Thursday, October 9, 2008

Naturist artist gives great explanation for being a nudist

All the way back in cave man days, humans have drawn and painted the naked human body. Above is a painting from one of the grand masters.

An artist is being interviewed and gives a great explanation on the positives aspects of being a nudist or as he prefers to be called naturist.

Here's part of the interview:

"Q: What are the pros and cons of being a nudist?

A: Well, as you might imagine, being a “nudist” is something that is misunderstood, at least here in the U.S. I consider myself a “naturist” – that is, I think of my body and how it’s revealed in the context of a philosophy. Gymnosophy is an actual term that applies the opinion that the human body is inherently wholesome and proper, and that no part of the body is obscene. I believe that there should be no effort to conceal the body except when it is practical (to protect one’s self from the elements, as a consideration to others that are an accepted clothing only area, etc.). There is no practical reason to conceal the body in situations where it is obviously appropriate to do disrobe – at the beach, in the park, in one’s own home with friends and family, etc. If you think about it, wearing clothing does not really conceal what your body looks like. We can all tell – usually – what each other’s bodies look like, and what sex they are, with their clothes on. Clothing doesn’t really hide any personal secrets. There are only two sets of “equipment” for people, and the obsession with hiding our bodies only contributes to – I think – the unhealthy sexualization of so many areas of our culture.

Here are some random thoughts concerning this subject:
- I often use depictions of the human body from art history when instructing my students about their own work and their connection to their artistic ancestors, but, oddly, there is revulsion to the depiction of the body in a more contemporary situation, or a negative reaction when it is discussed that our students use the nude human form as a subject matter...

Since, when it is depicted, it is usually in an overtly sexual context, then that is (wrongly) the only connotation attached to it. I submit that this unhealthy and inconsistent attitude towards the human body is the primary cause of this disturbing attitude; i.e. that nudity equals sex.

- Americans seem to have a particular problem in this area. We seem to be ashamed of, and at the same time, intensively interested in the human body and sexuality. It’s this strange combination of Victorian era mentality coupled with daily use of internet porn...It also turns something that is inherently beautiful and wholesome (sex) and turns it into something that is forbidden and sleazy. There are, as you may know, many areas of the world that do not have this contradictory attitude towards the human body, and consequently these other countries don’t have the problems that Americans have with body/self esteem issues (especially in girls or young women), and don’t have the same problem with sexual crimes and disjointed attitudes (mostly by men) concerning what is proper behavior in a sexual relationship, etc...

- I go to beaches in the summer that are mostly clothing optional, and surprisingly (to an outsider) there are families, adults, children, and older couples – in other words, all kinds of “regular” people. There have been extensive psychological studies that have looked at families where children are raised in a nudist-friendly environment, and they found that these children are just generally more well-adjusted. They have better self esteem, they are better and smarter when in different social situations, and they are more mature and engaged with what his going on around them. In other words, they understand at an early age what is important – it’s not what people look like that matters, it’s what they do...

Most of the “clothed” beaches I go to are rowdier, more sexually charged, louder and more inconsiderate of the situation. At all the nude beaches I go to, they are quieter, more casual, more respectful, etc. More chill, you might say...

In my opinion, fashion is about vanity and shame and living in denial...

Our bodies are amazing machines that are ALWAYS beautiful and proper. An extremely influential American artist and art teacher named Robert Henri said “There is nothing more beautiful or profound or revealing of the laws of nature than the nude human form. It is among all people, not just artists, that a greater appreciation of the nude human form should develop. When we appreciate the nude human form, we will no longer have any shame about it.” He wrote this in 1910.

For the full fascinating interview click here

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