Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Lohas and Naturism

Every two years or so, a new term comes into fashion and conquers the media world. A couple of years ago, we had "BoBo" or Bohemian Bourgeois, but now "Lohas" is the term you can't stay away from in magazines. Lohas stands for "Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability," and it's basically a catchall phrase for what people have been doing anyway for the past few years: paying more attention to health and to the environment by eating and living healthier. People have been turning vegetarian, going on diets, taking yoga classes, recycling trash, cutting down on fats, going biking and jogging. Those things are not really new, but finally someone found a term to stuff it all together in one bag, and that's "Lohas."
And what's more "Lohas" than naturism? Recreational non-sexual nudity has also been expanding its frontiers, certainly in the United States, after millions were already converted decades ago in European countries such as Germany, France and the Netherlands. Walking, biking, swimming, sporting in the nude is so relaxing, so pleasant, so pure and so close to nature that it should be a key element of the "Lohas" movement. Maybe naturists should write in to each magazine that mentions the "Lohas" craze and suggest they should've added naturism as one of the best examples of the lifestyle. Because naturism is about health, and it's about being close to nature. I for one am looking forward to seeing the two movements being tied together in the media.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Day of Nudity in Taiwan's Media

No, this wasn't planned or organized, but quite by coincidence, several of Taiwan's media paid attention to public nudity in its various guises today.
An environmentalist explained on TV how he plans a nude protest on one of Taiwan's most popular beaches on June 26 against the building of the fourth nuclear plant nearby. Construction work has been going on for ages, and the project itself is decades old, so I doubt that a handful of nude people on a beach are going to stop the work. Having said that, I must also add that the nude protest will be typically Taiwanese, so barely naked, if you pardon the pun. The organizer says he wants to respect the law, i.e. the ban on public nudity, so the protesters will be lying flat on their face, or sideways in a fetus position. The protesters will not be showing their "three points," as the human body's more sensitive parts are known in Chinese.
A real nude event was featured in the United Evening News today, but unfortunately it was not from Asia: the Bare to Breakers event in San Francisco. Such a nude walk would still be impossible in Taiwan, but at least it receives neutral coverage in a paper, with a picture of several men and at least one woman undressing in the street.
The third naked event in Taiwan's media today was featured both on TV and in the morning papers, and took place in normally conservative communist China. A group of performance artists from the Songzhuang artists' village in Beijing - all men - took to the dunes near a river and undressed, shouting "enjoy the sun." The performance earned them condemnations from local farmers, but support from some citizens. A Swedish journalist and a handful of foreigners also participated in the action, explaining to bystanders that in their countries, nude sunbathing was acceptable. I note that the article didn't say anything about police intervention. The artists by the way, said they were marking May 14 International Nude Day.
There's another nude day coming up early next month, but more about that in a later post. And yes, I do hope to be posting more often in the future.