Did other naturists comprehend that beauty pageants weren’t just in line with their ideals?

From looking through our little private collection of naturist magazines in the 40’s – 60’s, people had a different mindset. Naturists felt that they should honor the beauty of the human form and that individuals should strive to realize a healthy, toned physique. Health, during those days, was equated with attractiveness. (And still is today, with how folks think slim = healthy = beautiful.)
At exactly the same time, it’s not as if naturists did not recognize how naturism promoted body acknowledgement and offered a means of looking beyond superficial qualities.
In a 1958 issue of Canadian nudist magazine Sunbathing For Health, there’s an article, written by a female naturist, entitled: “Naturism – What’s in it for we girls?”
The writer writes:
“Many women imagine that they would never dare to walk naked amidst a bunch of strangers in any sunshine club; consider me, I did too, before I ever tried it. ‘But my figure – I Have lost it – I’d feel awful walking around in the nude,’ you say. A large proportion of the women (and the guys also!) Everyone is accepted for what they’re as PEOPLE, and not what their vital statistics are!”
But then, in another article, in exactly the same magazine, a female columnist offers exercise and diet advice to women who are worried about extra fat on their hips. And on the opposite page is an exercise guide aimed at women for “creating body attractiveness.”
So the naturist philosophy wasn’t totally absent. They just did not seem to see click to designate only certain bodies as “lovely.”
Canadian History presents evidence that some nudist club owners were undoubtedly conflicted or against the pageants. On the one hand, they were aware of the contradictions in placing young, “appealing” female bodies on display to promote naturism. On the other hand, http://nudistsplace.com/first-time-nudist-stories/history-of-tanning/ of promotion and money created by the pageants was indisputable.
Writers Gentile and Nicholas say that the naturist beauty pageants were supposed to show the people that nudity was natural, not obscene, or sexual. In Miss Nude World, that fundamental message was readily lost. The writers came to the decision:
“Yet, while naturist pageants were purportedly intended to encourage the public to see the body in a fresh light, the public allure of these events depended on an exploitation of the taboo nature of nudity and made a spectacle of naked bodies. In doing so, these pageants were as showing of the tensions within naturism as they were of the contestants on stage.”
Moreover, the authors reasoned the pageants were a method for naturists to show they were “regular” by using a mainstream type of occasion that conformed to sexual and gender standards. Observing girls for his or her attractiveness and femininity, putting them on display, electing a “king” and “queen”..these were means of demonstrating how naturists kept their masculinity / femininity and embraced heterosexual normativity.
Ultimately, was the Miss Bare World Pageant more dangerous or beneficial to the nudist movement? That’s up for discussion.
In the Steins’ perspective, it was a resounding success and brought more attention to nudism than every other event ever had. They answered with a resolute “no.”
As for me, I wish naturism hadn’t so readily left its ideals for profit and publicity.
Listen to the complete interview with the Steins in the podcast below. Inside my segment, Stephane and I talk about the celeb nude photo hack.
http://www.bareoaks.ca/podcast/Ponderosa.mp3
Bare Oaks site: Four Seasons Nudist Resort going cloth
Bare Oaks site:
Mondo Nude movie (1979) about the Miss Unclothed contest at the Four Seasons Nudist Resort
Or stream the podcast on the Naturist Living Show website.
What would you think of the nudist beauty pageant?
Young Naturists and Naturists America

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