Naturism in a Nutshell

Designing a logo is one thing; painting a mural is quite another. Each has its own challenges, and while a mural gives the space to explore lots of ideas and motifs visually, a logo demands simplicity and concision. The differences between a mural and a logo are something like those between a novel and a slogan, tweet or blurb. The sprawling novel allows time for intricate character development and trajectories over the course of a twisting, turning plot, etc., but a slogan is a pithy kind of writing that calls for attention-getting imagery, wordplay, or both. If the slogan appears as a meme or photo caption, the imagery through words does not need to be as evident, but it still helps. As a naturist writer, I appreciate the wit behind slogans like The Naturist Society‘s “Go barefoot all over.” It’s clever, although ambiguous, because it’s entirely possible to understand the slogan only as advocacy for never wearing shoes. Those “in the know” understand that it’s about leaving behind a lot more than just the shoes.

A photo and caption made by yours truly

I was attempting some catchy wordplay with the opposites “off” and “on” when I came up with the blurb for Co-ed Naked Philosophy: “An upbeat, quirky novel about taking off clothes to take on social conventions!” I think it works, but perhaps not as obviously as I’d hoped. Here’s another one I wrote, from my Twitter profile, playing on the literal sense of “running around naked” as something that can undermine the idea of shame: “It’s not a shame to run around naked. What’s a shame is that so many people won’t feel just how beneficial it is to do so.

A friend of mine who used to run a site about urban nudism, nurba (no longer online), came up with several outstanding tweets that played with the semantics of being dressed or undressed. A tweet can be longer than a slogan, but it still has to be relatively short and sweet. Some of his tweets are preserved on a post of mine from 2012, including the grammatically subversive, tongue-in-cheek “Unnakedness is a serious issue in society today. Friends don’t let friends suffer from unnakedness.” Fellow writer P. Z. Walker has also tried his hand successfully at slogan-like tweets such as “When you get rid of the clothes, you get rid of the labels – and that’s a beautiful thing. and .” Another active naturist tweeter is @AfroMandinka, who frequently puts out slogan-like messages such as “Nakedness leads to body acceptance that leads to body appreciation which leads to self confidence about your authentic self.” This last tweet in particular recalls perhaps the most fundamental naturist slogan of them all (at least in the US): The Naturist Society founder Lee Baxandall‘s catchphrase “Body Acceptance is the idea, Nude Recreation is the way.” Although I may struggle to remember all the words in the definition of naturism given by the International Naturist Federation (and to be fair, it’s a fine, streamlined working definition), I never fail to remember Baxandall’s clear and concise motto.

I want to share here some of the terrific naturist slogans being conceived currently in Spanish and Portuguese, even though they can be particularly difficult to translate because of the language-specific nature of wordplay. Héctor Martínez, founder of Naturaleza y Nudismo Guadalajara and now president of the Federación Nudista de México, composed this wonderful activist slogan for his YouTube productions: “¡Desnudando prejuicios una prenda a la vez!” This means ‘Stripping away prejudices one garment at a time!’, a fun and appropriate way to tackle the debunking of misconceptions about naturism that have been donned to stifling excess. Another Latin American naturist leader, Jorge Bandeira, is the founder of the GRAUNA naturist group as well as the naturist theater company, Teatro Eden, both in Manaus, Brazil. He and his group have created at least two terrific slogans: “Experimente usar nada” (‘Experience (try) using nothing’ – ‘using’ can mean ‘wearing’) and “Venha conosco vestir-se de si mesmo” (‘Come with us to dress yourself as yourself’). A final example in Portuguese comes from the Os Naturistas site, “Naturismo: muito mais que menos roupa!” (‘Naturism: much more than less clothing!). All of these examples work better in the original language – a general characteristic of aphorisms or mottoes like these – but you can still get a sense in English of the semantic strategies, like the teasing out of contradictions with ‘more’ and ‘less’ in the last example, or ‘use’ with ‘nothing.’ The quasi-poetic wordplay and imagery, or reliance on parallel phrases or set phrases, are what work to make these slogans effective ways of presenting naturism in a nutshell.

There are many more naturist slogans out there – which are your favorites?

4 thoughts on “Naturism in a Nutshell”

  1. I’m hopeless at things like slogans, in large part because my tendency in writing is always to use more words, more syllables, more shadings, explanations and qualifications.

    In naturism, I always liked the late Phil Vallack’s “Free Sun People leave only footprints on the shore”. Phil was a tireless campaigner for “free range” naturism, particularly on beaches (coast and inland), producing a number of “Free Sun” books.

    Back in 2005, British Naturism launched a competition as part of developing a re-invigorated campaign strategy. The challenge was to to ‘come up with a phrase of no more than 30 words that answers the question “What is BN for?”’ The winning entry was a two-word slogan “Nothing’s Better”. This cheerfully exploited, as had many others, the slogan devised in 1983 to reinvigorate Glasgow’s image: “Glasgow’s Miles Better”. (The Wikipedia page fails to mention that this could be taken as a punning dig at rival city Edinburgh’s famous “Mile”.)

    BN no longer uses “Nothing’s Better”, which is a bit of a shame, as it’s cheerful, means whatever you want it to mean (in a good way), and is beautifully short.

    The best I’ve ever been able to come up with is along these lines: “Clothes are worn for adornment, protection and comfort. Unlike non-naturists, there are many situations where naturists feel comfortable without clothes.” Complex, long, dull and I can never get the second sentence right – no chance of me ever working in advertising.

    1. Thanks for chiming in, Tim! I would say I’m not very good at coming up with them either – it’s difficult enough to write a good mission statement or summary, let alone a short-and-sweet slogan! They can certainly be very powerful, though, from a marketing standpoint.

      “Nothing’s better” sounds like a good one to me – and similar to one of the Brazilian ones I mentioned, “Experimente usar nada,” but even more effective.

  2. The Dutch naturist federation has a slogan which is 1 word. Blootgewoon. It’s a change on the woord ‘doodgewoon’, which means ‘totally normal’. Bloot means naked and gewoon means normal.

    Spoken out loud. the two words sound quite the same. I think that’s very clever.

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