In an article published in the Wall Street Journal, Nicky Hoffman Lee, co-owner of The Naturist Society, made the following comments about the state of organized nudism today:
"The whole lifestyle will just disappear unless we attract a younger crowd," said Nicky Hoffman, head of the Naturist Society, one of the two big organizations of U.S. nudists. "The problem is, most of these resorts aren't geared to young people. They've become like retirement homes; they've sort of calcified."Nicky, Nicky, what on earth were you thinking? Your ill-advised comments are now the centerpiece of an article which skewers nudists and naturists, painting them as basically dirty old men that are best to be avoided.
John Whitehead, 22, visited the Sunsport Gardens resort for the first time last year. He enjoyed being naked until he spotted a man his father's age he knew from work, then spent the day avoiding him."It's not that I have anything against old people," Mr. Whitehead said. "I just don't really want to hang out with them at the pool."The article is a disaster, outlining the history of nudism as a series of arrests and beatings, and defining nude recreation as "undressing in front of strangers". Even worse, the Spring Break Bash at Sunsport Gardens organized by Florida Young Naturists is painted as a segregated event to avoid turning the younger people into "eye candy" for older people.
This story has gone viral and has appeared on many prominent blogs and does real damage to the image of naturists and nudists everywhere. From Jezebel:
If people of all ages can't come together to enjoy the freedom of standing around and feeling cold and slightly awkward, perhaps it's time to accept that the younger generation's interest in public nudity is mostly limited to occasional bouts of drunken toplessness.The Village Voice even proclaims that "people should just wear clothes."
The Miami New Times reports:
That Spring Break Bash, held at a resort on the edge of the Everglades, only attracted 55 people, and the group's Facebook page keeps getting shut down because it's tricky to run a group with both "young" and "nude" in the title.But if you really want to lose your lunch, read the comments section of the Wall Street Journal article, where Robbe White of the Florida Young Naturists adds his two cents:
Great article. Thank You WSJ and Doug Belkin for shedding some light on the nudist/naturist community. Check out our website: http://www.FYNude.orgGreat article? Really? Just because you got your name in print?
John Whitehead claims that his comments were twisted out of context, which is not a surprise considering the state of journalism today.
I am the John Whitehead mentioned in the article of all the things I said, they mention me seeing a guy from my work who I avoided the first time because he knows my dad. They seemed to leave out that I talked with him about it later on and then he said "Don't worry I won't say anything". Not only that but my second quote was explaining why I never went prior to the FYN event and I was saying I was glad about FYN because I could be around people my own age. I think they made me sound like kind of a jerk...I talked to the journalist for around 30 minutes. I said all kinds of things. Why of all things things that I said would you mention that I saw a guy from work. I casually mentioned that. I mostly talked about how great the event was and how I met a bunch or friendly and interesting people. Why couldn't you mention that WSJ?The comments are filled with loathing for nudists in general, and Susan Weaver, President of The American Association for Nude Recreation, is smart enough to realize the negativity of the article.
It is unfortunate that this article makes a generalized statement about nudist clubs, campgrounds and resorts. Among the 267 that are affiliated with AANR, there is tremendous diversity. I have found them to be enormously relaxing and fun, and there has never been any criticism of my own body jewelry. The people I have met at AANR clubs are interesting people, much traveled, with fascinating hobbies and histories. The aanr.com website is much visited by people of all ages looking to discover where there is a club nearby to visit.
AANR has worked for 80 years to promote and protect nude recreation, and will continue to advocate for the rights of nudists for as many years as it takes to assure public awareness and acceptance of social family nude recreation as a joyful life experience.Thank you, Susan, for showing some class in the middle of a disaster. There's not too much to salvage from this train wreck of epic proportions.
UPDATE: Time Magazine agrees with me that Nicky's comments were a total gaffe.
"The whole lifestyle will just disappear unless we attract a younger crowd," Nicky Hoffman, head of the Naturist Society, recently told the Wall Street Journal. "The problem is, most of these resorts aren't geared to young people. They've become like retirement homes; they've sort of calcified."'
With statements like that, we can see why young, vibrant Americans aren't clamoring to join ranks and take their clothes off.Nicky needs to apologize for her disparaging remarks, or at the very least, she should explain that she was misquoted, or taken out of context.