Body Acceptance Down Under

When I ran across this piece on body acceptance by Taryn Brumfitt, I felt compelled to share it with you here. At odds with her body most of her life, Taryn has set out on a mission to not only get comfortable in her own skin, but help as many women as she can learn to love their own bodies. This article is about the day she signed up for the Sydney Skinny, an annual event where hundreds of Australians get naked and go for an ocean swim. Taryn describes the way the experience changed her life.

(I have added photos to help illustrate the wholesomeness of body acceptance and social nudity.)

The best reason to get naked in front of a thousand people!

Taryn Brumfitt

“Look over there, another woman with only one boob!”

Screamed the sarong-clad stranger standing next to me.

I was puzzled and turned to her and asked, “What do you mean?” She pulled down her sarong and showed me her chest, on one side a breast, the other side a scar. I peered in the direction she had pointed, and another woman with a similar appearance was proudly walking out of the water.

I watched as two complete strangers joyfully connected with one another. No words were required, just one look of recognition, a smile and then an embrace. I was in tears, a blubbering mess. It was the purest form of human connection, kindness, courage and love and a story was unfolding before my very eyes.

In the course of one day my life has changed forever. I am a better human being;  I have experienced more joy than I’ll ever be able to express. I didn’t get married, I didn’t save someone’s life, nor did I rescue a small animal. I simply took my clothes off and swam in the ocean with more than a thousand strangers.

Much better!

The two ladies that have had mastectomies

The Sydney Skinny is an event like no other; it is the world’s largest nude ocean swim and happens each year at the stunning Cobblers Cove in Sydney. The event is a celebration of body acceptance and encourages participants to reconnect with their sense of adventure.

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Here’s how the day unfolded for me:

I woke up on Sunday morning feeling slightly uneasy that I had engaged in a hearty feast of curry and chocolate cake the evening before. Seriously Taryn, could you not have shown some restraint on the food front before you partook in a nude swim?

It wasn’t so much the roundness of my tummy that was that bothering me but rather at what stage of the morning I would be “offloading” the previous night’s indulgences.

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I arrived at Cobblers Cove early, filled with anticipation, excitement and nerves. Getting my clothes off in front of strangers is not something I’ve ever done. I walked around welcoming people with a smile and an air of assurance that could’ve been mistaken for confidence and bucket loads of experience in the nudity arena.  We know this not to be true.

When I got to the beach, the first thing I saw was a penis. Yep, a man’s penis and oddly, it wasn’t my husband’s. Then I saw another, and another and another.

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Within minutes, a penis was a penis and a vagina was a vagina, and we were all just human beings. Nothing more: nothing less. Nothing scandalous, nothing dirty or creepy and nothing remarkable.

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I eased myself into the water and immediately felt a sense of release, pleasure and freedom. The feeling of the water on my skin as I glided through it was delightful. The endorphin rush of being unclothed and doing something I had never done before was magical. This was life, and I was living it.

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I was in the zone that, sadly, we rarely experience. I was out of the comfort zone and basking in what I describe as the sparkle zone. I felt utterly euphoric and deliriously happy.

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And I wasn’t alone. I heard people squealing with joy exclaiming, “I never want to swim with clothes on again!” and I saw others joyfully hugging as if they had just been reunited after a lifetime apart. There were high fives, people laughing and people rejoicing.

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It got me thinking that to effect a transformative change in a person’s life it requires an action to be taken (think Anthony Robbins’ fire walk). Water is an element that has been used as a purifier in many religions. Could participation in the event be the 21st century’s non-religious “psychological cleanse” that helps individuals lay their body image demons to rest? Is it possible to walk into the water with body image worries and walk out with an undeterred commitment to learn to love and respect your body more? I believe so.And of course there were two women chatting, hugging and bonding over their shared mastectomy journey. One of the ladies explained to me how big a deal it was for her to do the swim, to get naked in front of other people and to face her fear. But looking into her sparkling eyes after she had completed the swim, I saw nothing but pride and happiness. When asked if she would do it again, the answer was a resounding YES!

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Amongst the thousand people who were there on the day, I didn’t hear one person judge another. I didn’t hear one person complain about their stretch marks, cellulite or jelly belly. People were just people; there were no barriers, there was no discrimination or prejudice. People were kind to themselves and kind to each other.

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If you want to feel comfortable in the skin you are in then maybe it’s time to take the dip of a lifetime. All you’ll need is a little bit of self-belief, an inkling of courage and your beautiful, bare, pure and authentic skin.

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Smooth Young Men

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MALE BODY HAIR

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The Promise from Jehovah Boy on Vimeo.

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Giulio Romano

Giulio Romano was one of the most important, versatile, and influential artists of the Italian late Renaissance style known as Mannerism. As the primary protégé of Raphael, he inherited his master’s studio at the papal court following Raphael’s death in 1520 and initially continued to work in Raphael’s Roman High Renaissance style. But as his personal style matured, he became one of the great 16th-century Mannerist painters and architects. An artistic impresario in the service of Duke Federico Gonzaga in Mantua, Giulio built and decorated the Palazzo Te, one of the key monuments of Mannerism. His renown in the sixteenth-century was such that he was the only Italian Renaissance artist to be mentioned by Shakespeare, who called him “that rare Italian master.” Wikipedia

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Banquet of Cupid and Psyche, 1527-30

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The Sixteen Pleasures

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French Style Naturism

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29 naturists gathered for a day of nude hiking in a wilderness area. It came about by word of mouth through a naked hiking Yahoo Group and a French nudist forum called VivreNu. The pictures are screen shots from the video posted at the end of this article.

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Unless you have participated in a similar nude event, you can only imagine how exhilarating and how much fun these people are having.

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Liberalism seems to be taking hold here in the U.S., just as it has in France, except when it comes to the human body and social nudity. Many Americans believe our bodies are shameful or obscene. That’s an affront to Mother Nature.  So here are the facts: it’s not true social nudity means promiscuous sex. Social nudity may be a sensual experience, but it is not any more sexual than compared to our clothed lives, perhaps even less so. No, it would not better to be buried alive than to be seen naked in public. And no, American children, even young girls, are not psychologically damaged for life if they happen to see an adult penis. Actually, children in nudist families have healthier perspectives about their own bodies and those of the opposite sex than children who have been taught the human body is shameful.

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Perhaps those misguided perceptions will one day change. We’ll have more nude beaches, more designated naturist trails in our national parks. We might even be able to garden naked, even if it’s in the front yard, and no one will think a thing about it.

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These are people that didn’t know each other before they came together to do this hike. They are all automatically friends, united by the liberating tenets of social nudity.

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Nudists are the most accepting people I know. Your size or shape makes no difference to a nudist. You’re not too fat or too thin, too tall or short, too hairy or too smooth. Your penis isn’t too small or too big, nor are your breasts. Your flaws, or what you perceive as flaws, simply do not matter.

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And let me emphasize that social nudity is not a sexual thing. If anyone in this group finds one of the others physically attractive, it’s in the same context it would be if they were clothed. My bet is that all of these hikers were more involved with the scenery and terrain and the refreshing feeling of being free of their clothes.

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I can’t think of a better way to enjoy such beautiful, rugged terrain than with a group of new friends that have all left their clothes in the car. It really is a shame more people aren’t enjoying life’s experiences like this.

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What’s interesting about the film is the interaction with the clothed hikers that this group encounters along the trail. It obvious the clothed hikers aren’t shocked or put off in passing, even those who have kids with them. Instead they often interact with friendly, upbeat exchanges and then happily go on their way.

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Randonue des concluses 2010 by vivrenu-tv

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Bounce and Sway

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The drama of a man’s body is symbolized by his low-hanging balls.

Check out this video on Vimeo.

#FRANCESCOVEZZOLI: The Return of Bruce Nauman’s Bouncing Balls, 2006 from KALEIDOSCOPE Videoclub on Vimeo.

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The Female Perspective on Testicles

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Dick

Dick

Ever have a conversation with someone about what it’s like to have a dick, or how you feel about your own? Brian Fender has. One by one he has 63 men take off their clothes and talk about their relationships with their dicks, how having one has impacted their lives and how they feel about things like size, sex and masturbation.

The image above is a screenshot from Brian’s film “Dick”, a film in which 63 nude men talk about their penises. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Dick and believe you will too. You can find it at https://www.indiepixfilms.com/dickdocumentary/ for $4.99.

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