Who Wins in Nude Recreation?
Reprinted from the California Naturist, August 1996
a Lupin womanAlmost all who come to Lupin, or other safe and comfortable nude recreation environments, are winners. They win exhilarating freedom, blissful relaxation, and solid comfort with their bodies and others. Women, however, are the main winners, because women especially have been taught to be alienated from their bodies and their power. The "weaker sex" carries the heaviest load of repression related to reasons for wearing clothes--poor body image, guilt-induced and legally required modesty, and fear of sexual harassment or assault. Men, of course, have to deal with most of these same general issues, but for them the scale is smaller and the pressure less intense. So, let's look at the feminine side of things and see why lifting off light-weight garments can feel like removing a growth-stunting, massive burden.
Poor Body Image
Most females are taught from infancy--by almost everyone and everything they come in contact with, including Barbie dolls--that only a few body types are OK, that nothing should jiggle, and that thin is in (except for breasts, which should be large and perky). As a result of the body image onslaught, normal-size eight-year-olds are dieting, teenagers who haven't fully matured covet breast implants, and large women often feel like pariahs.
A major use of clothing, then, is to make us look "better" by concealing, camouflaging, or temporarily reshaping (compressing, lifting, or molding) body "defects." Interestingly, although women know the visual trickery that clothing is used for, we all can convince ourselves that--underneath the garments--most other women have more attractive bodies.
Taking off the false skin of clothing, and being accepted--big hips, flabby tummy, sagging breasts, and all--is powerfully validating. It also helps lighten the "I'm so ugly" load to see that other bodies, without their cover-ups, look as comfortably imperfect and real as ours.
Guilt-Induced and Legally Required Modesty
Males and females are taught that some body functions--and the body parts associated with them--are not nice, and should not be acknowledged, much less seen, in polite society. The current generally banned body parts are the genitals, the anus, and--for unclear reasons--the buttocks and women's breasts. (Buttocks and breasts, which are not primarily associated with activities other than sitting and breast feeding, appear to some extent to be breaking out of confinement. Thong bikinis and topfree sunning are tolerated on many clothed beaches.)
Because women's breasts were for years on the "banned" list, women have generally been saddled with much more cumbersome athletic and recreational clothing than men. Female stripped-down outfits, like swim suits and leotards, cover roughly two times the body surface hidden by male minimal sporting togs. It follows that, in a comfortable nude situation, a woman would probably feel more--twice?--the freedom.
Fear of Sexual Harassment or Assault
Rapes of males are regrettably becoming more common--or at least more often reported--but it's doubtful that assaulted men are doubly victimized, as women often are, by being blamed for bringing attacks on themselves by being too scantily clad. Women are taught, in essence, that it is their responsibility to control, through demure clothing and actions, the way men act toward them. Being made responsible for someone else's feelings and actions, and being subjected to very negative consequences if one "fails," is an unrealistic and stressful imposition.
Perhaps the most freeing and relaxing factors for women in a comfortable nude setting are being able to put down the burden of (false) responsibility for others, and seeing that men don't find it impassible to control themselves at the sight of a naked female body. In fact, instead of being made to feel like a sex object, a nude woman usually feels more equal to a nude man than she's able to when she's clothed and with a clothed male. Anyone nude is down to basics, and at a basic level, we're all equal.
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