Any "MeToo"s here?

It could have been just something on Twitter or Facebook, but the last several days there was quite some online attention brought to sexual harassment (in general) and how subtle the signs can be for both parties involved (of which one of them might not even know that they is involved).

Even when the discussion would have been about rape only, the question would still be "according to whom"?
Communication is the key, but sometimes it is not possible to speak OR (like I mentioned in a previous blog post here) not possible to REACH the mind of the other who is involved in order to make them take you seriously and respect your words and/or body language.

During these days on Facebook (and possible also Twitter?) I have seen a few stories of men who have been harassed themselves, or who put out there that they "might have overstepped", because there are so many hashtags in their group of friends saying "MeToo" out of solidarity and to raise awareness of the magnitude of the problem. I want to say 3 thing about this:

1: Harassment can be subtle and many people can feel mentally violated just by being seen as a sexual being (by strangers or good friends) without feeling sexy or horny themselves at the moment. It is very uncomfortable to be seen like that (even with clothing, and even when nobody is physically touching you). Someone, with their body language, can put a disgusting idea in one's head, which makes one feel uncomfortable and unsafe, because one feels that there are different intentions flying around in the environment.

2: as said before, and as I read from some statements of (mainly the privileged) men in my friend-network, it could have been the case that they were guilty of this kind of harassment, but nobody really pointed it out to them. And really: how should they, when they have been taught that they are objects of desire and should always be "safe" and at home before dark and never be alone and, and, and... This way women might often feel that they are at fault. And they often have heard from the people who are not aware of the harassment, that they (what they feel) make things up about the intentions of the other.

I simply I have no answer to this type of unfortunate miscommunication, but I do believe, that for both sides it has something to do with the time of behaviour in society that is seen as "normal" and even "admired" or "praised" by repetition.

And no, nobody has to mansplain what is feels like to be observed in a particularly uncomfortable way, knowing that the we the other sees you is very different than the way you see yourself.

And no, compliments are not always good (surprise!) because the way I see it and experienced it, a compliment is speech act in order to get something done or to make a particular connection. Usually, it does the opposite of "comforting" someone or make someone's self-esteem higher. The latter will never work that way; it is a slow process that works form the inside. It is a matter of self-development and for self-development to work out, one needs time and safe social space.

3: So far, I enjoy the naturist community for providing space for vulnerability without unsafety, among like-minded human beings who re-think (because it is sort a societal minority) the implications of nudity and the language of the body.
Of course the people in the naturist community are "normal people" too, in the way that there are sexual beings in this community too. It is just that I think I could notice how people seem to be more respectful and polite than in the textile world...

I would describe myself as a sexual being, but only in the right moment in the right context (which, in my experience, does not happen very often, unless I am so "polite" to adjust to the wished of someone who does not understand my many ways of saying "no", until I get tired instead of angry, and reluctantly, but verbally and physically "agree" to continue the way the other desires to at that moment).
When I am among naturists, however, I can feel free and not judged. When someone looks at my breasts, it does not feel like harassment to me, but it is something compared to reading a text on someone's clothing. Especially, because nothing is said about it and there is still the same politeness and respect as before; nothing has changed, nothing is imposed, I don't feel objectified or unsafe.

---> How come that the difference in experience is so big?

Oh, I have an idea. Maybe it is because of expectations and the collective consciousness: I expect that I have nothing to fear in the naturist community, until proven otherwise.
Whereas in the textile community, I have been taught and am expected to feel unsafe and vulnerable target until proven otherwise..

Would it really be all about internalized expectations?

Also, I was wondering if there are people in the naturist community, who have the same or a different opinion on the "MeToo" stories on social media, when comparing it to the naturist community.

Nothing is "perfect" (regarding sex or communication?), I am aware of that. And also the naturist community is sometimes mixed with the (usually equally respectful and polite) libertine/swing community, but there is something different about these people...
Some different culture?
Some different mindset?
Some different expectations from human interactions?

----> Please, why do I (so desperately want to) believe that the societal minorities who are more open and vulnerable (naturists, swingers, polyamorous/relationship anarchists) towards other people (strangers and friends) than random people who have experienced harassment?

I am aware that I just made huge assumption and generalisation here.

Please, if you have felt harassed in the naturist/swingers/polyamory/libertine community, I would say "MeToo" and openly and non-judgmentally listen to your story if you are willing to share. I will share mine too, in the hope that we can understand where our limits are and how to communicate them to other people from the same culture.

Of course it is easy to call some people "fake naturists", but name calling will not solve the problem we have internalised in our collective behaviour, in our collective consciousness of what is "normal", what is "innocent" and what remarks or looks are "harmless" in what context.

I am looking forward to read your thoughts on my thoughts.
(wow, that sounds rather intimate, doesn't it..?)

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42 thoughts on “Any "MeToo"s here?”

  1. Although I have been approached in a sexual way, I merely told the person politely that I was not interested in sex and so I can't say I was harassed. I think it's always important to communicate clearly what we think. I'm particularly afraid of non-verbal cues which can be easily misunderstood especially so when you consider the cultural diversity in a naturist community. In most naturist communities, I'm culturally more different from the rest and it's very easy to be misunderstood. I'm more careful with women because it's easier to cause a misunderstanding but I've also discovered that I have to be cautious with men because there is a huge difference in what is acceptable in the different cultures. For example, Bangladeshi men in my country sometimes hold hands (in a platonic way) when they walk. In my culture it's not acceptable. But in my culture, there are many forms of physical contact between men which are considered acceptable but in the West, they may be considered gay. In most Asian cultures, any contact between men and women except the shaking of hands is strictly forbidden but this has been eroded by the influence of Hollywood. Sometimes, I'm a little confused. When I stand with a woman for a photo and I don't place my arm around her neck, will she think I'm being deliberately distant? And if I do, will she think I'm being inappropriate. It's easier if the woman is Asian – she will understand perfectly if I don't show warmth by touching her. If it's an Asian man, I will probably put my arm around him because it shows warmth and friendship. But if he's Caucasian, I'm a little confused. If I do that, will he think I'm gay and if I don't, will he think I'm cold? So, it's not easy. There are many cultural aspects involved in any non-verbal contact.

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  2. I was sexually harrassed and bullied in middle/high school. Growing up in a strict religious environment, I was very insecure about my body, so typical immature teen boy jokes that come in puberty had more than usual impact on me, coupled with being unable to discuss it with my parents.

    Entering the medical field helped me experience common non-sexual nudity and accept my body more. Still however, in the U.S., where Prudishness abounds and sexual harassment, abuse and assault are (rightly so) a significant focus, even little things can make a person uncomfortable. I have had females pick up on my facial expressions when I am worried about doing something to make them nervous, which then makes them nervous (pretty much when I am tired and haven't had coffee!).

    So I use humor to put patients at ease, but sometimes even looking away to recall something from memory causes them to think I'm trying to avoid looking at their body, as evidenced by their posture shifts. It is all mixed messages due to mixed signals and heightened awareness.

    There are, sadly, many predators out there. Unfortunately, in addition to their egregious behavior, the legacy is one of fear and self protection response. Victims can't be blamed, but Naturism can help overcome the trauma of harassment and abuse.

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    • "It is all mixed messages due to mixed signals and heightened awareness." That makes so much sense and sounds very familiar to me.
      What do you mean by "..in addition to their egregious behavior, the legacy is one of fear and self protection response."
      I also experience naturism as a safe and relaxed space, somehow.. I hope it will stay that way..

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      • Thanks for asking; let me try to word it better. In addition to the predatory behavior's immediate effects (offense or even physical harm) on the victim, the long term effects (legacy of the predator left on the victim, like a scar on the body or soul) are fear and heightened response for self-protection. This legacy is injurious such that later, innocent acts by a third party create anxiety for the victim long after the predator is removed from their life. A similar analogy is the anxiety a driver has after he/she has been traumatized by a vehicle accident.

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        • Makes total sense! Thanks for the elaboration and explanation.
          It is sad for the current situation, but it is difficult to think away the impact or the negative associations one has with a particular situation or space..

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  3. I have been sexually approached in the naturist community by a male and basically "I ran the other way"! Not going there! Having been sexually approached by males in my younger days which made me so very uncomfortable to which I responded by "running the other way", I am very cautious and suspicious of single males within the naturist community including some who show up here on this site.I am much more comfortable within the naturist community with female friends. My communication with them is respectful, thoughtful and caring on the part of both of us and non-sexual as it should be. I am thankful for their friendship!

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    • So would you say that "single naturist men" are usually "on the hunt" and make people uncomfortable by trying to get what they want? Generally stubborn people?

      I remember when I man approached me when I was enjoying the peaceful silence around me. He was making smalltalk and offered me a mandarin or something, whereas I was not hungry at all. He was disturbing my peace and I had no words to make him go away and I felt like he intruded my space, so I did not feel like running away.
      It is quite sad, since you are at a place where you want to feel free, at ease, and then a particular type of man comes along, demanding your attention that you are not willing to give.

      It seems frustrating for both sides: the single man wants attention/intimacy/conversation and you/me, we just want to feel comfortable and free…

      How to communicate these boundaries, without one of the parties being impolite?

      (even though my sisters would say: "Why be polite? Just stand up for yourself! After all, he already is the one who is impolite.")

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      • "So would you say that "single naturist men" are usually "on the hunt" and make people uncomfortable by trying to get what they want? Generally stubborn people?" NO, I AM NOT SAYING THAT AT ALL – I AM JUST SENSITIVE IN THAT AREA BASED ON MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.COMMUNICATING BOUNDARIES CAN BE DIFFICULT AT TIMES! OPEN, HONEST,CARING COMMUNICATION IS THE BEST! I AM GENERALLY FRIENDLY WITH EVERYONE UNLESS i HAVE REASON TO DO OTHERWISE.IT IS WHO I AM! CARING FOR OTHERS IS WHAT I DO!

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