Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Nudism in the 30's.

In their book ‘The Long Week End’ by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge published in 1940; talk amusingly of how the English climate was not beneficial to nudism and how boring it eventually became.

'Nudism was not so popular in Britain as in Germany or the United States: it was not suited to the climate. At first nudists gathered in muddy and midge ridden corners of solitary woods, but later built luxurious nature camps and in the winter held indoor meetings with sunray lamps. They adopted the Hellenistic Greek name "Gym­no sophists" , and brought their children along with them. After a time most members found the routine of these camps monotonous, despite the earnest psychological and valetudinarian talk that went on in them. Women especially grew bored sitting about with no clothes, while attracting no erotic interest in the opposite sex, and being made wonderfully healthy by compulsory drill and by lettuce and tinned-salmon teas.

Far better to wear a bathing dress on a beach and be conscious of its daringness, than to sit about with no clothes on and with everyone politely unconscious of it. At the superior nudist camps, a nice class distinction was made: the butlers and maids who brought along the refreshments were forced to admit their lower social status by wearing loin cloths and aprons respectively.'

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Changes in ideas of Hygiene

After the First World War and into the 1920’s a new passion for fresh air and sunlight overtook people. Bathing costumes were gradually reduced in size and the fair skin complexion was traded in for the sun tan, all this giving way to an end of ‘Puritan’ thinking.

Gerald Heard in his book the 'These Hurrying Years', published in 1934. Has this to say about the changes in ideas of hygiene:-

'Just below the level of full consciousness were the ... changes in ideas of hygiene. Fresh air had won and pushed its victory against the curtain, blind, wrap and flounce so far that it began to pass the Plimsoll Line of prudery. A new issue was then joined, and the Hygienists, who till then had been allies of the Puritan, began to swing over towards the libertine. "To the pure all things are pure" was extended to the rather different and not so clear assumption that "to the naked all things are unexciting".
It may be true, but up to the present passion prevents sufficient scientific experiment. What is clear is that the fresh-air campaign had ceased to be physiological and had become psychological. That change involved a discussion of issues much wider than costume, though to the psychologist costume had always been a clue to understanding the subconscious sex life. Quite sane and kindly people went on to ask not whether clothes helped chastity but whether chastity itself was helpful.'
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