This is a scene from my back deck of the garden arch which I helped put in place for my neighbour and the yard of the next neighbour on the other side. I took this photo early this Sunday morning while everyone seemed to be sleeping. It was a brisk ten degrees Celsius and I was checking to see if I could have coffee outside in my natural state. The decision was, it was still too cool as the sun hadn’t yet reached my yard – brrr! But, with clear skies, it won’t be long until I am sitting with my second cup of coffee letting the sun warm me in spite of the cool temperatures. This is one of my special moments of the day, one that is shared by many others who call themselves either naturists or nudists.
I came across an article in a naturist magazine that talked of why people become and remain naturists. I found the original document, a PDF file that was written more than fifteen years ago, 205 Arguments for Naturism, that provided a serious and well researched study of why people choose naturism. Click on the link to read the document if you want to find all two hundred and five reasons. I will reflect on the document here for the next few posts. I have posted, perhaps too often, why I am a naturist, so it is only right that I present other viewpoints here as well.
The author, K. Bacher, breaks down the two hundred and five reasons into various categories beginning with the theme of comfort. Being clothes-free is comfortable, and sometimes, no clothing is more practical as well. The most obvious example is when swimming. No bathing suit has ever improved one’s ability to swim better, stay drier, or feel wetter. There is no physiological reason that anyone, including physical scientists, can think of. When clothing becomes uncomfortable to wear, there has to be a good reason to keep those clothes on. Young children show us the way – when conditions are right, they get out of their clothes and run and play with full abandon and with obvious joy. They don’t strip when it is too cold in spite of the discomfort of their clothing. It’s all about common sense.
Bacher’s second category is with regards to mental health. She begins by defining the naked body as not lacking anything with a corresponding comment about how the human body with clothing on is about an addition. Many regard clothing as part of their being, their identity, an idea that devalues the natural naked state of their body. Clothing allows them to redefine who they are which in turn creates a negative self-image about their natural state. When clothing becomes a significant part of one’s identity, the problems related to shadow, one’s repressed and often forgotten aspects, begin to negatively affect mental health – dissatisfaction, denial, moodiness, and even depression. Compulsively wearing clothing when there is no need for clothing, is just that “compulsion,” an irrational response. With a compulsion to wearing clothing usually comes a decidedly negative body image. And in our modern world, media uses that negative body image, even highlights it as a truth, to sell even more unnecessary clothing, trying hard to convince us that it is only through wearing clothing, constantly changing styles and colours, that we will achieve some sort of mental health, that we will become whole people. Of course we are whole when we are in our natural states. But there is precious few dollars to be made by the clothing industry from those who become comfortable in their own bodies, with their own bodies.
I will return to this document by Bacher in the next post. Until then, dare to be bare.