Comfort zone? Do writers have comfort zones? Yes. They do. Most of us anyway, as far as I know. A writer usually is well versed in writing one or two genres. 444 more words
I would desperately love to see some naturist anime out there! Or at least anime that doesn’t treat nudity as pure ecchi fanservice. Or maybe some manga?
Alas! My illustration skills can only be measured by going into negative integers. I can write fiction only moderately well. In a well written story, you don’t just indicate everyone is nude and immediately start describing the blissful pleasure of sun and wind on skin or a deep connection to nature. If the reader isn’t there already, they won’t understand.
One has to include nudity in ways that don’t come off as preachy or artificial and have a plot line that allows for such without being forced. A plot that is created specifically to allow general nudity pretty much restricts one to science fiction and fantasy or very narrow areas like naturist resorts or people in deserted areas. Or naturist cruises.
IMHO the ideal naturist fiction isn’t about naturism. It is about a greater plot, be it romance or adventure or tragedy. It is an included element, a bit of the atmosphere no more important than the protagonist driving a sports car or loving to do needlepoint. That normalizes naturism/nudism without getting preachy.
John Ball, who wrote “In the Heat of the Night” also wrote a murder mystery set in a naturist resort called “The Cool Cottontail”. It is a very good book that puts mystery up front and the resort and the nudism is just background color.
Even labeling not wearing clothing is problematic. A label means something is different. A person who is labeled a “nudist” is automatically shunted off into a weird closet. They are different and not normal and need a label. Nobody labels non-nudists, right? (I do. I call them textile impaired. Or gymnophobic. But that isn’t how most people think.)
We can have clothed people who are clothing optional at heart. The nudity would be intermittent. Mark Twain did a lot of that. Tom and Huck and
friends were frequently naked along the river and nobody thought twice about it. (Of course, girls didn’t join in or watch. At least not that Twain mentioned.) They were always skinny dipping or running around on an island wearing nothing but war paint. Huck floated down the Mississippi with the escaped slave Jim and neither wearing any clothing. (Believe it or not, even just in text, that is very objectionable to some people, just as bad as the historical use of the N-word in Twain’s works. Bowdlerization never sleeps.)
You can’t force acceptance of a way of life on anyone but you may just be able to get some tolerance for it by presenting it in an ordinary and non-aggressive way. Unexcitedly, as background color. Someone’s harmless quirk. How about a family who simply doesn’t worry about clothing in the morning when getting ready for the day or in the pool, or at a free beach, or at bath time before bed? No explanations, no justifications. Don’t even need to point it out. It just is.
Savage innocence can get people acclimated to non-sexual nudity. That’s how Edgar Rice Burroughs had Tarzan, Jane and a host of other naked people running and swinging thru the jungles in Africa at a time when we were even a bit more prudish than today. Then along came the Motion Picture Production Code and ruined everything.
Mowgli was certainly nude until Disney made the movie of him. In Peter Pan, the fairies were naked, the mermaids were certainly top free, and Peter himself often wore nothing. According to the book, the lost boys were required to wear clothing to symbolize their second-class status. (Again, until Disney.)
That doesn’t address a way to get casual nudity more accepted in ordinary life. The reader is unlikely to be Tarzan, Mowgli, Tinkerbell or Reema of Green Mansions. (Ok, not 100% nude, she wears spider webs.)
Anime would be a great way to do it. There are plenty of instances of non-sexual nudity in anime. Even extended scenes. The communal hot tub is made for this sort of thing.
Just include it in ordinary household life. The person who answers the phone naked. Somewhere wild and away from civilization. Burning man. The beach. Ye olde swimming hole. Sharing the vanity while brushing teeth. No bloody noses, normal looking bodies of all ages, no peeping Toms, no blushing, no duck and cover, no body dysmorphia, and you have the naturist ideal. Ordinary nudity without any drama.
I think that would be worthwhile.