Journalism about nudists is terrible.
Newspapers and websites love nudism. The nudity taboo is so strong in our society that anything involving naked people is a reader magnet. Journalists play straight into this narrative with articles that are designed to tap into readers’ naughty thrills.
The result: terrible writing about nudists and nudism. Articles treat nudists like an alien species, or like a gang of lunatics ostracized in “colonies”. They use childish jokes, unfunny references to body parts, and the most tired cliches imaginable. How often does an article promise the “bare facts” about nudism?
As nudists, we can we can start to influence how nudist topics are covered. Society is probably not going to start to respect, or even accept, nudists any time soon. But we can take positive, constructive action to shift the standard narrative away from its childish, sniggering shamefulness, and towards a positive, accepting view of nudism.
Here are some actions we can take any time we encounter poor coverage of nudists in the news.
- Contact the public editor or ombudsman. Most established media outlets have an individual who readers can appeal to if they perceive a breach of journalistic standards or ethics. Write to this person and ask why the publication felt it was okay to make fun of nudists and nudism.
- Write a letter to the editor. Yes, it’s old school, but letters to the editor have an impact as a public rebuttal to poor journalism. You may be concerned that you’ll be “outed” as a nudist, so go ahead and submit it under a pseudonym.
- Question the writer directly. In the twitter age, you can find the author (or their publication) and ask them to answer for their poor journalism. Don’t be aggressive! Instead, address their misconceptions about nudism, and ask them to update their article. Help the journalist better understand nudism, so their coverage can improve in the future.
Wherever we respond, though, attitude is crucial to getting our message across. The general public already believes the narrative about nudists being slightly deranged, out of touch with social norms, and oversexed or perverted. It’s extremely damaging to nudists to play into this narrative.
A common mistake is to try to turn others into nudists. You won’t convert anyone; you’re likely to come off as a weird crank who wants to see other people naked. Don’t say “If you only tried it...” Leave non-nudists out of it.
And do not escalate the dispute. Accusatory language (“How dare you!”), victimhood (“We’re being persecuted!”), and anger (“You fool!”) will all weaken your argument.
Instead, concentrate on the positive nature of nudist philosophy. Less shame, more body positivity. People from all walks of life enjoy nudism. We’re not harming anyone. We welcome an opportunity to discuss our values.
One of the benefits of the nudist culture is the exceptionally friendly individuals involved in the lifestyle promoting well-being and healthy life choices.
This is a great message to put out into the world! Incorporate those positive values as much as you can when you call out poor coverage of nudism.
The search for acceptance of nudism in our nudity-averse society is an uphill battle. If all nudists become active, positive advocates for the nudist philosophy, though, we can’t fail to improve others’ attitudes as well, even if they choose not to take part in the lifestyle themselves.
Share Your Thoughts
Have you found any examples of good journalism about nudism? Post links in the comments below!