Better Living Through Nudity
In England in the 1920s and ‘30s, nudism was ideological and utopian. Then the Nazis coopted the concept for their eugenicist Nacktkultur movement.
Today, nudism tends to show up in popular culture as a quirky lifestyle or an easy punchline. But in England in the 1920s and ‘30s, art and design historian Annebella Pollen writes, it was a utopian movement that some hoped might perfect society.
Gymnosophists, a label nudists adopted combining the Greek words for nakedness and wisdom, described their movement in utopian terms. One writer noted that some people experienced “the vague sense of something lacking, of complete happiness never quite achieved… Our experience leads us to suggest that nudity will supply the need.”
Another encouraged readers to “dispense with clothes and with all attributes that are mean, vainglorious and untruthful, and by doing so usher in the Golden Age.”
The nudists’ rhetoric was an extreme version of dress reform arguments that had already helped render corsets and long skirts obsolete. A common nudist complaint was that men’s fashion lagged behind women’s. One writer described waistcoats as a “mongrel born of a tailor’s nightmare. With no arms, half a front and an apology for a back, it is good for nothing beyond collecting junk in the pockets.” Continued…Read full original article…
Original publication October 28, 2018
Posted on NatCorn 4th November 2018