Monday, August 07, 2006


Bare Faced Cheek

The Blithering Bunny is usually right about stuff - particularly GM food - but this is so wrong.

In it he analyses naturism, based only upon a degree of prejudice and an alleged case of rape at a naturist resort in France. From this, he extrapolates some frankly bizarre conclusions which I feel I have to respond to.

'A 15-year-old British girl was allegedly raped at at a French nudist colony by a 19-year-old man (who claims it was consenting sex).'

'Pascal Leclere, the colony’s manager, said: “As the father of two children who are also naturists, I could never have imagined something like this happening here.”'

'Let me get this straight, Pascal. You let horny teenagers walk around naked in front of each other, and you can never imagine that, let us say, “sexual misadventures” might happen. They might not be wearing any clothes, but these naturists have nevertheless got their heads in buckets when it comes to human nature.'

Even thinking about this for a third of a second should be enough to suggest how silly it is. Rape cases at naturist camps are extraordinarily rare - far and away rarer than amongst the population at large. Indeed, I suspect that if you could find the statistics - and I'm not good enough with Google to be able to do that, but I'd stake my house on it - you would find that as a percentage of population, the incidences are probably less by a factor of several hundred when compared to the statistics for more or less any nation.

'The weirdest thing about naturists for me has always been their insistence that their penchant for displaying their rude bits has nothing whatsoever to do with sex. That’s what really makes me think they’re weird — or liars. Because naturism isn’t about showing off your back, your tummy, your hips, your legs, or even a bit of ass. It’s specifically about showing off your sexual organs. If you turn up in the skimpiest of Speedos you’re still not a naturist.'

Of course not. The whole point is that naturism has nothing whatsoever to do with showing off. He's thinking of exhibitionism, or flashing, or streaking, or whatever. Naturism stresses the body as a whole, as opposed to 'the skimpiest of Speedos', which emphasise only the sex organs. For clarification, the International Naturist Association:

'But going without a manmade swimsuit will send another message altogether about respect for the body. Unlike the swimsuits of the past, which covered men and women from head to tow with billowy garments intended to maintain one’s “modesty,” today’s swimsuits are aimed to enhance and promote the most sexualized of body parts. In other words, material swimsuits promote unhealthy attitudes about the human body. With nakedness, you actually remove the sexual context of the beach wear, and all can enjoy the sun together without worrying about how sexy they look in their new bikini or trunks. True modesty is found in chaste nudity.'

Whether or not people think this is so much guff, the point is that it is manifestly not about showing off.

'So either they’re liars because they really do get off at looking at other naked people, or they’re weird because they genuinely don’t get turned on by looking at attractive naked people of the opposite sex (forget the ugly ones, I expect they become part of the furniture after a while. The brain probably filters their visual presence out eventually, which must come as a blessed relief).'

Wh-huh? In the first place, the men - and it is really the men he's meaning - are usually married, since most clubs refuse to admit single men on the basis that there is a possibility they might be a perv. However, it's rather less likely that dirty fellows looking for a cheap eyeful would take their wives along. What's more, men who make sexual passes at female guests - and sometimes the other way around - are thrown out of any respectable naturist club immediately. Sexual behaviour isn't tolerated, and if it is, it isn't naturism. Anyway, don't you think it might be just a little bit difficult for male naturists who, for the sake of argument, do get off on looking at their female counterparts to disguise the fact? You know, what with having their penises exposed and all? The second argument is even more ludicrous, mostly because it presupposes that people only attend naturist camps in order to ogle nymph-like young women only to find that they have mysterious erectile difficulties. Clearly, this is demonstrably not the case.

'I once walked along a beach in Sydney and was delighted to discover that a section of it had quietly been turned into an unofficial nudist beach. Although I enjoyed having a perv at some decent-looking women who taken off their clothes for the express purpose of being perved at, there was quite a creepy atmosphere there, and lots of naked, bearded middle-aged men sitting with one leg up as though concealing something from general view (some of them sitting some distance away, in the woods, or on the rocks), all giving me funny glances.'

Which is precisely the reason why most naturist clubs don't admit single men, as stated above.

'I know this sort of thing is not really part of the nice, “family-friendly” naturist movement, but involving your kids and pretending it isn’t a seedy sexual thing doesn’t make it better, it makes it worse.'

What, so the new implication is of paedophilia? It's not just dirty old men any more, it's dirty old married couples who get their jollies off looking at naked kiddies. Erm, this is true how???

'If spending time nude with other nude people isn’t a sexual thing, then why the hell are you doing it?'

There are clearly any number of possible reasons. In an attempt to feel better about your body. Because it makes it impossible to distinguish between people based upon wealth. Because you want an all-over suntan. Because swimming in the nude is more fun. I'm sure there are many others.

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