Don’t be a “@Naked_Dad”

If you are using social media to constantly talk about getting naked, and little else, then you are a terrible voice for naturism.

There’s a joke Twitter account I follow called “coffee dad”. The account has been running for years, but is almost entirely inactive except that every few days it posts short contextless posts along the lines of “need coffee”, “having coffee”, “want coffee”, “buying coffee.” According to the bio, coffee dad is “just a dad who loves his coffee”, and sure enough, that’s all he talks about.

Coffee_dad mostly only tweets about one thing over and over again. Don’t be like coffee_dad.

There’s also a subtle, but darkly humorous subplot to all this tweeting about coffee (I’ll leave that for you to figure out yourself), but the point I want to make here is that getting on Twitter and repeatedly posting the same mundane thing over and over again is the set-up to a joke, not meaningful activism.

I run a set of social media accounts (Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter) under the handle ReformNaturism. I use these accounts to follow just about every other advocate for naturism and nudism I can find, and, obviously, to promote my own views.

One of the irritating things I’ve found since setting up these accounts, is that there is a number of accounts — nearly all run by men — that very often highlight their own actual or desired nudity (or pictures of naked people)and little else. If you aren’t on “Nudist Twitter”, and haven’t recognized this trend, these posts usually read something like this:

“Naked finally.”
“Nice day to get naked.”
“Can’t wait to get home and get naked.”
“Wish I was naked.”
“Got to be naked all day.”
“Just stayed home to be naked today.”
“Can’t wait till the weekend so I can just be naked.”
“Just sitting around naked.”

I just made these up. They’re not borrowed directly from any actual accounts, but if you look around you will see statements like them. These kinds of tweets are the nudist version of coffee_dad. They represent a kind of “naked_dad”— basically just a joke, except when it’s a little sad and pathetic.

Obviously there’s nothing wrong with being naked — nudity is at the core of nudism and naturism. But I find this kind of social media activity extremely disheartening, and if your objective is to promote the lifestyle as a meaningful movement for social change, it is almost certainly counterproductive.

Let me see if I can break down for you the reasons why this kind of activity is problematic:

  1. Nobody cares. From the deepest core of my being I am certain that naturism is a philosophy that has great value and is something that can one day fundamentally alter society for the better. But not now or ever will anyone give a shit about you sitting around naked in your house. If our movement is successful, people will care even less than they do now, because this nudity won’t even have the benefit of being surprising or unusual.
  2. You make us look petty. Naturism is, or should be, about something so much more than merely being naked. It is about a fundamental re-examination of our collective socially-imposed dysfunctional relationship with the body. When the self-declared spokesmen for naturism (because that’s what you are making yourself when you Tweet primarily about the movement) spend most of their “airtime” talking about just sitting around naked, rather than about big ideas, you make the movement look as though it does not in fact have big ideas.
  3. Your boring lives make naturism seem unappealing. I have no idea if the people doing this kind of tweeting actually have boring lives, but it sure looks like they do. Who the hell wants to be a naturist if it means your life is boring? If the image you project of yourself on social media is one of a person who literally does nothing all weekend, who looks forward to nothing but being naked, who accomplished nothing but being naked, then you a making an argument against naturism, not for it. Successful people, people who are making an impact on society, do not brag about sitting around the house all day.
  4. You are not normalizing nudity; you are normalizing exhibitionism. Almost by definition, normalization of something implies a lack of comment on that thing. If nudity was truly “normal” for you, it would not excite your need to broadcast it. What you are doing is not normalization, it is exhibitionism. I can’t read your minds, but I suspect that when you get on twitter and post a note about being naked, what is happening in your brain is a tinier version of that which happens in the brain of a man on the street corner with a trenchcoat looking for a little girl to flash. Please re-examine your motives. Are you trying to make the world better, or are you really just fetishizing your nudity?

I suspect I could come up with a few more reasons why these kinds of posts are unhelpful to the cause, but I am hoping everyone is smart enough to get the point. It is pathetic and a little creepy, and I can’t really think of a single positive justification for it. (It’s even worse when you attach a picture aimed at your penis, but I plan to address that issue separately in the future.)

I’m not criticizing your nudity, I’m asking you to use your little pulpit for the good of the movement.

You know what would be better for the movement than this kind of narcissistic exhibitionism? Doing pretty much anything else with your life.

If you are running an explicitly nudist or naturist account, you should be using your personal “brand” to contribute to an image of naturists and nudists as active doers, as contributors, as builders, students, educators, helpers, adventurers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, philosophers. Be an activist, not a lazy-ass.

If your handle, your avatar, or your bio makes clear your nudism/naturism, then you don’t need to talk about your personal nudity to normalize and promote the movement. Let your “actions” speak louder than words. Or, in this case, let words about actions speak louder than words about wearing nothing.

Imagine you have a Twitter user named NudeyMcNudems (I just made that up — many of you have terribly cheesy handles, but hopefully none are that bad). Rather than talking about his personal nudity, NudeyMcNudems would do far more for the movement by discussing matters addressing every aspect of society’s dysfunctional relationship with the body. (And, again, not just those which directly relate to nudity.)

What should NudeyMcNudems tweet about? How about racism? How about homophobia and transphobia. Environmentalism. Feminism and the rights of women and girls around the world. Religious oppression. Every kind of oppression, really. I could go on. There are so many issues that should matter to naturists.

The image he should promote of his personal life should be one of a productive member of society who is busy, active, and well-rounded. If you give the impression that nudism is the only thing you have going on in your life, you make all of us look like losers.

To sum up, there is so much more to naturism than mere nudity. Don’t emphasize your personal nudity, emphasize your full and meaningful life (and if you don’t have one, you need to be working on that instead of your tan). Tweet about the many ways in which naturism can be applied to the full spectrum of society’s problems and controversies. If you wish to share personal details about your life in your nudist account (you’ll notice that I don’t), you should present an image of a life well lived, not one merely lived naked.

In conclusion, if you are talking about naturism and nudism on Twitter, you are the de facto voice of millions belonging to a poorly understood, somewhat marginalized community. Your words and ideas matter. You are an important part of the movement and the responsibility for its longterm success lies with you to a less than trivial extent. Please consider this responsibility before you post petty and mundane updates about your own nudity that make us all look petty and pathetic.


(PS: I want to note that as of this writing there is no Twitter account called “naked_dad”. If someone makes one in the future or had one in the past, please note that I am not referring to that account or any other specific similarly named account.)

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