Generation Why

FOR DOWNLOAD MORE GALLERY Eric at Gymnophiliac has an ambitious post about Generation Y and the lack of youth participation in social nudism.

He makes some good points, but perhaps due to his own youth and lack of life experience, he gets many things wrong, in my opinion.

First of all, he cites the fact that most nudists are baby boomers and today's kids don't want to socialize with them.
Think about it - in how many activities do you really see different generations hanging out with each other? I'm sure there must be some, but offhand I can't think of any.
Go to virtually any restaurant, museum, hotel, shopping mall, beach, movie theatre, etc., and you will see people of all ages. I can't imagine a group of kids skipping a trip to the mall or the beach because "old people" might be there. Certainly people tend to socialize with others their own age, that's just human nature, and this happens at nudist resorts, too.

The generation gap was never greater than it was in the fifties and sixties when the counterculture turned things upside down, but that era is considered the "golden age" of American nudism. If you look at nudist magazines from these years you see people of all ages at the resorts, from breastfeeding babies to the elderly.

Eric then turns to the economy as a barrier.
It's very difficult for people who are simply curious and offers no way for people to just try it out on a whim. Baby boomers have the cash and time to fly to Florida and stay at a resort, or drive for a few hours to spend a weekend at the nearest club.
Logically, one would have to conclude that the children of these baby boomers also have the means to travel, right? Just because Eric feels economically squeezed himself, this is not indicative of society as a whole. Elite colleges are getting more applications than ever. Sales at Saks are up, luxury items such as boats and RVs are selling more than ever. There is a lot of money out there, and a lot of kids are spending it freely, but they are not spending it on trips to nudist resorts. I just don't buy the "it's the economy, stupid" argument - it applies to some, but not all.

Eric then goes on to explain the role of individualism and how it affects social nudism.
Teenagers love to go bowling; it's one of the few things they can do legally. But they don't join bowling leagues. Nudists tend to be fixated on the "nude" aspect, but ignore the larger social context.
Bowling is one of the few things teenagers can do legally? Really? C'mon Eric, that's not even remotely true. The fact that bowling leagues are passe' does not necessarily relate directly to social nudism. After all, people are still going to bowling alleys, aren't they? They just aren't doing it in competitive leagues.
Generation Y is more self centered than any generation that came before, but in a good way. We're individualistic, and celebrate individualism. It's cool to be different.
Sorry, but this generation did not invent individualism. The writers of the Bill of Rights understood that it was individual rights that were the foundation to our new society. Perhaps what Eric means is that Generation Y is isolated, detached from having as much face-to-face human interaction as previous generations. While the counterculture of the sixties sought to strip away masks, today's kids are wearing more than ever, hiding behind screen names, sending text messages, even becoming virtual selves on sites like Second Life. I'll buy personal isolationism as a reason, but not individualism.
People under 30 are digital natives - we don't know a world without cell phones, instant messaging and the web. We don't know what it's like to not be connected to our friends 24/7. We grew up with it, it's in our blood. People over 30... they might use these tools, but they're not really part of their culture.
What are you talking about, Eric? Have you no sense of recent history? Even though I didn't carry a cell phone when I was a teenager, I still spent hours talking to friends on the telephone (a device that was was basically a cell phone but was plugged into the wall). Everywhere I go today I see people my age (fifties) driving around in their SUVs jabbering on their cell phones. To say it is not part of the over 30 culture is just plain wrong. And don't forget that "your" world of cell phones and computers was invented by my generation.
Generation Y has a much more fine grained (and frankly, more mature) view of sexuality. The problem isn't that they can't separate nudity from sex; quite the contrary, they grasp it far more intuitively than many of their baby boomer parents. The problem that nudists try to scrub sex from everything, and that's a turn off.
As a baby boomer, I find these remarks somewhat offensive. The words smack as being a dismissal of anyone over 30 as being out of touch. You want mature? The baby boomers invented birth control. The baby boomers turned sexuality into popular culture, the topless swimsuit came out in the sixties, there was more nudity in the movies than there is today, at least part of Woodstock was a nudist event, and so on. I lived through the seventies and I don't think there was a more sexually liberated decade in the twentieth century.

I'll take Kinsey, Masters and Johnson, and other sexual influences of the fifties and sixties as examples of maturity over Paris Hilton, Ron Jeremy and the Girls Gone Wild folks of today's sexual culture.

And nudists do not "scrub sex" from everything - they just frown on any overt sexual behavior in social situations. Eric apparently wants to go to a nudist resort and see couples having sex in the open. There are swingers resorts out there, they are not too hard to find.
Sunbathing isn't fun. Neither is sitting in a hot tub. Or any "sport" that mostly involves standing around (I'm looking at you, shuffleboard). Swimming can be, but pools at resorts are rarely well suited for rambunctious games.
Nudists hike, they swim, they play volleyball, basketball, horseshoes, they go bungee jumping, bicycling, etc. If you have some specific activity to do in the nude, then you can do it. What sort of "rambunctious" games do you want to play in the pool? Have your ever played water volleyball? It can get very competitive and strenuous.
I have no clue how anyone would ever find out anything about nudism if not for the web - I don't know how people did it 20 years ago.
Well that's part of your problem, Eric, you think that the 80s was the dark ages. There were many nudist clubs and resorts, there were magazines with photos, articles and ads, there was the telephone for calling friends and making plans, there were cars to drive to go places, and, believe it or not, people communicated. You did not need the Internet or a cell phone to communicate, and we did not have to resort to using smoke signals or Morse code.
It's NOT the religious right.Not culturally anyway. Basically, I just write off 25% of the country as f'in insane and not worth the effort. Most people who aren't the religious right also think they're insane. They do have influence as a voting block; but not socially.
The religious right came out of the closet with Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority and was instrumental in getting Ronald Reagan elected and ushering in our current conservative-dominated society. I agree with Eric that liberal ideas usually win over time, and we might be seeing the end of the current cycle of these Christianists, but there is no denying the tremendous impact the moralists have had on our society, both culturally and politically. New laws seem to be passed every day regulating nudity and adult entertainment. The FCC has stricter rules and stiffer fines than ever. Many of the once-thriving nudist clubs of the sixties and seventies have faded away under this unfriendly political climate.

A Harris Poll taken in 2003 showed that 90% of American adults believed in God. It is not logical to conclude anything other than the fact that the overwhelming majority of God-fearing people has a tremendous affect on our society. For most Americans, nudism is immoral and indecent. Until we get a grip as a society that the human body is nothing to be ashamed of, nudism as a social entity is in danger for all age groups.

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