Vision:

Body Freedom Collaborative (BFC) envisions a society where individuals are free to enjoy non-sexual social nudity, without fear of harassment or persecution, in a variety of public and private settings.

 

Mission:

BFC is a nonprofit organization1 dedicated to advancing the integration and acceptance of non-sexual social nudity in a variety of public and private settings.



Goals:

1. Develop and support collaborative projects, campaigns, and events at regional, national, and international levels. Extend and reinforce existing networks to share information, strategies, and other resources.

2. Increase participation in non-sexual social nudity.

3. Make our region more accepting of non-sexual social nudity.

4. Establish family-friendly clothing-optional beaches in Washington State, preferably in or near Seattle2.

BFC flowchart

Click on image for larger view. Design © 2004 Kontrolle Produktionen / Daniel Johnson for the Body Freedom Collaborative.


Strategies/Approaches:

1. Host a diverse range of activities. These activities will include:

(a) the arts (examples: musical, visual and mixed media, ephemera, photo shoots, installations).

(b) humor (examples: satire, comedy, guerilla pranksterism, culture-jamming).

(c) dramaturgy (examples: happenings, performance art, photo opportunities, flash mobs).

(d) recreation (examples: hiking, skating, bicycling, swimming, yoga, kayaking).

(e) activism/advocacy (examples: rallies, celebrations, demonstrations, protests, wade-ins).

(f) writing (fiction, non-fiction, articles, essays, collections, plays, self-publishing).

(g) environmental stewardship (examples: beach cleanups, graffiti removal, trail maintenance).

Having a good time keeps us motivated, builds interest, and helps create a sustainable model for pursuing reform. Many of our projects force us to get out, get active, have some fun and have a laugh! We feel it is important for people to get a taste of the freedom that others are withholding in order to provide motivation for tackling the more difficult challenges involved in advocacy work.

Our diverse selection of projects also provides opportunities to participate and contribute at varying levels of involvement, which promotes a balanced lifestyle and helps discourage burn-out.

2. Challenge and reform the status quo with tactics of creative and beneficial resistance. Question how social nudity can be considered counter-culture. Challenge the culture of apathy towards body-positive values and the integration of social nudity in society.

Recontextualize civil disobedience to have a positive benefit for the community. Why do bad to achieve a good? Why not try doing good to achieve good, doing good to fight injustice? Why not fight for body freedom by doing good in public while naked? We call this type of activity civil nudification. For example: organize a clothing-optional graffiti removal, trail maintenance, or a beach cleanup.

Engage in Guerilla Pranksterism. Show ourselves and others that most people do not mind a bit of public nudity if it is done in a lighthearted, non-threatening, fun-loving spirit. We wish to pursue our aims creatively, with art, with flair, and in such a manner that observers will smile and cheer. This may include such things as dramaturgy, happenings, civil nudification, flash mobs3, or culture jamming4.

Rooted in the artistic creativity of the late 1960s are short performance art pieces called "happenings." For BFC, these events are to be seemingly unrehearsed, spontaneous displays of creative public nudity. BFC thus plans to engage the public from time to time, and from place to place, on humorous and aesthetic levels, giving them pause to reconsider their antipathy to the human form.


3. Focus on public lands

Clothing-optional beaches and parks are instrumental in the shift of public opinion about non-sexual social nudity and body-positive beliefs in general. The process itself of establishing clothing-optional beaches is an opportunity for public outreach and education. Public events and activities such as rallies, wade-ins, cultural events, bike rides, civil nudifications, et cetera are also great opportunities for public outreach and education.

4. Focus on society - Bring naked freedom to the masses.

Seek a broad base of support. Strive for campaigns that have broad appeal to find the strongest support. We feel it is critical to invite participation from both emerging and established body-positive individuals and communities as well as engaging society as a whole to better guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.

Strive for greater diversity and accessibility. Pushing for greater diversity fuels the need for greater accessibility of sites and strengthens the collective voice demanding equal access to family-friendly clothing-optional beaches & parks. Diversity can also be increased by reaching out to communities who traditionally do not consider clothing-free freedoms.

By giving equal access and opportunity to those who seek to enjoy recreation in the most natural way more people will have reason to get involved in their communities and reinvest in local green spaces such as parks and beaches. A large number of local sites must be made accessible to all by bus, foot, bicycle, or wheelchair.

The question is no longer if clothing-optional beaches have value or benefit the community. There are too many successes to dismiss or ignore. The question is, why wait to work towards integration at your local beach?

We support a restructuring of a geopolitical landscape which is currently characterized by a serious disparity of the location of public parks and beaches available for clothing-optional use in predominantly heavy tourist traffic regions and the lack thereof in other regions. Are some areas of the world not deemed high-class enough than others?

While some can afford the price of travel plus club and resort fees, the economically marginalized are left with few (if any) choices for clothing-free recreation. This disparity is highly unfair and is made even worse by those in power who favor body-negative beliefs and who are trying to stamp out emerging non-sexual clothing-optional public events and parks in their own community.

5. Focus on community - Working in collaboration builds on strengths.

We seek to join with people and organizations around the world on specific clothing-optional campaigns, events, and activities. This helps us learn from others what strategies work best and integrate those approaches with our own.

Reform existing and developing events, activities, and environments to integrate naked freedom. Network and collaborate with others who share similar beliefs in organizations that are focusing on other issues. Support others and show solidarity in the push for social justice.

Encourage timid and apathetic clothing-optional individuals and communities to be more confident about their body-positive beliefs and to be actively involved in public lands initiatives. Help these communities develop responsible, open, and symbiotic relationships with society.

Social nudity should not be promoted as a lifestyle choice for a select illuminati to keep to themselves in closed and exclusive club-like environments. Every body should be able to enjoy non-sexual clothing-free recreation and expression on appropriate public lands collectively owned and shared with their community.



Beliefs:

1. The body is inherently good.

2. Nudity is beneficial psychologically, physically, and socially.

Being compulsive about wearing clothing can be harmful physically and mentally. People should not hide their physical identity because they are ashamed of how they look or because they fear how others may judge their appearance. A new generation of young people have become obsessed with body image at the expense of the true diversity and beauty of all bodies. Nobody wins when one persecutes or humiliates those who do not live up to someone else's ideal. Keep your shame off our bodies!

We encourage people to do the best with the body that they have and enjoy life. We encourage body acceptance, good health, a healthy diet, and regular exercise/recreation.

3. People have the right to promote their beliefs and actions. Many believe they have a civic duty to act on their beliefs. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers of body-negative values and lack of confidence which act to deny the opportunities for body-positive recreation and expression that we believe we are naturally entitled to by birth.

Be visible, effective, and considerate. We cannot gain acceptance of social nudity unless we crawl out from under our bushels and make a logical, compelling case for body freedom. BFC is committed to thinking out activist projects, to giving prima facie respect for law, to acknowledging the moral parameters of civil disobedience, and to recognizing the relevance (or irrelevance) of offense, before stepping out naked in public. Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals.

The types of actions BFC hopes to employ will--to the best of our ability--be effective, considered, and proportionate to their intended aim. BFC likes to make waves...as long as we can surf them nude.

4. There is a need for greater tolerance and acceptance of non-sexual social nudity.

(a) There are too few opportunities to be naked in a safe, family-friendly environment without being subjected to unjust persecution or other forms of harassment.
(b) There is a rapidly-growing segment of the population that seeks the freedom to be naked in non-sexual social contexts.

The mission of BFC directly benefits the public as it strengthens social capital by investing in the the fundamental freedom to be human - naked and without inequality.

5. It is irrational to be offended at the mere sight of a human body3.

6. Stop gender inequality as it relates to the human body. It is a form of gender discrimination to say that women cannot go topfree as men do. We support topfree equality as part of the transition towards more acceptance of skin. It is also irrational to say that women's frontal nudity is less offensive than men's due to the fact that women's genitalia are naturally hidden by pubic hair when men's are not.

7. Nude is not lewd. Humans are sexual beings, but being naked is not an indication or an invitation for overt sexual behavior. Respect peoples' bodies and their personal space. Families and individuals deserve to be able to enjoy clothing-free activities without being confronted with undesirable or unexpected behavior including: (a) Unwanted sexual advances, excessive gawking, harassment, abuse, or other forms of predatory behavior; (b) persecution for being naked; (c) being subjected to someone else's overtly sexual activities; or (d) being the principal focus of someone else's photography/videography without consent.

8. We have a connection and responsibility to the natural environment. Being naked brings us closer to each other and to our environment. We promote environmental sustainability as we stay within the resource limits of our communities and our planet.

By being good stewards of the environment we do our part to help maintain a safe and healthy environment for clothing-free recreation on our public lands. This responsibility includes: cleaning-up after ourselves, packing out litter and trash, and leaving the area better than we found it. Be nude, be natural... and leave no trace!

 



Footnotes and extended discussions

1. BFC is not a naturist or nudist club nor is it a naturist or nudist organization. BFC is a non-profit (or not-for-profit) corporation/organization focused on and defined by its mission, approaches, and beliefs (see above). Some people argue that because BFC functions within the context of naturism or nudism it is a naturist or nudist group. BFC operates in the broader context of clothing-free expression, of which naturism, nudism, the free beach movement, topfree advocacy, and body-positive expression are part of. For the record, BFC has received most of its direct participation and financial support from the naturist community in the USA. They have also received direct and indirect support from people and organizations from other communities.

From a corporate standpoint, BFC is also not pagan, alternative, new age, or religious. It is not a club, fraternal order, secret society, or a Burning Man theme camp. It is not a cover group for swingers, anarchists, or a sex commune. Its members do not use false names for each other, meet in smoke-filled lodges with cryptic messages or pictures on the walls, greet each other with secret handshakes, haze one another to quickly instill a sense of solidarity (although some of its activities have been mistaken for fraternity pranks), nor do they sport lapel pins for special events, or have any ceremonial paddles. Participants do not exchange ribbons, merit badges, certificates of recognition, or award plaques. They do not march in formation, sing fight songs, or dress in uniform. It is not a survivalist group and they do not seek to arm the naked with guns. People who work with BFC are free to believe in whatever they want, and work with them as long as they share common values and behave responsibly. BFC simply exists to draw support from a diverse set of communities and society as a whole with an aim to realize its mission.

2. Seattle and vicinity does have a few beaches and parks areas that have a tradition of clothing-optional use. While some of the beaches are in Seattle's most exclusive areas, they are not generally accessible and are so small they are of little consequence to anyone other than the neighbors surrounding the beaches. Some of these beaches also are not considered family-friendly at all hours of the day. Other traditionally clothing-free areas in Seattle are considered difficult to accesss (and thus difficult for safety patrols to access), undesirable and unsafe. There are some traditionally-used clothing-optional public beaches and park areas in Washington State that several consider worthy of formal development.

3. According to CNN.com's article "'Flash mob' craze spreads" by Sandra Shmueli dated Friday, August 8, 2003; flash mobs are a phenomena "where jokers gather en masse at a moment's notice, perform an inane activity and then disperse quickly".

4. The following discussion about culture jamming can be found on a page dedicated to culture jamming at abrupt.org:

Advertising imagery has long been post- or pre-rational. Only in its infancy was promotion about informing people about the product. Now its task is to weave stories, sing songs, to portray not the product but the people who use the product. Promises, threats, training. How can a rational critique even begin to address a worldview whose fundamental issues are not TRUE/FALSE but PLEASURE/PAIN, SEXY/GEEKY, "QUALITY"/"RIP-OFF"?

"Culture Jamming" sticks where rational discourse slides off. It is, simply, the viral introduction of radical ideas. It is viral in that it uses the enemy's own resources to replicate itself -- corporate logos, marketing psychology, clean typography, "adspeak". It is radical because--ideally--the message, once deciphered, causes damage to blind belief. Fake ads, fake newspaper articles, parodies, pastiche. The best CJ is totally unexpected, surprising, shocking in its implications.

5. See "The Offense of Public Nudity" by Mark Storey in Nude & Natural (N) magazine, 22.2, Winter 2002.

Further Reading

6. See "The Body Freedom Collaborative" by Mark Storey in Nude & Natural (N) magazine, 23.1, Autumn 2003

Version of January 6, 2004