Children and Nudism
One of the most controversial and least studied aspects of Nudism is that of Children. From a textile point of view, the existence of nude children and adults together outside the family unit (and even within it..) breaks alot of traditional social taboos. Tolerating consenting adults together nude is something textile society is capable of brushing aside with the comment "what they do on their own has got nothing to do with me". But introduce Children into this picture, and many textiles suddenly develop hostile attitudes, and begin to demand that they be able to enforce controls in order to supposedly "protect the innocent". Issues such as Paedophilia and Corruption are forever rearing their ugly heads because in textile society the "clothes" represent a supposed barrier to such thoughts and activities. When faced with a situation where those barriers are removed it's no wonder many textiles can no longer see the difference between social family nudist venue and a paedophilia ring.
But of course there is a difference. It's just that it's extremely difficult to explain it to someone who is not a nudist. It's similar to the "Nudity vs Sex" argument. To nudists, unclad humans of any age are normal. Clothes are normal too. A nude child is no different to a clothed child. The same respect for our fellow humans still exists. There is no evidence to suggest that paedophilia is any more or less a problem amongst nudists than textiles, although it's likely that it's virtually non existent.
So DOES nudity affect Children? Although some studies have been carried out on the issue, nowhere near enough serious scientific analysis has been done to provide a definite argument for or against child nudity.
The positive arguments are;
The negative arguments are;
Nudism has a very long history, so it would be foolish to pretend that it all started 10 years ago and that no examples of "grown up" nudist children exist with which a study can be made to try and address these arguments. The proof of any philosophy is in the results, and so the best results can be tabulated by study of adults who as children, were part of the established nudist community. Fortunately for us, some good studies on this were carried out in the '70s and '80s and more continue today. A good source of this information can be found in the book "Growing up without shame", by Dennis Craig Smith, who has tabulated several psychological studies carried out along with Dr William Sparks. Aswell as carrying out their own comprehensive study of adults who were nudists as children, they also make reference to the many various studies such as Marilyn & Norman Story (which studied 3-5 year old children); Miller (1973) which compared a similar group of nudist and a "control" group of non nudist college students; Hass (studying teenage sexuality with a group of 624 youths); Kinsey (a wide ranging study of children in many countries); and Hunt, with 2026 subjects under study.
Unfortunately most people are ignorant of these studies and the data which was collected. Instead they choose to argue with "gut feelings" instead of facts - and our feelings are affected by our upbringing and environment - and are therefore very unreliable in matters such as these. What's worse is that many people seem hell bent on enforcing what they believe is right, onto others - both parent and child alike.
The Dr Sparkes case study firstly takes 24 adults who were born and raised in a nudist environment, and asks them all sorts of questions about life, love, their beliefs and sexuality questions. Not surprisingly, the answers are not all that different to answers given by non-nudists in most areas except one - self esteem. The nudist children clearly retain a superior attitude of themselves and their bodies, and are in a better position to be able to control their own sex lives.
Certainly in my own experience there is no evidence to suggest that child nudity invites thoughts of paedophilia and corruption in any of the nudists I know. Such concepts are so foreign to nudists that merely to suggest them would draw comments of disgust and suggestions that it is textile society which is the cause of such ills. The reality is that nobody really cares whether a child has clothes on or not unless the child is obviously distressed. This could mean overdressed (on hot days or while swimming) or underdressed when colder. Clothes have a purpose to protect and provide insulation, and nothing more.