Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Celebrity Naturist of the Year 2013: Lina Esco

Lina Esco of Free the Nipple is The Nude Guru's Celebrity of the Year 2013.
Her campaign and her movie have the potential to move the acceptance of non-sexual nudity forward by one huge step. As she explains at www.freethenipple.com, women in New York have been legally allowed to walk around topfree since 1992, but in 37 US states, even topless bathing on beaches is still banned, decades after the practice became commonplace in most European countries.
Lina Esco is a producer, director and actress. Her first TV appearance was in an episode of CSI: New York, her best known work is The Cove, a movie about the killing of dolphins in Japan. Free the Nipple is also a movie, but in order to make it work and have the end product shown on screens across the US, she turned to crowdfunding at Fund Anything.
As on previous occasions, some readers might point out that Lina Esco might not be a naturist, and that walking around New York topless is not naturism. That's right, but achieving the aims that Lina Esco has set, will be taking society one huge step closer to the acceptance of naturism, i.e. non-sexual social nudity.
Previous Celebrity Naturists of the Year have included Eva Mendes, a prominent 'home nudist,' Rosario Dawson, who visited naturist beaches, and last year Chelsea Handler and Sandra Bullock for their nude shower scene, which afterward proved to have been less nude than might have been.
As you can judge from my previous posts, topless equality or topfreedom has been a major topic in 2013. The Rael religious group held its annual international Go Topless Day in late August. Although I do not oppose religion, I have the average European's traditional suspicion of cults and sects and that held me back from picking the organizers of the day as my choice. Another interesting group, Topless Equality, with activists as far away as Hawaii, vanished off the radar before the end of the year. Yet another active movement, centered on New York, is the group of coeds which holds topless book readings in the city's parks.
My biggest initial doubt about Free the Nipple was provoked by one of its supporters. Over the past year, Miley Cyrus has been anything but a symbol for wholesome nudity or for naturism, which is why I first hesitated. Her name recognition will lend the cause some popularity, but I did conclude that Free the Nipple and Lina Esco are honest about their intentions. The campaign is not about Miley, it's about allowing women everywhere to enjoy the sunshine, swimming, and the basic freedom of wearing what you want.
That is the main reason why I think Lina Esco should be this year's celebrity naturist.
You can read more about her campaign at www.freethenipple.com.

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Real Naturist of the Year 2013: Tim Higgs

Tim Higgs of the Clover Spa and Hotel in Birmingham, Great Britain.
He is my Real Naturist of the Year 2013.
Serving wine, beer or champagne with your food shouldn't be world news, but in 2013 it was. In Britain, even a naturist hotel has to apply for a license to do so, and the fact that there were objections put the story squarely in the news, giving the hotel a name even outside naturist circles.
My Real Naturist of the Year Award doesn't come with prizes, money or even some artistic sculpture. It simply picks someone who did something for naturism, put it in the spotlight for a positive fact and deserves to be known for that fact. The winner also has to be a true naturist, not a celebrity who poses nude once in a while or who goes topless. There's nothing wrong with that, but that's what my Celebrity Naturist of the Year Award is for.
Tim follows in the tracks of Mark and Samantha Taylor, my first-ever Real Naturist of the Year Award winners. I read about their project to leave their 'normal' working lives in Britain behind and head for a small Greek island to start up a naturist hotel. That is a dream many people have, but only a few manage to go beyond that and turn it into reality.
Tim Higgs stayed closer to home, but he also realized what must have been a dream in a tough environment: set up a naturist hotel far away from any beaches, in a major British city, away from sun and sand.
Naturism needs more people like Tim Higgs.
No doubt we'll hear more about the Clover Spa and Hotel in 2014.
The web site is www.cloverspa.co.uk, the Twitter account is http://twitter.com/Cloverspa.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Word of the Year 2013: Topless

To a naturist on the lookout for news, that was a word even more frequently found in 2013 than the term selfie.
There was the Ukrainian women's group Femen, which traveled around the world to protest topless everywhere against all kinds of topics, from mistreatment of animals to prostitution and bans on abortion. As a naturist, I don't think being topless is shocking, so having more and more topless protests might actually dilute the news value of those protests.
In August, there was the annual Go Topless Day organized by the religious group Rael, which is gaining news exposure worldwide. The picture above comes from their website, www.gotopless.org. The next international Go Topless Day by the way, is August 24, 2014.
Around the same time, I found out about another group active on behalf of 'topfreedom,' Topless Equality, which had spokespersons as far as Hawaii. Unfortunately, since then, something seems to have happened to this group since its website is offline and no recent tweets were issued.
The most recent topless news comes from actress and director Lina Esco, who is looking for funding for a movie about women's rights to go topless at www.freethenipple.com. Her action received the support of Miley Cyrus, who makes lots of naturists, including me, squirm with what often looks like a vulgar and sexual interpretation of nudity.
Other topless news items this past year included the continued activities of a co-ed topless reading club in New York, with topless women reading books while sunbathing in parks. While not condoning topless equality, Pope Francis seemed recently to approve of public breastfeeding, a positive step if ever there was one.
To a naturist, topless is a halfway house. It's a matter of the glass being half full or half empty. For many women, topless might be the first step on the way to true naturism, while many other women will never go further than lying topless on the beach.
As a naturist, I believe that the increasing occurrence of the acceptance of topless women is a positive trend, because it makes more people more comfortable with more nudity. Toplessness should not be about provocation, but about the acceptance of nature, of people's natural state.
As topless activists say, breasts should be decriminalized. Violence is apparent everywhere in entertainment and in the media, so why should a beautiful creation like the human breast be banned from view?

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