Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Celebrity Naturist of the Year 2014: Scout Willis

There are moments in a person's life when you stop being seen as the son or daughter of your parents. Young people today no doubt think of Stella McCartney as a designer, and not necessarily as the daughter of Paul McCartney.
That moment happened this year for Scout Willis, yes, a daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore.
She put a picture on Instagram showing a piece of clothing with an image of two topless women. It got the photo removed. So instead of doing what most of us would do, swear at Instagram and do nothing, Scout Willis took action.
She walked down a New York street topless. While that might have gotten her arrested in any other town or country, in New York toplessness for women is legal. Bear witness to that a club of young women who go reading topless in parks. The difference here is that somebody famous actually benefited from that right and showed how silly Instagram's ban on topless women was.
Topless used to be something for women on holiday on Mediterranean beaches, but it has since vastly expanded to nearly all beaches in Europe, if not much beyond yet.
While running around topless in a city center is not naturism, it could be said to be the frontline of non-sexual social nudity. If the weather is hot, people should dress appropriately. No woman is going to walk around topless when there is snow on the ground, but if temperatures are high and humid, why not?
Topless activists also see a feminist and human rights dimension. If men can take off their tops to enjoy the sunshine, why are women not allowed to?
Last year, Lina Esco was named Celebrity Naturist of the Year because of her efforts to make a movie about toplessness, the product of which, Free the Nipple, recently appeared on US cinema screens.
Chelsea Handler made the news not once, but twice this year, first with her Putin 'imitation' and just ahead of my selection for Celebrity Naturist of the Year with a topless winter picture.
Topless activists are going to be around for some time, and I hope they are going to be the likes of Scout Willis, Lina Esco and Chelsea Handler rather than Femen. A member of that group recently attacked a Christmas stall and appeared inside Vatican City, but such actions are merely political provocation and do not benefit topfreedom or naturism, quite the contrary.
What we need is not violence, but the beautiful side of toplessness, such as breastfeeding, sunbathing and shopping.
Scout Willis pointed out the way to go, and her debate with Instagram can also be extended to other social media including Facebook.
For her efforts on behalf of the right of women to be topless when they choose, I named Scout Willis as the Celebrity Naturist of the Year 2014.
For her own comments and for the picture that got banned by Instagram, read this:

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Real Naturists of the Year 2014: Malaysia Nude Games

Previous choices as my Real Naturist of the Year were mostly people living in countries where naturism might not be generally known and prevalent, but at least they were free to promote naturism, to take part in naturist activities, or to run naturist resorts.
This year, the situation was different. Several naturists in Malaysia were questioned, detained, fined and even sentenced to prison for organizing a nude sports event which nobody even saw until it was distributed on the Internet.
The Malaysia Nude Games took part on the tourist island of Penang on Malaysia's northwest coast during the first half of the year. I saw the video of the event - which later circulated online and caused the legal problems - in Thailand in early June.
As could be expected, the Nude Games were just that: a series of innocent beach games, on a much smaller and more modest scale than naturist athletic events taking part every summer in parts of Europe.
The galling thing about all the legal fuss is that nobody actually witnessed the Nude Games and complained about it to the authorities as they happened. The only complaints were based on the video which was placed online later. In other words, nobody outside naturist circles actually knew of the event before or when it happened, so there was no reason for anybody to be offended.
While the Nude Games were at the time seen by the naturist community as a breakthrough for naturism in East Asia, where most countries still ban the practice, the treatment given to organizers and participants will scare off future naturist events in Malaysia, even if they are being held behind closed doors.
For their bravery, and as a sign of support for naturists fighting against persecution, we named the organizers and participants in the Malaysia Nude Games as the Real Naturists of the Year 2014.
You will find an account of the event on this Malaysian blog
and a media report at
The video of the event seems to have been taken down.
As a sign of sympathy and support, naturists in San Francisco staged their own Nude Games last October:

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

To Heidi Klum or not to Heidi Klum?

As the time quickly approaches to select our Real Naturist and Celebrity Naturist of the Year 2014, a person who is always a strong contender for the latter title reemerges. German supermodel and Project Runway host Heidi Klum, our Celebrity Naturist for 2011, had loads of advertising posters put up in Las Vegas. But not for long, because the authorities thought there was too much nudity and the pictures might not sit well with 'families.'
While as usual, in no way related to naturism, the pictures are absolutely innocent, tasteful, and on the whole, I can't imagine them offending anybody's taste. They're sexy but not provocative, artistic but not cheap, and they look a lot more high-class than say, pictures of baseball players tasting burritos.
The news about the ads being taken down incited sniggers in the media about this being Las Vegas of all places, the city of sin. Yet, the pictures have nothing to do with sin, and those who might have objected to them are not aware that naturism is a family movement. No family should be offended by the ads, because families are one of the mainstays of naturist movements, holiday resorts and beaches around the world.
The ads have now reportedly been put back up, but in a 'sterilized' version, without what the authorities would have termed 'excessive' nudity.
So in the end, there is a victory but hidden within a defeat.
The same could be said about the Miss World decision to end bikini parades for its contestants. At first sight, it is a victory for people who object to women being paraded as just 'chunks of meat,' beautiful 'objects' to look at, but not to listen to. In that sense, the abolition of the bikini contest is a victory, though it could also be interpreted as a defeat to 'neo-prudishness' fueled by conservative religious beliefs. Just wait and see.
And finally, Kate Upton was named the sexiest woman alive. While I might not share that assessment, the good thing about Kate is that she is not one of those 'heroin chic' models who are too thin for their own good. Again, Kate's victory has nothing to do with naturism, but it could tell young women that thin is not the only way. On the other hand, it might be a defeat of sorts if it tells women that they should have larger breasts.
Everything is open to interpretation, but the fact remains that naturism is the way to a positive body image. When people are naked, they are all equal in their imperfections. Naturism breaks down barriers, images and unnecessary demands on the human body.

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