Janet Jackson reveals a breast and there is an uproar, a woman breast feeds in a mall and is thrown out, a child of 4 is naked on a beach and the life guard tells him to put his swimsuit on. Around the world there is topless bathing but it is rare in this country.
Yet one in four Americans admit to having skinny dipped.
Are we hypocrites? We obviously secretly like swimming nude so why don't we do it all the time?
The Internaional Naturist Federation says that nudism or naturism is " A way of life in harmony with nature, characterized by the practice of communal nudity with the intent of encouraging self respect, respect for other and the environment".
I don't know that going naked makes you respect the environment more but surely it must lead to a greater appreciation of the different shapes and sizes bodies come in and that might conceivably make us less body conscious and phobic about fat and imperfections.
Naturist camps are almost always in a mixed social setting. Detractors say that naturist is a code for sex but perhaps men and women start to notice their differences less?
And what about naked children? Naturists warmly encourage children. Would being at one of these camps cause psychological harm?
And then how hygenic really are these places?
At the end of summer, before the chill winds blow, reporter Judith Kampfner visits a naturist camp and yes, complies with the no clothes rule.
And that's no clothes when dancing, horsebackriding, kayaking, or in the canteen.
It's not something that this reporter relishes. She is short and is used to her everyday weapons of stacked heels. Like most women she uses clother to camoflage faults. Baring all may mean feeling vulnerable and stupid. But the nudists who come year after year find it liberating, relaxing, democratic, wonderfully cheap, wildly romantic.
Perhaps our reporter will become comfortable in her birthday suit. Now why do we say 'suit'?
Birthday Suit was produced by Judith Kampfner. The program was mixed by Jared Weissbrot. Surfing the web for information about nudism can produce, shall we say, undesirable results. Fear not -- SOUNDPRINT DOT ORG has family-friendly links about this dicey subject. You can also hear our programs online -- that address again is SOUNDPRINT-DOT-O-R-G.
Naturist Discussion Forum
A bulletin board, this site provides a forum for naturists to discuss various issues such as travel, organizations, and nudist entertainment.
The Naturist Society
The society's site provides resources about naturist events, resources, and more
American Association for Nude Recreation
This site explains the nudist rationale as well as listing nudist recreation spots in the U.S.A.
International Naturist Federation
The Federation offers a handbook and web links for travelling as a naturist around the world.
Theatre Au Naturel: A Collection of Naturist Plays
by: Mark Storey (Editor) 2006
A unique collection of plays
Among the Nudists: Early Naturism
by: Frances Merrill, Mason Merrill 2006
Originially published in 1931, this book describes early naturism in Europe and America
Nudity: A Cultural Anatomy
by: Ruth Barcom 2004
Why is nudity considered so taboo in our culture? Barcom interviews people of all walks of life to "expose" the controversial topic.