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Nudism as a Deviant Subculture Essay

756 WordsNov 8th, 20104 Pages

Nudism as a Deviant Subculture
Katie Heindel
SOC 429
October 19, 2010

Nudism as a Deviant Subculture
Introduction
Nudism is a social and sexual phenomenon in America that has been gaining a significant following since the early 1930’s. This phenomenon was first introduced to American culture by a German immigrant named Kurt Barthel. (Hartman, Fithian and Johnson 1991) Since then, nudism has expanded to all parts of the country. From nude beaches and resorts to nudist camps, many are starting to partake in this liberating way of life.
Despite the many followers of the nudist movement, many would classify nudists as a deviant subculture. Fischer (1995) defines a subculture as, "...a large set of people who share a defining trait,…show more content…

In the early 1900's several papers were published that advocated the idea that the human body was not sinful or obscene. The first nudist colonies were opened in Germany around 1903, and grew into popularity during the 1920's.
The Germans seemed to be the pioneers of the Naturism movement. In the 1960's German's vacationing along the Mediterranean coast in France began nudist colonies, and nudist beaches and nudist resorts grew in popularity there. The movement came to North America in 1929 when a German immigrant named Kurt Barthel opened a colony in the United States. In the early days of the movement in America, nudism became associated with family values and alcohol was prohibited from all activities. (Hartman et al. 1991)
Despite the attempt to associate high moral standards with the nudism movement it was subjected to harassment and misunderstanding due to the fact that America saw nudism as a sexual and even pornographic activity. Over the past three decades this largely changed. Nudist vacations became more common, and nudism lost some of its social stigma. Nudism became less restrictive as well and clothing optional gatherings became more common. Topless beaches also became popular, and the organized nudist movement made strides in erasing the negative perception of nudism. (Bell and Holliday 2000)

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