Donna Price of British Naturism tells Irish Naturist Association about her role as Coordinator of the Women in Naturism Campaign
I have never considered myself a ‘leader’ in any sense of the word. I have always been a great follower and supporter of causes or projects that interest me and that I feel passionate about. I have always preferred to be involved but in a background capacity, being typically shy by nature.
When I was asked last summer if I would consider becoming more involved in British Naturism as an organisation, rather than just as a member, I thought about one of the main issues that appeared to frequently arise in various conversations with Naturist friends – that of the gender imbalance within Naturism. So I said I would be happy to help with the Women in Naturism Campaign (WiN). Little did I know at the time that I would be leading it! Nine months on and my life (and that of my husband) has taken on a very different twist.
We are relatively new to Naturism ourselves, having only really been socially involved since the summer of 2016, but it is a lifestyle that we both really enjoy and we are fortunate that we have the freedom to live almost fully Naturist – providing we are warm! Since taking on this role, we have been heavily involved in promoting Naturism in general, having featured in some international, national and local publications. My active Naturist Twitter feed (@nakedfreestyler) has taken on a life of it’s own as spreading the Naturist word has become a very important part of my daily routine. One of my other hobbies is baking, particularly bread-making and we now have a small but growing army of ‘Buff Bakers’ on Twitter, as people have been trying new indoor activities during this difficult lockdown period. I have been making videos of my Buff bread-making, which seem to be catching the imagination of the public world-wide.
I have a lot of male friends who are solo Naturists but not all of them are single – it’s just that their wives or partners won’t get involved. This sadly leaves them pretty excluded from some Naturist environments, particularly clubs. I would love to be able to encourage these women to simply ‘have a go’, but in order to address the problem we have to establish the cause.
This is one of the most challenging parts to the campaign. Finding out exactly what it is about Naturism that doesn’t appeal to women. I am almost certain that a high percentage of the response would have something to do with body image and self-confidence. Also, I believe women generally worry more about what others’ think – “What about the neighbours or our friends and colleagues?” “I would feel ashamed if people in my family or social circle found out.” “It might be OK for others but it’s not for us, what about the children?”
It is a sad fact that we still associate ‘nudity’ with ‘shame’. There is nothing more natural than the naked human body, we are born that way. Children are natural Naturists – we see them everywhere on beaches, running, swimming, playing, completely naked and completely oblivious to the fact. They only become conscious of it when they are ‘taught’ by adults that it is wrong – what those adults can’t tell us is why they think it is wrong, except perhaps that their parents told them it was wrong!
Whatever their reasons for not participating, the women who do eventually try it often end up enjoying it more than their male counterparts. Women who have embraced Naturism are usually the more vocal and enthusiastic amongst the supporters. If only we could just get them all to try it once…even at home on their own would be a start! ?