What prompted the rise of naturism? Who came up with the idea of a symbol? How does the naturist symbol foster a sense of community? Find out the answers – and more – below!
In a deeply puritanical world, where the slight sight of, say female nipples can trigger widespread outcry (think of Janet Jackson’s infamous Nipplegate at the 2004 Superbowl Halftime Show), it’s understandable that most people have a skewed point of view on naturism.
Never mind that a lot of the world’s indigenous people are barely covered in anything and they still manage to lead happy lives, without all the accusations typically bestowed upon the naturist community.
As the world’s most famous drag queen RuPaul puts it: “We’re all born naked and the rest is drag.” So why not be naked as often as possible?
Naturism = Rebellion
The origin of naturism can be traced back to early 20th century Germany, where naturism served as a response to the rigidity of the 19th century, with the establishment of the first known nudist club, Freilichtpark (“Free Light Park”).
By the 1930s, naturism had reached North America following the establishment of the American League of Physical Culture in 1929, the same group that organized the region’s first nudist event.
Meanwhile, in Indonesia, particularly in Bali and islands east of it, nudity was common in remote and deserted beaches; however, mass tourism in the ensuing years practically rendered the practice obsolete.
Things reached a nadir in 2002 when being completely naked was declared illegal on Petitenget Beach, the last beach on the island that tolerated “discreet nudity.” Things change, just like everywhere else in the world, and it has become more difficult for naturism to even be ‘tolerated’ in the grand scheme of things.
Nevertheless, with the existence of underground nudist communities such as Everything To Sea – doing it safely and discreetly, of course – suffice to say the naturist spirit remains very much alive in the archipelago.
Identifying People Like Us
Depending on the region, there have been a handful of naturist symbols over the years, such as the perfect-body-woman symbol and the International Naturist Federation (INF-FNI) logo. The Skinny Dipper flag is also commonly used in North America.
The Skinny Dipper flag was created by nAKed Friends, a group based out of Alaska. The yellow represents the sun or heat. The blue represents the sky around the sun, or the water below it.
The perfect-body-woman symbol is popularly used in Europe. Probably not the most suitable for all-male travel!
The INF-FNI logo. Although it is well-known, it cannot be used by commercial companies that are not a member of this organization.
The lack of options–or flexibility in the case of the INF-FNI logo–eventually called for a more universal symbol that can be used by any and all naturists, anywhere and anytime.
It was with this spirit in mind that the Universal Naturist Symbol was conceived. Following a number of voting rounds that involved the participation of naturists worldwide, the symbol was launched in October 2020.
The Universal Naturist Symbol
Created by Jacob Braun, the symbol is designed to be adaptable and is customizable into various colors. It’s also gender, race/skin-tone, and language neutral.
There’s an irreverent slant too: the simplified backside of a body (bum and legs) could be obvious to “those who know” but would otherwise look like water or waves to others. (Speaking of which, have you taken a closer look at the Everything To Sea logo?)
Meanwhile, the seven rays of the sun represent the seven continents. Can’t get any more inclusive than that!
What’s more is that the symbol is meant to represent naturist individuals, groups, venues, events, and organizations. It’s not limited to any social or geographical barriers and even when the naturist is completely clothed.
For this reason, Everything To Sea is proud to support the Universal Naturist Symbol by using it on our website. We also encourage you to start using it too! Get it embroidered on your shirt, print it as a sticker, or plaster it on your bag. Heck, maybe even get it tattooed on your (naked) body.