Nudism and Generation Y

FOR DOWNLOAD MORE GALLERY The big human interest story this week on the Internet is the attempt by Solair Nudist Resort to recruit college students into participating in nude recreation. Whether it was the bad weather or a lack of interest, apparently the effort failed.
No one is quite sure why nudity, at least the organized version promoted by the AANR and similar groups, is such a tough sell for younger people. "I think people think that we're all hippies," said Laura Groezinger, 22, of Billerica, Mass., who grew up visiting Solair with her family. "Other people, I don't know the right way to say this, but they think it's more sexual, kind of. They don't understand just the being free with your body and being comfortable." Money is also an issue. As nudist resorts become increasingly upscale, catering to baby boomers and retirees with plenty of disposable income, they're less affordable for college students and young families on budgets.
Tom Mulhall of the Terra Cotta Inn has weighed in on the issue.
In my opinion, they do many things that prevent them from getting younger members. One of the biggest turn offs is you have to join the club. People these days are not joiners of clubs. There is an excellent book called Bowling Alone : The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert Putnam. He explains that memberships in all sorts of organizations are down an average of 58%. Even though bowling is just as popular as ever, bowling leagues are way down in membership as people are not joining them. So many nudist clubs have a rule that after 3 visits, you must join their club. No wonder they aren't attracting new members.
John Henry on the Nudist Travel Guide Blog seems to think it's a failure of the industry to adapt to the new generation.
Well, the world has changed and become more complicated over the years. The younger generation has different needs from baby boomers. Each individual in the younger generation has to decide such things as “Is nude recreation where I want to spend my time and money as compared to other things like text messaging, cell phone bills and running up credit card debt?” The baby boomers didn’t have this complexity when they grew up.
Henry goes on to talk about his experience at Solair and how he and his wife were manipulated.
Additionally, during each of the first 4 visits, we were supposed to seek out a person with a yellow hat. The yellow hat people do memberships and tell you about the place. After they do that, they’re supposed to sign your membership sheet. Nice idea and I’m sure some people love it, but not us. We just went to Solair wanting to relax and get away from the complications of life for a day. We did not want to talk to yellow hat people.
I don't know if I totally buy any of these arguments, although they all have some impact. Every generation has its burdens - the Depression, World War II, Vietnam, etc. Please don't tell me that cell phone bills and credit cards alone are standing in the way of nudism.

Perhaps the membership issue is a barrier, but people will find a way to do what they really want to do . Tom's example of bowling leagues is somewhat valid, but people are still bowling, they are just not bowling in leagues.

Dan Glaister in The Guardian has a different outlook on the problem.
American nudism, which came from Germany, could be falling to the same pressures as have fuelled the culture wars of the last decade. As social conservatives have been in the ascendant, public nudity has been seen as morally corrupt. Several states have passed laws outlawing public nudity, including skinny-dipping. In Montana it carries a six-month sentence.
While today's college students appear to be more comfortable with their bodies, manifested in nude parties, flashing, streaking, etc., these activities are being more frowned upon by a society that is under the influence of the conservative moralists. Streakers are being arrested and threatened with sex offender status. Women who bare their breasts in public are arrested in most states. States are passing more and more laws against nudity, making exposure a felony in come cases, and threatening the legality of anyone who wishes to practice the nudist lifestyle.

A young person who perhaps has the mindset for nudism is not only faced with the financial and logistical hurdles, but also with the legal and moral ramifications for being nude.

I believe that the future of nudism lies not within the aging social structures of the closed "camps" or resorts, but in the freedom of nude beaches on public lands. Witness the huge crowds that flock to Haulover Beach in Florida. And I have stated several times that I believe that America is poised to become accepting of topfree sunbathing for women on beaches, but it will take some Rosa Parks type of pioneering by women to achieve this equality.

It should be a natural right for every human being to be nude on a beach or in nature. The fight should be to set aside land on public beaches and parks for non-sexual nude recreation. It seems to me that college kids are a lot more likely to hop in the car for a free day at a nude beach, rather than subject themselves to personal scrutiny and membership sales pressure at a privately owned resort.

Until America as a society comes to grips with the fact that the naked human body is nothing to be ashamed of, and that people who want to be nude for swimming and other recreation are not all sexual predators, then nudism as it exists now is in deep trouble.

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