The Weekly Nudesletter
Vol. 1, No. 10
March 15, 1998


Article: Running Naked

New and interesting Web pages

Nudity in the news

Nudity in advertising

Commentary: The Sturges Controversy Continued

Unclear on the Concept

Running Naked

No, this is not about streaking. It's about serious, competitive running, where the competitors, at least some of them, are completely naked.

Some naturists like serious running, and some serious runners like to be naked. Ideally, these interests could be combined. And as it happens - they can be. There are now a number of cross country runs held annually at nudist/naturist places in the Northwest, in Texas, and in Florida. From all indications, this number is growing yearly.

There is also the unique Bay to Breakers run in San Francisco. It attracts upwards of 80,000 participants and two or three times that number of spectators. Every year for over a decade, a handful of runners do it wearing only shoes and socks (and perhaps a bra, if appropriate). The number last year was about 20. There has been no interference from the local police since 1993, and the crowd's reaction is overwhelmingly favorable. Think about that for a moment - where else in the U. S. can naked people run (or walk) unhindered through the streets in broad daylight?

The Bay to Breakers will be held on May 17 this year. If you're anywhere near San Francisco at that time, have a look at the appropriate links below to find out more about it. You may not want to miss it. And note that you can do it walking (nude) if you're not quite in shape for running it. Here's an example of nudity as an accepted part of a mainstream event.

Elsewhere in the country, there are running events as early as May. This may be a good way to have a look at the more "organized" side of naturism, since all other events are at naturist/nudist venues. But you don't have to be a member of the host club, and in some cases you don't even have to be naked. (Maybe you could use that fact to convince a friend to join you.)

Nude Running in General

Calendar of Nude Running Events
This page by Ken Raich is the best general source of information on past and future nude running events.
Bare as You Dare Cross Country 5K
Ken Raich is an organizer of this event, to be held August 22 at the Bluebonnet Naturist Resort in Texas (about an hour from Fort Worth).
Bare Buns Fun Run
This run will be held July 26 at Kaniksu Ranch Family Nudist Park near Spokane, WA. It's clothing optional: you don't have to be nude, but why on earth would you want to miss the opportunity?
Dare to Go Bare 5K Run at Lake Como Club
This event will be held at Lake Como Club near Tampa, FL on May 3.
Wreck Beach Bare Buns Run/Walk
To be held July 11 at Vancouver's Wreck Beach.
Bare Buns Fun Run West
Held at Fraternity Snoqualmie in July, 1997.
Running Au Naturel
A nice page by "Pete", a participant in the Bare Buns Fun Run.
Bare Buns Fun Runs and Bare to Breakers
A brief page of information about nude running.

San Francisco Bay to Breakers

Bare To Breakers
This is the "official" page for naturist entrants in the race. Everything you need to know about doing the run naked is here.
Bare to Breakers!
An excellent, detailed story by Mike Marinacci on what it's like to run naked in front of hundreds of thousands. Conclusion: Wonderful.
Bare to Breakers Pictures
Gallery of photos from the nude division of the San Francisco Bay to Breakers run.
Walking the Bay to Breakers
Article by Charles Crockett for the Canyon State Naturists newsletter. (Some people like the opportunity to be nude, but don't particularly care for running.)
Bay to Breakers Run
Article by Tom Middleton of the Camping Bares. (Another perspective from someone who walks the race.)
Bay to Breakers '98
The official San Francisco Examiner site for the race. Everything you need to know to enter is here.
Bay to Breakers
General site about the race by a non-naturist. (See the list of "wackos", which includes "anything nude", as well as "the Pope".)

New and interesting Web pages

Pete's Place
Peter Guither is a university professor of theatre management, a very accomplished photographer, and an open naturist. His Web site is rich with material from each of those areas. The photography involves both theater and the naked body - but the latter in a way that is completely unlike "glamour" photography or even traditional "fine art" nudes. The naturist section includes an instructive parable called The Boat-ist.

Robert's Naturism Hub Page
Like Guither's pages, Robert Tedder's site has quite a bit more interesting content than the usual personal home page. Here you will find many contributed stories of first-time experience with naturism, as well as personal stories from other long-time naturists. There are also some of Tedder's own published articles on naturism, a selection of email comments he has received, and some pages of contributed pictures.

Texas Topfree Oral Arguments
Although the U. S. Supreme Court last fall declined to hear the appeal of Angie Carreras in a topfreedom case (see Vol. 1, No. 5), the arguments developed by her counsel are very persuasive. Everyone should read them in order to pick up some compelling arguments as to why changes are needed in our society's attitude towards bodies in general, and women's bodies in particular.

Nudity in the news

Swedish nude political ad
Yes, nudity figures in a story about elections. One can hardly imagine such a thing happening in the U. S., but in some countries which don't have such backward ideas about the human body - such as Sweden - nudity is used in ads by major political parties to symbolize what is wholesome and good in life. The equivalent of motherhood and apple pie in the U. S.

Sweden's Centre Party recently came up with an ad depicting a naked woman wading in a picturesque lake. It was intended to evoke images of everything good about Sweden, such as a summer's evening and a clean environment.

Nevertheless, the ad provoked considerable criticism from women, not because of "indecency", but because it exploited women to make political points. Obviously, the ad designers should have included an equally naked male - or even better, a whole family.

Virginia censorship quashed
A recent Federal court ruling in Virginia has once again supported the important notion that nudity, per se, should not be considered to be "sexually explicit material". On February 26, a U. S. District Court judge struck down a 1996 Virginia law that prohibited State employees from using state computers to access such materials over the Internet.

Unfortunately for the State censors, university professors who are State employees and working in fields such as art history, human sexuality, English literature, and psychology were found to have a legitimate need to access material involving nudity, in addition to material which actually is sexually explicity, as part of their research. Six professors and the ACLU sued, and the result was another welcome loss for narrow-mindedness.

PETA protest in Hong Kong
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) continues to use public nudity in political protests around the world. While the nudity itself probably doesn't change anyone's mind on the animal rights issues, it certainly does draw attention to PETA's cause. On February 28 in Hong Kong two women wearing nothing but body paint briefly appeared in the central business district. The protesters were painted with leopard spots and feline whiskers. Skin is the issue. One of the women was quoted as saying "By showing some of our skin, we hope to save animals' skins."

PETA activists have conducted similar naked protests in Tokyo, Paris, Milan, New York, London and Moscow. We reported on one example last November in New York in Vol. 1, No. 8. A PETA advertising campaign has featured well-known models such as Christy Turlington appearing nude with the slogan, "I'd rather go naked than wear fur." (As should anyone in their right mind, even even if they aren't animal rights activists.)

Cap d'Agde makes the news
Nothing especially newsworthy has happened of late at Cap d'Agde (as far as we know) - it's winter there too, after all. But perhaps it is newsworthy that the Associated Press recently offered a story about it entitled "This 'naked city' is the real thing".

As is typical of news reporting in general, there are both large and small inaccuracies in the story. For instance, it is claimed, incorrectly, that one can't visit unless one has reserved accommodations. There are many quotes in the article from Pauline Tartanella, co-owner of Through Our Eyes Travel, an agency specializing in travel to Cap d'Agde. Unfortunately, the article also states quote erroneously that Tartanella and her husband own the Cypress Cove nudist resort in Florida.

However, these errors do not put Cap d'Agde itself in a bad light. Overall, the story ought to arouse a healthy curiosity about nude vacationing. And it is a positive thing, especially for the general public in the U. S., to know that a place like Cap d'Agde exists.

Nudity in Advertising

Advertising agency: Grey Direct
A British advertising agency has taken nudity to a logical conclusion, of sorts, by featuring about half of their own staff entirely naked in a group photo that forms the centerpiece of an ad for the agency in a trade magazine. The ad copy reads, "We won't be hiding behind the usual protocols and procedures -- or anything else for that matter."

Great creativity was obviously employed in the positioning of arms and legs of each of the staffers so that no naughty bits are visible -- as you may confirm for yourself, since the picture is at the company's Web site.

This use of a popular advertising theme to promote an ad agency itself was considered so newsworthy that it rated a CNN news article.

Internet service provider: Virgin Net
Yes, nudity is now being used to sell Internet services. The only copy in Virgin Net's ad in the February issue of the UK .Net magazine reads "Roam free on the Internet". The picture, which fills a whole page, show a young nude couple, from behind, running hand in hand through a field of wildflowers. (Must be hard on the feet.)

Now, one might say that the ad is really using a sex/romance angle here, and there is perhaps some truth to that. On the other hand, the ad copy suggests that the nudity is being used to suggest the idea of freedom - an important part of the naturist concept. In any case, note that this is aimed at the UK market. It might be a little too "daring" for the U. S. mind set.

Perfume: Acqua Di Gio
Nudity in perfume ads is old hat. But such ads are most commonly found in women's magazines. Here's a full page example in the New Yorker's February 23-March 2 issue. The theme is water. Apart from the name of the product and the manufacturer, there's nothing in the ad but a picture of a very thin, completely naked fashion model, from behind, standing in the surf. Not bad as an invitation to skinny-dipping. Of course, even here there is a little bit of timidity in the image. In addition to being taken from behind, the water splashes in such a way that the crack of the model's butt can't be seen, even though well above the water line.

The Sturges Controversy Continued

Just as we noted back in October of last year (Vol. 1, No. 4) profoundly misguided would-be censors continue hard at work attacking artistic efforts to provide everyone with a more healthy attitude towards something we all have in common, our bodies. Since our last issue, two indictments have been announced in Alabama against the Barnes and Noble bookstore chain for selling books by naturist photographer Jock Sturges.

The earlier indictment of Barnes & Noble in Tennessee (see Vol. 1, No. 7) turned on the idea of nudity per se as "harmful to children", the imaginary trauma that might be inflicted in case a person under 18 might see a naked body such as depicted in one of Sturges' books. In Alabama, the allegation is even more serious, that the books themselves are "child pornography". They are not, of course, by any test that has held up in a U. S. court in recent years.

The concern that naturists have (or should have) is that somewhere, somehow, the enemies of a more healthful outlook will manage to find a jury which goes along with their uninformed prejudices. This would add support to the radical right opinion that mere nudity, of either adults or children themselves, is inherently inimical to the welfare and well-being of children. This is simply an unfounded prejudice, not unlike other unscientific opinions dear to the radical right, such as belief in the validity of "creation science".

There's a lot more that could be said about this, but for now we offer some news reports and other references on the most recent developments in this controversy. It now has the attention of "the media", so we can expect to hear quite a bit more about it.

Barnes & Noble Indicted in Alabama
A summary of the situation from the American Booksellers Association.
Jock Sturges: Portfolio
Sturges doesn't have his own home page on the Web, and there are no sites with large, authorized collections of his work. However, you can see three examples of his images here.
Book review of Jock Sturges
This review, by Charles Taylor, reflects on how Sturges (like most photographers who deal with people or anything else mutable) uses his art to document the passage of time. Since he returns again and again to the same individual subjects, we get a series of "flashbulb" images from the subjects' lives. Yet, "The photos that seem to capture his subjects' essence are possessed of a silvery fluidity that keeps them from becoming frozen moments." (One image included.)
Workshop Speaker: Jock Sturges
Report of a talk given by Sturges at the Eddie Adams Workshop. You can read some of the photographer's own explanations of his work. (Two images included.)
The File Room: Jock Sturges
The File Room is a large site consisting of case histories of artistic censorship and other freedom of speech violations. This page summarizes the events of 1990 in which Sturges first came to public attention. (One image included.)
Tennessee Indicts Bookstore for Obscenity
Reuters article concerning the November, 1997 Tennessee indictment.

Unclear on the Concept

We couldn't think of a way not to mention this item, yet it is a bit pathetic.... The March, 1998 issues of Men's Health magazine actually has a short (about 1/3 page) sidebar promoting nude travel and recreational opportunities. It is, of course, welcome to see something like this is a "mainstream" magazine.

There are brief discriptions of five destinations or resources which are recommended. To save you the trouble of finding this mag or spending $4 on it, there are Web sites you can visit for all of the items:

Contact information for TNS and AANR is also provided.

So what's wrong with this? Well, there's an illustration with the article, a picture of a nude female windsurfer. Only... there are fig leaves crudely pasted into the picture to cover her pubic area and her nipples. And this is a men's magazine, promoting nude recreation? Duh... I guess they figured children might be reading it, or else some 25 year-old jock contemplating a vacation at Hedo II might be shocked by nudity.

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