Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Warning: This article may contain nudity

Warning: This article may contain nudity
By Kristyn Ostman - The Beacon (Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA)
October 31, 2005

It has become increasingly apparent to me that the more I learn about those wacky Europeans, the less inclined I am to try an alternative spring break trip. Nonetheless, I continue to read up on the new, sociocultural phenomenon across the pond. I am pleased to say that I am rarely, if ever, disappointed when looking for a juicy new trend.

Recently, I came upon a delightful story about free expression, social taboos and change. Above all, the reason this story caught my eye is that it centered on nudism. Though I, myself, am not a nudist, it is topic that I find incredibly interesting. The only nudists I've ever seen or heard about have been far from the types anyone would want to see disrobing, yet nonetheless, these ordinary Joes are living life au natural.

Here's a little history on it: at the forefront of the nudist movement was pre-WWII Germany. People joined clubs where membership became so high that guards were posted to protect the patrons from peeping toms.

Now membership has been dwindling for the most shocking of reasons - a general decline of social taboos across the board. Modern Germans do not view nudism as shocking or wrong. In fact, it has become a part of daily life. Magazine covers, television and even supermarkets maintain loose policies on clothing as a necessity. Even if there are laws against it, they are certainly not being enforced.

When nudist clubs were at their peak, members expressed the sentiment that baring it all was about escape and total freedom. So why are the traditional nudists so upset now that we're all liberated? Many might look at this and see a level of hypocrisy. Nudists of old acting like the A-list kids in high school; surely we must be mistaken at the thought of these pioneers being so selfish! When I learned of the enmity they feel toward the anything-goes regime, I thought about their initial motives for donning only a pair of moccasins in the first place.

Our traditional nudists don't want to be socially acceptable; they are exhibitionists. With the culture moving to accept all walks of life there is no longer a venue for them to stand out, which I suppose would outrage anyone that is purely concerned with himself. The biggest gripe I have about this public display is not the blatant desperation for attention but having their ideology forced on me. Like telemarketers or people passing out leaflets at the airport, nudists are pretty obvious, and irritating, in how they share their values. However; unlike a telemarketer, we cannot simply hang-up on a naked woman asking us for the time because watches are just as confining as underpants.

Nudism is a growing subculture today in America. This past summer, a group of seniors and baby-boomers gathered in Pennsylvania for some naked recreation. It leads me to question how soon it will be before people are walking stark naked to class. Laws in New York have already been altered to allow either gender to go topless in public. Certainly, this is not common practice now but rest assured that when you give an inch, people take a mile.

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe that next year nudists will have taken over but I do see where there is a foothold for the U.S. to socially progress into a very dangerous place while continuing to taunt how "free" and "accepting" we are being. After all, why ban something that isn't hurting really anyone, or is it?
Source: http://www.wilkesbeacon.com/media/paper533/news/2005/10/31/Opinion/Warning.This.Article.May.Contain.Nudity-1017123.shtml


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