Saturday, May 06, 2017

Out in the garden

It's the first Saturday of May ... meaning it's also World Naked Gardening Day.
While I grew up in the countryside in an old house with a literally huge garden, I somehow never caught the gardening microbe.
Yes, I went into the garden to play hide-and-seek, to sit in the sunshine and read a book, to set up an Indian tent, to play with the cats, to pick strawberries and other berries whose English name I don't really know, but neither gardening nor naturism were ever an option.
I discovered naturism by traveling overseas, first of all to Croatia - which was then still known as Yugoslavia - and later to Sweden and the United States. Santa Barbara, California, had a stretch of ocean beach where nude bathing was allowed, but when I visited years later, it had disappeared.
Back to gardening: I chose to live in a densely populated urban society in Asia, where gardens are an unheard-of luxury.
Some people put pots of flowers on the top of their high-rise apartment tower, up on the 11th or the 24th or the 30th floor, or find a place for a potted plant inside their apartment, but that's about it. When you have 23 million people crammed in a space the size of the Netherlands, and half of it is occupied by tall mountains where nobody can or wants to live, it's easy to understand why housing prices in the cities are so high, and why most people can't afford to buy the European-style house with a garden.
But I still have a garden, only it's not a naturist-friendly one.
Back in Europe, there were lots of walls and trees which could have theoretically been useful if I had been able otherwise - read: if my relatives had been naturists too - to want to use parts of the garden for naturism.
But here in Taiwan, my 'garden' is a narrow balcony with almost top-to-bottom windows. If I stand naked in that 'garden,' people down in the street outside, including the police officers directing traffic during rush hour, will be able to witness my naturist endeavors.
So all I can do is pop over naked in the morning to open the windows up to morning air, and to pop back inside quickly - or take a picture first, as I did yesterday morning, in preparation for this blog post to mark World Naked Gardening Day.
With this, I wish everybody who does have a real garden or at least a patch of green where he or she can live as a naturist, even if it is only for a brief time, a productive day.
If you google the term World Naked Gardening Day, you are going to find lots of articles today. The main website of course is http://www.wngd.org

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Naked with your colleagues?

Naturists usually go on holiday just like other people do, in a nuclear family setting: husband and wife with children, but what if non-naturists suddenly have to go on a naturist holiday with ... colleagues at work?
Belgian online magazine Charlie sent its staff - five women and two men - on just such a trip.
Editor-in-chief Jozefien describes how most of the bodies we see, especially women but now also men, are at least partly fake: advertising uses 'perfect' bodies, sometimes photoshopped, never natural, never the way you see your own body, the one you wake up with or take into the shower., which means people have a warped idea of what a natural human body looks like. The magazine's experiment wanted to change all that, she says.
Sexuologist Wim describes how a long time ago, people saw nothing wrong with nudity, while today, the quickest way to be thrown off Facebook is to post a picture of women's breasts.
The three women staff members interviewed in the 1:28 minute video about their experience say how they very quickly got used to being naked and seeing their colleagues naked. Only one of the three said she had enough and did not regret having to put her clothes back on at the end.
They say that usually - meaning, in advertising - all breasts are the same, but here, they saw all types of breasts, in a natural way. They also emphasized that everybody had to be naked.
At present, there are more and more "CO" or "clothing optional" resorts, where you are not forced to go all naked. The practice is designed to introduce those still alien to the idea of total social nudity to the concept. Especially women who are new to naturism might feel more comfortable if they can at first go topless and see how it goes, though the ideal is that they overcome their fears and join the naturists as soon as possible.
As to myself, a naturist for more than 35 years though limited by my geographical location in Taiwan, I can hardly imagine going on a naturist holiday with my colleagues, or even my relatives and friends. It's not that I'm too shy, it's just that I don't think they are up to it, or even understand the concept.
When Taiwanese go on holiday to "naturist-friendly" countries, say in Europe, they will visit historic monuments, famous scenery, and go shopping, but a stay at a beach is hardly ever on the schedule, partly due to time constraints, partly because Taiwanese and Asians in general are not as beach-oriented as westerners.
As a result, most Taiwanese have never been to a beach in Europe, so they are not aware that women can be and are topless on most beaches, let alone that there are so many naturist and free beaches around the continent, even in supposedly colder countries.
The Charlie Magazine article (in Dutch): https://www.charliemag.be/zin-in/billen-bloot/
The Charlie Magazine video (in Dutch): https://youtu.be/j4it26zKFrw

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Sunday, February 05, 2017

You don't have to be Kate Moss ...

Kate Moss, the British supermodel, has done it again. At the age of 43, she has appeared naked - well, in theory she's apparently 'wearing' - though it looks more like carrying - a designer piece. This time, it's the latest edition of W Magazine which has done the honors, putting Miss Moss up as one of five strong women, in the company of Jennifer Lopez, Taraji P. Henson of Empire and Hidden Figures fame, Versace chief Donatella Versace, and Jessica Chastain of Zero Dark Thirty, Interstellar, and other movies.
Critics might say Kate Moss's nudity is not pure naturism, because it only exists in function of fashion brands, which want us to wear their clothes, not to take them off and feel good in the nude.
Yet, for years, I have regarded the supermodel's nude stints as more than that. She has appeared nude or almost on beaches and yachts, making it look as if she is really comfortable with nudity, and I think she is.
The whole message I want to bring about is this: yes, Kate Moss is a supermodel, a beautiful woman who looks beautiful with or without clothes, but you don't have to be Kate Moss to feel good naked.
The naturist movement has always had some problem in attracting women to its cause. An imbalance in favor of men, women worried about that same imbalance making them feel vulnerable, women feeling they don't have the looks to venture out in the nude.
Tawdry and stupid comments by online males saying that naturist beaches are only populated by old people or that some women should never appear naked have only fueled the female reluctance to try naturism.
Only recently have campaigns against bodyshaming and in favor of so-called 'plus-size' models managed to start redressing the situation.
No, you don't have to look like Kate Moss to try out naturism, but you can just feel like Kate Moss: free in your own body, free to enjoy your body, free to go naked when you feel like it. Naturism is not about looks, it's about feeling free, right and comfortable.
The full article in W Magazine about Kate Moss's latest picture is here:
http://www.wmagazine.com/story/kate-moss-model-proudly-naked-at-42-going-strong-as-fashions-reigning-muse
Photo above by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott for W Magazine.

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Friday, December 30, 2016

Celebrity Naturist of the Year 2016: Heidi Klum

(Photo Heidi Klum by Norman Jean Roy for Allure Magazine)
Sounds familiar? Yes, Heidi Klum was my Celebrity Naturist of the Year 2011 http://thenudeguru.blogspot.tw/2012_01_01_archive.html and received a mention as a runner-up back in late 2014.
She's still a naturist after all those years ... because she's still open about the lifestyle, which for millions of Germans like her is not some kind of exotic minority quirk that has to be hidden in the shadows, but just an ordinary habit, like collecting stamps or cycling or playing tennis.
As a model and as presenter of the fashion designer show Project Runway, one could accuse Heidi Klum of hypocrisy. If she's a naturist, why is she promoting clothes? Shouldn't she be doing the opposite, condemning clothes and telling everybody to throw off the tyranny of textile and design?
A world without clothing would be a wonderful thing - especially if you got to live in a country where temperatures are elevated enough year round - I'm thinking of parts of Thailand here.
Unfortunately, most people still live in environments where that is not possible - often for merely climatic reasons, but also because turning up at work or going out eating naked is not accepted in most parts of the world.
There are people working on changing that - I'm thinking of my Real Naturist of the Year 2016, Lady God1va, who went naked at a hotel in Thailand, or the Free the Nipple people, the Go Topless activists, the people behind naked restaurant projects like London's The Bunyadi, the World Naked Bike Riders, and so on.
Yes, Heidi Klum is not a total 100 percent naturist, but thanks to her comments in interviews, she shows that naturism is not the outrageous hobby of a small minority, but is a practice that should be acceptable to every and any "body."
A Heidi Klum interview with Miami's Ocean Drive magazine:
https://oceandrive.com/heidi-klum-on-project-runway-her-lingerie-collection-why-she-loves-miami
Heidi Klum's only partial nude photo shoot for Allure in 2012:
http://www.allure.com/gallery/heidi-klum-2012
More Heidi Klum, from Allure and from the Young Naturists of America website:




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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Real Naturist of the Year 2016: Lady God1va

(Photo credited to @nigelwill2001 by Lady God1va, World Naked Bike Ride 2012).

Each time around this year, I name someone who has promoted the cause of naturism as my Real Naturist of the Year. Unfortunately, this is just an honorific, there is no fancy artistic statuette, no impressive sum of money.
Past awards have gone to founders and owners of naturist hotels and resorts, and even to a country association.
This year, I am naming a person who has been promoting the cause of naturism on- and offline for many years.
Known as @LadyGod1va on Twitter, she has not only tweeted and blogged about the cause for naturism, she has also been active in organizing World Naked Bike Rides in London and has promoted the cause during an appearance at The Fourth Plinth, a public speech project on Trafalgar Square in 2009. As said here before, while WNBR is not a specifically naturist action but an environmental protest against the dominance of motorized traffic, its use of public nudity helps to promote the notion of the naked body as non-sexual and public.
Lady God1va has also played a crucial role in the naturist movement because she is a woman and a non-Caucasian, two categories that need to be persuaded to join naturism.
It was after I was already looking into her as my main candidate to become the Real Naturist of the Year 2016 that I found out she had been banned from Twitter, due to an avatar that was reportedly "too naked." I never saw the picture, but due to her naturist convictions, I am certain that there was nothing offensive about it. Social online media such as Facebook and Twitter claim to be the new vanguard, but their views on nudity are still hopelessly out of date and simply wrong.
Choosing Lady God1va as my Real Naturist of the Year 2016 is not just an award and a recognition of her years of work, but also a plea for more tolerance. Yes, you, Twitter, bring @LadyGod1va back.
Her blogs, which date back some time, are at http://ladygod1va.wordpress.com and http://ladygod1vadaily.wordpress.com
Lady God1va about her appearance on The Fourth Plinth: https://ladygod1va.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/the-plinth-hour/



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Monday, December 12, 2016

2017: Nude Calendar Ahead

Another year is nearly over, which means it's time for me to look around to see whom I will name Real Naturist of the Year and Celebrity Naturist of the Year near the end of this month. It also means that the world is getting ready to buy calendars, and a rising proportion of those are nude calendars.
For several years, the phenomenon has been expanding, and since naturism is about the acceptance of all bodies, including naked ones, the trend is to be applauded.
A group of elderly women in Great Britain might not have started the trend, but they certainly succeeded in giving it a boost when their handiwork became the subject of a successful movie. Until then, most nude calendars had been thought of as pornography, or at least as things you would hang in a garage but not in your home.
Despite Italian tiremaker Pirelli's decision to move away from nudity in its calendars, the trend to link nude calendars with good causes has persisted and is growing.
What inspired me to return to my blog after a long absence, was actually spotting an article on a Belgian newspaper site this morning about a Dutch woman, Marisa Papen, who was banned from Instagram for posting too many nude pictures of herself. As a result, she decided to head for safer shores: publish a nude calendar of herself, with the proceeds going to a worthwhile cause, in this case the protection of the oceans against the avalanche of plastic rubbish.
She called her project www.plastic-sushi.com  and we can only wish her - and the pollution fighters - success.
Nudity might be a way to seek the spotlight for causes or to promote one's own fame, but if it promotes acceptance of non-sexual public nudity, why not.
While I'm not in the business of drawing up a list of best nude or naturist events of the past year, I can still note that several other nude phenomena have been doing well. The World Naked Bike Rides, the World Naked Gardening Day, World Topless Day, all seem to be growing in provoking interest. The International Naturist Federation held its World Congress in New Zealand, and I do hope naturist beaches around the world will expand. Here in Asia, the Naturist Association of Thailand has expanded, and is helping to find investors in a new resort, showing that naturism in Asia is possible.
While in some parts of the world, there is cause to worry about the regression of tolerance for nudity and naturism in the face of religion, on the whole I am still optimistic that naturism can expand, if it promotes itself as non-sexual, wholesome, and open for men, women and children. Maybe the global naturist movement can learn from the successes of the gay rights movement around the world, but that's fodder for another blog post.


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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Thailand launches naturist magazine

Asia used to be a desert for naturists.
Conservative governments and what was seen as a 'conservative' mindset among the population, and add to that a fear of fierce tropical sunlight and a beauty ideal which puts a white skin way ahead of a tan.
All those factors have conspired to make Asia a difficult continent to promote naturism to reach the level of popularity it has won in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, and now recently, Latin America.
Yet, one country is steaming straight ahead, regardless of all preconceptions.
Thailand first saw the formation of a Naturist Association of Thailand (NAT) in 2007, the gradual opening of naturist hotels and resorts around the country, from Pattaya, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and this year also the island of Phuket, the staging of an international NATCON conference now in its fifth year, and now, again in a major move forward, the launch of a magazine, titled Bare@ll.
Despite what some might think, naturism in Thailand is not something for the thousands of expats calling that country home only. At least a third of NAT's 3,000 members are Thai, and the new magazine is bilingual Thai and English.
That is an excellent move, since most Thai are unlikely to find objective information and background about naturism in anything but eventual foreign publications, and that only from time to time. The new publication will bring naturism right to the doorstep of any interested Thai citizen. When a Thai questions naturism or wonders what it is all about, a naturist will have the magazine to show them and make them understand.
The annual NATCON conference is also a focus for other Asian naturists from India to China and Taiwan, allowing them to learn from the experiences of their Thai colleagues and prepare for a day when each Asian country will have at least a similar organization, and possibly also its own naturist resorts.
http://thailandnaturist.com


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