If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may have noticed that we often use a comparison with veganism as an example to explain certain aspects of naturism. There’s no need to worry, our goal is not to convince every naturist to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Or vice versa. But we noticed that although both are quite distinct, they share a number of similar values.
It appears that the concept of not using or consuming animal products seems a lot easier to comprehend than the concept of non-sexual nudity. Maybe because one is more tangible than the other? Or is it because veganism has become more known than naturism? That we can’t explain. But if you do find yourself with questions about naturism, it’s often helpful to ask “What would the vegan do?”.
The same roots
Both the concepts of “modern” naturism and veganism originate from the first half of the 20th century and could be called a result of the industrial revolution. While naturism was mostly focusing on reintegrating nature into our lives, the vegan philosophy spotlighted the growing exploitation of animals. Respect for nature and our surroundings can be seen as a very common ground.
Note the word “modern” in the previous paragraph, because both the idea of social nudity and not consuming animal products can be traced back much further than the 20th century. In ancient Greece, for example, sports were by default practised in the nude. Around the same time in Greece, the philosophical school of Pythagoras taught the avoidance of harm to all living beings, including animals.
Both have strong activism
As it typically goes with philosophies that turn into movements, there’s quite some activism behind it. Which isn’t always beneficial for the public image. We remember from our childhood that vegans were mostly pictured as skinny people with mohawks and anarchy signs on their jeans jackets who wrote “Meat is murder” on the walls of McDonalds. Naturists, on the other hand, were middle-aged white men who appeared full-frontal naked in human interest programs.
It’s important to realise that although activists are necessary to provoke a change in mentality, they don’t represent the whole scope of a movement. You don’t need to cherish deep hate for hamburger chains in order to be a vegan. Nor does every naturist needs to be willing to preach about the benefits of naturism while naked in front of a camera. Everyone has their place in a movement, it’s just that you often only hear the voices of those in the front row.
There have to be rules
In previous posts, we already used the example of the person who asked us whether it’s okay to walk around in boxers at a naturist resort. Although different resorts have different rules when it comes to clothing, if you just want to walk around in boxers all day, a naturist resort is not the place for you. We always wonder where those questions come from. How difficult is it to understand the concept of nudity?
This is where we like to use the comparison with veganism. Do vegans also get the question of whether it’s fine to eat a lamb chop in their restaurant? How about some chicken wings? Maybe a sausage? We doubt it. No animal products is no animal products. Period. Similarly, nude is nude.
The difference here is that vegans don’t consume animal products no matter what, whereas naturists do wear clothes when it’s more comfortable or appropriate. Wearing clothes doesn’t make you less of a naturist, because naturism is a mindset. One could say that from this point of view, veganism is more like a practice, but that’s not entirely true. We have a vegan friend who will eat meat or fish, but only if she witnessed (and approved) the production process.
It’s a choice
Some vegans were born in a vegan family, just like some naturists were born in a naturist family. Some adopted their lifestyle at a very young age. Some became vegan because they are allergic to animal products and we met a person with a skin disease who can only feel comfortable when naked. But overall, we can say that both naturism and veganism are a choice.
This is a positive thing because it means that you can easily try it. You don’t need to become a member of a club, you don’t need to get somebody’s approval, and you don’t even need to worry about what happens next. If you want to try veganism, you just stop consuming animal products. Soon enough, you’ll figure out if this is something for you, and if not, you can switch back just like that.
It’s the same with naturism, we often say that it’s not like getting a tattoo. It’s not permanent if you don’t want it to be. You can just go to a naturist resort or a nude beach and give it a try. You can even try it at home. Just take off your clothes and be naked. If you don’t enjoy it, you can put your clothes back on and not be a naturist anymore.
Can we live together?
We eat vegan food from time to time, but hardly ever in a vegan restaurant. Most of the time, we’re just in whatever restaurant where the vegan options happen to be the most attractive. Veganism has gained quite some popularity recently and we think that this has at least partly to do with non-vegan restaurants putting vegan options on their menu.
Of course, there will always be vegans who prefer vegan restaurants, because they like to be among like-minded people or because they can’t stand the sight or smell of grilled meat. But for many others, the combination works best because now they can go with their non-vegan friends to a restaurant where everyone can eat what they like.
You probably see where we are going with this. It’s quite known that we are fans of the clothing-optional concept and also here, we see similarities with veganism. There will always be naturists who don’t feel comfortable when clothed people are around. But for those who don’t care, clothing-optional has the benefit that you can take your textile friends. And just like us eating vegan food at a non-vegan restaurant, we believe that if more places would allow nudity without enforcing it, there would be more people who give it a try.
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