Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Sometimes it’s sadder than fiction, too. It’s hard to imagine a stranger, sadder true-life story, relevant to naturism, than what transpired a couple weeks ago regarding the purported practice of, ahem, “testicle tanning.”
There is so much that is disturbing about this. Where to begin? I’m referring to one of these ultraconservative talk-show hosts, who shall remain nameless, on an ultraconservative news channel, which shall remain nameless. There was some interview with some purported expert who said, essentially, that there aren’t enough real men out there, and that the solution is more testosterone, and the solution to that is to buy his $250 handheld apparatus that emits “red light therapy to your testicles.” Or ultraviolet light therapy. Or whatever.
There’s just so much about this that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Both, probably. First: The testicles are internal organs. Tanning would be what happens to the skin of the scrotum, not to the testicles. (If your back is exposed to the sun, are you tanning your kidneys?) Does the red light go through the scrotum skin? I don’t know, but I think that’s beside the point.
The main point is: EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL THE SUN OVER EVERY INCH OF THEIR BODY AS OFTEN AND IN AS MANY PLACES AS POSSIBLE, WITHOUT BEING SHAMED. FULL STOP. It is so easy to see, from a naturist perspective, how this product, this practice, this show and this host and this network, are all 100% invested in keeping people ashamed of their bodies. Why buy a piece of plastic, with batteries made from rare earth metals… why waste money and material when sunshine is free?
Further, there is so much to unpack about the allegation of not enough “real men.” I would have to actually watch the segment–which I refuse to do–to respond more specifically, but it should suffice to say that EVERY MAN IS REAL. Purported “real men” behaviors are often a euphemism for toxic masculinity, which the world would be much better off without.
And finally, of course, the pundits and cartoonists who made fun of this entire situation felt licensed to deploy all sorts of jokes about the size of the testicles of the different people involved, falling back into the stereotype of larger testicles equating with greater “manliness,” or something. I refuse to reproduce here any of these remarks or cartoons. Am I overreacting to what many would consider to be juvenile, locker-room humor? In my opinion, no, because body shaming is pernicious, insidious, and frankly so far out-of-place in the naturist worldview that it is what makes this true-life nonsense stranger (and sadder) than fiction.
Celebrate your body. Expose all of it to the elements as freely as you can, without shame.
This is the way.