What we were all talking about this week and last was nudism, naturism, naked people on the beach. Is it harmful or not? Here we go again you may think, but as a liberal and tolerant person I feel the need to have my say.
To cut a long story short, I think it is great that people of all shapes and sizes can get together and enjoy feeling happy and free without clothing. If you don't like it, don't look. They are not doing anything dirty and I certainly don't think it's vulgar to be naked.
I am not a naturist but I am open-minded and I know that naturism has absolutely nothing to do with sex. Good old Wikipedia says: "Naturism or nudism is a cultural and political movement practising, advocating and defending social nudity in private and in public. It may also refer to a lifestyle based on personal, family and/or social nudism."
Yes, it says cultural, political, personal, family and social. I will say once more just to get the point across: Naturism has nothing to do with sex. There were plenty of comments on the stories and the editorial we published last week on the nudist event that was held on Papamoa beach on Saturday.
One of them, made by PhilG, said: "I wonder about the people that do not let their kids see nudists on a public beach, but let them watch TV with all the language, sex and nudity going not to mention all the violence blood and guts. Makes us nudists pretty tame."
I have no problem at all with my children seeing a naked body, whether it is mine or someone else's. It's perfectly natural. What I do have a problem with and what I think is much more hurtful for young minds, is being exposed to violence, drunkenness, and plain bad taste.
Bad taste to me is seeing young girls on The Strand on Saturday night having too many alco-pops, wearing near to nothing and stumbling on high heels they can't walk in.
I can't stand looking at grossly overweight women that wear cropped tops and let their guts hang out either or the sight of people who go grocery shopping in flannelette pyjama pants and slippers.
So what if we would encounter a group of nudists on the beach who are doing nothing more than enjoying the sunshine and having a swim?
If the kids would ask me if that is normal I would probably say no, it's not the norm but there is nothing wrong with it either. They are just people like you and me, the only difference is that they are not wearing any clothes. It's unusual , but totally harmless. I have been in saunas in Europe where no one wears togs or is wrapped up in towels. I would be happy to go to the Katikati nudist camp sometime to see what that is all about. It is an award-winning Holiday Park after all, so it must be good.
And yes, there have also been times during a walk in the Karangahake Gorge that I stripped off to go for a swim in a stream to cool down. Swimming without togs on a hot day feels fantastic. If there are conservative prudes out there who want to criticise my behaviour, then I have no problem with that either. Bring it on, I say.
There was one other comment online that I really liked, made by angelgabriel: "Goodness me! What's to be embarrassed about? The human body is a revelation of natural beauty. If you are that offended by the sight of something as natural as the human body then you're the one with the issues. Find a quiet isolated beach and try it just once. Then tell me you didn't enjoy the warmth of the sun on your body."