Thursday, June 28, 2007

I Don't Hate Dove Anymore

I hate Dove.
That's used to be the catch phrase from an advertising campaign in Taiwan many years ago. You saw an intelligent and attractive young woman walk across a leafy college campus. When asked what she thought about Dove, she would reply 'I hate Dove,' presumably because it was an uncool brand of cosmetic to use for younger ladies. By the end of the ad though, the woman would use some of Dove's new products and change her opinion.
Well, so have I, because the brand has unwittingly become a promoter of naturism-friendly ideas. On my recent holiday in Belgium I noticed an entirely different promotional campaign for Dove. They're asking for 50 women over the age of 50 to pose naked for a calendar. Of those candidates, 12 will actually be chosen - yes, there are only 12 months - for the calendar next August.
You can see the kind of pictures they have in mind at Dove's Belgian web site, at Note the words 'pro age' in the name. That is what naturism is all about. No discrimination of people just because they look older. Everyone is beautiful, the Dove site says, and it's right. Naturism is not about voyeurism, it's not for beautiful people only, it's for everyone who feels confident and natural about her or his own body. In its own way, the new campaign is striking a strong blow for naturist values.
Just to dispel suspicions that the Dove calendar campaign is just a marginal phenomenon, I can tell you that it is so mainstream it got the attention of Belgium's national television stations, as well as a feature in women's weekly Libelle. The magazine, which is available at any newspaper kiosk or book store in the country, has four other pictures and interviews with models ranging in age from 53 to 68. The women say they felt no shame about their nudity nor about the signs of age. One had visited naturist resorts, though another one had never shown herself naked to anyone but her husband.
One suggestion for Dove: try the same kind of campaign in Asia as in Europe. You might be surprised about the response, and us naturists would get a valuable push for our cause.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Riding those Bikes again

While I was staying in Europe, those World Naked Bike Riders took to the streets again, you know, those people who condemn over-reliance on oil products and cars in our societies.
I have always had rather an ambivalent attitude toward nudity in protests, because I don't think there should be anything wrong or offensive or ugly about the human shape, nude or otherwise. Still, a nude protest can still result in something any naturist can approve: wider acceptance of the naked body.
The latest edition of the World Naked Bike Ride earlier this month certainly did that. I watched European TV stations focusing their reports on Madrid. They interviewed a young woman who said she participated in the bike ride because she felt cyclists were kind of naked when facing cars: vulnerable, weak, unprotected.
The reports on European TV also did not shy away from actually showing the event in all of its aspects: when a young woman removed her T-shirt, there was no 'mosaic' or blurry square covering up her breasts. The same for shots showing a bunch of people - men and women - pedaling forward on one of Madrid's main streets.
And the naked cycling is not over yet - on June 30, a similar event will take to the streets of Brussels, the capital of Belgium, and seat of the European Union government. That should get quite a number of participants taking off their clothes and taking to their foot-powered wheels.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Back in Asia

I'm back in naturist-unfriendly, hot Asia after a month's holiday in naturist-friendly, cool Europe.
What am I talking about? Well, the weather in the part of Western Europe I was staying in was unseasonably cool, with temperatures barely reaching 20 degrees centigrade. The first few days I spent mostly inside the home, and when going out, I had to rely on some jackets I had left in Europe because they would be useless in tropical Asia.
It was only later on during my holiday that temperatures started climbing carefully above 20 degrees, and I finally got to spend one short afternoon on a naturist beach. The final day of my stay was gorgeous, with temperatures above 25 degrees, but then I was already busy packing for my return to Asia, where of course, 30 to 35 degrees is absolutely normal these days, but naturist beaches are not.
In my next few postings I'll mention the European coverage of recent naked bike rides, tell you about my visit to my favorite naturist beach, and write about a naked ad campaign by a cosmetics brand that's famous here in Asia. As usual during my holidays, I also got some far-fetched ideas which will probably never come to fruition.
In the meantime, I enjoyed my first Asian morning walking around at home as a good naturist should - completely naked.