The Weekly Nudesletter
Vol. 1, No. 15
October 9, 1998


Article: Buttons and Bumperstickers

Nudity in the News

Nudity in the Media

New and Interesting Web Pages

Quote of the Week

Buttons and Bumperstickers

With the close of the summer season in most of North America people who enjoy nudity - especially outdoors - may need a little something to cheer them up. So here's a bit of light-hearted fun - a small collections of slogans suitable for your own personal naturist button or bumpersticker. (Or even T-shirt, if you must wear something.)

If you don't care to go to the effort to make a button or sticker, then they work equally well as signature lines for your email. If you have a favorite naturist slogan that's not in this list, feel free to send it in.

Enjoy, and please use freely!

  • Coed naked everything.
  • Bare butts are cool.
  • Bare is beautiful!
  • I'd rather be naked.
  • I'd rather be skinnydipping.
  • I give bare hugs.
  • Want to see me naked? Just ask!
  • Nudists have nothing to hide.
  • Become a nudist. See more of your friends.
  • Surf naked!
  • Born to be naked!
  • Born naked.
  • If God wanted us to be naked, we'd be born that way.
  • Nudist: been there, done that, don't want the T-shirt.
  • Make a bold fashion statement - go naked.
  • "Nude" just means barefoot all over.
  • Nudists prefer one-button suits.
  • A birthday suit is always in fashion.
  • You can't outgrow your birthday suit.
  • Taking your clothes off is getting something for nothing.

Nudity in the News

Topfreedom stumbles ahead
Slow progress is being made in the rights of North American women to be bare from the waist up any time and place that it's allowed for men. The legal right is being grudgingly acknowledged by many courts in the U. S. and Canada, but there is wide diversity from one location to another as to how such rights are respected in practice.

In Regina, Saskatchewan...

Activity on the legal front is most visible right now in Canada. Courts in Ontario and British Columbia have affirmed topfree rights. Now the action is shifting to the more conservative province of Saskatchewan. A 64-year-old great-grandmother, Evangeline Godron, and a younger friend, Kathleen Rice, were cited in 1997 for sunbathing topfree in a Regina park. On July 22 this year a provincial court judge ruled the women didn't violate community standards. After the aquittal, Godron and other friends took up swimming topfree at a community pool. This caused a stir. Parents herded their kids into the changing rooms so they wouldn't see anything bad. (After all, there's no nudity in changing rooms, right?) Finally on August 24 Godron was cited, and incarcerated for two days, for "assault" because she would not leave the pool when requested due to complaints. She plans to fight that in court too.

And Columbus, Ohio...

In the U. S. the legal situation is even murkier. While courts in some states (such as New York) have recognized topfree rights, courts in other states (such as Texas and Florida) have decided differently. But almost everywhere topfree rights are seldom exercised - even when officially recognized - except in remote areas or certain few beaches where it has been "customary". That, however, is changing, as some women are beginning to assert their rights in front yards and even in urban downtown areas. Such as Columbus, Ohio. In August topless dancer Adaka Michaels appeared - topless - promoting her act by handing out free passes, shaking hands, posing for photographs, giving interviews, and even talking to children. This was in front of the Statehouse. Police busied themselves controling the crowds and directing traffic. They never considered making an arrest, since local courts a few years ago had ruled that bare breasts were not illegal. It's just rather unfortunate that the main beneficiaries of the freedom are exotic dancers like Michaels, using it for self-promotion, instead of ordinary women using it for relaxation and a better tan. Nevertheless, a local TV station, in a call-in poll, found 52% of respondents in favor of topfree rights.

And even in Newport, Maine...

And you thought that Republican hacks in Washington were the only ones making mountains out of molehills... How about a small-town feud between neighbors that's become a national TV story - because of a young woman who likes to mow her mother's lawn topfree?

The essence of the matter seems to be that neighbors Shirley Davis and Mary Thompson can't stand each other. As it happens Davis' adult daughter prefers not wearing a shirt when mowing the lawn, while Thompson thinks, or at least talks, like a religious fundie. And the dispute escalates from there. Thompson first complained about the topfree lawn mowing in early August, but police explained they couldn't stop it - because it wasn't illegal. So Thompson initiated a petition drive to force the local selectmen to consider the issue. The result is that voters will get to decide in November whether to proceed with making topfree lawn mowing illegal.

Sort of makes you wonder whether some people have any real problems to worry about...

If you want the whole saga to date, you can follow it in stories from the Bangor Daily News:

L. L. Bean streaker
It seems that Maine also hosted a young woman demonstrating in favor of full nudity this summer, about the same time as the Newport topfree mower.

L. L. Bean's store in Freeport is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Early one morning, 18-year-old Katherine Tyrol stripped and streaked to make a point. Though she'd only recently graduated from high school in Bath, this wasn't just an ordinary adolescent prank, according to Tyrol. "I'm a nudist by philosophy," she explained. "I don't think I'm obscene or perverted. We all have bodies, and it is time to start facing that." As she further explained, "Society says that in order for our bodies to be nude, they have to be perfect. These accepted traditions are what causes eating disorders."

Tyrol eluded pursuers and successfully got to the door and into her car, but a guard took down her license number, which led to a visit from the police. She was charged with "public indecency", but planned to fight it in court.

Unfortunately, few were in the store at the early hour. Though she has no plans for a repeat performance, she does wish she'd done it differently: "If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't run. Running made me feel ashamed. If I did it again, I'd take off all my clothes and just sit there."

For some reason, there's been a lot less news coverage of Tyrol's streak than of the Newport lawn mower, though she did have at least one TV interview.

Spencer Tunick shows his stuff
We've reported before on Spencer Tunick and his "Naked States Tour". (See Volume 1, No. 8.) The project is now complete, and the results are on view at New York's I-20 Gallery.

The project has received local coverage in many of the 50 states that Tunick visited, as well as a short article in a New York Times Sunday magazine in July. (See Usenet articles here and here.)

The purpose of the project was to photograph ordinary people naked in all 50 states, sometimes in fairly public locations. Many of his subjects were relative strangers he'd met and convinced to pose nude. Other pictures involved bathers at the Sandy Hook, NJ, clothing-optional beach, and 1200 nude people at a Phish concert in Maine. (Said to be a record for the largest number of naked people in a single picture.)

On October 6 CNN broadcast a piece about the gallery exhibit. There's also an article at their Web site, which includes a short video. Of course, all the details considered too shocking for American eyes to see were pixilated out.

Here's an interesting story from the viewpoint of one of Tunick's subjects, about what it's like to lie naked in a Greenwich Village street at 6:15 in the morning. It includes an interview with the photographer.

Australian nude politics
Nudity continues to be a device used even in mainstream politics to attract attention. Sort of mainstream, anyhow, and in Australia. On October 1, three members of the Greens party in Adelaide eschewed the protection of clothing in order to put environmental protection back on the election agenda. Holding only small strategically-placed signs the trio stripped naked in front of a small crowd of enthusiastic onlookers. As one of the three explained, it was worth doing that little bit extra to protect Australia's "garden of Eden".

Perhaps it's time for an official Naturist Party.

Nudity in the Media

USA Today: Computer nerds populate nude resort
If they don't get you with one stereotype, they'll get you with another. "They may don thick glasses or pocket protectors on the clock," the Associated Press article begins. "Off work, they prefer wearing nothing at all."

Excuse me while I barf. Is the news media incapable of dealing with anything without invoking stereotypes?

The subject of the article is the Lupin Naturist Club in Los Gatos, CA. After a barrage of epithets like "nerd", "chipheads", and "geeks" the article does settle down to fair reportage of one of the country's better naturist clubs. There are good quotes from "chipheads" like Rich Pasco (who happens to be Webmaster of Lupin's site) and club owner Glyn Stout.

But is it really necessary to continue our society's long tradition of denigrating intelligent people such as computer professionals? To say nothing of the further implication that one has to be weird to enjoy nude recreation.

Boston Globe: The bare maximum
An article which appeared just before Labor Day in The Boston Globe is a much better example of responsible journalism reporting on the nudist lifestyle. It deals with northeastern Connecticut's 61-year-old Solair Recreation League.

The main message of the article, unlike the previous one, is how normal everyone is:

Solair's members are doctors and housewives and teachers and policemen and artists and real estate agents. "We're a cross-section," says Carlson. The folks inside the big wooden gate aren't much different from those outside. They just go through a lot more towels.
And nudity itself is normal too:
There is still an Edenesque innocence to Solair, whose members seem to assume that the world's stresses, dangers, and temptations can be shed along with their clothes. Parents let their kids wander about unsupervised. Teenage girls stroll nonchalantly past middle-aged men. "I'm naked," one of them shrugs. "So, what's the big deal?"
Solair is in rural Connecticut while Lupin is in the mountains that border Silicon Valley, but they really aren't so different. Both, in fact, were founded about the same time (1937), in the early days of American nudism. Both offer a semi-rustic retreat from frenetic urban life. Both attract the same sort of people.

But you'd never realize this from the very dissimilar slants offered by the two articles in question.

Nudism and "morals" in Arkansas
Arkansas is perhaps the most nudist-unfriendly state in the U. S. Not only is public nudity itself illegal (which is the case in only a few additional states), even the practice of nudism on private property is illegal. Here's how the legislature saw the matter in 1957:
such forms of recreation, participation, activities and practices constitute a clear and present danger to the public peace, health, safety and morals of the State of Arkansas.
Evidently, "morals" in the State of Arkansas were in a precarious position indeed. And not only that, but even advocating nudism is illegal:
It shall be unlawfull for any person, club, camp, corporation, partnership, association, or organization to advocate, demonstrate, or promote nudism, or for any person to rent, lease, or otherwise permit his land, premises, or buildings to be used for the purpose of advocating, demonstrating, or promoting nudism.

There isn't a Federal court anywhere in the country (we hope) that wouldn't recognize this law as a First Amendment violation, but mere technicalities like that don't seem to bother Arkansas officials, such as the Governor, who recently brushed off questions about whether he thought the law should be changed.

This 1957 law was the handiwork of an Arkansas radio evangelist named Braxton Sawyer, who made it his special crusade to rid the country of the evil of nudism. He was active elsewhere in the midwest - went around prodding the local authorities to close nudist camps. He had a few successes, but they didn't last, except for this law in his home state.

No one can remember the prohibition on advocating nudism actually being enforced in recent years, and skinny-dippers do enjoy some remote locations, very discreetly. Nevertheless, a general story on nudism that was planned to run in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette turned into an article on the backward state of local law regarding nudism when the facts came to light. Here's a summary of the story.

The Naturist Action Committee has been aware of the situation for some time, and is "quietly working" on it, according to NAC Chairman Bob Morton. A Usenet article by Morton gives more background on how the newspaper story assumed the form that it did. An earlier article gives part of the text of the law and a little more background.

New and Interesting Web Pages

Young Adult Nudists
Subtitled "Promoting Nudism Among Young Adults", this is a site dedicated to a very important goal, more explicitly described as to
  • provide a place for young adults to discover nudism and learn from the experiences of other nudists our age
  • inspire students to organize nudist groups on campus (official or unofficial)

The site lists campus naturist oranizations that exist or are in the process of formation. There are also tips on starting naturist groups and directories of other relevant sites and information sources.

Naturist UK
Here's a nice British site with a neat, tidy survey of naturism in the UK. It has a full complement of the sort of information you'd expect:
  • answers to beginners' concerns
  • news articles
  • listings of naturist clubs, organized swims, and saunas,
  • contact information for organizations, travel agencies, and periodicals
  • links to many UK and international naturist Web sites

Although naturism in the UK faces many of the same obstacles familiar in North America, it's interesting to see the number of locations where regular naturist swims are held - an interesting feature of naturism in the UK which is rather less common in the U. S. and Canada.

Quote of the Week

"Dad, take off your pants!" David shouted. My son, 11, had stripped off his own clothes and was running naked figure-eights on the dry lake bed called Racetrack Playa. He spread his arms wide, exulting in that fine sensation of desert breeze blowing where it had never blown before. "Come on, Dad, it feels great!!"

Kenneth Brower, in National Geographic Traveler, September/October 1998, p. 105

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