Dissertations identified through a search on the terms nudist, nudism,
ProQuest Dissertation Database
Alcorn, John Marshall (1966) Hardy to
Lawrence: A study in naturism. New York University, 269 pages
No abstract available.
Buchy, Phillip Edward (MA 2005) Nudist
Resort Architecture. Miami University (Ohio), 135 pages.
An architecture thesis focused on designing a
project to suit the particular needs and wants of a specialized client
group, in this case, nudists. Literary research coupled with
years of personal experience and interviews, revealed nudism to be
mostly an act of self-discovery. The focus of the project thus
became designing a resort that would facilitate the process of
discovery and ideally correlate the spiritual nature of the experience
of nudism with the architectural environment. Design decisions to
accomplish this were primarily based on people’s environmental
preferences and our predispositions for natural settings as well as
material quality. This thesis is experiential and process
oriented, not empirical....
The entire thesis is posted online at http://www.free11.org/post/2005.00.Nudist
Resort Architecture MA Thesis.MiamiU (Ohio).Buchy.pdf.
DeGoede, Daniel L. (1984)
Social nudism and
body concept. Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center,
In an attempt to determine whether
significantly from non-nudists on tests which purport to measure body
concept, 249 nudists and 190 non-nudists were compared. For
purposes of this study, social nudism was defined as being nude in a
social setting where people of both gender are present for reasons
other than sexual experience. People who practice familial,
parental, or couple nudity but do not practice nudity outside the
family or couple environment represent a special class of "nudist"
behavior not addressed by the present study. A derivation of
Secord-Jourard Body Cathexis scale and a subscale of that derivation
were utilized to measure possible body concept differences between
nudists and non-nudists. The dependent variable (body concept
scores), was separated into two components: BCSTOT, an overall body
concept score; and BCSSEX, a specialized body concept score presumed to
indicate conscious attitudes towards sexual and elimination functions.
After an examination was made of group
two separate Analyses of Variance (ANOVA) were made. The
analysis was a two factor ANOVA with gender designation and a
nudity/non-nudity dimension. The dependent variable was
BCSTOT. The second ANOVA was identical to the first except
the dependent variable was BCSSEX. Two a priori t tests were
made to examine specific cell mean differences between nudist and
non-nudist females on both BCSTOT and BCSSEX. These a priori
tests were planned because of earlier research findings by Blank,
Sugarman, and Roosa (1968) which demonstrated that there are
significant differences in body concept scores between female nudists
and female non-nudists.
In the initial ANOVA, the BCSTOT score
was found to
be nonsignificant, but in the second ANOVA the BCSSEX scores were
significant. The first a priori t test on overall body
differences between nudist and non-nudist females was significant, with
nudist females scoring higher than non-nudist females. The
a priori t test on BCSSEX cell means between nudist and non-nudist
females was also significant. Again, the nudist females
higher scores than the non-nudist females.
These findings replicate the findings of
Sugarman, and Roosa (1968). Of all of the groups measured
males, non-nudist males, nudist females, and non-nudist females), the
nudist females scored highest on body concept, and the non-nudist
females scored lowest.
Gordon, Dahlia Victoria (2002) Strippers
nudists: A comparative study using Sixteen Personal Factor
Questionnaire (16PF). Carlos Albizu University, 86 pages
This dissertation compared strippers and
using The Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16 PF, Fifth
Edition, 1993) by R. B. Catell. Additionally, strippers and
nudists were compared to the means of the 16 PF norm sample.
participants were recruited on a voluntary basis at nude dancing
establishments and at a public nude beach. Participants
the 16 PF along with a Demographic Information Sheet. There
20 strippers and 20 nudists who participated in the study.
Results yielded 18 valid stripper tests
and 20 valid
nudist tests. Demographic information was presented on the
groups. Additionally, results of the comparisons between
strippers, nudists, and the norm sample were provided on all 16 primary
factors and the 5 global factors of the 16 PF.
Results indicated that nudists and
differed significantly from each other on the 16 PF factors measuring
warmth, dominance, sensitivity, vigilance, privateness, and openness to
change. Additionally, they differed significantly on global
factors related to tough-mindedness and independence.
Regarding the comparisons with the mean
the 16 PF norm sample, differences were also found in this
Strippers differed significantly from the norm sample on the primary
factors measuring warmth, reasoning, emotional tension.
Additionally, they differed significantly on global factors involving
anxiety and self-control.
The nudists also yielded significant
from the norm sample in several areas including dominance, liveliness,
rule consciousness, vigilance, privateness, and openness to
change. The global factors on which the nudists and norm
differed were toughmindedness, independence, and self-control.
This study also included several
serve as possible explanations for the results found.
general profile of strippers and nudists was provided based on the
results of the study and previous research. Potential areas
future research are also mentioned.
McCarthy, David Patterson (1992)
positions: Situations for the nude in American painting,
1955-1980. University of Delaware, 600 pages
In this dissertation I consider some of
strategies used by artists between 1955 and 1980 to revitalize the nude
while acknowledging the formal dictates of modernist abstraction and
addressing the social issues raised by the sexual revolution.
Recognizing that the nude is simultaneously subject to the weight of
tradition, to current artistic practice, and to social attitudes toward
such issues as the production of gender and the definition of
sexuality, I use an historical approach that documents the nude, places
it within the artistic history of these years, and reveals the encoded
meanings of the postwar nude in its broader sociohistorical context.
The dissertation is organized around
themes, or situations, that helped ground the nude in the history of
these years. These situations include the tension between
figuration and abstraction--specifically the formal characteristics of
New York School painting, such as flatness and monumental scale--and
the desire of such painters as Larry Rivers and Philip Pearlstein to
accommodate these characteristics to figurative strategies using the
nude; the attempt to develop a uniquely "American" type of nude by Tom
Wesselmann, Mel Ramos, and others, an attempt that acknowledged the
conventions of the pinup and was informed by recent Supreme Court
decisions defining obscenity; the use of the nude as an embodiment of
utopian, sexual revolution by such artists as Alfred Leslie and Wynn
Chamberlain who were using nudist magazine photography as source
material; and the feminist reinterpretation of the nude by Sylvia
Sleigh and Joan Semmel, among others, who wished to counter the
gendered discrimination traditionally encoded in the nude.
The results of this study indicate that
in the nude by postwar American artists was both deeper and broader
than previously thought. Moreover, this interest cuts across
stylistic categories and was by no means relegated to just those
painters who considered themselves realists. Finally, this
suggests that traditional subjects in Western art, such as the nude,
could be entertained by contemporary artists because they could be
forced to carry new and topical attitudes toward painting and matters
(2003) Feeling Nature: Naturism, Camping, Environment and the
in Twentieth-century Britain. University of Hull.
This thesis considers the interaction of human beings with
environment. In particular, it addresses the ways that
light-weight campers encountered, understood and reflected upon the
spaces, places and environments around them in the period between 1920
and the late 1950s. In considering ‘outdoor
cultures’ and drawing upon
humanistic geography and recent literature concerning issues of
embodiment, sensuality, and body culture, my research raises a number
of important questions. These include the importance of
and the ethos of outdoor recreation in the inter-war and immediate
post-war period, debates about the embodied experience of naturists and
campers and, in turn, the ways in which Nature was represented within
their reflexive accounts. In working through issues of
self, body culture and morality, the thesis contributes to ongoing
geographical debates concerning the body and embodiment; sensing the
environment and outdoor cultures; and experiences of space and place
and the mutual constitution of nature and society in inter-war European
cultures. Drawing upon empirical analysis of archival and
texts, and upon oral histories, photographs, art and poetry I consider
embodied experience as a ‘situated’ practice in
relation to the moral
geographies of citizenship and idealism evident in the inter-war and
immediate post war periods. The thesis demonstrates that
experience is mediated, directed, and evaluated by a wealth of social,
cultural and historical parameters and that naturists' and campers'
experience shaped and was shaped by wider discourses of morality,
health and self.
Rode, Susan L. (1994) Nudity as a symbol of
salvation in the nudity-Christ connection. M.A. Thesis.
Ottawa, Canada: Saint Paul University. 64 pages.
No abstract available.
Rode, Susan L. (2000) A Christian perspective
of contemporary nudity: theological and ethical reflections on symbolic
nakedness. Ph.D. Thesis. Ottawa, Canada: Saint Paul
University. 258 pages.
This thesis represents and records the results of
investigations in the area of contemporary nudity in North American
society and the meanings attached and applied to human nakedness by our
culture. We wanted to uncover and reveal why human nakedness
seems to be considered only in connection with sexuality and given
mostly negative interpretations. We identified a symbolic
paradigm of nudity at work within both society and Christian discourse,
a paradigm which connects human nakedness to fallen humanity, usually
represented by references to Adam and Eve. This tie or
relationship appears to lead to negative constructs of nudity, to
interpretations of nakedness which communicate a sexuality considered
only in a negative fashion. We have coined the phrase---"the Adam
and Eve (Adam/Eve) connection"---to clarify, indicate and identify this
joining of contemporary nudity to the Genesis couple.
The thesis looks to Christian tradition in an
attempt to retrieve some basis for an alternate model, a model which
would specifically connect our nudity to Christ and in this way
symbolically reflect our redeemed nature as well as our fallen
state. We expressed such a relationship or tie with the
phrase---"the Christ connection". Inspired by the research on
nudity conducted by ethicist Andre Guindon and the theory of symbolism
developed by theologian Paul Tillich, we turned to early baptismal
texts and Christian iconography. Guindon's bold and innovative
work on nudity and the Christian faith guides our own investigations
and frames our discussions. Tillich's symbolic theory has
influenced and been implemented by many researchers in various
disciplines and seems especially appropriate for investigations into
nudity as a symbol within our North American culture.
An examination of the second baptismal catechesis of
Cyril of Jerusalem and Renaissance images of the naked Christ, as
documented by Leo Steinberg, enabled us to construct a Christocentric
symbolic paradigm. This paradigm indicates and provides meanings
of Christ's symbolic nudity. The baptismal instruction given by
Cyril explicates and clarifies the connection between the initiate and
Christ, a relationship which Cyril indicates with the use of nudity as
a symbol. The connection between the believer and Christ is
symbolized and actualized by the nudity of both. Nudity forms the
symbolic bond connecting Christ and the neophyte. Steinberg's
exploration of theological meanings communicated by artistic imagery of
the naked Christ, led us to delineate meanings and interpretations of
the symbolic nudity of Christ. These meanings were then applied
in a new model which was employed to offer constructive, positive
meanings of human nudity.
Finally, we indicated theological and ethical
implications of the implementation of this Christocentric
paradigm. Such a model presents nudity in a positive fashion
because it indicates and reveals our graced relationship with and in
the risen Christ. In the light of our new model, human nakedness
may be considered as a positive, affirming symbol (nudity).
(Abstract shortened by UMI.)
The entire dissertation is posted online at at https://www.ruor.uottawa.ca/en/handle/10393/9302.
Building a better body: Nudism, society and the German nation,
1890-1950. University of Missouri- Columbia, 658 pages
Efforts to create a fit and racially
pure Germany in
the twentieth century tended to focus almost entirely on re-forming the
national body while paying little attention to the personal
The Freikörperkultur , or free-body culture (nudist), movement
an important and unique exception in that it focused on the personal
body as a means to reinvigorate and regenerate the larger national or
racial body. Contemporary observers believed that physically
psychologically Germans were becoming a degenerate Volk.
Diseased, weak and estranged from nature, Germans cut a poor figure in
the minds of many contemporaries who worried about the future of the
race. Nudists were convinced that personal health and
regeneration were essential for national regeneration. For
nudists, the personal body and the national or racial body were
intimately connected; to reform one meant to reform the
From its earliest days, nudism was conceived and practiced as a means
by which the German race could reform itself, one person at a time into
a racially purer, better people. The research for this
dissertation was conducted in archives in various German
Results indicate that nudism was far more widespread in German society,
and belief in it transcended other ideologies, including
politics. This dissertation represents the first major study
English of this movement, and of any study, is the first to investigate
nudism's ideology and reality. It is a contribution [to] the
understanding of the German nation and the role of the body in history.
Stewart, Philip Gleason, Jr.
new-genre nude: A new fine art motif derived from nudist magazine
photography. The Ohio State University, 375 pages
This dissertation traces the roots of
nude in fine art photography. It answers the question, did
photography generate a new way of seeing the nude in art?
By studying visual elements of
paintings, this study concluded that photography in conjunction with
mass media publications did generate a new way of seeing the nude in
art in the form of new subject matter.
This new form of nude was a variation of
nude and first publicly appeared in nudist publications around
1931. The elements of this new form of nude then transferred
what had been covert images, such as artists' photographic model
studies and pornography, and became acceptable elements of fine art
photography. These elements began to appear in art
the mid 1930s and became prevalent in art during the 1970s.
The elements of the "new-genre nude"
are: (1) The
subject is a real person who is nude, not a literary character or
ideal. (2) Mixed sexes and age groups, and (3) Modern
environmental artifacts which identify the image as being
contemporary. (4) An informal pose rather than consciously
artistic or erotic. (5) Lack of traditional artistic
justification for nudity, other than bathing or swimming.
Prior to 1933, these elements of subject
almost never found in nude photographs published as art.
Following the advent of nudist publications in 1931, one or more of
these elements could be found in about one third of published fine art
nude photographs and by 1970, in about half. The same pattern
transference of subject matter elements from mass media to fine arts
was also seen in anthropological and erotic nude photographs.
The conclusion is that photography in
publications is a powerful educational device which can effectively
change the way people think about a subject. In the example
nude photography, this combination facilitated making what had been
unacceptable nudity acceptable to the general public.
Wasson, Leslie Ann (1999) Embarrassment:
definitions of an emotion. State University of New York at
Brook, 206 pages
Existing theory on the sociology of
proposes that emotions are situated, that is, that particular emotions
are defined as appropriate and expected in certain social
contexts. Very little empirical research has been done to
this theory. I gathered data on the emotion of embarrassment,
with the goal of following the emotion of embarrassment across
situational boundaries to explore the social conditions in which it is
defined as appropriate or inappropriate. Also, I was curious
people learn these definitions when they enter a new setting.
Since embarrassment so frequently occurs in the situation wherein one
person finds themselves in a state of undress in front of others, I
conducted observational research in the context of a naturist resort,
where public nudity is the norm rather than the exception.
allowed me to examine shifting definitions of appropriate embarrassment
or lack thereof regarding nudity in public, and also to observe
individuals' resocialization to these new definitions of what is or is
The research setting is the largest
optional resort in North America, located in Florida. I
as subjects those persons who were in the public areas of the resort
during my periods of observation. I took field notes on my
observations of their public behavior, including verbatim quotes of
their public conversation. I engaged people in conversation
regarding my topic, after identifying myself and the purpose of my
research. Consent forms were read to potential respondents
copy offered for their files. I included myself and my own
reactions in my notes as material for this research.
Interview responses and observations at
optional resort indicated that nudists experienced a process of
resocialization to a new definition of appropriate public
nakedness. They also learned an ideology that legitimated the
practice of social nudism and identified appropriate feelings about
nudity. Finally, through interactions with other nudists,
respondents learned ways to redefine what they were feeling emotionally
to exclude possible definitions of embarrassment with regard to being
naked in public. These findings have important implications
theories of identity, deviance, socialization, embodiment, and emotion.
Williams, John Alexander (1996) Giving
higher purpose: Back-to-nature movements in Weimer Germany,
1918-1933. University of Michigan, 396 pages
This study analyzes the complex and
historical meanings of returning to nature during the Weimar years
through a set of case studies of "back-to-nature"
The most popular of these organized endeavors were the "life-reform"
(Lebensreform) movement, devoted to vegetarianism, homeopathy, and
nudism; the conservationist movement; and an array of independent and
adult-sponsored youth movements determined to improve the minds and
bodies of adolescents through organized hiking.
Naturist rhetoric and practice addressed
general contemporary concern: the ambiguous relations of class, gender,
and generation; the burdens of the lost war; and the uncertain fate of
the German people. Each organization claimed to have embarked
a more "natural" path toward a brighter future. Two common
tendencies can be seen in the processes by which the naturists gave
nature its "higher purpose." First, each organization
official rules and practices intended to guide their constituents in
the most correct way of returning to nature. Second, the
of nature itself underwent change due to the multivalence of
contemporary nature visions. Naturist rhetoric was shaped and
contested around three contradictory incarnations of nature: (1) an
awestruck, neo-Romantic concept of nature as a realm of individuality,
emotion, and mystery; (2) "human nature," usually perceived as
dangerously irrational and sexual; and (3) "nature" as a source of
immutable laws. As the Weimar years wore on, this latter
rationalistic vision became increasingly dominant in back-to-nature
organizations. By the early 1930s, nature had been
honed into a more orderly and cultured nature--a "clean
In basing their worldviews and plans of improvement on natural law, the
naturists transformed nature into the utopian model for a more stable
The study sheds light on cultural
responses to the
trends that constituted the "modernity" specific to the Weimar years,
ranging from the rise of new mass cultural forms, to changing relations
between the sexes, to the social, economic, and political legacies of
war and revolution. Moreover, the study of nature concepts
us closer to an understanding of the cultural continuities between
Weimar and the Third Reich. For the Nazis appropriated the
dominant rationalistic concept of nature as "clean," ultimately using
it to legitimate their murderous "purification" of the "national
A Student Field Trip
This semester I taught a small,
course called “Controversial Issues in
The students said they would like some field experience, either
individually or as a group. After wrestling with some ethical
issues, I decided to allow this to be one of several options for a
One student elected to go to a nudist
arranged for a couple to meet her at a nearby resort. After
student returned, she gave a full report to the class. She
she had planned to wear a bathing suit, at least initially, but felt so
comfortable she disrobed immediately. She spent some time
her hosts and some time on her own. She talked with many
and found them uniformly friendly; it didn’t matter whether
not she identified herself as doing a student project.
She told the class she had a great time,
her mother was jealous she wasn’t invited! But
very positive report, she was uncertain as to whether she would
return. She said it was too expensive for college students;
went after being offered a discount by the management. She
that the people closest to her in age were one adolescent child
attending with her family, and then some couples in their
30’s. It appeared from her comments that college
would need a critical mass--enough people in their age group--to want
to go. It seemed like few, if any, students in this class
even consider it, despite being open-minded enough to have taken two
classes in sexuality.
Although my student liked the
experience, it may be
that she was the student in the class most inclined to enjoy that
environment. Indeed, her gynecologist told her he had never
anyone so comfortable during a first-time examination.
Most parks seemed to be skewed to an
older crowd; to
me, an unanswered question is whether it generally takes a certain age
or maturity to seek out nude recreation.
Nudes in the Classroom
On January 16th , two naked
interrupted a lecture at McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario). They
entered the room at the back and walked up to the front, where the
lecturer was speaking.
But nobody was alarmed, because the pair
on topic. The lecture was titled "Public Nudity: Social Art?" The
speaker, Prof. Paul Rapoport of the university's School of the Arts,
had arranged it all beforehand.
On a secret cue, Ron Schout and Sandy
the lecture room to remove their clothes in an antechamber. Then they
re-entered the room to chat with Prof. Rapoport, who remained fully
Just before this nude intervention, the
described how naked people may engage in ordinary, non-erotic
activities. Mr. Schout and Ms. Hessel simply proved the point--live and
They had also visited McMaster
University on January
13th to take part in a photo shoot by art student Rana Haddad. She
projected slides of her native Lebanon onto the bodies of six nude
women and six nude men bunched together on podiums, and photographed
An Exam Question
find a bonus exam that I offered a couple of years ago to an
introductory health science class. Making parenting
is complex. I found that the most heated discussions in the
centered on personal decisions and sex. This bonus was graded
consistency of replies as well as justification.
15 December 1999
For Additional Credit
Issues on Parenting and Body Acceptance:
Individual Behavior, Community Values, Public Health
What follows are summaries of four issues that have appeared in the
news media over the past few years. Each deals with
BEHAVIORS related to parenting and body acceptance. Each
with COMMUNITY VALUES that may conflict with personal
Each deals with an aspect that relates to PUBLIC HEALTH.
If you decide to complete this offer you may gain a potential of an
additional 10% to your current grade. The exam you just
was 25% of your grade as outlined in the syllabus. This
additional credit can be used to complement your overall class grade.
In order to complete this exercise, you must:
● read the
four summary statements,
your response to four yes or no questions, and
one essay explaining your
perspective on a public health aspect of personal body acceptance and
Only yes or no will be accepted as responses to the first four
Start your response on the first page of your Blue Book.
"Extra Credit." Number the first lines 1, 2, 3, and 4 and
your answers next to the number. Begin your essay on the 5th
line. You have until the end of the final time period to
Anchorage Daily News - 19 March 1999
“Woman sentenced for ‘sex education’
Fort Worth, Texas - A woman who said she had sex with her husband in
front of her two young daughters for “educational
was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The 29-year old woman,
name was withheld to protect her children, pleaded guilty to aggravated
sexual assault of a child. She was sentenced
did this for educational purposes,' she told police. 'What
on in our household is our business.' ”
Parents have fought against school-based sex education as it removes
their rights to provide the information in a meaningful
Parents have requested that they provide the primary information on
sexual behavior in their own cultural, moral, and ethical
environment. However, many parents have difficulty or find it
impossible to have the type of open discussion about sex and maturing
that are really needed. Soon the children are of an age when
need the information. They turn to peers, to unreliable
and often learn the hard way from first hand experience.
Schools have been charged to provide sex education. They make
extraordinary efforts to let the parents know well in advance so the
process can be provided or at least begun at home first.
are accused of providing just the description of sex
The analogy that is used is giving driver education by providing the
parts manual to a car without ever talking about how it runs or how to
drive one. Schools are accused at the same time of providing
working information without the moral or cultural framework that is
critically needed. The analogy is giving the rules of the
for driving in different countries of the world. Schools are
the impossible position to provide needed information in a manner that
is acceptable to everyone on a very personal topic. No one
teacher can provide the cultural, moral, and physical sexual education
for a community of children. However, parents can do so for
The couple in question in the article acted in the belief that their
demonstration of sexual intercourse was an appropriate way to educate
the children. It was done in the privacy of their
may be argued that there are no quality sex education materials that
provide the level of detail or parental perspective that was attempted
by this couple.
The mother stated she did this for her children and admitted to be
guilty of the act, but was she guilty of the intent of the
Is she guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child? It is
unknown if the male partner was similarly charged. It is
how the public learned of the event.
1. Should parents have the
freedom to teach
their children about sex in the privacy of their own home?
Lake Travis, near Austin, Texas
The State of Texas has had a decades-old sign
“NOTICE Nude swimming or sunbathing may be
occurring beyond this point.”
County Officials have placed a new sign
“NOTICE No person under the age of 18 shall be
admitted into McGregor/Hippie Hollow Park.”
In Texas, nudity in public is an offense only if you are reckless about
offending someone who is present. There have been no previous
problems in this out-of-the-way lake where families have gone nude for
decades. The official signs at the entrance have negated any
presumption of recklessness, therefore allowing the clothing-optional
recreation to occur under the law. The law officers have left
this situation alone for years. As there were no complaints
was no need for concern. Then a new group of county officials
acted to “protect” children and closed the park to
those under 18.
For a hundred years the philosophy of social nudism, or naturism, has
provided an alternative to the confines of growing industrialized
urbanization and a removal of people from nature. It is
that participating in open-air recreation and sun bathing promotes
greater sensitivity for the stewardship of the environment and builds
community bonds through trusting relationships. Naturism is a
philosophy to reconnect people to nature through living without
clothing. Doctors during the first half of this century
prescribed “sun and air baths” (naturist
improving overall health. This has been seen as a family
from which both children and adults benefit.
There was an official sign informing the public of the nude
activities. Recently, some people who do not support such
activity have gone to Lake Travis specifically to observe this family
nudity and have been offended. These individuals went out of
their way to view unclothed families engaged in recreational
activities. The officers have now been requested to enforce
laws that ban adults from being nude with minor children.
However, these laws were designed to deal with child sexual assault
cases, not family skinny-dipping. New signs have now been
at this public park. “NOTICE No person
under the age
of 18 shall be admitted into McGregor/Hippie Hollow
This means that all children are now banned from a public park.
There are studies that show that children raised in the naturist
lifestyle have elevated self-esteem, are less likely to be arrested as
young adults, and are less likely to use pornography. There
long-term cultural structures and beliefs about humans going without
clothes dating back thousands of years to the foundations of many
religions. Various cultural groups throughout the world have
lived successfully with various amounts of clothing covering a variety
of body parts for a variety of reasons. Some do not wear any
clothes but require some adornment in the form of decorated
bands. Women go “top free” on many
beaches. Men were arrested for going “top
the urban beaches of the US into the 1930s. Public nudity is
legal on all Danish beaches and in most public parks in Denmark and
In Texas, there are two groups that have strong feelings about the use
of one public facility. One group believes that being without
clothes is positive and healthy as well as being within the
They work to have families with children participate in
The other group believes that adult nudity is offensive and is harmful
to children. This group is working to reduce what they
as child abuse by supporting the banning of minors from this public
The placement of the new signs has been challenged and has now gone to
court. Two arguments presented by the naturists are about the
right to familial association and the right of the parent to imbue that
parent's own child with the parent's values. The argument
presented by the county now focuses on the need to protect children
from sexual predators.
The following question was part of a 1995 national survey: Would you
approve of nude beaches if users are careful to avoid offending those
opposed? Of those Americans responding to this question, 72%
supported such nude beach use.
2. Should parents be allowed
to take their
minor children to McGregor/Hippie Hollow Park? Yes or No
"An Oberlin woman has been indicted on
stemming from nude photographs she took of her 8-year-old daughter in
the bathtub. … The 48 year-old mother could face
in prison. … She has entered a 'not guilty' plea.
was suspended with pay from her job."
The growing concern about child abuse has expanded and taken on many
new parameters. Governments are enacting laws that require
reporting of suspected child abuse. These laws extend to many
professions, such as teachers. Public concern has been so
elevated that even private firms have taken to policing societal
behaviors. Some computer networks censor their activities to
remove offending web sites and materials. Some film
services screen personal photographs and slides for inappropriate
content. What is considered inappropriate may vary from
to service and person to person. Child nudity was considered
inappropriate in this case when photos of a pre-pubescent girl in a
bath were reported to officials as child pornography.
Parents for decades have documented their children's behavior and
activities. Bare bottomed children on bear rugs have been a
standard pose. Bath time has been recorded as a fun
for parents and children. This parent did not deny taking the
pictures but did not intend for them to be public nor
The woman's attorney has expressed the view that "no way" are the
Often the "tone" of the photograph is an important aspect of how the
image is perceived. Likewise, if there is any history or
to sell questionable images, then there may be cause for
The film in question was taken to Discount Drug Mart. It was
sent to Fugi Color Processing. The processing company made a
judgement on content based on some assessment of community values and
turned the film over directly to the police. By reporting the
offending photographs the parent must now publicly defend their private
3. Should parents have the
photograph their children in the privacy of their own home?
The New York Times - 6 March 1999
“When One Culture’s Custom Is Another’s
In Maine, a refugee from Afghanistan was seen kissing the penis of his
baby boy, a traditional expression of love by this father. To
neighbors and the police, it was child abuse, and his son was taken
In Seattle, a hospital tried to invent a harmless female circumcision
procedure to satisfy conservative Somali parents wanting to keep an
African practice alive in their community. The idea got
criticism from an outraged public.
How do democratic, pluralistic societies like the United States, based
on religious and cultural tolerance, respond to customs and rituals
that may be repellent to the majority? As new groups of
immigrants from Asia and Africa are added to the demographic mix in the
United States, Canada and Europe, balancing cultural variety with
mainstream values is becoming more and more tricky.
Many American citizens now confront the issue of whether any branch of
government should have the power to intervene in the most intimate
details of family life.”
Teenage scarification as a right of passage, arranged marriage,
polygamy, segregation of gender roles, bilingualism, and foreign
language use are all on the list of activities that are culturally
relevant among various groups. Spanking, puberty rights,
sacrifices, enforced dress codes, leaving children unattended at home
and the use of narcotics have been sited as cultural practices.
Alaskans just voted to make English the official language.
Cultural diversity is promoted to a point, but when Alaska Natives
request spirituality be included in healing there has been resistance
from federally supported programs to provide such components.
When Christian Scientists request religious freedom to not vaccinate
their children or provide western medical services known to relieve
some specific condition, then there are calls for invoking child abuse
4. Should parents have the
freedom in their choice of child rearing behavioral
Yes or No
In each of these four situations, personal behavior is coming into
conflict with community values over a health issue. Parenting
culturally biased. What is seen as a cultural or religious
tradition by one parent is seen as inhumane by another.
● A parent's attempt to provide sex education in a manner she thought
appropriate is imprisoned for her effort.
● Parents desiring to raise their children with a healthy respect for
nature through a naturist lifestyle are told that they may not legally
have their minors join in their family activities.
● A parent enjoying photographing her child at home is arrested on
● Parents caring for their children in culturally sensitive ways are
accused of abuse when assessed by another culture, and lose the contact
with the infants for whom they cared so greatly.
An individual’s perception of their self is critical for good
health. Through their behaviors, parents contribute
to the types of self-perception that their children develop and
maintain. Body acceptance is personal but is highly
community attitudes, laws, customs, and behaviors. If a person decides
that what is good for them personally differs from the community
values, should s/he be allowed to pursue that activity
individually? Should they be allowed to pursue that activity
their family and children?
There are groups in the US today that believe that male circumcision is
child abuse. They view the genital surgery performed on
girls as abominable and inhumane. If they had their way
circumcision for males and clitorectomies or genital scaring for
females would be illegal for minors. These procedures could
be preformed on adults who had made the personal choice to have them.
There are also people who believe that piercing infants’ ears
without the child’s consent is child abuse. In
allowing minors to obtain tattoos or go through rite-of-passage scaring
rituals should not be permitted. Some feel that these events
occur if there is parental and minor agreement, but others contend that
children cannot and should not make adult decisions. Some
object to any invasive cultural practice that leaves a permanent scar
on a child.
Those religions that base their faith on the Old Testament of the Bible
(Jew, Christian, Muslim, Baha'i, Mormon) have maintained a covenant
between man and God established by Abraham. The practice of
circumcision, the removal of the foreskin of the penis, is a sign of
that religious relationship. In many hospitals this practice
on without question. For many years it went on without the
for parental consent, it was just done. Now it is an approved
procedure for which it is billed. If this procedure is
as child abuse it raises the questions of the separation and authority
of church and state.
Those who follow the customs and traditions of the African region of
Somali cannot present their daughters for marriage until there has been
a genital surgery performed. This right of passage ritual
many gifts and changes the social status of the young female.
the same time the process requires the surgical removal of the clitoris
in part to prepare the girl to become a woman who is responsible for
her husband and family. African parents moving to other parts
the world are seeking a means to maintain this practice, but find
strong objection to its physical impact on the young woman.
Rather than conducting the procedure outside of clinics, it is desired
to do this within hospitals to reduce the risk of infection and
unintended side effects.
When parents wish to provide cultural behaviors and traditions for
their children that may be in contrast to existing popular values there
are difficulties. When are a parent's best intentions not
acceptable to the public? When does the public step in and
traditional or religious activity?
Review your answers for questions 1-4 for consistency. Now
respond in a well-developed essay to the following.
You have decided to become a parent. Before your child is
law is passed that makes any invasive practice that leaves a permanent
scar on a minor a form of child abuse. This includes
circumcision. This point has outraged those who believe in
Old Testament of the Bible. It includes
This point has outraged African Americans. It includes
scaring, and tattooing. These points have outraged minor
teenagers. It does not include medical surgery or health
procedures required for the well-being of the child.
ESSAY: Should parents have the freedom to determine if their
minor children are subjected to religious, traditional, cultural, or
social physical alterations?
Respond either Yes or No and then explain your position as a parent.