The latest episode of the Naturist Living Show is all about how we have been, and continue to be, exploited. From the very beginning of naturism/nudism, there have been people who have exploited naturists and nudists. They go against the very core values of our movement. They objectify our bodies and sexualize our activities. They turn our philosophy into a source of personal gain. (money, sex, power, pride, etc...) Some of them even pander to deviants but conceal themselves beneath the cloak of legitimacy that naturism provides.
All too often, we have been willing participants. The exploiters use our tolerance and open-mindedness against us. They can infect a club and twist the definition of naturism to suit their purposes. They tempt us with the money that many clubs and naturist organizations are always short of. Because naturists are intelligent, they understand that life is not black & white so some compromise is sometimes necessary. But those small concessions can lead to a very slippery slope.
Sadly, the exploiters also hurt us and our purpose. While the internet has made it easier for naturists to spread our message, it has also been a boon for the exploiters. The result is that a search for naturism will quickly result in a plethora of pornographic images. But those are not the worst websites. The truly insidious ones are those that claim to be naturist/nudist but only use the moniker to legitimize what they do.
A simple search for "nudist family", which should be one of the most wholesome of concepts, generates results that include many websites with extensive photo galleries and video collections. While it is important to illustrate naturism, why would anyone who participates or is interested in naturism want to pay for access to a website that features "153,020 Naked Pictures" and "1,125 Naked Videos." Ironically, this website calls itself "pure nudism" and is the number one result in Google using that search term.
Another website proudly announces that it has 207 videos for sale. These videos cost between $60 and $95 each. Based on the still images that they have selected to represent each video, we conclude that most of them prominently feature children. The descriptions contain information such as "Yoga, naturist-style, females only." Why would any naturist care that the video features only a specific gender? Another video's description states that "these beautiful teens frolic in the river, pick flowers in the field, camp in the woods, sing and dance, and give each other massages." Does that sound like a description that is meant to appeal to naturists? Among their most popular titles are several "junior miss" and "teen" beauty pageants.
When the general public investigates naturism, either because they are interested or suspicious, they find these sites that appear to be naturist/nudist. And as they read on, they quickly realize that the websites are simply selling flesh. They read between the lines and understand that the people behind these businesses are no different then Hugh Hefner, Bob Guccione, or Larry Flynt; they are making money by objectifying people's bodies on behalf of those who are looking for lecherous entertainment. Thus they may dismiss naturism as just another tool for sexual exploitation instead of what it really is – an antitheses to pornography.
It is not my suggestion that we should avoid photography, film or video. The human body is beautiful. Why turn it into something shameful? To naturists, nude pictures are just as normal as any other pictures. We need those images to illustrate the beauty and wholesomeness of the naturist philosophy. But we must also be judicious in who we allow to use our images, who we recognize as authentic, and what message we convey through the use of those images.
I am also not suggesting that the adult entertainment industry should be banned. We live in a free society where each one of us has the right to choose their path. But we must speak out against those who corrupt the concept of naturism for profit. We cannot tolerate anyone who uses naturism in a deceptive manner. We must be vociferous defenders of the ethics that are fundamental to our naturist creed.