The naked body is as old as humanity. But nudism as a social form, organized into clubs and societies, only came of age in England in the 1920s.
Its practitioners came from a variety of backgrounds and included those with an interest in “physical culture” (today we would refer to this as bodybuilding and beauty pageants). Many were interested in natural health, including vegetarian diets and raw foods, and new exercise regimens, from walking to yoga.
Nudism was particularly adopted by artists and intellectuals as part of a larger set of progressive practices associated with free thought. Many were internationalists inspired by old German nudist traditions, which were much more popular and organized on a larger scale than the English efforts. They understood that taking off their clothes was part of a larger ideal of physical, mental and spiritual liberation.
For nudists of this type, removing their clothes in organized groups promised nothing less than paradise on earth. As one 1933 enthusiast stated in Gymnos magazine (“For Thinking Nudists”):
“Represents complete regeneration, in the sense that it changes the false to the true; slavery for freedom; hypocrisy to the truth of purpose and resolve and above all it elevates the mind and urges the soul to strive for heights far above the petty and petty things that are tied to civilization as we know it today.“
Civilization, which here indicates the modern, mechanized and industrialized world, was seen as corrupt. Her multiple problems became material in everything that was wrong with contemporary clothing.
Source: Naturism Peru
Original publication 25 September, 2020
Posted on NatCorn 14th October 2020
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