It makes a change to have a program that positively promotes Naturism on the TV, this happened possibly because British Naturism (www.bn.org.uk) actually had a significant hand in supporting the making of this documentary.
The title is exceedingly misleading in my opinion and was chosen purely for it’s ability to attract an audience in the usual purient manner akin to tabloid headlines.
Whilst the program did indeed feature Mollie the described ‘Teenage Nudist’, the program also featured others who were not female and whose parents didn’t get a look in !
A significant theme running through the program was the rep from the Young British Naturists group within British Naturism (the UK organising body) and his attempts to recruit young people into YBN.
The other thread was related to young people who were accepting of their bodies (on the whole) and lived a nudist lifestyle but didn’t think about allaying themselves to the national group.
It was extremely refreshing to see the attitude of these young people being comfortable in theit own skins, and I can only hope that it started some positive thought processes in others watching.
This was the first program I’d ever watched whilst simultaneously watching the twitter feed with the hastag #MyDaughterTheTeeenageNudist.
What I will say is that it’s a tricky thing to do and trying to tweet, read tweets and watch the program is virtually impossible (for me at least).
In as much as the program itself was honest and portrayed the nudity in a sensitive and positive manner, the content of the Twitterfeed was more interesting in what it said about those tweeting about the program.
The majority of the twittering audience is that the majority of the non naturist audience were in their teens/twenties (based on the profile pictures I saw whizzing past)
There were the purient tweets, “Ooh goody, free porn” etc. but thankfully those were in the minority.
A significant number of the young women were preoccupied with seeing “small” cocks, which I thought was simply wrong, in that there were all sizes shown, but more or less average sizes. I can only think that these young women have fallen into the trap that men do when it comes to women and porn and made the assumption that the porn stars are average Joes in the penis size department, which is as true as the breast sizes of their female counterparts.
The other significant twitter theme was “Ewww, old peoples wrinkly bits”, the thinking here is the one spread by women’s magazines (and mens health magazines in respect of mens bodies) that you have to have a perfect body or you just won’t do.
The consequence is that the women (and men) who think this way are only prepared to bare all when they are “perfect” and that they aren’t there yet.
It’s also indicative that they see the nudity as advertising for a mate, i.e. the nudity is sexualised, whereas in mainstream nudism (as opposed to the swingers who claim – falsely- to be nudists) there is no sexuality in the baring of flesh.
As a naturist, you get to see all shapes, sizes and ages of bodies, and it makes you realise that we are all different and all the same. We all have the same bits and pieces, but some are bigger, smaller, fatter, thinner, firmer or droopier than others.
For teenagers I believe that is important to realise as body confidence amongst that group is low and is undoubtably because they don’t know what everyone else looks like and when the only reference is airbrushed models or porn stars, it’s no wonder that’s the case.
I also listened into the Radio 5 Live broadcast that followed with Andrew Welch from BN and a woman journalist Anna May Magan .
Anna argued that nudity was private and explained that she didn’t like to see it in the changing rooms in the gym. Personally, I think that complaining about nudity in the changing rooms shows that she has some real issues with herself, and that she doesn’t really have any intellectual arguments against public nudity per se, only she doesn’t want to see it. She invoked the usual false argument suggesting that the nudity was only there for the men to be able to ogle the women and children !
Personally I don’t think she put up anything like a good argument. What she basically said was I don’t want to see it so it should be banned.
Do we extend this argument to those amongst us who decide they don’t want to see fat people or people with red hair, or perhaps we ought to ban people from dressing as Goths ? Sorry but that one doesn’t work.
She also suggested that there were only 12,000 naturists in the country, which was blatently incorrect as Andrew Welch corrected her. There are 12,000 members of BN, but according to a recent survey 3.7 MILLION of us would call ourselves naturists/nudists, that’s about 1 in 10 of the adult population !
Anna also called into question the hygene of the YBN rep when he chose to sit on a tea towel, which was completely unecessary given he was in his own home, that there was no way of knowing which side he sat on ! It does seem to me that non naturists really get in a tizzy on the hygene issue, a bare bum on a seat doesn’t necessarily leave anything nasty behind and especially not if there is a towel in the way. Personally I’d question how “dirty” the average pair of trousers/skirt was after having been plonked in several places over the course of a day, and lets not forget the experiment that proved there were less bacteria on naked skin than on a surgeons fresh gown….
A lady called into the program and explained how she had discovered a nudist beach on holiday and defended social nudity, telling how wonderful and freeing it was, which was great to hear.
A great deal of the negativity towards public/social nudity comes from misconceptions and downright ignorance.
Hopefully the program last night will go some way towards dispelling those ideas and informing the public. I will look forward to hearing whether BN has had a surge in inquiries and seeing if there is a surge in internet queries.
We can only hope…