No, there’s no pictures here.
Today Portsmouth had it’s very first World Naked Bike ride to demonstrate against the car culture. I’m not a cyclist so didn’t take part (perhaps we should have a World Naked Walker day!), but thought it was a worthy protest done in a fun way. The organisers were troubled by the activities of a certain group of fundamentalist christians who were upset that anybody would dare to bare.
I happened to catch them riding past as I was walking back into work. And the reaction of the onlookers? From what I could see from the reactions of the “crowd”, pretty much everyone thought it was fun – nobody seemed upset and nobody seemed overly “excited”. It brightened up an otherwise somewhat gloomy day – it certainly wasn’t the best weather for naked anything!
Those fundamentalists who were more concerned with what others might be doing, than their own “issues” should learn that it was just fun. There was no widespread wailing and gnashing of teeth at the horrendous sight of a bunch of pervy old exhibitionists. Yes it was a bit exhibitionist – in the same way that any protest is because people won’t pay any attention to your statement if you don’t attract attention. And frankly a naked protest is a good deal more peaceful and fun than any other kind.
Any “perversion” is solely within the mind of anyone who thought that there was anything perverted about it. Nudity can be sexual, but only in the right context – and someone cycling isn’t being sexual.
Most of us have grown up enough to realise this was just good clean fun. It’s about time that the others grew up and minded their own business (at least).
One of the specific points that the fundamentalists made was that children might be upset by the nakedness – either seeing naked people, or being naked themselves after the ride when it was claimed that one of the riders had a naked child in a seat behind her. Taking that last point first … I saw the relevant rider, and there’s no way you could know that the child was naked unless you saw him or her being put into the seat.
Whilst I have no children, I do have some experience with them, and in my experience children are likely to find naked adults to be funny and be curious as to why they’re naked. And many of us have seen toddlers who whilst being changed think it’s funny to run around naked. Older children may react differently, and of course sexual exhibitionism is an entirely different matter. But this wasn’t sexual exhibitionism!
To those who took part, I raise my glass. And hope it takes place next year.