Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Great Naked Debate, Round Two

The Great Naked Debate tackles the question: "Would you ride nude in the World Naked Bike Ride?"

Seven nudists responded and the overall impression is that the WNBR is not a nudist event and that most would not participate for varying reasons.

Nudist Travel Guide responded, "My wife is worried about privacy and the scariness of being nude in front of a non-nudist public." Gymnophiliac was more enthusiastic when he said, "Sure, why not? I think it’d be fun to ride nude through a city in a safe and (presumably) legal manner."

USA Nudist had the most thoughtful response:
Promoting acceptance of nudity in public in appropriate places is important. I support that effort, but would not personally participate in the World Naked Bike Ride. Unfortunately, the premise that the World Naked Bike Ride promotes the acceptance of nudity is false. The WNBR is a demonstration protesting the negative aspects of petroleum fueled vehicles and dangers of these vehicles to bike riders and pedestrians, and not to promote acceptance of appropriate nudity. It uses the nudity for shock value to gain publicity much the same as are done in the PETA campaigns. Both are treated by the media as a freak show. This negative perception overshadows the public’s acceptance of their messages and associates nudism with the same negative feelings. There are many other ways to promote nudism with less controversial methods.
The "freak show" aspect of the WNBR is definitely a cause for concern. If you check out this photo gallery where 250 people rode through London, take the time to check out all the people along the route with cameras - it's like a day at the zoo.

This is not to say that the WNBR is not a great protest event. With the world's dependency on oil on the rise and supplies on the wane, there needs to be more "in your face" activites to increase awareness and bring about change.

As I stated in my response in the debate, "I’m not so sure that I would feel comfortable riding naked with only a dozen or so people through city streets, because the attention focused on the event would be from the police, the media and the voyeurs."

Tom Mulhall added, "I feel that the more people see nudity in a non sexual environment, the more they will accept it."

As nudists we are constantly trying to find our place in a society that considers social nudism a taboo. Events such as the WNBR, the PETA protests, and the Spencer Tunick installations all contribute in some way to the overall acceptance of the human body as something more than just a sexual object, and that is a good thing.

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