemporary reports indicate that they did so. Chaucer commented on  the use of this fashion in The Parson's Tale, written about 1400. Many men's  garments, he wrote, were so short they "covere nat the shameful membres of man." 227 Between the 14th and mid -17th centuries, and especially during  the reign of Louis XIV, women would often leave their bodices loose and open or  even entirely undone, exposing the nipple or even the whole of the breasts, a  practice confirmed by numerous historical accounts.228 The Venetian  ambassador, writing in 1617, described Queen Anne of Denmark as wearing a dress  which displayed her bosom "bare down to the pit of the stomach." Aileen Ribeiro  writes that in the early 15th century, "women's gowns became increasingly  tight-fitting over the bust, some gowns with front openings even revealing the  nipples. . . . In 1445 Guillaume Jouvenal des Ursins became Chancellor of France  and his brother, an ecclesiastic, wrote to him urging him to tell the king that  he should not allow the ladies of his household to wear gowns with front  openings that revealed their breasts and nipples." 229
  158. Even in  the Victorian era, before the invention of bathing suits, swimming nude in the  ocean was commonplace; and music halls often featured nude models as living  "sculpture." 230
  159. Few   people realize that swimsuits, as we know them today, are a relatively recent  concept. The idea of wearing special clothing to swim in is barely a century  old.
  160. Skinny-dipping, in the local river or farm pond, is well-documented as an  important historical part of our national heritage. Skinny-dipping and outdoor  nudity appear in the writings of Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, William Allen White,  Lincoln Steffens, William Styron, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Herman Melville, James  Michener, and Henry Miller, among many others, and in the depictions of Norman  Rockwell, Rockwell Kent, Andrew Wyeth, Thomas Eakins, John Sloane, and Grant  Wood.
  161. Many   YMCA, college, and high school male-only pools or swimming classes were  historically "swimsuit-optional" or nude-only until federally-mandated "equal  access" athletic programs (for the sake of women) were instituted in the mid  1970s.231
  162. Today,   there are still public locations where nudity is, by local tradition or custom,  the accepted practice. Nudity is the norm, for instance, in natural primitive  hot springs and on nude beaches; and, almost universally, for models in art  classes.
  163. The few  officially sanctioned nude beaches in the U.S. (for example, Rooster Rock State  Park, Oregon) and Canada (Wreck Beach, British Columbia)--and most of the  unofficial beaches as well--have existed for decades without significant  problems.232
  164. Many   highly respected people, historical and contemporary, have espoused and/or  participated in Naturism to some degree. Benjamin Franklin took daily naked "air  baths." 233 So did Henry David Thoreau, who was also a frequent  skinnydipper.234 Alexander Graham Bell was a skinny-dipper and nude  sunbather.235 George Bernard Shaw, Walt Whitman, Eugene O'Neill, and  painter Thomas Eakins argued in favor of social nudity.236 President  John Quincy Adams was a regular skinny-dipper. According to reports, "each  morning he got up before dawn, walked across the White House lawn to the Potomac  River, took off his clothes and swam in the nude. Then he returned to the White  House to have breakfast, read the Bible and run the country." 237  President Theodore Roosevelt frequently swam nude in Rock Creek Park in  Washington, once skinny-dipping with the French diplomat, Jules Jusserand.238  President Lyndon Johnson occasionally swam nude with guests in the white house  pool, including evangelist Billy Graham. 239 Senator Edward Kennedy  has been photographed skinny-dipping at public beaches in Florida. At the White  House of his brother, John F. Kennedy, nudity had been common around the White  House pool.240 Many U.S. congressmen enjoy nude recreation, albeit  segregated: U.S. Senate members may use the Russell Senate Office Building Pool  in the nude (the few female Senators make appointments to assure there won't be  males on hand), and Representatives may use a clothing-optional steam room,  where President Bush was said by Newsweek to hang out sans towel with his  buddies. Congressmen also sunbathed nude on the Speaker's Porch until one day in  1973 when Rep. Patricia Schroeder wandered into the gathering inadvertently.241  Billionaire insurance man John D. MacArthur frequently went skinny-dipping, and  left a beach to the state of Florida, intending that a portion be designated  clothing-optional (a wish that has been spurned); word has it that MacArthur  went skinny-dipping with Walt Disney at this beach in the late 1960s.242  World Bank president and former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, and  American Civil Liberties Union founder Roger Baldwin, both have been regular  skinnydippers.243 Charles F. Richter, the co-inventor of the  earthquake measuring system, was a life -long nudist and Naturist.244  Actress Lynn Redgrave and her family practice social nudism.245  Actresses Bridget Fonda and Brigitte Bardot enjoy social nudity.246  The late actor Gary Merrill advocated nudism.247 Christy Brinkley  openly admits to frequenting nude beaches,248 and Christian singer  Amy Grant goes top free on foreign beaches while on tour overseas.249  Even the late Dr. Seuss published approval of a nudist philosophy, in one of his  first books.250
  165. Historically, a great many writers and artists have regarded Naturism, or  something close to it, to be part of the utopian ideal. R. Martin writes:  "Anthropologically, nakedness would seem to be the best and worst of conditions.  Involuntary stripping to nakedness is defeat or poverty, but willed nakedness  may be a perfect form." 251 Nudity is also consistent with the  Christian utopian concept of heaven, in which, according to biblical accounts,  clothing is not necessary.
  166. Nudity   has often been used, historically, as a symbol of protest or rebellion against  oppression. For example, the early Quakers, in mid-17th century England, often  used nudity as an element of protest. Historian Elbert Russell notes that "A  number of men and women were arrested and punished for public indecency because  they appeared in public naked 'as a sign.' George Fox and other leaders defended  the practice, when the doer felt it a religious duty to do so. . . . The  suggestion of such a sign came apparently from Isaiah's walking 'naked and  barefoot three years' (Isaiah 20:2,3)." 252 The Doukhobors, a radical  Christian sect, used nudity as a social protest in Canada in the early 1900s.253   Paul Ableman records that "In May, 1979, Emperor Bokassa . . . a minor Central  African tyrant, arrested a large number of children on charges of sedition and  massacred some of them. According to The Guardian (London) of 18 May, 'Hundreds  of women demonstrated naked outside the prison until the survivors were  released.'" 254 In the 1920s, as part of a widening rebellion against  genteel society, the size of bathing suits began to diminish. Nude beaches,  reaching their height of popularity in the 1970s, are the ultimate result of  this process of social emancipation. The free body movement in general in the   1970s fit this social and historical pattern. Examples include casual nudity at  Woodstock; "nude-in" demonstrations; and a record-setting demonstration by  Athens, Georgia university students on March 7, 1974, when more than 1500 went  naked on their college campus. It took tear gas to make the students dress.255  Historical origins of the repression of nudity.
  167. Repressive morality was developed by the state and the Church as a tool to  maintain control over otherwise free individuals.256 Paul Ableman  writes: "A complex civilization has an enormous investment in differentiated  apparel. It is no accident that one of the first matters that a revolutionary  regime turns its attention to is clothing. The French Revolution decreed  classical grace and simplicity. The Chinese homogenized clothing. The Ayatollah  Khomeini in Iran returned women to the black chador and so on. . . . Sexual  energy is needed by the authorities of the world to maintain order. . . . It  immediately becomes obvious why the true obscenity of killing and violence has  always been of less concern to those in power than the pseudo-obscenity of  erotic acts. Death provides no scope for a network of regulations by which  society can be manipulated. . . . But sex is a permanent fountain of dynamic  energy, which can be tapped for social purposes by regulations concerning  marriage, divorce, adultery, fornication, incest, homosexuality, bestiality,  chastity, promiscuity, decency and so on. All those who wield power intuitively  perceive that in the last resort their authority derives from the repression,  and regulation, of sexuality, and that free-flowing sexuality is the biological  equivalent of anarchy. All transferrals of power, all revolutions, are  invariably accompanied by transformations of the regulations governing  sexuality." 257 Seymour Fisher writes: "The implications of nudity as  a way of declaring one's complete freedom have often elicited strong  countermeasures from those in authority. Nudity is punishable by death in some  cultures. The Roman Catholic church has taught in convent schools that it is  sinful to expose your body even to your own eyes. The wearing of clothes  represents a form of submission to prevailing mores. It is like putting on a  'citizen's uniform' and agreeing to play the game." 258
  168. Repressive morality has often sought to control not only nudity, but sexuality  in general. Margaret Miles observes that "the regulation of sexuality was a  major power issue in the fourth-century Christian churches. Regulation of sexual  practices was a way to inject the authority of church laws and leaders into the  intimate and daily relationships of Christians. Analyzing the canons of the  Council of Gangra in AD 309, [Samuel] Laeuchli found that 46 percent of the  eighty-one canons were concerned with sexual relationships and practices." 259 Philip Yancey notes that "between the third and tenth centuries,  church authorities issued edicts forbidding sex on Saturdays, Wednesdays, and  Fridays, and also during the 40-day fast periods before Easter, Christmas, and  Whitsuntide--all for religious reasons. They kept adding feast days and days of  the apostles to the proscription, as well as the days of female impurity, until  it reached the point that, as Yale historian John Boswell has estimated, only 44  days a year remained available for marital sex. Human nature being what it is,  the church's proscriptions were enthusiastically ignored." 260 Don  Mackenzie notes that Christ and the very earliest church, in contrast,  emphasized a message of freedom--"from demonic powers, from tyrannical  governments, from fate. . . . [and] a prevailing commitment to the separation of  secular and ecclesiastical power. . . . [The Church] adopted asceticism, not in  obedience to its founder's teachings but as a bid for support in the face of  competition, offering spiritual solace to people whose material world (the Roman  Empire) was collapsing. Once the Church was officially recognized, it promptly  discarded Christ's dedication to poverty, but it clung tightly to sexual   asceticism as a disciplinary tool in a disintegrating society." 261
  169. Repression of nudity is still used today as a means to further a repressive  political agenda. Regarding nude beaches, Patrick Buchanan, on PBS's "McLaughlin  Report," said, "I think we ought to let the liberals do it, if they want to do  it. Then take photographs and use them in attack ads." 262 The  right-wing Christian Coalition uses blanket attacks on mere nudity and other  matters of "morality" to rally support for their cause. Their method, as  described by ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser, is "to prey upon the fears of  millions of people who are all too willing to believe that sacrificing personal  liberty will help solve our nation's problems." 263 A Missouri  legislator, in 1993, introduced a bill that would have made virtually all public  nudity--and even some nudity in the home--a felony punishable by up to ten years  in prison! This bill was fortunately defeated, though by a narrow margin.  Similar bills have been proposed all over the country in recent years.264
  170. Much of  the origin of repressive attitudes toward nudity may be traced to the political  setting of the early church and church-state, though not the teachings of Christ  Himself. The earliest writings of the Christian church show no evidence of the  negative attitude toward sexuality and nudity which so characterize later years.  This negative attitude grew slowly among some segments of the faith, but was by  no means universal. For some, asceticism represented a means of remaining pure  for the impending return of Christ. For others, it was a reaction against the  hedonism and homosexuality common in Greek culture, or against the sexual  excesses of the dying Roman Empire.265 For some, it grew out of a  mixture of Christianity with the legalism of traditional Judaism; and for many,  it grew out of preexisting personal and cultural prejudices. Clement of  Alexandria, in the late 2nd century, and Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus, in the  mid 3rd century, both condemned the nudity common in Roman public baths  primarily because it offended their personal ideas of female modesty. (In the  same era, Tertullian was condemning women as the "gateway of the Devil.")  Jerome, in the late 4th and early 5th centuries, also condemned nude bathing,  especially for women. He considered pregnant women revolting, and felt that  virgins should blush at the very idea of seeing themselves naked. On the other  hand, in the same period, Jovinianus, a Christian monk, campaigned actively in  favor of the public baths. In the end, the decisive actor in the controversy was  Augustine. He was a firm believer in the doctrine, introduced long after Christ,  that the body and sexuality are inherently sinful. (He applied this doctrine to  women's bodies and sexuality especially aggressively.) Augustine was a shrewd  politician. By aligning himself closely with the imperial court at the beginning  of the 5th century, he effectively ensured that his version of Christianity  became the dominant one. By the Dark Ages, with the collapse of the Roman  Empire, the Church became the last remnant of Western civilization, with a  monopoly on education, and tremendous control over ideas. Thus Augustine's  heritage of anti-sexuality became the predominant force in Christianity, even  though such ideas are impossible to find in the teachings of Christ Himself.266
  171. The   aversion of early Christian church leaders to casual nudity was due in part to  an association of nudity with paganism and homosexuality in the surrounding  cultures. In many pre-Christian pagan religions, such as those practiced in  western Europe and Great Britain, nudity- -especially female nudity--was a  powerful force, and played an important role in pagan worship and rituals.267
  172. The   Church's aversion to nudity derived, in part, from its roots in the cultures of  the ancient Near East, where nakedness had signified poverty, shame, slavery,  humiliation, and defeat. Naked, bound prisoners were paraded in the king's  victory celebration, and slain enemies were stripped of clothing and armor.268
  173. Before   Western civilization, nakedness was a normal element of life and considered  acceptable in many circumstances. However, as Freud describes in Civilization  and Its Discontents, psychological repression of the awareness of our natural  being was a necessary step in building civilization, by disciplining the masses  into taking part in vast and self-abdicating social projects.269 Lee  Baxandall notes that, by contrast, "the post-industrial, newly greening era  offers fresh options, a chance to integrate the natural human being with  post-industrial values, technology, and knowledge." 270
  174. Nudity  has often been censored primarily to avoid the more difficult task of managing  it.271
  175. Recreation managers often "permit" nudity on remote beaches without facilities  or lifeguards, then use nudity as a scapegoat for problems including litter and  drug use that inevitably appear in high-use recreation areas without active  management.
  176. One of  the greatest challenges faced by clothing-optional beaches is that their  popularity, combined with their scarcity, leads to intensive use, which in turn  conflicts with environmental and management concerns. This has been a source of  problems at several beaches across the country, including Sandy Hook in New  Jersey, and Cape Cod National Seashore, which closed its traditionally nude  beach ostensibly for environmental reasons in the mid 1970s.272
  177. The   "secondary effects" of an actively managed nude beach have in actual experience  proven to be less crime, less inappropriate behavior, no drug dealers, an  increase in parking revenues, and an increase in business in the adjoining  commercial area.273
  178. Nudity   has often been repressed for economic reasons, not because it was considered  immoral. Bernard Rudofsky writes: "In the 1920s, in some parts of Europe people  used to bathe in public without feeling the need for a special dress. At the  height of summer the beaches on the Black Sea swarmed with bathers who had never  seen a bathing suit except in newspapers and picture magazines; their holiday  was one of untroubled simplicity. . . . The idyll came to an end a few years  later when tourism reared its ugly head, and the protests of foreign visitors  led to making bathing suits compulsory." 274 The same thing has  recently happened in the former East Germany, where traditionally nude beaches  are now being restricted to appease more conservative European tourists.275
  179. We must  never forget that for any freedom that is lost, we bear partial responsibility  for letting it be lost. In the words of Frederick Douglass: "Find out just what  people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of justice and  wrong which will be imposed upon them. . . . The limits of tyrants are  prescribed by the endurance of those who they oppress." 2

    Christianity supports  Naturism.277
  180. Genesis   1:27--The (naked) human body, created by God, in God's own image, is basically  decent, not inherently impure or sinful. The human body was created by God, and  God can create no evil. It is made in God's image, and the image of God is  entirely pure and good.
  181. Genesis  1:31--God saw that everything, including naked Adam and Eve, was good.
  182. Genesis   3:7--Many scholars interpret the wearing of fig leaves as a continuation and  expansion of the original sin, not a positive moral reaction to it. Hugh Kilmer  explains: "Man wanted to put his life within his own control rather than God's,  so first he took the power of self-determination (knowledge of good and evil).  Next, finding his body was not within his control, he controlled it artificially  by hiding it. After he was expelled from paradise, he began to hunt and eat   animals; then to gain complete control over other people, by killing them (the  story of Cain and Abel)." 278
  183. Genesis   3:10--Many scholars believe that Adam and Eve's sense of shame came not from  their nakedness, which God had created and called good, but from their knowledge  of having disobeyed God.
  184. An   innate, God-given sense of shame related to nakedness is contradicted by the  existence of numerous indigenous societies in which nudity is the rule and a  sense of shame is totally absent, and by the lack of shame felt by naked  children.
  185. Genesis   3:11--It was disobedience that came between Adam and Eve and God, not nakedness.  The scriptures themselves treat Adam and Eve's nudity as an incidental issue.  Robert Bahr observes that "when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they grew ashamed of  what they had done and attempted to hide themselves from God, who was not the  least bit concerned with their nakedness but was mightily unhappy with their  disobedience." 279 Herb Seal notes that God provided a covering by  slaying an innocent animal: the first prototype of the innocent one slain to act  as a "covering" for sinners.280
  186. Genesis   3:21--God made garments of skins for Adam, but the Bible does not say the state  of nakedness is being condemned. Because of the Fall, Adam and Eve were no  longer in Eden and were thus subject to the varieties of weather and climate,  and God knew they would need clothes. God loved and cared for them even after  they had sinned.
  187. To   assume that because God made garments He was condemning nudity makes as much  sense as concluding that because God made clouds which blot out the sun He was  condemning sunshine.
  188. Genesis   9:22-24--Noah was both drunk and naked, but Ham was the one who was cursed--when  he dishonored his father, by calling attention to Noah's state, and making light  of it. The shame of Noah's "nakedness" was much more than just being undressed.  It was his dehumanized, drunken stupor which was shameful. Ham's offense was not  merely seeing his father in this shameful state, but gossiping about it,  effectively destroying Noah's reputation, cultural status, and authority as a  father figure. In the story, Shem and Japheth were blessed for coming to the  defense of their father's honor. Rather than joining Ham in his boasting, they  reverently covered their father's shame.281
  189. Exodus   20:26--The Priest's nakedness was not to be exposed because it would create  dissonance between his social role, in which he was to be seen as sexually  neutral, and his biological status as a sexual being. The Priest's costume  represented his social role; to be exposed in that context would be  inappropriate and distracting.282 Rita Poretsky writes: "Personhood,  original sexual energy, and physical nakedness may be either in synchrony with  social institutions or in disharmony.  Nakedness is a nakedness of self in a  social context, not just a nakedness of body." 283 On the other hand,  it was quite appropriate for David to dance essentially naked in public to  celebrate the return of the Ark of the Covenant (II Samuel 6:14-23).
  190. Leviticus 18:6-19--Here and throughout the Old Testament and Torah, the   expression "uncover the nakedness of" (as it is literally translated in the King  James Version) is a euphemism for "have sexual relations with." The prohibitions  do not refer to nudity per se.284
  191. I   Samuel 19:23-24--Jewish prophets were commonly naked--so commonly that when Saul  stripped off his clothes and prophesied, no one considered his nakedness  remarkable, but everyone immediately assumed that he must be a prophet also.
  192. II   Samuel 6:14-23--King David danced nearly naked in the City of David to celebrate  the return of the ark, in full view of all the citizens of the city. Michal  criticized his public nudity and was rebuffed. King David was not strictly  naked--he wore a "linen ephod," a sort of short apron or close-fitting, armless,  outer vest, extending at the most down to the hips. Ephods were part of the  vestments worn by Jewish priests. They hid nothing.285
  193. Isaiah   20:2-3--God directly commanded Isaiah to loose the sackcloth from his hips, and  he went naked and barefoot for three years. The prophet Micah may have done the  same thing (see Micah 1:8).
  194. Song of  Solomon repeatedly expresses appreciation for the naked body.
  195. Every   Biblical association of nakedness with shame is in reference to a sin already  committed. One cannot hide from God behind literal or figurative clothing. All  stand naked before God.286
  196. Nakedness cannot automatically be equated with sexual sin. Linking nudity with  sexual sin, to the exclusion of all else, makes as much sense as insisting that  fire can only be connected to the destruction of property and life, and is  therefore immoral. Sin comes not from nakedness, but from how the state of  nakedness is used. Ian Barbour writes: "No aspect of man is evil in itself, but  only in its misuse. The inherent goodness of the material order, in which man's  being fully participates, is, as we shall see, a corollary of the doctrine of  creation." 287 Pope John Paul II agrees that nudity, in and of  itself, is not sinful. "The human body in itself always has its own inalienable  human dignity," he says. It is only obscene when it is reduced to "an object of  'enjoyment,' meant for the gratification of concupiscence itself." 288
  197. Nakedness cannot automatically be associated with lust. It is not reasonable to  cover the apples in the marketplace just because someone might may be tempted by  gluttony, nor is it necessary to ban money because someone might be overcome by  greed. Nor is it reasonable to ban nudity, simply because an individual might be  tempted to lust. Furthermore, appreciation for the beauty of a member of the  other sex, nude or otherwise, cannot be equated automatically with lust. Only if  desire is added does appreciation become lust, and therefore sin. Even then, it  is the one who lusts, not the object of lust, who has sinned. Bathesheba was  never rebuked for bathing, but David for lusting (II Samuel 11:2-12:12). Pope  John Paul II writes: "There are circumstances in which nakedness is not  immodest. If someone takes advantage of such an occasion to treat the person as  an object of enjoyment (even if his action is purely internal) it is only he who  is guilty of shamelessness . . . not the other." 289 Margaret Miles  observes that "Nakedness and sexuality or lust were seldom associated in  patristic writings." 290
  198. Many   historical church leaders have disassociated nudity with sexual immodesty. St.  Thomas Aquinus, for example, defined an immodest act as one done with a lustful  intention.291 Therefore, someone who disrobes for the sole purpose of  bathing or recreating cannot be accused of immodesty. Pope John Paul II writes:  "Sexual modesty cannot then in any simple way be identified with the use of  clothing, nor shamelessness with the absence of clothing and total or partial  nakedness. . . . Immodesty is present only when nakedness plays a negative role  with regard to the value of the person, when its aim is to arouse concupiscence,  as a result of which the person is put in the position of an object for  enjoyment. . . . There are certain objective situations in which even total  nudity of the body is not immodest." 292
  199. Through   Christ, the Christian is returned spiritually to the same sinless, shameless  state Adam and Eve enjoyed in Eden (Genesis 2:25). There is no question that  their nakedness was not sinful. When God creates, nakedness is good. It follows  that when God re-creates, nakedness is also good.
  200. The   Bible says plainly that sexual immorality is sin. Healthy Naturism, however, is  entirely consistent for the Christian, who has "crucified the sinful nature with  its passions and desires." (Galatians 5:24)
  201. The   Bible calls for purity of heart. Anyone who thinks it is impossible to be pure  of heart while nudeis ignorant of the realities of nudism, and anyone who  believes that it is wrong even for the pure of heart to be nude has fallen into  legalism, a vice which St. Paul repeatedly denounces.293 St. Paul  writes: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive  philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this  world rather than on Christ. . . . Since you died with Christ to the basic  principles of the world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit  to its rules: 'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!'? These are all  destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and  teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their  self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the  body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. . . .  Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with  compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." (Colossians 2:8,  20-23; 3:12)
  202. Clothes-compulsiveness creates an unwholesome schism between one's spirit and  body. A Christian morality should deal with the person as a whole, healing both  spirit and body.
  203. Nudity   has often been used in the Christian tradition as symbolic of renouncing the  world to folow Christ. Margaret Miles writes: "In the thirteenth century, Saint  Bernard of Clairvoux popularized the idea of nudity as symbolic imitation of  Christ; it took Saint Francis to act out this metaphor. Francis announced his  betrothal to Lady Poverty [i.e. his renunciation of material possessions] by  publicly stripping off his clothing and flinging it at the feet of his  protesting father" and the local bishop.294 Several Christian sects  have practiced nudity as part of their faith, including the German Brethren of  the Free Spirit, in the thirteenth century; the Picards, in fifteenth century  France; and, most famously, the Adamites, in the early fifteenth century  Netherlands.295
  204. Many   other faiths also support nudity, both historically and in current practice. For  example, the "Digambar" or "sky-clad" monks of Digambar Jainism have gone  completely naked as part of their ascetic tradition for 2500 years, though  nudity is rare in the dominant Hindu religion. Many other (males-only) Hindu  religious orders also practice ritualistic nudity or near-nudity, as they have  for hundreds or thousands of years. Tribal Hindus held an annual nude worship  service attracting 100,000 in Chandragutti, India until 1987, when it was  stopped by the police, in reaction to violence which had erupted the previous  year when social workers tried to force clothing on the participants.296  Personal experience supports Naturism.
  205. One of  the most important arguments in support of nudism is personal experience.  Personal testimonies in favor of nudism are too numerous to mention.297  Based on my own experience, I find nudists to be more friendly, open-minded,  considerate, respectful, and sharing than non-nudists in general. Their children  are more active, and healthier, both physically and mentally. None of these  testimonies, of course, compares to personal experience. A single visit to a  nudist park or a nude beach will not cause permanent harm to anyone. On the  other hand, it may change your life. Experience the freedom for yourself!