Naturists describe their practice as holistic, like an all-encompassing philosophy that is about much more than just getting naked. Lee Baxandall, founder of The Naturist Society, viewed the getting naked part as a means to an end, and summed it up in a motto: “Body Acceptance is the Idea, Nude Recreation is the Way.” Even beyond body acceptance, naturists might list wholesome goals such as overall health (mental and emotional, and even spiritual, as much as physical), equilibrium with the environment, respect for nature and humanity, a good dose of fun, and more.
I think there’s an underlying assumption here, which is that exposing the entire body to the elements and to one’s peers is necessarily holistic. If no part of the body is covered, then the presence of the whole body leads to the holistic idea of naturism. Maybe this is not so much of an assumption as it is an important catalyst, but I would add that merely exposing the body is not enough. A group of young friends, at a lake under the stars, who get up the nerve to skinny dip together, have made a great discovery about their bodies in nature, and about friendship. It’s a terrific start. They’re on their way – it could be the beginning of a great naturist story. But that’s the thing – holistic as it might be, it’s only the beginning.
The greater naturist story, of Western society as a whole, develops in fits and starts. Two days ago, YouTube suddenly pulled the plug on the channel of someone who was making huge strides in telling the story of naturism writ large: Hector Martinez, current president of the Mexican Naturist Federation. With his team, he has been developing excellent content in both English and Spanish to educate not only his fellow Mexicans (in a country where naturism had been a very little known practice), but the world in general, about how naturism can be a truly holistic, far-reaching message of individual and societal improvement. There is a lot of outrage over YouTube’s action, but I don’t think anyone can be genuinely surprised by this. We’re all already too familiar with this kind of censorship, across most social media platforms and in most other areas of life as well. With millions of followers, Hector’s channel received a lot of attention, and may have been flagged or reported numerous times.
Also to no one’s surprise, YouTube is not forthcoming with information about what happened. What we do know, however, was what was happening on Hector’s channel lately. Recent episodes included, for example: a group of friends playing board games; Hector and his partner exploring new areas of Mexico’s vast and beautiful coastline; a group of friends making pizza; Hector and his partner setting up a rooftop pool for quarantine; a group of friends making cookies. Nothing sexual or even suggestive. The fact that the people in the videos are nude IS important, because it shows development of the story writ large: Here is life as it can be when clothing is not needed. It’s why we naturist writers tell the stories we tell – Look, imagine: this is how things can be.
Hector has written a very well crafted and persuasive response that is totally above board in encouraging YouTube to recognize its own responsibilities and inconsistencies. It’s a petition through Change.org called “STOP censoring our naturist/nudist community,” and I strongly urge you to sign. That lake under the stars, or the pool at the naturist park, is a great place to start the story; now help keep the story going through what had already proven to be a very effective platform – not only the channel run by Hector and friends, but the very ability to broadcast out to the world the filmed practice of naturism as, indeed, holistic.