Nudism and stampsFor some years (and for some price), Canada Post has allowed users to have their own picture on a stamp. This has led more than a few to think of sending in you know what sort of photo. GN is unaware of any such attempt's being successful. Indeed, in issue 15:4 is a tale of how Canada Post gave the snip to a naturist stamp. It's far easier to get past postal sensors than postal censors.
But hey, there's an alternative. In California, Blair Brumley and Claudia Kellersch created an address label with their picture on it. Why not? Why didn't we think of this one!
In late 2005, Blair and Claudia used this photo on seasonal cards and letters to twelve states, three provinces, Australia, and Germany, with no problem. Yes, the picture on the label is small. But for naked subversion, it's hard to beat the idea.
What if millions of North Americans "followed suit"?
Nudism and churchAn enterprising FCN member from the Bay of Quinte (ON) area sent us a clipping from the December 2005 edition of The United Church Observer. The person answering the question is David McKane, a minister in London (ON). He has done some good thinking! Here's the whole exchange:
Question: Does the United Church have a position on social nudism or social naturism? More and more people are enjoying this recreation and lifestyle.
Answer: We have no "official" position, except affirming the beauty of the human body. We do believe, after all, that the Word became flesh. The Federation of Canadian Naturists "seeks to encourage respect for oneself, others, and the environment." Nudity is but a part of their overall philosophy, and they claim to represent about nine percent of the population.
Some folks are very at ease in their own skin and some feel embarrassed. Some regard nudity as provocative, even sinful. Others regard nudity as deeply spiritual and freeing. I supposed it depends in part on whether you are in Miami or in Whitehorse.
Theologically there is occasion here for some wonderful discussion on the incarnation and the power of the human body to express both divinity and depravity.
Nudity and sexEarlier this year, an Egyptian cleric declared that nudity during sexual intercourse was forbidden. In fact, such a state of undress would annul a marriage.
Another expert disagreed. He argued that married couples could see each other naked but should not look at one other's genitals.
Obviously there are still new ways to proclaim the separation of nudity and sex.
Figuratively speakingNear San Diego is the city of Escondido. In Spanish it means hidden. In January, that's what disapproving residents thought should apply to an art gallery's portrait of a nude man by Robert Ferguson. One woman opined, " I want to protect my child." Another objector claimed, " It goes beyond just looking. It leads to sex before marriage. Homosexual acts. Why does he do naked men?"
The owner of the gallery worried about vandalism, so she had the offending painting moved from its second-storey window. But many calls and messages of support later, she returned it to its former spot.
Another local gallery owner thought that the controversy was "the best thing that could happen to the arts district, and a boon for local art business." Ferguson believes the controversy over his work exposes people's misunderstanding of art. And, we add, of nudity.
Exposing the new yearThe Taranaki Naturists Club, one of the smallest in New Zealand, hosted a national camp-out by the sea to begin 2006. That attracted about 120 naturists aged 4 to 80 from all over New Zealand and even from overseas. Events included a fancy dress dance (?) and a "bare bum bingo" (!)
The New Zealand Naturist Federation said that naturists use plenty of sunscreen because "we have bits in the sun that aren't normally exposed." We need to rethink what's normal!Bungee beachesIn January, Forbes magazine issued its list of 13 "top topless beaches." Its article didn't mention the best reasons for being nude or topfree (a word it doesn't know). Its reasons were: a desire "to flaunt it," to do the equivalent of bungee jumping, and to remember the late 1960s and early 70s (Really important for people under 40, who never knew them!).
The article often didn't acknowledge a difference between topfree and nude, and recommended only two beaches in all continental North America. Those were Black's in California, whose state-owned section is fully clothing optional, and South Beach in Miami Beach, which isn't. No mention of Haulover Beach (FL), Wreck Beach (BC), or many others in the USA and Canada.
Nice to see the exposure, but Forbes needs to provide better (un)coverage.
Pitt stopLate last year, Brad Pitt threatened legal action against anyone publishing photos of him naked on his Los Ángeles balcony. We recall that his ex, Jennifer Aniston, made the same threat when a paparazzo photographed her topfree at her place.
Would Brad's current belle, Angelina, complain if that happened to her? Probably she'd consider photos of herself to be jolie.
Of course, if nudity were more accepted, the paparazzi wouldn't have much to do.
Good newsIn January, Stéphane Deschênes, President of the FCN, met with Jeanette Lewis, Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies. The aim was to discuss ways in which the two organizations could deal with some of the issues identified in the article published in GN/AN 20:3.
Lewis was open minded and asked many questions to better understand naturism and our concerns about Children's Aid. She stressed that OACAS has no control over Ontario's 53 Children's Aid Societies. Each is run by an independent board and is responsible to Ontario's Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
The OACAS does work with government on development of and response to legislation, standards, policy, regulations, contentious issues, and review mechanisms. They also have quite an influence on policies created by Ontario's CASs. Given all that, the participants agreed that OACAS should have a document explaining naturism, available for child care workers' reference. This could help prevent unnecessary investigations which cause parents stress and waste CAS resources.
It was agreed that over the next few months, the FCN and OACAS will work together to create an appropriate document which will then be added to the OACAS library.
Crossing the AtlanticJames Cracknell and Ben Fogle decided last year to row in a race across the Atlantic Ocean. Cracknell, by the way, is an Olympic gold-medal rower.
You guessed it-they did it naked. They wanted to avoid chafing and cutting from clothes, and getting sweaty and promoting fungal growths.
They encountered plenty of problems on their 5000 km journey from the Canary Islands to Antigua. Their boat capsized, scattering equipment. They could sleep only two hours at a time. Their butts got very sore.
Don't laugh: they won.
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The Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN) and the Fédération québécoise de naturisme (FQN) share the Canadian membership in the International Naturist Federation (INF), which has its world headquarters in Antwerp, Belgium.