A small town in Vermont is on the front lines of a struggle over public nudity. What happens here may provide us a glimpse of future attitudes and policies regarding public nudity in our own towns.
A few days ago, Brattleboro Vermont passed aan ordinance banning nudity for the next thirty days along shop fronts, main roads and within a certain distance from schools and churches. This development must seem strange to those who haven't heard how it began, but I think it is an interesting story and not necessarily a defeat for naturism.
Brattleboro Vermont has attracted the attention of naturists since last summer when some teens of the town began loitering nude near the town's shop fronts, gathering nude in a city parking lot and having spontaneous hula hoop contests in the nude.
Brattleboro is a town of artists and free spirits in a state with no law against nudity. It does not follow that these teenagers are nudist, but they obviously have a very European level of comfort with their bodies.
The very public nature of their nudity seems a pointed effort to startle their parents and peers.
Even in tolerant Brattleboro, the teens took their nudity to a level that could not be sustained.
The publicity the teens generated attracted a few individuals from out of town who apparently felt that they could also roam the town's main streets in total nudity with no consequences.
Brattleboro merchants were concerned that nude teens loitering in front of the shops would drive away customers.
A small number of Brattleboro residents object to nudity elsewhere in town. In the midst of this debate, a few incidents of sexual display served to agitate the small but vocal anti-nudity faction of this town.
As a result, Brattleboro restricted nudity in the most sensitive parts of town while they contemplate more drastic restrictions on nudity. The city council was not unanimous in their choice to restrict nudity.
I hope that the citizens of Brattleboro will accommodate nude recreation in at least part of city parks, designated nude hours at city swimming pools (if any) and tolerating nudity on one's private property even if it is in view of one's neighbors.
I can understand that however unjust laws forbidding nudity anywhere may seem, it seems plain that we are years behind Europe in the acceptance of public nudity. Of course I think Europe could be more welcoming toward public nudity than they currently are.
I have read that story a while back where a man was walking up and down the street in the nude in front of a restaurant.
To me, it's not so much as whether they are nude or not, but why are they walking up and down the street as if they are trying to attract attention?
People who are clothed don't walk up and down the same part of the street over and over again, nor do they do loiter. If they happened to be nude while waiting for someone or window shopping, that is one thing, but if that is all they do when they are nude, get a life!
They can be nude anywhere and do anything, but chose instead to walk up and down main street.
I got too much to do, nude or clothed, than to wander around aimlessly just because it's "legal" to do so (or "not illegal")
This is what causes towns to put up ordinances and laws against public nudity, the idiots who abuse it and use it to cause public nervousness. Young people who do anything out of the ordinary, (wear leather clothing, peirce their bodies in a thousand places, spiked and died hair, pants hanging half off their butts, etc) and hanging out in gangs waiting for anyone to tell them to get lost ("it ain't illegal for us to stand here!") will cause the town to react with laws and force eventually.
Same with nudity when not used properly.
Now if an art show that showed tasteful and good nude pictures in town and the spectators are encouraged to come and view them in the nude, and done so with an organized help from the locals of that town, that would be used in a proper way and with dignity. It would be controlled and shows nudity in a right way.
There are right ways and wrong ways to be nude in town.
May the Lord bless the town of Brattleboro the ability to allow good nudity that glorifies God.
"May the Lord protect our nudity from the sight of those who will not benefit, and may he allow us to be seen by those who will."