Socks Off has become my personal rallying cry for naturism over the past few months. I’ve often ended a piece with the phrase Socks Off! Meaningful to me but only a handful of others.
Naturism is all about choice and personal expression. We choose to become naturists, just as we choose to make many other decisions in our daily lives. Socks Off refers to the practice of being naturist but retaining socks and usually sandals. Eminently sensible but it looks utterly incongruous in my opinion, hence the rallying cry, Socks Off! But this too, is a matter of personal choice.
However, Socks Off is a lot less scary to “textiles” as the naturist community will often refer to non naturists than using, for example, “clothes off or even pants off” to envisage disrobing. It’s a concise way of encouraging would-be naturists to give naturism a go.
Humour goes a long way in life and humour is part of the Naturists battle cry too. We’re a ‘Tribe.” Regarded as a niche sub sector of society, as Naturists we gain tremendous strength from our belief structure and the supportive, close community which we belong to.
Along with other Tribes, we are often misunderstood and lampooned, although in recent months, the mass media are gaining a greater understanding and acceptance of the values of our community and the fundamental principles behind naturism, e.g., body acceptance, body confidence, relaxation, equality, personal freedom, empowerment. I could go on but this would become a tome. Far better to employ some humour and Socks Off!
I decided upon the name Socks Off last year but the various social media portals I favour lay dormant, along with me, until I was ready to activate them. Even now, I can’t utilise them as much as I would wish because work intervenes but this WordPress account will be where I will lodge my naturist blogs and re-blog other naturist writers whose work I admire.
For those of you who haven’t come across me online as either Emma James or Massage Bucks, I’m an active networker and network across multiple forums when I’m not working or training (I’m mad about sport!) so please don’t take offence if you ping me a message via one medium or portal and I’m slow to respond. I can be slow to Follow back Followers on Twitter or to approve and respond to comments added to my blogs, simply because I’m juggling so much.
Between us all, naturists and nudists; that’s a blog in itself and is debated endlessly, we are most of us working towards helping people to gain a greater understanding of naturism/nudism (interchangeable term, depending on the location from my understanding) and to dispel the myths and misinformation which abound. Some of us will do that publicly as I do, employing the social media skills which I’ve grown to know and enjoy using since 2004. Some of us will be more private about our naturism out of choice or necessity, fearful of being stigmatised professionally or socially. I’m very fortunate because in my work as a massage therapist, understanding and acceptance of the human body is key and the fact that I’m a naturist, generally helps my Clients to feel less awkward about being in their underwear or naked for a treatment.
Naturism has nothing to do with sex. It’s the relaxed acceptance of the human body in its many shapes and guises. It’s about feeling comfortable in our skin. It’s about being equal.
We’re born without our clothes. We’re often laid ‘to rest’ in clothes. Gradually over time, we learn to demark people through their social standing, considering the ways in which people carry themselves, the way they dress, the way they interact with us. Naturism strips one obvious barrier away to human interaction. We can hide behind our designer clothing, our precious metals and stones but when we divest ourselves of our clothes, we retain our individuality but there’s less reason to launch into immediate judgements about another human being and we are less likely to wear the masks which we tend to hold up to the world, defensively.
The absence of clothing means we are more equal from the outset and people tend to be less guarded and more candid, they allow more of their essential being to shine through. I believe this to be the hallmark of the Naturist community which is very friendly, supportive and self reliant. Within the community, every sector of society, every skillset is represented and I’ve noticed that naturists tend to be very practical, so we don’t have to look outside of the community to fulfil certain tasks or roles, e.g. electrical work, plumbing, cooking, accountancy.
At Diogenes Sun Club, the family-friendly Sun Club in Chalfont St Peter which I’m a member of, we have a thriving community in its own right with about 300 signed up members and a pipeline of enquirers and would-be members going through the membership process. We rarely have to look outside to cover the jobs needed to be done and the maintenance and running of our large manor house, set in twelve acres of land, means a lot of roles require fulfilling, every year.
Various surveys indicate there are about four million naturists in the U.K. alone. Some naturists are members of British Naturism as I am, some are members of the Naturist Action Group and Naturist Life as I am. Some choose not to affiliate themselves to an overseeing body or special interest group and are private naturists and some naturists choose to enjoy their naturism on holiday overseas or in the UK.
However you enjoy your naturism, welcome to Socks Off. I hope you find the information which I will be highlighting and Tweeting out about useful and informative and that I might introduce you to other naturist writers from the UK and overseas who you might otherwise, perhaps not have come across.
Social media enables us as naturists, to get the message across about naturism and what we stand for, readily. Sites such as facebook, have a wealth of special interest groups and naturism is widely represented. If you’d like to interact on a dedicated international naturist/nudist site which doesn’t have the petty restrictions facebook employs, with their questionable opposition to the naked human form and seeming acceptance of graphic images of war or the sexualisation of men and women, there’s an excellent free naturist site which was founded in 2013 by Richard Foley, the Naktiv Nook. For national networking, British Naturism have a vibrant, member only community section which is an intergral part of their excellent website.
The Nook, the social media arm of Richard’s Naktiv (Naked and Active) website, enables naturists/nudists in the UK and overseas to interact and members are able to post up naturist pictures without fear of reprisal. I’ve been thrown off Facebook three times since I became a public naturist in 2011, for posting up content they deemed inappropriate. There’s Moderation in place on the Nook of course because there’s always the odd joker who will seek to post up blatantly sexual shots and people en masse online do need an element of Moderation, otherwise a perfectly civil discussion can turn into a complete bun fight with disinhibition brought into play and some people will respond by degenerating into their unrecognisable alter ego.
As part of my networking I’ve run a number of Clubs over the years, initially on Ecademy, a social/business networking site where I cut my teeth networking and blogging, now re-branded under new ownership as SunZu, where the Clubs are known as Alliances. They’re not active clubs at present because I’m choosing to assign my time elsewhere.
The experience of Moderating Clubs and helping to Moderate Clubs or Websites (I’m one of the Moderators on the Nook too) means that I can be quite forthright and robust when a skirmish breaks out. Patience and tolerance are not bywords which you can easily apply to me but I’d like to think of myself as being fair and will always listen to both sides of an argument, even if I ignore the other side ;).
So here’s to naturism and spreading the word about our wonderful lifestyle so that others may benefit from the relaxation and accord we know so well. Socks Off!!
The Naktiv Nook; http://www.naktiv.net/index.html/
British Naturism; https://www.bn.org.uk/index.php
Naturist Action Group; http://naturistactiongroup.org/
Naturist Life; http://naturist-life-magazine.co.uk/
Diogenes Sun Club; http://www.diogenessunclub.co.uk/
Socks Off @Socksoff1; https://twitter.com/Socksoff1
Emma_James @Emma_James; https://twitter.com/Emma_James
Emma James @MassageBucks; https://twitter.com/MassageBucks