The Weekly Nudesletter
Vol. 1, No. 5
November 1, 1997


Article: Naked Travel

Nudity in the news

New and interesting Web pages

Naked Travel

Most places in the U. S. are not terribly receptive to the idea of enjoying life without clothes - and many are downright hostile (see some of this week's news). So if you are unfortunate enough to live in such a place (which is fairly likely), your best option for clothes-free relaxation (outside of your home) is travel.

Maybe it's the time of year - summer in North America is long gone, winter is setting in, our thoughts wander to... somewhere else. Somewhere where it's warm enough to be naked outdoors. Whatever the reason, there are a couple of very recent instances where the mainstream media has picked up on the idea of clothes-free vacationing.

Consider the November issue of Conde Nast Traveler. The theme is "privacy". Privacy for what? Unfortunately, the article entitled "The naked escape" promises more than it delivers. It starts off well: "There are places in the Caribbean so private you can leave your clothes at home." Most of the locations reviewed, however, are not situated near well-known clothing optional Caribbean beaches. And nowhere is it really made clear which places are private enough that you could actually spend a whole day naked outside of your room. The headline seems more likely designed just to draw attention. Yet it's interesting that the editors expect this will attract favorable notice.

Fortunately, another article in the magazine, entitled "In the Private Zone", actually does come right out and get to the point. The article's author, Michael Shnayerson, admits he likes to be naked. His assignment was to visit three Caribbean resorts to evaluate their potential for offering privacy, or at least relief from civilization's crowds. In the first of these, he reports, "I felt entirely comfortable exploring my new digs, inside and out, in the nude - as is my wont." Evidently, it passed the privacy test. His second stop, by far the poshest, offered a villa with its own private pool, beside which the author could comfortably lie "naked and slathered in tanning gel on my pool chair." And the third had villas in which "it would have been easy to spend a week in the nude there." Now, this is all well and good. Still, the reader is left with the depressing feeling that it is only privacy which enables the enjoyment of a holiday in the nude. One could, just as well, have spent a week in one's own home for that. The fact that there are resorts and public beaches in the Caribbean which can be enjoyed without clothing is left as the subject for a different article from this one.

If you're inclined to pursue that direction, take a look at the current travel section of the online NetGuide. You'll be greeted right away with the advice, "For your next vacation, consider packing your birthday suit and nothing else; you won't believe how much you can do without your clothes on."

The remainder of the article is a whirlwind tour in about 400 words of naturism and naturist travel opportunities. We sort of liked it, since it starts out by mentioning our own naturist links pages and (later) this very newsletter. There are also a few links to specific destinations and some travel agents that can help you get there. It's brief, but it's a start, and very welcome to see in a mainstream Net publication. The concluding advice is right on target: "get going and get nekkid."

Nudity in the news

Supreme Court Fails to Challenge Denial of Topfree Equality
On Friday, October 24, the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of Angie Carreras in an important topfree equality case. Carreras was arrested in 1993 when she removed her shirt at an outdoor music festival in Texas. Police didn't interfere with Carreras' male companion, who also removed his shirt. Carreras was charged with "disturbing the peace". Unlike the similar top-freedom cases in Canada, there is no issue of "indecency" here. Indeed, Texas, like most states, has no specific laws prohibiting women from being bare-chested in public, on account of "indecency" or for any other reason. Nevertheless, there is a clear gender inequality in the handling by officials of apparently simple and harmless personal choices about attire. The Supreme Court is not required to give any justfication for refusing to hear an appeal, and none was given in this case. The issue therefore remains up to local jurisdictions, and no precedent is created (outside of Texas).

California City Overrules Censorship of Breast Exam Program
Further west, however, in Contra Costa County, California, the Board of Supervisors, on a 5-0 vote, overruled the manager of a community cable TV station, who had refused to allow the broadcast of two videos dealing with self-examination for breast cancer. The reason given by the manager - a woman, Patricia Burker - was that naked breasts were shown, which in her opinion would be "too graphic". Unfortunately for Burker, the San Francisco area, in which Contra Costa County is located, has a much more enlightened attitude towards the body, and certainly better priorities in regard to providing valuable information about a serious health issue.

Mormon Church University Censors Rodin
In a move that attacks both academic freedom and personal body acceptance, officials of the Mormon-run Brigham Young University successfully demanded the exclusion of celebrated sculptures from a popular touring exhibition of Auguste Rodin's work. Four sculptures were judged too challenging for Mormon eyes to view, including Rodin's well-known "The Kiss". The Director of the BYU Museum of Art felt that work, which depicts a naked man and woman embracing, would disrupt the exhibit and offend some viewers. A statue of John the Baptist was also excluded because officials perceived some conflict between it and their religion. BYU is the same university that only three years ago censored portions of the movie "Schindler's List" which contained nudity. One has to wonder whether BYU students have any opportunity even in their classrooms to consider ideas not approved of by school officials.

PBS Televises Debate on the "Morality" of Nudity
During the week of November 3, the PBS show, Debates-Debates, will feature the question "Is Nudity God's Will?". Speaking for the affirmative are three naturists: Jim Cunningham, leader of the Christian naturist group Naturist Life International, Jim Dodge, a Catholic priest, and Claudia Kellersch, a lifetime member of The Naturist Society. Speaking on the other side are Benedict Ashley, another Catholic priest, Bawa Jain, a United Nations delegate from India, and Peter Thiel, a lawyer and former member of the staff of the conservative Secretary of Education William Bennett. Don't expect a raucous shouting match though. The participants have already reported that the debate (which was taped several weeks ago) was conducted in an amicable manner. But it is noteworthy that this is one of the few opportunities that articulate spokespersons on behalf of naturism receive to present their case to a national TV audience.

Local Anti-nudity Law Receives Recognition as "Freaky Foul-Up"
Radical right-wing religious groups have been advocating local anti-nudity laws containing very specific language that attempts to define just how much skin is too much for sensitive eyes to see. It is felt necessary to ensure that no one is confused as to what constitutes the critical body parts. For example, the definition of "buttocks" begins "the area at the rear of the human body (sometimes referred to as the gluteus maximus) that lies between two imaginary straight lines running parallel to the ground when a person is standing, the first or top of such line being one-half inch below the top of the vertical cleavage of the nates..." In this month's issue, the political magazine George recognizes a St. Johns County, Florida ordinance containing that language (and much more) as one of the Top 10 "freakiest bureaucratic foul-ups in recent history". (Another winner was an Iowa law that rewards motorists for running down deer on the highway.)

New and interesting Web pages

Top-Free Equality Web Page
In view of the Supreme Court's rather cowardly decision not to decide a topfree rights case as reported above, and the Contra Costa County breast cancer programming controversy, it seems appropriate to mention this excellent set of pages. They are part of an Ohio nudism/naturism site, since this is currently a hot topic there. It seems that there are several places on public land in the state where topfree swimming and sunbathing are common (but not full nudity). And the local conservatives are strongly determined to put a stop to it. They need new legislation to do so, however, since courts have already ruled that it's currently legal under Ohio law. But they are hard at work on it.

Naturism and Sports
The term "nude recreation" got a big boost a couple of years ago when the largest U. S. nudist organization, the American Sunbathing Association, changed its name to the American Association for Nude Recreation. Some people still think that's kind of a wimpy name which doesn't fully acknowledge the philosophy of many people who simply like to be naked. Yet it does suggest that nudists and naturists like life to be a little more active than simply lying in the sun. This site provides a list, with short commentary and illustrations, of a large number of sports than can pleasurably be pursued without any clothing. It's not just swimming and volleyball. Consider gymnastics, hiking, running, cycling, archery, sailing, canoeing, horeseback riding, yoga, golf, tennis, skiiing...

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