Naked or nude?

Is there a difference between being naked or nude, in private or in public? John Berger makes the case: “To be naked is to be oneself. To be nude is to be seen naked by others… nudity is placed on display.”

This highlights the perspective that the protesters are naked for their own cause, using the historic value of nakedness as the expressing truth and innocence, while the media are seeing the riders as on display for the public’s benefit. Can one std-125611521.vziayiup-bcbe both, or is being naked or nude a binary state? Is it possible to be yourself, while others see you in their own way?

Can we ever be free of the ‘considered opinion’ of the judgments of another, unless, as John Stuart Mills said, we stand firm for our inalienable right to hold an alternative view from the ever popular “tyranny of the majority”, regardless of the potential personal cost to the individual and thus society itself.

Having the freedom to clothe your own body in the way you see fit, and not from the dictates of prudish, guilty and shameful thoughts, is a step towards personal freedom for everybody. We actually can use our own bodies and minds in the way we each choose, but we need to believe in this as individuals, and to know this as an inalienable civil right.

Naked or nude as a public nuisance?

This is what Vincent Bethell’s Freedom to be Yourself campaign , started in 1998 in London, was concerned with, and after spending five months in solitary confinement awaiting his court appearance for being a ‘public nuisance’, he insisted on attending court naked. This was a jury trial, and he was judged by a panel of his peers, who unanimously found him not guilty of the charge. While the presiding Judge George Bathurst-Norman warned him darkly: “I would not go away too much with that idea”, he also appended the crucial: “It is simply not a public nuisance in these circumstances.”

Notwithstanding the judge’s hesitating support for the defense, essentially this was a great victory for the cause for freedom of choice where individualism, and public nakedness, is concerned.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

Naked in a public space

The photographic images presented here tell the tale of the ride itself, as well as a few of its related stories, and each “picture is worth a thousand words”. Indeed, many images from the WNBR are truly excellent and belong in the photo-std-2011_0611wnbr0078-bcdocumentary slot of any comprehensive photographic library purporting to be representative of modern times, and we present a frustratingly small selection of these images for your curiosity here.

However, there are still some people who wish to join the WNBR and yet not take part in the photographic record, which seems to be an untenable position in principle. This is a very naturist kind of outlook, the wanting to be naked and wanting other people to see, but not wanting anyone to take a photograph, for some unspoken, half-guessed at reason. At a WNBR event, this approach just does not wash.

Naked in public

When someone is naked in a public space, and when that person is clearly taking part in a massively advertised protest event, which event is expressly designed to attract the media, photographers and news reporters from all around the world, there is very little credit to be had from complaining when someone takes a photograph. I don’t think anyone would assume this opinion to be valid legal counsel for photographing naked people in public in every country around the world, but certainly anyone who attends a WNBR event has almost certainly voided any reasonable claim to privacy, and it’s almost certain the law courts would take a similar view in any sensible case.

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

Stand and fight or run and hide?

No freedom has ever been freely given, freedoms have always been taken, and the only question is whether we stand and fight, or run and hide. The people who pioneer the new, (because not “normal”), views are inevitably regarded as extremists. Today, we bow to lesbian/gay rights, women voters, etc.Only because some people made a hard stand during difficult times.

Stand and fight?

When those people were fighting for OUR rights, most people called them extremists and nutcases.

Imid-20120717_103914f Emily Parkhurst had been “sensitive to the appropriateness of the situation”, I’m sure she would not have thrown herself under the King’s horse and women would probably still not have the vote. Nelson Mandela is another example of precisely the same case where one man suffers for years under the barbaric of the current regime, while today he is hailed as a hero. He was fortunate, he was able to enjoy his last years of life in freedom.

Alan Turing is another who was shamed, and forcefully chemically “treated”, by the government of his time, for the crime of following his own harmless activities. Turing was so persecuted that he committed suicide rather than face the rest of his life as a chemically castrated individual.

What fate awaits Stephen Gough?

WNBR

The World Naked Bike Ride book by Richard Foley

Available from Amazon and all good book distributors via ISBN: 978-0-9572432-0-0

The World Naked Bike Ride is a global protest against oil dependency and urban pollution, promoting greater cycling safety on our roads, and encouraging body freedom for everyone.

Extract: There is surely a sensible and sustainable balance to be found between use and abuse. We need to take a decision about the kind of world in which we want to
live, and about the kind of world we want our children, and their children, to
inherit. These are the choices we have to make and the question is, really,
who makes them? As Rachel Carson pointed out, when writing about the poisoning
of the natural world by the chemical industries: “Who has decided? … the
decision is that of the authoritarian temporarily entrusted with power; he has
made it during a moment of inattention by millions to whom beauty and the
ordered world of nature still have a meaning that is deep and imperative.”

This book visually describes the environmental awareness event, the history of how it started, the people who take part, and the motivations behind this very public demonstration.

Foreword by Conrad Schmidt.
Including 250 NSFW images (inc. a selection of sfw images).

 

Arrested for indecent exposure!

Simon Oosterman has the dubious honour of being the first person to be arrested and charged by a police officer for the apparently heinous crime of being naked while painted blue when he was organizer of the 2005 WNBR in Auckland, New Zealand. He also appeared on the street outside the court fully naked while protesting his innocence, and he is credited with coining the phrase “Stop the indecent exposure to vehicle emissions!” .

Arrested for indecent exposure charges dropped

The charge of Indecent Exposure against Simon was later dropped. Michael Hammond was also charged with Indecent Exposure in Portland, Oregon in 2008 and, in dismissing the charge, the judge Jerome LaBarre ruled that cycling naked had become a “well-established tradition” in Portland and understood as a form of “symbolic protest against cars and possibly the nations dependence on fossil fuels.” std-wnbr1-bcDaniel Johnson, was charged with Indecent Exposure while organizer of the WNBR in Seattle, Washington state in 2010.

Several months after the event these charges were dropped when the office of the City Attorney changed hands: yet another clear case of prudish personal opinion backed up by an official power base.

Gilles was arrested for being naked at the WNBR in Paris, France in 2010; all charges were subsequently dropped. The same year we have photographs of Gilles being accompanied by friendly and smiling police officers in the 2010 London and Brighton UK WNBRs, just across the English Channel. Where is the consistency; where is the even-handed impartial rule of law; in this picture of our authoritarian or free world?

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

The war on [insert favourite topic here]

The very phrase: ‘the war on [insert favourite topic here]’ is almost always about reducing personal freedom and increasing repression and intolerance in one form or another.

std-img_0683-bcIntolerance breeds hostility and leads only to war and terrorism, whether via Prohibition or Al-Qaida or Communism or Witchcraft. This is why true tolerance is so important for modern civilization to learn.

As John Lennon said: “The main hangup in the world today is hypocrisy and insecurity. If people can’t face up to the fact of other people being naked or smoking pot, or whatever they want to do, then we’re never going to get anywhere.” Lennon was speaking in 1969, have we moved on?

 

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

Never mind Shakespeare…

It is clear that our lives are defined by the space between the two camps of; firstly, our thoughts on our own actions; and secondly, by our fear of what other people might think.

std-100_8307-bcNever mind Shakespeare

the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius pointed this out some two thousand years ago: “All is as thinking makes it so.”

Simply taking part in an environmental protest movement makes one an object of curiosity for many people, and while the majority of the public will be cheering the riders on, the media are busy interviewing the participants, regardless as to whether they are naked or clothed.

 

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

Extreme prudery in the USA

As an extreme example of the prudery in the USA, there is the Janet Jackson incident. At the Super Bowl halftime show on 1st February 2004, her right breast was briefly seen on TV. The US public and press went to town and gave an excellent demonstration of their dreadful prudery.

Jackson had an invitation to perform at the 2004 Grammy Awards cancelled and a lawsuit was filed by one Terri Carlin “on behalf of all American citizens who watched the outrageous conduct.”. The lawsuit wopx-cover-front-facebook-safeas dropped but the incident also triggered other legal action.

This action resulted in fines for companies involved with the broadcast. Even the law was changed, the Federal Communications Commission is now able to fine up to $500,000 per violation instead of the original maximum of $27,500. Europeans reported this and took the opportunity to laugh at America’s expense.

A typical report said “How reassuring to the rest of the world that the U.S. has its priorities straight. We, the poorly informed old Europeans, wouldn’t have realised that Jackson’s breast was a more important issue than Iraq’s missing weapons of mass destruction. But the U.S. media is covering the breast-baring incident like the story of the century.” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

An extract from Why Nude? Thoughts and reflections on social nudity by Howard Anderson

Available from Amazon and all good book distributors

Core beliefs

Western religions do not generally have direct prohibition of social nudity as a core belief, such prohibition as there is has come about from custom and practice and from misunderstood interpretations of early teachings. Protestations against nudity have been made by a few of the religious hierarchy and sadly followed by the many.

opx-cover-front-facebook-safeThere is often a huge difference in the core beliefs of a religion and what is taught by those who feel they should teach it. It is quite easy to find a given religious text and then to find a range of mutually opposing interpretations of that same text. A good example is the use of the word “shame” in the Christian story of Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Some Christian teachers will take it to mean that nakedness is shameful, others will take it to mean that nakedness is good; the position taken by the Christian naturist movement. How could a God have made something shameful?

Would you dare suggest that the handiwork of your God is so flawed it must be covered all the time? Did He make such a serious mistake? Who are you to tell your God that He made mistakes in His creation? To me, the good or bad about nudity is what is in your heart, your intentions, the reasons you go naked, not the nudity itself.

An extract from Why Nude? Thoughts and reflections on social nudity by Howard Anderson

Available from Amazon and all good book distributors

Repeatedly amazed

I’m repeatedly amazed at the quizzical responses I get when I tell people that I, or my wife and I, just got back from a nude hike up a river trail to a distant peak. “Don’t the bugs get to you?” “Don’t your ‘privates’ get scratched by the brush?” “You must have one nasty sunburn!” “What if somebody sees you?” “Couldn’t you get arrested?”

I tell these people that in ten years I have had only one person go so far as to voice a brief objection, and that I have never had any more problems with the flora and fauna than I have had when dressed. mid-20120717_103914Try it, I tell them, you’ll like it. If nothing else, hike clothed out to the middle of nowhere.

When you get there leave all your clothes in a secluded spot and bravely walk naked 100 yards in any direction. By the time you return you will have had an epiphany that will change your life. To encourage naturists to get out into the great alpine outdoors au naturel, I offer the following twelve suggestions. My goal when hiking nude is to have a good time, and to do so safely, lawfully, without any lewd behavior, and in such a manner that I and my companions will most likely be alone.

My experiences arise primarily from hiking in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, but these suggestions should apply to hiking nude in any alpine setting.

An extract from the Naked Hiking book, chapter by Mark Storey.