Friday, December 29, 2006

Article: "Can Body Acceptance go too far?"

In the Naked Nudism blog, the author examines a much-thought about, though little talked, tenet of naturism . . . that of the near-universal acceptance of the body despite all the flaws that everyone has to one extent or another. The framework of the argument revolves around the idea that by turning a blind eye to the imperfections of the body . . . in this case, obese individuals . . . are we not in fact removing an incentive on that individual to practice a more healthy lifestyle?

The author writes:
. . . shouldn't we find some way to encourage healthy bodies within the framework of body accpetance? Or is this an impossible task?

Body acceptance is central to the nudist/naturist philosophy . . . not just obesity. We attempt not to make any value judgements on the appearance to others, but can we really? Nudism (and more particularly naturism as I've come to think of it) does encourage a healthier lifestyle; naturists in particular with nude activities that gradually develop conditioning (nude hiking, swimming, camping, bungeecord jumping, etc). Nudist resorts are beginning to encourage cardio-activities at their venues as an adjunct to the ubiquitous 'sunning lawns' and lounge chairs. Doing so to cater to a younger generation gently encourages partaking of a somewhat healthier lifestyle.

I'm reminded of an incident that happened at Scenic Hot Springs several years ago. A delightful lady participated in one of our cleanup activities yet deferred from the chance to soak in the hot springs after the activities. Sometime later we met at a smaller work party and we finally got a chance to enjoy that soak together in the springs, where I learned of her reasons . . . she had had a radical masectomy and now avoided soaking nude in the very hot springs that she loved . . . for chance that she might be looked upon as some freak. As close as we were in that pool, quite honestly I hadn't even noticed the missing breast until she mentioned it . . . the joking and comadre had been the pleasure of the moment.

Body imperfections can sometimes not be controlled. Obesity has many reasons . . . some of them beyond the control of the individual (my mother, with diabetes is an example). Body acceptance means we do not judge or criticize. We accept and provide a heathly venue. It is up to us as individuals to live as healthy as is practical.

But all of this just begs the question. FKK promoted nudism in the pre-war years of Germany as a way to physical conditioning. Body acceptance in the AANR and TNS philosophies fifty years later dilutes the harsh rigor of pre-war German nudism. I think that is a good thing as the movement has become more encompassing and less critical of those with less than perfect bodies (meaning, most of us). However, we do espouse a heathy lifestyle. Are we doing so in practice? I don't have the answers . . . but the practice of naturism has had a very healthy effect of my body.

In any case, I laud the blog writer. He asks the questions many of us think yet dare not voice. Are nudist resorts (and nudist venues) doing enough to encourage and promote a healthy lifestyle?

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