Posts tagged naturism
It's Just Naked

After going live, we received some push-back from loved ones and internet strangers that our rhetoric and policies were unnecessarily militant and anti-male (read A Brave Nude World if you’re curious). We’ve thought about it, and are shifting our message to be more positive and less antagonistic. Additionally, we are now allowing Builders to create their own rules. Continuity is important to us, and we want the participants of any Just Naked event to know that the person holding space is thoroughly knowledgeable and shares our ethos. Aside from that, they are free to decide what rules they want to deploy for their own events.

The following is an attempt to shift Just Naked’s narrative. We hope you like it. Let us know!

Simple, platonic nudity can be very empowering. Taking off one’s clothes to commune with nature or socialize with friends can be transformative. Standing in a forest, an uninhibited breeze may inspire a feeling of transcendent unity with the environment. The camaraderie enjoyed between nudists might be equally fulfilling, removing their textile-armor to bare their innermost truth. In a perfect world, nudist clubs and beaches would not be demarcated, but a normality among humans living in harmony with the earth and each other. Just Naked’s mission is to create nude events that look and feel like any other popular clothed event, but with just naked participants. This may already seem to be the case at a glance, but a closer look reveals important disparities. For this reason, the normalization of nudity is a priority to Just Naked. Our goal is to approach these nuanced issues with honesty, courage, and progressive action.

Of all the nuances, the most obvious the confusion regarding nudity and sexuality. Is it porn or is it art? Why is a nipple not just a nipple? At public beaches, one may round a corner and find a clothed voyeur filming the scene, or a couple engaged in a barely-disguised sex act. This indicates that nudity is not just naked for everybody, but may be received as a subversive act that excites arousal or attracts predatory actors. Private “family friendly” clubs go to great lengths to address this issue, though some have embraced a severe conservatism that belittles the sensibilities of well-meaning participants (like no physical contact between men and women). To be fair, clubs and beaches are stationary and serve a large population. This makes effective legislation incomplete while increasing the chances of closure if the beach or club is regarded unfavorably by their surrounding community.

The result is a polarity between two styles of club: Sex-club nudist resorts which have less rules and greater female representation (discussed below), but charge men more than women. This solution entitles men, commodifies the female body, and robs members of the unguarded pleasure of a platonic space. Alternately, “family friendly” clubs enforce policies that repel young people. A couple making out heavily in a public park might be distasteful, sure, but in many “family friendly” nudist clubs this is grounds for immediate expulsion. Answering this dilemma is obviously difficult. Sexuality is a subjective issue, dependent upon each person’s life experience. Perhaps we could start by recognizing that one answer is not the answer, and acceptance of an ephemeral goal is necessary. Ongoing conversation, flexible rules, and kindness might be the key.

Another obvious difference between an ideal just naked space and what is currently available is gender representation. Women comprise far less than half of the usual nude population. Many have wondered why, and this is our answer: female bodies are censored differently than male bodies almost everywhere*. This causes a cultural feedback loop; shaming women into hiding which in-turn fetishizes their hidden secrets to men who might otherwise not be phased. A utopia of platonic nudists may seem unlikely when one considers innate reproductive urges, but the question dissolves when one considers the primacy of behavior.

It doesn’t matter what is going on in a person’s mind as long as they behave in a way that is acceptable. Luckily, behavior can be changed. Erections are not uncommon to men who are new to casual platonic nudity with women. Without fail, men who continue to engage in this environment (and do not harbor untoward intentions) gradually relax and may someday find the situation to be just naked. Similarly, women who are not comfortable being naked might be inclined to cover their stomachs during conversation or stay home while menstruating. Over time, these insecurities fade as they are inspired by similar women who are more comfortable in their skin.

Penis size is a common insecurity for men who are new to being naked. With time in naked space, one realizes that it’s just another genetic trait and, like hair loss or nose shape, has nothing to do with a person’s acceptance within a community (and if it does, the community is toxic and should be avoided anyway). Power imbalances between genders are a non-issue at men-only & women-only events, but they will experience other issues worth noting. Attendees of men-only events will not need as many rules as the men at co-ed events because men are be presumed to know how to stand up for themselves. However, some men find unwanted touching, staring, or cruising in these situations to be stressful. How should this be addressed?

What are the social forces that stigmatize the stomach and the penis? Can these forces be identified and affected? Can we foster indifference to these forces through the exposure therapy of just naked social gatherings? How can we serve trans folks and others who defy the gender paradigm? These questions are the purview of Just Naked. As a decentralized organization operating in heavily populated urban areas, we can test hypotheses to these questions without fear of closure or boycott. Our model encourages small groups to try new things, testing assumptions and arriving at previously unrealized conclusions.

These groups are created and managed by Builders, Just Naked leaders who are trained to approach this topic with curiosity with acute awareness of known threats to healthy and platonic nude space. Operating like a research laboratory, Builders freely share their findings with the public and hope that the most effective discoveries gain traction with other nudist groups around the world. Like any adventurous researchers, we will surely make mistakes. Some co-ed events will seem to be prejudiced towards men, with rules that create equity for women (such as allowing only women to wear bottoms). At some point women might feel coddled by such rules, instead preferring equal treatment in a space where their voice will be heard and respected. Our aim is to present these mistakes clearly, hoping that even in failure we succeed to learn and grow.

Indeed, we will grow. As of this writing, only one week after our debut, our message and approach has changed considerably due to the feedback we’ve received from friends and thoughtful internet commentators. Once our events are live, it will be up to the attendees, Builders, and the public to diplomatically decide what policies are most effective for each event. To engage the public on these issues, we plan to launch a podcast, a vlog, and will continue to post articles such as this one. Eventually, our website will host members-only content and a forum. Throughout these digital ventures, our aim is to humanize the naked form, sharing stories and fostering empathy with nudists and clothists alike.

Words are important, and we hope to use them wisely. We chose naked because the word nude feels insecure to us. Children are born naked, conditioned to a clothed world, then emerge as nudists (if they are lucky). We prefer to skip the conditioning and honor the innocent birthright of clothes-freedom. You, the reader, have a valuable story. Whatever brought you to these words, we hope that you continue to explore your personal freedom in the ways that feel good to you. We are so grateful that you’ve taken the time to read this message and we hope that this platform serves you in some meaningful way.

~

New builder Maybel Ovalles
 
Maybel Ovalles Just Naked

I’m an immigrant, transdisciplinary artist, community maker, teacher, and creator’s counselor, dancer, healer and ritual maker. Basing my work in body intelligence; I combine arts, relationships and human awareness practices, ancestral and systemic focus, and the mystic  to gestate experiences that outline our impact as the creators of our own lives, and put awareness on the dynamics that bind us to each others and to greatest intelligence. I’m at the service of linking people in an intimate way, sharing practices that catalyze us toward unicity―the quality of being one of a kind. Evil and cruelty grow in ignorance and the sense of scarcity; that is why the pillars of my life are attention, compassion, and comprehension. I’m designing a community project, which brings together culture-makers, artists, healers, and visionaries. The home of it is Residencia in Brooklyn, (www.residencia.studio), and next, CAMP in Oaxaca, Mexico, (camp.is), that  that will be open in 2020 to host retreats and community experiments.

 

I am a Venezuelan immigrant walking uncharted paths with tools to transform challenges. I’ve learned in classrooms of universities, institutions, schools as well as from legitimate and humble teachers who hold ancient traditions, from great experimental creators who share their inspiration with me, and from my contemporaries, who lead today social changes and create new culture in response to this world. Having lived in different countries gives me a various perspective of reality and too I am a self-taught person. 

 

In Venezuela I worked with victim/perpetrator and grief/celebration when I was doing systemic practices from the Hellinger Sciencia. In Argentina, I taught about being vacant and mapping an uncharted path to other artists, within a method called the Unknown Art, Arte Desconocido, developed in the CMC, Center of the Movement of Creation, Centro del Movimiento Creador, born In Venezuela. I have practiced ecosexuality all my live without knowing that name. In Venezuela I also did systemic work with the LGBTQ+ community. I have led groups for the liberation of racism. I am studying with Malidoma Patrice Somé african indigenous technologies to learn more about holding rituals and incorporating multiple layers of reality, visible and invisible. 

 

I am writing a Manifesto with the artist Judith Hilen Mugrabi from Argentina, with who I co-created @hilaroval ― an online platform of empowerment. I am researching a new media theater peace with the artist Balbelys Herrera, living in Brazil. I co-direct Residencia with Anthony Lione, a gallery of experiences in Brooklyn, where visionaries practice their discoveries. I teach classes there, and in festivals, including Touch&Play, Dark Odyssey, Burning Man, Connection Camp, etc. 

 

I am mixed-race: European, African, and American indigenous people are in my lineage. I have explored this identity in many ways. When I studied literature and visual arts in the University I took classes and did sessions to reflect on the Latin American identity in the history of the world and in the art. Then, with systemic practices I went deep into the ancestral dynamics that are incorporated into my ethnicity, working with the inheritances from each of the races that make up my identity. I do Reevaluation Counseling (RC), a practice that has in their main objective the elimination of racism. I have discharged and thought about the oppressions that my race has lived as well as about internalized racism. When I teach I have a global perspective and I celebrate the difference, just as I am aware of the different oppressions that could be playing in a mixed race community, providing a safe space so that everyone can feel included and seen. Likewise, my corporeality invites the body of others to participate uninhibited from the patterns and anguishes that are immanent to each racial group. 

 

I have explored my gender expression in my relationships and the roles that each person plays in them, and in my sexual expression. This will impact the way I teach and build a mixed-gender and gender non-conforming community because I will provide activities taking into account the different identities that each person chooses. 

I am married in an un-fenced relationship with my beloved, Anthony Lione.