Why I (as a Naturist) stopped hosting the WNBR | The Naturist Page


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Although the intent for the World Naked Bike Ride is for the right reasons by promoting a greener future by reducing the use of gas and oil dependencies. As well as promoting body acceptance and of others by getting noticed by drivers that we as a cyclists are very vulnerable to cars and trucks; by getting people to use their bikes more and cars less.

I co-organized the Montreal WNBR for 3 years and in that three years it was a complete success. However, I could not help notice the same pattern each year within myself when it came to the general public who were not taking part in the events. The media are one thing — but the amount of others with all the camera *click* *click* *click*… people focusing on bits alone with cameras not taking photos of us for the event, but rather for the body parts. I felt like I was no longer co-organizing a World Naked Bike Ride, but rather a voyeurism event where it was like, “Ohh hey, come gather around and snap photos of the genitals!” Which was not the idea behind the WNBR at all.

In my first year of doing the WNBR we had nearly 200 people for the event. I first for Montreal to have so many participants involved. Then as the years went by the number had dropped significantly. By the 3rd year we were floating around 20-25 people. The reason that I believe is because of all these other people just snapping away and making the women and men feel uncomfortable to participate in the events by making them feel like objects. I no longer felt like I wanted to be a co-organizer for the WNBR with the feeling of being a responsible for in my mind, supporting all this voyeurism-like behaviour with the non-participants. As a Naturist, I’ve never supported this kind of behaviour. So for that reason I’ve stopped co-organizing The Word Naked Bike Ride.

It’s one thing being part of the event and snapping photos to remember the day one took part in the WNBR. That’s fine. Just as long as you’re not being an ass by taking photos for the wrong reasons. It’s another when you’re not in the event. I will still participate in the World Naked Bike Ride, that’s for sure! I just don’t feel like as a Naturist that I should co-organize one with that been said.

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15 thoughts on “Why I (as a Naturist) stopped hosting the WNBR | The Naturist Page

  1. What did you expect? You plan a public event centered around naked bike riders, with the intention of furthering your cause. Then people show up to take photos of the participants and it bothers you.

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    • Um. 1. WNBR is a protest not a naturist event. 2. naturists might be members of the organising collectives but this is a protest, not a naturist event. 3. I’ve seen some of the lens used by these photographers in London and it can only be inverse to the size of their brains or their penis’. 4. Other naked protests are held, so why do we not have the same hordes of photographers obviously taking pictures of genitalia.

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  2. For your reasons 2 years ago I waited for the start before disrobing. Last year was not a problem although there were lots of cameras, but they were not up close and personal. Perhaps a large sign for photography etiquette would be helpful.

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  3. Seeing a human body is so rare that everyone wants a photo. The cure is to make the sight of a human body more common in human experience. Probably the first year of WNBR there were 200 naked rider and 10,000 or more watchers with cameras who had never seen another person naked. Two years later there are only 20 naked riders and the watchers haven’t seen a human body anywhere since last year’s WNBR. That needs to change. People need to see other people. Nudists need to accept that we are “unusual” until we become usual by getting out into the world.

    There is safety in numbers, a naked hiking group or WNBR group can go naked, be seen and not be arrested. In Seattle 4 years ago the naked bike rides (there were several) got media attention and photos even in small neighborhood newspapers. Today the Seattle WNBR mostly gets ignored. Ho-hum, another bunch of naked riders. Nothing to bother with.

    The cure is to give people, all people, an opportunity to seen human bodies and see human bodies, and see human bodies until most people accept human bodies as a form of normal. There will still be people who look because people watching is a common human activity, but it won’t be so rare and so photographed as a once in a lifetime event.

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    • We totally follow you on this one Brad. Non-nudists rarely see a naked body in real life, except the one of their partner, so for them it’s really something different. Something worth the photo. It’s like circus coming to town, if there’s an elephant, you will take a photo of it.
      We believe that we (nudists) are in an “in between stage”. Not so long ago we used to hide behind huge fences, only lately we’re coming more and more out in the open. We believe that this will help normalising nudity a lot, but we’ll have to get through some awkward times to come…
      We can only hope that the people who come home with 100 photos of breasts on their phones will realise that those don’t really have any added value and won’t bother to do the same the next year.

      And also, the reason why it’s a naked bike ride and not just a regular one is just to draw attention. So we can’t really be mad that a lot of people just come to see the “naked” part… And take some souvenirs.

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  4. This is too bad but not entirely unexpected. To most people, nude bodies are sexual and thrilling to see. As nudists/naturists we tend to forget just HOW different our thinking is in regards to that.

    To the average person on the street a bunch of naked bikers is either a silly amusement or sexy as hell (I just saw a BREAST!). Brad is right about that and it will take awhile for that to change, if ever.

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  5. Pingback: Why I (as a Naturist) stopped hosting the WNBR | The Naturist Page | All Nudist

  6. Back in the late 1980s, when the gay rights movement was starting to make progress a strategy was proposed in a magazine article which turned out to be very effective in gaining acceptance for LGBT people. The first phase of that strategy was to desensitize the rest of the population.

    As an enthusiastic proponent of nude recreation and clothesfree living I believe that the WNBR rides are important to our efforts to gain acceptance of our lifestyle because they help to desensitize the population to public nudity. As the novelty of nude bicyclists wears off the amateur photographers sticking their lens in people’s crotches should should return to their parents’ basements to drool over their pornography collections, or whatever they do, and the riders will be able to enjoy themselves without feeling their being gawked at. I hope the rides grow and multiply.

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  7. That’s too bad. I see any event that involves people getting naked as an opportunity to normalize public nudity. Yes, people will get excited about it in the way that you might not intend or want, but that shouldn’t be surprising, considering that this is new, unusual, and in many societies – forbidden. You know what they say about forbidden fruit. For some reason, people feel objectified in these circumstances, but I think what they should learn is that the mind doing the objectification is limited. The only way to expand its horizons is to show it that there is something beyond the genitals, like another (free) mind and another (free) soul. Hiding behind clothes because such limited minds interpret nudity in their own limited way only encourages the thought process of that mind to stay within its limited boundaries. I would personally continue organizing these events. In fact, because attendance is dwindling, I’d advertise more aggressively, perhaps even encouraging spectators to support participants by appearing naked themselves.

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  8. It’s a shame you want to set back any progress made in the direction of body acceptance, and keep naturism and nude bodies hidden from view. As has been already said, we only gain acceptance when nudity is no longer shocking to people. Being covered up has been the societal norm for thousands of years. Nudism/naturism has been hiding behind walls for about 90 years. The WNBR has been around for 12 years. You expect change based on an annual event that’s only happened basically 12 times? Gay rights happened (and some religious bigots will never accept it) because the gays kept it in the spotlight, not just an annual Pride Parade. Let people take photos. So what! If your body acceptance is based on others actions, and not your core beliefs, then retreat behind the walls.

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  9. I feel your pain. It is really too bad that your efforts were lost the a spectacle of people taking pics. However suspect that what you experienced is a symptom of a much bigger problem when naturists and nudists focus purely on the naked side of a social protest that started with different goals in mind. The naked part of WNBR was to express the vulnerability of the the planet due to continued use fossil fuels and bike riders on streets full of automobiles. Sadly nudists and naturists took the naked literally and have made the events about that inviting the spectacle to obeserve naked bodies that has become WNBR. You see the same thing in the nudist response to free the nipple. I know that you are an avid cyclist so I am sad that your efforts around that were sidelined.

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  10. Here is what I don’t get about some of the above. The writer is accurate about the intent of WNBR it had nothing to do with normalizing nudity or nakedness no shame to him for recognizing that the event had drifted away from that. If there is any shame to be handed out it should be to those who have so brazenly subverted the ordinal intent for their own agenda. It no wonder we can’t get support for our cause from other sources when we need it.

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  11. That nudists have usurped the WNBRs for their own purposes is probably true, but that should have been expected. When an organization includes public nudity as a part of its campaign to educate the public they must understand that they’re going to attract the attention of advocates of public nudity. If they had included dogs somehow in their campaign then dog lovers would have been attracted to participate.

    The other aspect of this as somewhat more subtle. Although simple nudity in public is generally not prohibited, police treat it like a crime and try to prosecute those who are found naked in public. Consequently nude protests promoting public nudity just don’t happen, but when there is another cause that includes public nudity to promote some other agenda we need to take advantage of it.

    None of the aims or methods of the organizers of the WNBRs are in any way unlawful or considered to be antisocial. But public nudity is condoned by only a relatively small number of people. If we nudists tried to organize a world naked skateboard ride to promote the rights of nudists to be nude in public, we’d never get a permit. We have to take advantage of every opportunity that knocks on our door, regardless of what the cause might be.

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