British Naturism (BN) has submitted a response to The Scottish Government's consultation on “Improving the Lives of Children in Scotland - are we there yet?”
Andrew Welch, BN’s Commercial Manager, said: “There is strong evidence that conventional attitudes towards the human body contribute significantly to a wide range of problems, some of them serious - but there is incredible reluctance to face the implications.”
Westminster government figures published recently show that the UK has the worst teenage pregnancy figures of any country in Europe, while the figures are even worse in Scotland. The UK is probably the most censorious country in Europe about anything to do with the body. This pattern of less body tolerance, worse outcomes, is repeated across the western world. Our research shows conclusively that this is no chance connection.
We are all born naked but years of social conditioning mean that our natural state becomes regarded as extraordinary, ridiculous or even immoral. The media and fashion industries both force us to focus on appearance and an unattainable perfection, so that many people dislike their very humanity. There are good reasons – physical, emotional and psychological – for not wearing clothes when circumstances are right, but the naked human form – something we all possess – can still draw attention, raise eyebrows or even shock. Taboos about the human body cause ignorance and frustration in the young, and create mystery and desire, that can so easily damage society.
Naturists have positive views of nakedness. They benefit from ignoring childhood conditioning and from going without clothes when appropriate. They come from all walks of life. They differ from non-naturists only in their choice of what to wear for certain activities. Surprisingly many people admit to enjoying, and regarding as perfectly normal, skinny-dipping, going topless on beaches (both at home and abroad) and spending time around the house without clothes. There are well over a million people who think of themselves as naturists and over fifteen million who are naturists to some extent.
Governments, authority figures and social and community leaders should accept that the human body is not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about and that being more open about it would benefit society. The evidence is clear but there is incredible reluctance to face the implications. It is time to leave prejudices behind and do what it right for the young people of this country.