Saturday, May 08, 2010

Family Nudism Controversy in Arizona

Prosecutors have declined to press any charges against an Arizona mother and stepfather for practicing nudism in front of their two adolescent boys. When the 13 year-old complained to his father that the nudity made him "uncomfortable", police were called in and recommended that the couple be charged with a crime.
"You do not know how familiar this story is," said Bob Morton, executive director of the Naturist Action Committee, a non-profit that advocates for nudist legal issues.

He said battling ex-spouses and family members often try to use one parent's decision to practice nudism as an issue in custody cases.

Parents have a right to decide what goes on inside their homes unless there's criminal conduct, Morton said.
Former sex crimes prosecutor Robert J. Campos said that he was "skeptical" of the entire investigation and that the criminal case was a "real stretch."
But more government regulations for parents would be considered controversial in a nation that prides itself on myriad freedoms, said Campos, the former prosecutor.

"Part of being free means accepting the possible harm that comes with it," he said. "You just can't legislate the harm out of the world."
AANR takes a much more conservative stand on the issue.
"We do believe that respecting boundaries and communicating is critical to a successful nude-recreation experience," said Erich Schuttauf, executive director of the American Association for Nude Recreation.

He said parents who decide to try out naturist activities or to visit a resort should talk to their children first. If a child seems uncomfortable, parents should let the child's views dictate their plans.

That could mean enjoying a nudist vacation without the child or stripping down only when the child isn't around, Schuttauf said.
"Parents should let the child's view dictate their plans." As any parent knows, letting the child make the call on family decisions is just plain stupid, otherwise all meals would consist of cake and ice cream, and all vacations would be at Disney World. Children are "uncomfortable" in church, at the dentist, at summer camp, in school, in gym class, etc. It's up to the parent to make the best possible decision for the welfare of the child. With all the benefits of nudism, from improved body image to healthier minds and bodies, nude recreation is good for people of all ages.

This does not mean that parents should drag their kids kicking and screaming to nudist resorts. Common sense needs to prevail, but it should be up to the parents to make the common sense decisions, not the children.

By suggesting that family nudism should be the sole decision of the child, Schuttauf infers that parental nudism in the home, and at nudist resorts, without the full support of the child, is tantamount to abuse, and that police and child protection agencies have the right to step in.

I'm not surprised that AANR would take the "appeasement" route, especially since it abandoned San Onofre Beach, and virtually convicted the "naked coffee guy" in Virginia before the full facts of the case were known. And don't forget that Schuttauf also raised questions about the other Arizona couple who had their children temporarily removed over some nude family photos, and astoundingly endorsed full body scanners at airports.

Nudists and naturists need to advocate clearly for the nude lifestyle and not take these "politically correct" stances which only serve to further stigmatize nudity. Kudos to Bob Morton of the NAC for properly analyzing this particular situation, and boos to AANR for once again failing to recognize the right of nudity in the home.


Rick said...

Is AANR's stand on nudism "We want to be naked but let's not offend anyone?" Enough political correctness already! It's troubling, actually downright frightening, that every time there's a situation someone feels the need to call in some government authority. Having the government resolve all of our problems never results in a satisfactory solution and only propagates the nanny state.

Parents need to assert their parental authority. The kids shouldn't run the show.

Jim P said...

With a friend like AANR who needs enemies? They either have very little child raising experience, or are incredibly stupid or both.

Andre said...

So do you think the AANR is still fit for purpose? It at them as an outsider (being a UK naturist), it just seems that the AANR doesn't know what it stands for and seems not able or willing to always fully supporting US naturists.

Then again I could be wrong.

Reverend_Sex said...

Excellent comments Nudiarist. You continue to shine light on the wrong mindedness of much of AANR's public stances. Let's get nudism out of the closet and into the open air of respectabilty and acceptedness.

Brad Fults said...

I agree with you about AANR's response on this issue. Have you written a letter to Schuttauf about it?

I think AANR's members deserve to hear an alternate view and have a chance to shift AANR's responses to these issues. Remember, AANR is just a group of people where some have the power to speak publicly for the organization. That power can be taken away from those people and given to those with more sensible outlooks on nudism.

Paul said...

AANR derives its power historically from clubs. Anything that isn't club naturism or might detract from it gets AANR's disapproval, even if it's mild.

The sole exception is nudity on a few select beaches, which is a story for another time.

That said, its point about respecting boundaries and communicating is very reasonable advice. AANR doesn't, however, seem to know what it means in naturist circumstances --- because it doesn't mean letting children decide about nudity but presumably little else. That comes dangerously close to implying that nudity in the home is wrong unless someone can prove it right.

Paul said...

AANR implies this is about a nude experience? Even if realize that quotation is out of context, recreation isn't involved in this case.

Reminds me of AANR's claim that airport scanners are just like skinny dipping.

Anonymous said...

So many parents are keen to use their children to burn their ex. They don't see that they end up burning their children as well as the make them their cannon fodder. At times, teaching their kids to hate.

Naturism and being pagan are two things that people use to destroy the other yet it is these groups which leave people alone as they tend to their own lives.

I'd rather not be part of mainstream society. Mainstream society is twisted.

Paul said...

Here's what I meant to write:

AANR implies this is about a nude recreation experience? Even if I realize that quotation is out of context, recreation isn't involved in this case.

Reminds me of AANR's claim that airport scanners are just like skinny dipping.

Nudiarist said...


This situation probably does call for a response from AANR because the couple in question are reported to have visited the Shangri La Ranch, which is AANR affiliated.

I do believe it is good advice for families to "respect boundaries" and communicate, but the question here is whether or not Schuttauf should even be dispensing personal advice to AANR's members.

Bob Morton said all that needed to be said when he stated that "parents have a right to decide what goes on inside their homes unless there's criminal conduct."

Schuttauf needs to shut off the excessive comments and stick to the facts. There is way too much effort to avoid offending anyone, and in the process he and AANR are offending the very people they purport to represent.

Brian Taylor - PRO for British Naturism said...

It's not easy being a national organisation! I have some sympathy with AANR's stance, but it is not that of British Naturism (BN) the national organisation for naturists in the UK. We have research that shows the importance of breaking down the prejudice held by some against nudity. We are not alone in making a connection between a nation's attitude to nudity and their rates of teenage pregnancy, abortions and STI's. The more liberal the nation the lower are their rates, the more prudish, the higher are those rates.

It is true that teenagers sometimes go through a stage where they are not comfortable with their own nakedness and that is understandable given the changes taking place to their bodies, but that is no reason to let them project that onto their parents' nudity, especially if they have grown up with this as part of their normal family life. Giving in to the notion that nudity is shameful is in itself harmful. Teaching children to be confident and to respect their bodies is much better.

Lee said...

There's a reason my AANR membership has lapsed, but not my TNS membership.

I hope not too much family damage was done along the way before the too often inane US government, and the goofy culture it tries to placate, finally got a clue.

And, yes, we do live in the era of parents being dictated to by their children and if parents don't go along with it the all powerful government seems to like to step in and "fix it". It's little wonder we have the social problems we do.

I know my somewhat similar experience in a different state was far from a family-building one, to put it mildly.

Sigmatau said...

I for one thought AANR handled this situation correctly. I think most people who disagree aren't bothering to actually listen to the children involved in the case, and that disturbs me a bit...

Nudiarist said...

Sig, the prosecutor listened to the children and concluded that no crime had been committed. Bob Morton seemed to have this pegged correctly as the consequence of a messy divorce.