We Have Won the War …

… We Just Don't Know It Yet

I watched the MTV Video Awards last night primarily to see what Miley Cyrus was (or was not) going to wear. I have been following Miley and her public stance on body freedom for some time and I find her outspokenness on the topic to be quite refreshing and reassuring.

Take this comment when she appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live looking like this:

<img src="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/custom/Stephanie/Sam/Miley_Cyrus_Jimmy_K%23135772F.jpg">

"Humans aren't afraid of the human breast," she told Kimmel. "It's the nipple that's the issue. …Like, I'm showing my boobs and no one has a problem but the nipples are covered so somehow that's okay. So America's actually fine with tits, it's nipples they don't like. Which is what you have (referring to Kimmel), which is insane, because the nipple, what you can't show, everyone has, but the jug part, that everyone doesn't, you're allowed to show underboob. I've never understood the way that works."

You can see a video of the whole scene here: http://www.hulu.com/watch/836970

Sadly at the end of the piece she is disses the reality of humanity on a nude beach, but one would hope that her attitude would moderate with adequate exposure to that type of environment (pun intended).

"I'm a vegan nudist." – Miley Cyrus

The important point is that Miley is using her world wide celebrity platform to embrace the goodness of nudity, using her body freedom to draw more than a few million eyeballs to the MTV Awards while she is at it. But people are soaking it up, especially young people. You don't hear young people watching the MTVA's saying, "That's so rude. Why is she showing so much skin?" More likely, you hear them saying "I love that and I love Miley!"

Which brings me to my second point. The world is becoming increasingly accepting of social nudity.

Case in point: WNBR.

World Naked Bike Ride events take place all over the world (and somewhat surprisingly) even in the ultra prudish United States. They take place largely without recrimination and most often accompanied by cheers (not jeers) from happy onlookers.

Every time the world sees or reads about another World Naked Bike Ride, most people become a little more accepting of social nudity.

Case in point: Free the Nipple Campaign.

The Free the Nipple campaign has been gaining a lot of steam in the last year, thanks largely to a fair amount of media attention and support of a number of popular celebrities including Miley, Rihanna, supermodel Cara Delevigne, Lena Dunham (herself a strong advocate of regular social nudity), Scout Willis (daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore), Chelsea Handler, Jon Stewart and others.

Public breastfeeding is an allied cause that has garnered the support of many famous people including Alanis Morrisette, Alyssa Milano, Angelina Jolie, Miranda Kerr, Gwen Stefani, Kristen Bell and many more.

Every time the world hears about Free the Nipple or the right to breastfeed in public, they become a little more accustomed to the idea that exposure of the female breast is not necessarily a sexual act, but can be an ordinary part of daily life.

Case in point: Nude Recreation.

"The Coolest Way to Beat the Heat: Take a Nakation", Nude Cruises, Clothing Optional Resorts, World Record Skinny Dip. All of these programs are well promoted and receive a significant amount of (increasingly positive) attention in the media. Most notably, none of them were widely known to the public (if they even existed) even as few as twenty years ago. Today, the mainstream public has a growing variety of means to experiment with various forms of social nudity.

Every time someone hears about some form of legitimate nude recreation or (shockingly!) decides to try it, the power of acceptance of social nudity increases by a small amount.

So how is all of this noteworthy?

The answer is that in today's marketplace of ideas there is quite a bit of positive momentum behind the idea of social nudity. That is where we differ from the past. Before the age of the internet that allowed much of this information about social nudity to come out in the open, it was hidden in the closet. Now admittedly, much still remains in the closet, but as has been described above, that is dramatically changing, and changing for the positive. Twenty years ago, it was very difficult to find a large body of mainstream voices speaking out in support for the cause of social nudity. More likely, whenever any kind of nudity was referenced in a public setting, it was charged with potentially criminal wrongdoing.

This is all so very similar to the struggle for gay rights. Back in the '60's gays were totally in the closet. Their adherents gathered in very private places and their existence was hardly ever mentioned in the public light of day. That all blew open with the Stonewall riots in 1969. Today, gay freedom rights is almost a fait accompli. Two things drove that outcome over the last 50 years. First, the generational issue. As more and more people came out of the closet, increasing numbers of non-gay people, led by younger kids, learned first hand from friends and family members who were gay that they had nothing of which to be afraid. They learned that gay people are normal people too. Second, again aided by the spotlight of the internet, the whole story of gay culture became much more widely known. With that knowledge came increasing acceptance.

Fifty years ago, if there was discussion about being gay, it was with condemnation. Today there is a balanced positive response to that condemnation. Since younger generations are more quick to accept the positive message, the opposing voices are literally dying out.

That is the exact same thing that is happening with the idea of support for social nudity. The positive message is increasing, balancing out the traditional negative message and a younger audience is responding favorably with an attitude of "what's all the fuss about?" The only major difference between the gay rights struggle and the nude rights struggle is that we don't have to live with limited access to mass media to carry our message to the public, resulting in a quicker rate of change.

It is easy to believe that this rising tide will continue and that in the not too distant future we will see the balance of positive sentiment to negative sentiment tipping in our decided favor.

So you see – We have won the war … we just don't know it yet.

Nudely yours – SPI Maker

40 thoughts on “We Have Won the War …”

  1. I have mixed feelings on how beneficial Miley Cyrus is to the cause. She may make it more accepting to her fans but she is also not well liked in general and to those not won over yet, her association may drive them further away.

  2. I agree Dart that Hollywood and the media frequently sensationalize social nudity which is an unfortunate product of an outdated mode of thinking and progress is being made on that front, but my principal thesis is that continued exposure to social nudity will eventually bring it closer and closer to an acceptable and accepted norm.

  3. But naturists have a host of problems to deal with, weather, gawkers, laws, censorship, churches, neighbors etc
    Being a outspoken naturist is not easy especially in the U.S.A. when compared to Germany or France. Sometimes, Hollywood makes it worse.

  4. Positive images & actions in all kinds of settings will appeal to the wider world out there. A lot of people I think are looking for an 'alternative' lifestyle to their current 'rat-race' frantic routines. There is a lot of stress just living in this modern world, with war zones, terrorism & refugee's to name but a few. Folk are looking for a calmer and more natural & peaceful way of using their days. Naturism, as we all know, is a family friendly option to all kinds of restrictive & negative stresses.

  5. I just think that Hollywood is not a big game changer when we discuss acceptance of naturist activities as normal as apple pie. What I would like is documentary type shows. One show I liked was on Global Brazil, modeled after "Wife Swap" where a producer wife swapped family with a nudist family that actually lived on a nudist beach.

  6. Really great write-up! Kudos to SPI Maker.

    A tremendous part of the (remaining) battles is to simply keep that momentum going, whether through blogs, vlogs, Tweets, Facebook pages and comments (now reaching potentially a billion users) and appeals to local councils for reserved areas or set-aside hours of the day, or days of the week.

    The practical approach may be posing questions to the decision makers, things like "Hello Mr. Council Member, a group of citizens wants to organize a World Naked Bike Ride event in our city, so what do we need to do?" (how many participants are required, which permits, what fees, and so forth). I have done a little research into organizing events in public space, and found one of the "roadblocks" is an insurance bond. A liability bond. Even if the space is a public park owned and maintained by the city, one of the requirements is a bond of $250,000 dollars (or more) accident liability.

    When I found out about this, my thoughts were 'Shew-wee! That has got to be expensive!' and I pretty much dropped the idea. However, now that I think about it, another business where I worked even required a common freight carrier to produce a general liability policy BEFORE they could drive a truck onto the property and pick-up a moderately sized container. The business required a million dollars of coverage.

    I guess the tractor and trailer truck (a.k.a. Semi) could do a great deal of damage to privately owned property IF the driver were reckless or suffered an acute medial event while pulling the truck up to the loading bay door. However, I do not see how this applies to people gathering in a park, on foot or on bicycle, in support of body freedom, body acceptance or less dependence on foreign energy resources.

    I am guessing although the city has its own insurance covering the public parks, what they are looking for is a way to off-set their "total" liability risk, or to share the risk with the event's organizers in order to get them to act responsibly, be safe, promote safety and be accountable (for the actions of everyone in attendance).

    The other half of the story is then, simply, getting people to participate! Getting the word out might be easy in our electronically networked, message-driven society, but overcoming the hesitation SOME people may have about being seen NUDE and being recognized or photographed, that's the next challenge! The bottomline is about balance, acceptance, awareness and assuring people they may participate, could wear a hat, sunglasses, bandanna over their face, or make-up and THAT will provide a measure on anonymity. Letting people get involved, or encouraging them to explore that other side of their personality, is the "How To.." that still needs us!

    It is more than the Free the Nipple campaign, World Naked Bike Ride, Solstice freedom, basic human rights, or whatever, it is about balancing personal liberties with professional images. A measure of confidentiality, and finding way to drive people's imaginations IN the direction of exercising peaceful freedoms while possibly also maintaining their anonymity.

    • I have seen some of Milo Moire's images via a Google search, I still don't know much about her but it seems that with a photographer she likes being seen naked in many public places. I can't figure out what her motives are from these images, but I guess it's all about what reactions she (or her manager?) expects to get from her nakedness in these varied situations?

  7. Knowledge, truth and information are a force to be reckoned with. It's always a ground swell of understanding that brings about change.

    The Internet represents the true voice of the people because every individual has a voice. Every one person can join a choir of voices to force change. The other essential ingredient is a charismatic champion others can rally around and support. It's good to see celebraties use their influence to change prevailing views. It's a pity it has to be such a struggle.

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