The "lovely ladies" issue

This blog is currently limited to friends of friends. Depending on future events I may make it available to a wider audience. If you choose to make a comment, please be aware that the audience may widen in the future.

An issue has arisen with a photo, http://www.naktiv.net/photo/40761/dsc_8584/ The photo itself is not the best "poster boy" for the issue, it just happened to be the one where the issue arose. There are in fact two separate issues, and I have separated them out into two blogs. This is the blog about comments about "lovely ladies" and what effect that may have on female membership. The other blog is about photos taken of non-members.

This blog is to be read after reading the comments on that photo.

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This particular issue is a "soft" issue and I am under no illusions that this blog will change anyone's behaviour. You either "get" this issue or you don't. All I can hope to achieve is for a few people to start to see how their behaviour can be interpreted in a different way by a different audience, and how that might have an effect counter to what they may be hoping.

For all the talk about nudism being about body acceptance, there is still a strong contingent of practitioners who feel happy to comment "lovely ladies" -- and often that is the full extent of their comments -- on a photo. Such flattery is viewed by the flatterer as a part of chivalrous behaviour, and any comment about that behaviour is seen as rampant feminism. My personal view is that this concentration on the physical is an objectification of the flatteree. They lose part of their status as a human being and start to be just a pretty thing to look at. I am also fully aware that such arguments by me will have no traction with the flatterer.

I can't help feeling that there is an element of creepiness to the comments, although the practitioners of course deny this. However, I do wonder if, for example, these people would go to a new town where they are a stranger, and spot a random woman on the street, and go up to her and say "Well hello there! Aren't you lovely!" And if they did so, would they be received as a gentleman? Yet to make the same comment about a photo of a stranger is "natural" and flattery. Further on that last point: such flattery is cultural, not at all natural, and culture changes over time. I myself recognise this, and I feel that this comment-making is part of the culture of the practitioners, which is why I feel it might not change. I do ask that they be aware of other cultures as I am trying to be, however.

One effect such comments will have, however, is on other women, especially those who are not fully confident about their bodies. It will reinforce notions that other people in nudism, and especially men in nudism, only approve of pretty bodies, and that their (in their own eyes) flawed body should not be allowed to be displayed in such an environment. Such comments make it hard for the insecure to open up to nudism.

Where this issue is particularly poignant in this case is that, as we have discovered, the subjects of the photo can not see the comments, so they can never in fact be flattery. It ends up very much being self-satisfaction on the part of the commenter that they have been able to see a pretty thing, and an objectification of that pretty thing.

My remaining comment is slightly tongue-in-cheek, but will be made nevertheless. I am acutely aware of unnecessary adjectives, and the subtext behind them. Just as my comments in the photo thread were described as "brave" (which is unnecessary and not correct in my view), so are these ladies "lovely." If you go to the effort to point out which comments are brave, you should also go to the effort to point out which comments are cowardly. And you should point out which ladies are ugly. Otherwise, your words are devalued.

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12 thoughts on “The "lovely ladies" issue”

  1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; to compliment someone as beautiful is to say that they are captivating to you. For me, beauty is found as much in a smile or confidence on an 80 year old as in a baby's smooth skin or a 20-something figure. I also admire the physique of a bodybuilder even though I will never attain that, and it motivates me to work toward being as like that figure as I can. I certainly am not offended by the person who compliments a Mr. Universe type bodybuilder.

    If a woman (or a man for that matter) shares a selfie on this site, I think she is trusting us as friends to be kind in our comments but also to express our 1. shared appreciation of her nudist activity, and 2. offer encouragement to continue, and finally 3. comment on her attractiveness if we are so inclined. Again, I find beauty much more than just a slender physique; some women in society have thin bodies suggestive of malnutrition and I do not find that attractive, whereas others who have confident smiles and larger figures can be remarkably attractive to stunning. I don't think nearly as many are offended by compliments as you might be led to believe. JMHO.

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  2. Thanks for your comment.

    I think what has made me sensitive to this issue is seeing male-male flattery, which seemed to have an edge about it which was not necessarily a welcome feature. It struck home to me just how much women have to tolerate, being judged on appearance, and often on appearance alone.

    I think you might have identified the crucial element here which makes me uncomfortable: the lack of any existing relationship between the parties, and the lack of balance. In this particular case, the women in the photo do not have a voice here.

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    • Would you point out where this took place. <I think what has made me sensitive to this issue is seeing male-male flattery, which seemed to have an edge about it which was not necessarily a welcome feature.>
      Thank you.

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      • Thank you for engaging here Greg.

        It was on another online site, one that I am no longer a member of.

        I think most people have seen a similar thing, the occasional "nice bush!" comment. I have seen less of that here.

        To answer the next question, I am comfortable with my sexuality. It is the predatory edge which makes me uncomfortable. I wonder whether some of these "lovely ladies" comments are that much different to a wolf whistle.

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        • My only concern is with whoever left an <edgy> message on this site. Such a message is frowned upon.
          Read the rules and you will find that provocative comments and sexually charged comments are both frowned upon and often result in quick "chilling" by the experienced moderators.
          Please keep your comments to this site. We don't care what happens on other sites. The Admin enforces his rules here.

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  3. paying compliments is an ok thing to do. I think it's better to do it to somebody with whom you have some sort of relationship – preferably a real life one. Commenting on somebody in an equal situation is fine and it's maybe because women tend to be more objectified than men it can be a problem. Would a man commenting on another man be as 'problematic'?

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