Spielplatz

The English naturist village of Spielplatz (German for ‘play place’) is the subject of a documentary on UK TV channel More4 on December 11th, and UK paper The Daily Mirror has written an article on it, the usual dumb hack puns in place. The Metro paper manages to just do with one.

In 2014, is there any valid reason why ‘journalists’ (does their training simply involve copying decades old articles from their paper’s archives?) indulge in this lazy nonsense any more?

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Iseult Richardson, daughter of Spielplatz’s founder, still lives in the grounds and has written a history of the village (originally published in 1994) called ‘No Shadows fall’, and it’s a remarkable tale of the 12 acre estate’s development.

Spielplatz, ‘The Naked Village’ airs on More4 on December 11th at 9pm.

The Mirror also ran a poll clickbait which asked the question, ‘Would you like to live in a naturist village?’ Rather remarkably, the results were (at time of publishing this post):

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One third of Mirror readers like the idea! I didn’t expect the figure to really be quite so high.

While SL has numerous naked sims, none really fill the role of naturist ‘village’. Eden Naturopolis is the closest we’d have in terms of community, but it’s spread out across an archipelago of islands. Lupe’s is beautifully turned out in a manner that evokes naturist village rural living, without dwellings. In the past, there have been locations where a sense of ‘village community’ has been tried, and worked, within SL. From my perspective, it’s maybe a gap in the market that can be filled if anyone has plans to open up any new naturist sims in the near future.

Pookes

 

Ella adds: I’ve just spotted that the Daily Mail also have an article on this

Happy Thanksgiving

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To all of our north American friends, Happy Thanksgiving.

I was going to say that we don’t celebrate it here in the UK but apparently we do, with 1 in 6 of us Brits now holding some sort of celebration of the day (although the cynical Guardian readers commentating -see the link- have identified that number as advertising clickbait for a couple of big supermarkets in the UK.

Whatever, enjoy the day.

 

Ella & the SLN staff

 

From the archives (2), and a return to Veena Malik.

Almost exactly three years ago SLN reported on Pakistani actress Veena Malik outraging the country by posing, semi-nude for FHM Pakistan magazine with the letters ISI -Inter Services Intelligence (Pakistan’s secret police)- inked on her arm.

She’s in the news again, this time for receiving a 26 year jail term by breaking Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Her crime? Filming a mock wedding for a TV show in which a religious song was playing in the background. It would be interesting to know if, in the world of cinematic post-production, the music was overlaid after filming. It certainly has an air of ‘stitch up’ about it, and some media is inferring as such.

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First Post reports how she is becoming a poster girl for freedom of expression, but I note, with some alarm and despair, comments left on the site because, if it’s irony or satire, its intent isn’t particularly clear. I sincerely hope the following is satirising women’s freedoms, and freedoms of expression, within the Muslim world.

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In this youtube video, she takes on an Islamic cleric (and wins the argument hands down).

Apparently a divisive figure in Pakistan, her supporters suggest she represents a progressive Islam, a champion of women’s rights. Her detractors question her morality. Morality is, of course, a hazy thing and I, an American in England, can’t really judge Pakistan’s moral framework in the same terms as my own. Nor would I dream of doing so. I can only judge in terms of a sense of humanity, that all God’s creatures, Christian or Muslim, male or female, need to be treated equally. Women in general, Islamic women in particular, appear to me to be not being given equal rights.

Born into a poor family of seven children in the northern city of Rawalpindi, her mission comes out of personal experience, ever since she was “a kid.”

“I’ve been watching my dad hitting my mom for no reason, for the food. ‘You did not cook the food on time,’ and things like that. Little things,” she says.

“When I grew older, my elder sister, she was 14, my father married her off. The other sister was 11, my father married her off. I was in the sixth standard [sixth grade in secondary school], when my father said that, ‘Now it is your turn.’ I stood up. And I was hardly 12, 13 at that time. I said, ‘No, why should I get married? I mean, why, why should I? I mean, I don’t want to!’ And then my father said, ‘No, you have to.’ And this was the first time I stood up for myself.”

In Malik’s telling, her father, a retired army officer, told her he had no more money for her studies so she worked to put herself through school. At 17, she decided to go into show business, a decision derided by her relatives as an unconscionable disgrace.

She fell in love for the first time, she says, when she was 20 years old. Rumors abound, but she says she is not in a relationship at present, adding that things fell apart with a former boyfriend after she became a victim of physical abuse.

But she emerged from that experience with a message for Pakistani women. “I want to tell them that ‘You are beautiful, and strong, and you don’t need to hide under the shadow of a man just because you’re a woman,'” she says. “They have to be told that they don’t have to wait for a man to feed them, they have to be told that they are strong. These women don’t know how strong and beautiful they actually are.”

“You won’t believe the kind of huge response I have received from the women of Pakistan, even the women who wear the burqa and all.” She quotes messages from girls who say things like, “you have given us hope, to stand up.”

She thinks things have “already started” to change in Pakistan. But with Islamabad mired in political infighting and the country confronted with growing insurgent violence, she says the time has come for women to “think for themselves…. Because no one else is going to give a damn [about them] in Pakistan.”

As a 27-year-old celebrity, Malik is part of a growing majority in Pakistan, where over two-thirds of the population is under 30.

Pakistan is home to deeply rooted conservative values with unprecedented exposure to the modern world due to the ready availability of cheap modern technology and the country’s widespread use of the English language.

Nineteen-year-old Siraj Ali, a Pakistani studying in Karachi, says Malik “was right about that cleric [Qavi],” adding that he and his friends “all support her.” He doesn’t think this is the dominant opinion among his peers, however, warning that many young people have been influenced by the fundamentalist Taliban.

Others believe more positive changes are afoot. Umar Saif, a 33-year-old Pakistani professor recently listed among MIT’s prestigious Top Young Innovators, thinks Malik’s generation will change Pakistan.

“Pakistan’s really come of age, as most nations need to, and the next generation will usher in a time of modernization and usher in an era of political awareness, usher in an era of political tolerance, and just enlightenment,” Saif says. “And we hope to embrace, you know, the civilized way the rest of the world has gone about their business.”

Let us hope that it is Malik’s generation who will find a path that allows them to pursue this progressive Islam, and who can truly change society in the country over the next generation or so.
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Veena Mailk as a sexy movie star, scandalising Pakistan.

Note: this jail sentence arrives since Miss Malik has apparently renounced the film industry, acknowledged ‘mistakes’ in her past, got married, given birth to a son, and undertaken Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca. It would appear that, for whatever reason, embracing her religion, where she might have scandalised it before, has been no protection from the ludicrous findings of the courts.

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Veena Malik and her husband since renouncing the glitz and glamour of Bollywood.

Apricot
(Ella adds: Apricot submitted this without being aware of our previous reporting on Veena, so the piece went back to her for a little bit of a re-write prior to publication)

No thanksgiving for Turkey

Many media sources are reporting the words of Turkish President Erdogan who has declared that there cannot be equality between the sexes.

The basis of this appears to be that ‘pregnant women cannot work like men’ and ‘breastfeeding women cannot be treated like men’ because it is against a woman’s ‘delicate nature’.

Is the woman pregnant or breastfeeding for the entirety of her fertile years? No.

Quite obviously no one expects a pregnant woman to be, for example, bricklaying while eight months pregnant. Or, if a nurse, something probably traditionally seen as woman’s work, turning over beds at the same point in her pregnancy.

I can’t, however, see how an eight-month pregnant woman teacher can’t be treated exactly the same as a male teacher. Or an eight month pregnant petrol filling station attendant can’t be treated exactly the same as a male colleague.

Of course, in a patriarchal society, which Turkey and many other places (including our own UK) run, such attitudes are probably common place, particularly in respect of breastfeeding, a practice so disgusting, apparently, that we ban it in cafes and on social media. The most natural method of nourishing an infant is relegated to taking place in private, lest others take offence. How can you possibly be offended by such a thing?

I hadn’t previously thought of Turkey as a separate entity for inclusion in SLN12, our ‘International edition’, and the challenges its women face in a country that straddles Europe and Asia, creating, dare I say, a slight schizophrenia in how it presents itself. One one hand, overwhelmingly Muslim. On the other hand, with its face turned towards western Europe, its desire to join the EU, and its application for full membership currently blocked due to its failure to meet certain criteria.

Its membership isn’t blocked, of course, due to statistics which suggest 40% of its women experience domestic violence once in their lives, but if it was meeting all other criteria I would hope that Europe didn’t wish to admit a country where domestic violence would appear to be rife alongside child marriage, the President himself going to the extraordinary lengths of obtaining a court order so that his son could marry a 17 year old (his son was 24 at the time -the legal age for marriage in Turkey is 18). If women have a ‘delicate nature’, then surely it would be delicate enough to permit them to, at least, reach adult age before being married off.sisman3_001b

It’s not the first time, recently, where male politicians have fingered wagged at their female (un)equals in the country. Is it really only as recently as July that the Deputy Prime Minister suggested that women shouldn’t laugh in public? What reason could they possibly have to laugh, with idiots like that in power, gently squeezing the life and laughter from women?

Kemal Ataturk, the de-facto founder of the country, a man whose reforms saw women get the vote before women in France and Italy, for example, must be turning in his grave.

As the Guardian points out, inequality, misogyny and violence are rife.

I’m pleased to say that Turkey has a healthy, vibrant presence in SL, and SLN certainly appears to be a popular read in the country (in the league table of ‘most read by country’ stats, it sits 14th of the world’s nations for visiting the blog. So quite clearly there’s a readership out there for whom naturism, in or out of SL, has an interest, which suggests that there is a young, computer literate and western looking (not that I’m suggesting that as a necessarily positive thing: the west is not without its own, many, problems).

I’ve managed to begin an IM correspondence with a young, female SL avatar from Istanbul, a woman who wears a headscarf, as she does in RL, but is ‘drawn to the freedoms Second Life, and lifestyles like naturism have to offer’. Her IM comes back ‘lol’ when I ask if, for her, naturism would be something she would try, ‘Not even in Second Life! In real life, not even a bikini on the beach’.

I hope to continue this dialogue with her and get some insight into her, and her country’s, mindset and include that in SLN12 when it comes.

I still haven’t managed to engage any Turkish, male avatars in correspondence yet. Guys, if you’re out there, and reading, drop me an IM so I can hear your views.

Ella

 

 

 

I’m no longer ‘naked’, I’m just naturally me.

There comes a point in naturism where you cease being naked, when you cease being nude.

No, I don’t mean that awful moment when you realise you have to put clothes on and head back to the airport. I mean the moment when you cease feeling naked, when you cease feeling nude, when you cease feeling exposed, embarrassed or vulnerable.

Yes, you feel all these things when making your nude debut because it’s something you’ve never experienced before. You’re out of your comfort zone. Apart from a sports or swimming changing room the chances are you’ve never been naked in public before, and even in a sports changing room it will be strictly segregated by gender. Even within a sports changing room you’ll find people wearing swimwear in the showers, or keeping a towel tightly wrapped around themselves while they change.

I felt dreadfully embarrassed on my debut, like the eyes of the world (or those around the pool) were upon me.

In reality, no one cared, and there won’t have been many who gave me much more than a glance. Their eyes would not have alighted upon me any more than had I been wearing a bikini. Indeed, my own nude debut day began with me in a bikini, before I lost the top and then the bottoms. It would have been a red-faced run to the pool being naked, outdoors, amongst strangers for the first time.

Those of you who are naturists will remember your nude debut in vivid detail. I would parallel your recollections of it with the first time you had sex. You remember where you were, who you were with, how it felt, all in minute detail. On a one-to-one sexual experience, even before you had sex for the first time, you can maybe recall a sense of embarrassment -not quite ‘shame’- when you exposed your intimate parts to someone of the other sex for the first time.

I’ll merrily admit that my nude debut arrived before I lost my virginity, so I didn’t have any framework of saying ‘OK, guys have seen my boobs or bits before’. When I made that red-faced, embarrassed run to the pool for the first time, I felt I wanted the world to open up and swallow me.

An hour later, it felt fine. It felt natural. My head was thinking ‘I like the feeling of being naked’. But I was still thinking in terms of being naked, outdoors and in public.maria_001b

I’m not sure when that stopped. Every time I did something new, while naked, I’d be thinking ‘oh, wow, that’s the first time I’ve done that naked’. I’d tick off a list of first times. First nude sunbathing? Yep. First nude swim? Oh wow, it feels fabulous not having a costume on. Yep, tick that off too. First time walking along a beach. Yep. First time doing…whatever. Yep, tick it off. First time seeing a gorgeous specimen of the opposite sex nude. Yep.

And then, eventually, you arrive at a point where you aren’t even thinking about your own naked state. It has become natural.maria2_001b

Walking on what were public roads, in daylight, seemed odd, strange, liberating & exciting the first time I ever did it (at Cap D’Agde). Now? I don’t give it a second thought. I don’t give any of it a second thought. I arrive at a naturist location and am out of my clothes before even unzipping my case. After what is often an early start, a flight, and a drive before arriving at our destination, invariably warmer than home, I desperately want out of those sweaty, wrinkled clothes. I never think ‘oh, I’m naked now’. I tend to think ‘oh, how nice it is to be out of those grimy clothes’. For the next 7,10,14 days it’s the most natural thing in the world to be naked, and for that to be my natural state of being. I don’t ever think, now, that I’m naked, that I’m nude. I’ve ceased to be naked or nude, I’ve reached a point where that’s normal behaviour. For me to think ‘I’m naked’ would be as weird as you (naturist or textile) thinking ‘I’ve got a pair of black knickers/boxer shorts on today’. From getting up until going to bed, you won’t have given the colour of your underwear a second thought. Go on…tell me what colour your undies are, without looking. It’s something you’ve given no thought to.

 

 

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Friends, at Summerdream’s sundial, no longer thinking of each other as ‘naked’

In naturism, you quickly learn that you don’t even think about the fact that you’ve got no knickers/boxers on. It’s something you give no thought to.

The beautiful thing is that your fellow naturists are almost all at this same state of naked grace. We have ceased to see each other as being naked. We have simply acknowledged we’re in our natural state.

 

Ella

From the archives

ella-towel_001We celebrated our third birthday, without any fanfare, on November 10th. Over 1000 posts later, and a quarter of a million site views, we’re still here, still going strong.

 

 

 

So I looked back to the very beginning of SLN and found that the photo (above) was the very first photo of me to appear. I’m pleased to see that the sim where it’s situated, Eden Naturist, is still going strong thanks to the sterling support for SL naturism courtesy of Eden’s owners, Elbag & Brenda. I know exactly where this was shot, it’s on the road out towards Eden’s airport.

The next photo of me that appeared was the one below.

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This was taken at a short-lived naturist sim, The Lost Garden. I was sorry to see it go because it was a beautifully built natural looking sim, unencumbered by clutter. In the interim we’ve seen lots of naturist sims come and go, and reported from many that no longer exist. Good to see, also, that three years ago I was happy with the SL skin I was in, and my look hasn’t changed a bit. After all this time in SL I’m rather comfortable in Ella’s skin and she’s very much an extension of the RL me.

I look forward to seeing what changes take place over the next three years. Yep, I really do hope to be blogging from our wonderful virtual world in November 2017.

Ella

Naked Parkour/free running

I picked this up from The Independent newspaper earlier today. ‘Free running’, across London. Naked. You can buy prints of the resulting photographs, some of which look ‘classical’ in delivery, here. I’ve not put up any of the original photos as they’ll be subject to copyright, but they do look fantastic.dickfreerunning1_001b

Does it sound like fun? I think so. Nakedness and photography, ideal for us to send an avatar out onto the grid to replicate the theme of ‘Man & Mortar’, even if the avatar isn’t quite free running.

“There was quite a lot of the time when we would do it on rooftops and we would look down and there would be hundreds of people walking underneath you around Bond Street and not one person would look up,” (model Tim) Shieff said, “we managed to get away with it with not too much trouble and no one was offended.”dickfreerunning2_001b

That was an experience our model, Rick, found replicated in SL.dickfreerunning3_001b

‘I went to busy sims. As the original series of photographs were taken in a busy London, I went to the London City sim, which isn’t naturist. What Tim Shieff says in the Independent was more or less my experience. Too many avatars focused on what was going on at ground level to even cam upwards. No one was offended in SL either’, he laughs.

 

 

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Trafalgar Square, London City sim

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 Cleopatra’s Needle, The Embankment, London City sim

 

Pookes