In order to foster this position, the
Spanish Naturist Federation called for “A
Day Without Bathing Suits”, which was
held on the 15th of July. Members and citizens
in general were invited to go without suits
to any beaches they chose. The idea was very
well accepted, which showed not only in the
number of people who followed it through but
also in the attention paid to the event by the
Some days later and after sounding out
people for their impressions, we are ready to
assess the outcome.
An article published in the Spanish national
daily, El País, about the proposed
event, summoned people to go public. The Spanish
news dispatcher, EFE, also divulged that news,
as well as a debate on Channel 4 and some radio
stations. It goes without saying that FEN and
its associated members joined in by letting
people know about the coming event.
The cameras of other TV channels such as TV5,
Televisión Española, La Sexta, Antena3
and the reporters from the newspaper La Vanguardia
went out to beaches and other inland venues (in Madrid,
the San Juan reservoir), looking for related information
for their news reels and programmes.
The news reports did not censor their images,
which show they appreciate the natural and legal condition
of nudity and, therefore, did not either criminalise
or move it to the night which is not prime-time. We
congratulate ourselves for that.
We saw the same attitude concerning the written media:
, El Mundo
and La Razón
do not hesitate to publish full nudity when it concerns
And yet, we feel it is worth going
over, even if briefly, the arguments which were repeated these
days coinciding with the Day Without Bathing Suits.
The most frequent is child protection. “Don’t
you see there are children?”, some people say. However,
children accept nudity better than adults, the younger the
better. It is when they hear expressions like “Don’t
be gross. Cover yourself!”, that they associate nudity
as something dirty and negative. UNICEF, the highest authority
for the protection of children, does not view nudity as something
bad for children. Anorexia or Bulimia, illnesses among the
youth these days, are a direct result of a lack of acceptance
of one’s body, among other reasons. Hiding normal bodies
from the view of children, and showing mainly ideal bodies
for the purposes of advertising, lead them to those diseases.
Most psychologists and pedagogues, albeit non-fundamentalists,
agree that an education based on the rejection of their own
bodies is negative education. In most Spanish homes, nudity
is not hidden any longer. I must add that Naturism is a family
oriented movement and that studies carried out among Naturist
families as the children grow up, show the benefits of such
On one of the TV programmes mentioned above, the TV
presenter asked a woman who had objected by saying “there
are children!”, “Why shouldn’t children
see naked people?” to which she could not give any answer.
This uncritical frame of mind only responds to the principle
of “because it has always been that way”. This
is the main reason why many people still use a swimming suit,
as they are used to it since their parents put it on them
for the first time, and that’s the way it is.
“Hygiene” is another argument, but bathing
suits are very unhygienic. That is more to the point in swimming
pools, by preventing people from washing the whole bodies
at the showers before jumping in. Naturists, on the other
hand, always lay a towel down to sit on.
Another argument, surprising as it is, is “I
assure you that that man walking did not look like the model
in the Martini advertisement at all.” (or Claudia Schiffer,
for example, if they mean a woman), which could be taken as
a light pro-eugenics statement. Without going as far as calling
for the elimination of handicapped or not very good looking
people, this speaker would rather prevent them from being
seen. Fortunately, the “right to see only what we like
seeing” does not exist. There are lots of things we
might dislike! The Naturist urban developments, which keep
being built along our coast, are also crowded in winter time
with old people, like most seaside developments are. A stroll
in these places would undoubtedly help these people to improve
their education. Naturism, therefore, provides, not only in
this field but also in many others, healthy cultural and spiritual
growth. That is the way a well known female movie director
who is about to make a documentary on Naturists who are physically
challenged, sees it. Naturism breaks away from the tendency
of the ever present commercialization of the human body in
Not everything is positive in this analysis; there
are still intolerant tendencies that may put a nudist at risk
of losing his life, at worst. There are still “nude-phobic”
attitudes, like the aggression of a member, who ended up in
hospital, suffered in Catalonia recently, at the Mataró
beach. We might also mention some anti-democratic attitudes
like the policeman’s who answered a scandalised woman
on the phone, saying that “we cannot do anything about
that, these things happen for voting for the wrong parties”.
The policeman could have said as well “that happens
for being in a democratic society” During Franco’s
dictatorship the law would have applied the Roman Catholic
moral code; with Hitler some people would not have to put
up with Jews, blacks, or gypsies (with time, the 'lucky ones'
could only enjoy the view of 'perfect' bodies); in the South-Africa
of apartheid blacks would not be in the way. “Go to
your beaches, Nudists!” “Go to your ghettos!”
Finally, an objection posed by a radio speaker who
was interviewing me on the Day Without Bathing Suits: mobiles.
There is a risk of being taken a photograph of by the ever
present mobiles and end up on Internet. The speaker would
like to join in the “new fashion”, as he said,
but he was afraid of being snapped, as he was well known.
My answer was in the line of the evolution of swimming wear;
first the bikini, then topless: many well known people can
now ignore the cameras as they sunbathe topless because it
has become an accepted practice. Let’s make what is
normal normal; that is, to be naked at the beach, and the
effect will be the same. A day will arrive when we will not
mind being photographed the way we are.
In short, the campaign has been a success, hardly stained
by the nude-phobia incident in Mataró. Till wearing
a bathing suit is an option, till respect is mutual, we’ll
go on year after year at our beaches: “I do not make
you take your clothes off, you should not make me put them
We’ll tell The International Naturist Federation,
of which we are a member, about this experience, so that over
thirty other federations might follow in our footsteps (limited
by their own legislation, in each case), if they wish to.
No issue is more important than another when in pursuit of
our civil liberties.
If you wish the manifest for the first Day Without
Bathing Suits on the Web: www.naturismo.org as well as the
reports in the mass media, also reproduced at the same address.
Ismael Rodrigo, President of the FEN
Translated by Alberto González Iglesias
<- Did you like this article? Bookmark and promote it!