Hot Springs (Iceland)

My post on Iceland’s ‘Free the Nipple’ campaign resulted in a reader, Ruth, commenting on how sea bathing is almost impossible due to the sea temperatures (although I’ve said ‘almost’ because I’m sure there are some crazy sturdy people who people who still take to the seas.

Ruth reminded me that a lot of bathing in Iceland takes place in the environs of hot springs, fed by volcanic activity.

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Iceland’s Blue Lagoon hot spring

My first mental image of an Icelandic hit spring would have been it’s Blue Lagoon hot spring (above), where swimming in warm water would have a backdrop of snow covered mountains or, at certain times of year, snow on the ground next to the springs themselves. What I hadn’t considered, though, was the fact that there were ample opportunities to bathe in the same hot water in a stream running through a green field!

Naturally, I began by researching Icelandic naturism, and attitudes to nudity there. It began with something of a negative, with a report suggesting that routine nudity in springs had been all but eradicated by tourism,  with loud screams from Japanese tourists and constant pointing and whispering among people from the United States.

I found this depressing. To have a tradition (any tradition, not just related to nudity and naturism) destroyed by tourism and it’s cultural imperialism…that is depressing. I’m not entirely certain as to why the Japanese would be singled out for screaming, though, as they certainly have their own hot spring -onsen- traditions where nudity (even if segregated by sex) is part of their culture.

Nonetheless, I pressed on with the research.

Icelandic Naturist website? An official body representing naturism? No. I couldn’t find one.

Eventually, though, I did find a report that told me that there are many hot springs and a rural setting where you can be naked. There are swimming areas in all regions of the country. There is no official nude beaches or dedicated nudist places in Iceland.The spas around Reykjavok generally do not allow nakedness. The same goes for the very popular and famous “The Blue Lagoon”

Well, at least there’s some rural settings where you could, if you chose, strip off and enjoy thermal waters. Google image search, anyone?

 

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At last. Someone in Iceland, in a rural setting, nude, taking a shower in a hot spring.

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And this, a young lady bathing topless (at the very least) in a spring near one of Iceland’s power stations.

But still not a lot, at least as far as Iceland is concerned, for a huge amount of Hot Spring naturist related activity. It’s probably more a cultural thing fed directly by the relative lack of opportunities to get outside, naked, even in summer, rather than for other reasons.

Then I read that Icelanders have a tradition on Jonsmessa, June 24th, where it is tradition to go outside an roll around naked in a field. The purpose of this Norse/Viking tradition is to prevent the ageing process, I’ve read.  I’m not suggesting that this remains a tradition in the streets of Reykjavik, but it’s possible that it still exists in some places. Jonsmessa, of course, is St. John’s night -midsummer- and despite its name predates Christiantity. There are a whole lot of pagan traditions that were tacked onto the Christian calendar, and this is certainly another one. Some websites reference it as ‘naked dew rolling’. How accurately that is how Icelanders describe it is open to conjecture, but it certainly is a wonderfully evocative phrase. I may even try it myself, without going to Iceland, later this year :)

What is interesting is the date, coinciding with similar festivals elsewhere which embrace nudity during part of the festivities. This year I’ll be in Spain again for St.Juan’s night where nakedness and jumping over bonfires is part of the evening, as is swimming naked at midnight. And yes, I’ll be naked, in the sea, at midnight, before jumping over a bonfire :)

Bringing this back to a Second Life context, I did a search for ‘hot springs’ and found there were several sims where one’s avatar could soak in water with steam rising off them, but all seemed to be onsen, the Japanese variety of the hot spring bath. We’ve covered the onsen in SLN before, but maybe it’s time for a bit of an update on Japanese hot springs, and get some in world photos of the possibilities it presents within the game. So that’s coming up over the weekend.

 

Ella

 

 

The ‘Free the Nipple’ campaign in Iceland

I’ve read that the ‘Free the Nipple’ campaign has got some traction in Iceland, with some of the country’s women taking to Twitter to highlight the issue.

This follows a student being bullied online for organising a ‘Free the Nipple’ support day in her college, prompting a reaction from many of the country’s women.

bjort

Björt Ólafsdóttir

One member of the Icelandic parliament, Björt Ólafsdóttir, even took to the social media outlet to be part of the campaign, being photographed with one of her own breasts bared.

Isn’t it time women were given top free equality? Equally, isn’t it time that students and others weren’t being bullied and harassed for whatever they choose to believe and stand up for, be it top free equality or anything else?

I adopt the view that, in the main, social media is a menace of the inane and pointless most of the time, but occasionally it has a viral power to react with a power of equal force, ultimately shaming those who seek to shame in the first instance. Whether two wrongs make a right, though….an argument for another day.

Ella

 

Ydea

I don’t post that regularly on the blog and when I do it’s almost certainly to do with the ‘older avatar’.

Second Life is ‘Neverland’, where no one has to grow up, and we find that many more mature people wear young looking avatars. Similarly, there’s a minority whose avatars reflect their age, and in terms of providing diversity to the game, they’re absolutely gorgeous. I just wish more skin designers would maybe reflect that in their wares. The appearance of older avatars enriches the game.

While reading the blog the other evening I spotted a post by Diane, wherein she compared a Helmut Newton photograph to clothing items offered by Ydea.

Reference to the Ydea freebies was almost a throwaway, but freebie clothes? I had to check that out.

I’m so glad I did, because there’s a massive box of all their past group gifts (all L$o) that I’m working my through. The real delight is that many of the items fit an older avatar’s style really well, so ten out of ten to Ydea for doing that!

Furthermore, to be strictly accurate, an older avatar will be slightly more on the ‘fuller’ size. I try to keep my shape in proportion to the real me, and the reality of many other ladies my age (late 50s). Astonishingly, Ydea’s mesh size L (large) fits perfectly, when some mesh clothing by other designers doesn’t even work at an XL size, so ten out of ten again.

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barbara ydea2_001b

 

I’ve photographed a couple of the outfits to give you an idea of what I mean. The top outfit looks a bit ‘frumpy’. That’s no disrespect to Ydea whatsoever, in fact I adore the fact that the blouse’s pattern is fitting to some women of a certain age. More of this sort of thing, please! :)

The bottom one is more modern in delivery. Again, it’s something that some ladies of a certain age (i.e. mine) could get away with wearing. Personally, I’d wear it with a bit more length, but the knitted dress/scarf ensemble is definitely my sort of look. I adore both of these outfits and can’t wait to see what else I can find in their huge box of freebies.

(Ella adds: that ‘frumpy’ outfit, to give the post some naturist perspective, is so accurate in its depiction of some of the more mature naturist ladies I see each time I go on holiday. Arriving in their everyday wear, large patterned blouses and such like, you can’t imagine them being naturist. Where I holiday I have French and German neighbours whose style would be exactly that, when you see them going off to the shops. They do not look ‘naturist’ (whatever textile style we assume a naturist might have). And yet there they are, 20-30 minutes later, delightfully thumbing their noses at whatever preconceptions we might have had about them. And I love that. I love to see people we wouldn’t imagine as being part of the lifestyle being enthusiasts of it).

Barbara

 

Editorial: All-Nudist.

I’m delighted to find that the All-Nudist website has decided to keep his little flame war, or drama, going. (Note: Irony is present in this sentence. See if you can spot it, readers).

You can read all about it, the most important issue in global naturism today, via the link. (Note:  Sarcasm is present in this sentence. See if you can spot it, readers).

I’m assuming that this will be the final word on the matter. After all, there’s not much point in All-Nudist providing a blog site, this one, with the continuing oxygen of publicity, an act that would undermine claims that the All-Nudist site will cast us adrift.

I’m disappointed, however, to find myself called ‘Ellen’ throughout. (Note: there is no irony or sarcasm present in this sentence, so don’t go looking, readers).

I’ve responded to the article, and it’s reprinted below in its entirety.

The name is ELLA (as in Fitzgerald), not ELLEN (as in DeGeneres). Get it right.

Be honest here, it’s hardly with ‘regret’ that you’re removing all links to SLN. As you freely admit in a fairly threatening manner on SLN you had this response written and ready to go unless we provided you -the self-appointed God of all internet naturist content- with ‘a damned good excuse’. You’re being disingenuous and dishonest with your readers.

I’m under no obligation to provide you or anyone else with any sort of excuse for anything. It’s an online blog about cartoon characters in a cartoon world living a niche lifestyle. The world has more important things to think about. A writer goes off-message about cartoons and you go postal. Really? Your life over the past couple of days amounts to THAT?

If you want to remove all links, knock yourself out. SLN existed before All-Nudist was aware of our existence, and we’ll battle on in the face of the wrath of the self-appointed God of internet naturism casting pestilence and plagues of locusts in our direction.

Stop spitting the dummy and throwing the toys out of the pram. It you want a bit of internet drama in your life, go ahead. We’re probably better off keeping that, and your website, away from us in that case.

Ella (with an ‘a’, not an ‘e’ and an ‘n’)

So…that’s the line drawn under that, I hope. Back to our usual business of naked cartoons…the most important aspect of global naturism today.

Ella (with an ‘a’, not an ‘e’ and an ‘n’)

Skinny top : A naturist wardrobe posting

It rather looks as though I’m off and running with a ‘free group gifts’ theme today, and each of them fitting into our ‘naturist wardrobe’ theme. Yes, we naturists do like to dress up of an evening, and this free top from Vision/S&F would probably be something I’d wear on holiday for dinner, but maybe not so much so for a night out at the bowling alley with a bunch of girl friends :)

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Yep, I’ve decided to go out without a bra. :) In a naturist context, this isn’t ‘exhibitionism’. If you’ve been bare all day, the last thing you want is to be trussed up in the evening. There is nothing more depressing (other than the promise of rain in England) than to have to get fully dressed at the end of a naturist holiday. The trip to the resort from the airport you can tolerate in hot conditions because you have the promise of losing the clothes at the end of that trip. Coming back the other way is a different story. To dress, to have to put on underwear that you’ve enjoyed not seeing or using for two weeks, is intolerable. More than once I’ve been dressed while packing our suitcases and thought ‘this is uncomfortable’ and stripped off again just to get a final 15 minutes as nature intended :) More than once I’ve driven to the airport in the flimsiest of sun dresses and essentially dressed in an airport car park, or in the lavatories of the terminal, such has been my grumpiness at the prospect of clothes.

L$0 group gift at Vision/S&F

 

Pookes

Chemise : A naturist wardrobe posting

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Even on naturist holidays, I find that there are mornings, even in the height of summer, where there’s a slight chill in the air. Until the sun gets up, moving, and smiling down on us, there are occasions where I’d roll out of bed, nude, and immediately throw on a cover up of some description. It doesn’t need to be particularly thick or wooly, a flimsy layer will suffice for the hour or so prior to the sun working its magic.

A shop called More than Ever provides our model with a perfect cover up (or, if you aren’t a naturist avatar, beautiful nightwear). It’s a group gift, joining the group is free, and you can snag this gorgeous outfit for L$0. The off-the-shoulder shoulder strap is so true to life as well!

Pookes

Editorial: Orgy Night at Commune Utopia

There are some blogs with a focus on representations of sex within Second Life. I respect their desire to report on what is a huge part of Second Life activity and grasp the logic of bloggers doing so. For many, the whole cybersex culture is fascinating, baffling, disturbing and interesting in equal measure. There is a guaranteed readership there. But it’s not for me and, by extension, not for SL Naturist.

It has never been our remit for a couple of reasons. One, a blog on the SL naturist community was something new, different and niche. It’s a popular lifestyle within the SL game (for probably obvious reasons) and I saw it as an opportunity to promote the naturist values I hold: which are to positively promote a family orientated, friendly, a healthy lifestyle where nudity does not equal sex. We created our own community by blogging on that topic. Two, I don’t regard cyber as accurately reflecting proper naturist values. That’s not to be in denial that sex does take place within RL  naturist communities. I would imagine that most naturists in RL, over the course of a two week vacation, will have indulged as part of a healthy relationship. And if that’s true of RL naturism, then it can equally be true of the SL variant. There must be some avatars, genuine RL naturists, who will equally have participated in cyber when logged into SL. But it’s not an aspect of virtual naturism we’d promote. Others can pick up that baton.

For three years I’ve repeated what has sometimes perhaps sounded like a tired old mantra: that we promote those family orientated genuine naturist values. We’ve not blogged on certain sims because of an over-emphasis of sex pose balls in the context of SL naturism. My view was, and remains, that our remit is not to do a hatchet-job on such sims. We simply don’t report from them, and allow adults playing SL to make their own choices regarding these. There’s enough sims of this genuine type to keep us going in topics to write about. Look through the back pages. Some well established, exceptionally popular ‘naturist’ sims are missing, precisely because they don’t fit in with our (i.e. my) definition of naturism’s family orientated, healthy, clean living and friendly lifestyle.

For what has seemed like a couple of years now, we’ve had a page called Venus and Mars, which bills itself as Coming soon…the complete story of Cap D’Agde, Club Orient and Hedonism vacationers ‘Venus’ and ‘Mars’, a British 30s-something couple who pursue the more erotic side of naturism…. The page remains empty. Why? It was Harry’s idea to cover what is a branch of naturism, I don’t think that can be denied, but not within my understanding of -yet again, that word- genuine naturism. I was open to the idea of avatars reflecting their own adventures in a voyeuristic, exhibitionist and swinging lifestyle until I read the first part, at which I determined that SLN would not be publishing it. Plans were advanced for Harry to then publish their tale on a separate website, but it didn’t materialise (on a different website) due to Harry’s illness.3graces4_001b

Yet again, it wasn’t (for me) genuine naturism. That’s why it never appeared here, on SLN, even though it may be a sort of ‘naturism’ that people like, enjoy and participate in.

I like to think we’ve held a steady course regarding genuine naturism. To ensure we did hold that line, all submitted posts were once moderated by me prior to publication. Maybe a year or so back, due to the level of trust I had in those who enjoy contributing, I eased up on the pre-moderation and allowed others to post away without me pre-moderating the articles you read here. It worked well, the regularity of posts increased, and there was more of a steady stream of posts rather than, as used to be the case, me reading a bunch of them and hitting the publish button resulting in ‘binge post weekends’. It has been a policy that has worked well.3graces5_001b

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I was a little bit surprised to log in and read Diane’s contribution on ‘Orgy Night at the Commune’ as an orgy definitely doesn’t reflect SLN’s core values. I love the Commune. It has a relaxed, easy-going feeling, an extremely sociable conversationalist element to it missing from many locations, and there’s also a refreshing clothes-optional vibe that means my Friday nights are, increasingly, times when I can get online, shake my booty to some great world music, and converse with others. DJ Sunshine, a lady with terrific taste in music, is one of the stars at the Commune. We will continue to report from it, promote it and enjoy what it offers as events take place but from a personal perspective, a perspective that is reflected in SLN editorial policy, orgies would be out. From a personal perspective sex pose balls would always generally be out, but I’m enough of a realist to know that strictly adhering to this policy reduces us down to about 2-3 sims we could realistically report from. As a result it’s a juggling act, to make a judgement on whether it’s a genuine naturist sim, or whether the pose balls are discreet enough not to impinge on an otherwise lovely looking sim inhabited by avatars who’d, in the main, share my definition of ‘genuine’. I’ll be the first to hold my hand up and say I’ve made mistakes in the past regarding this, and will do again, as some sims’ bona fides may not be immediately apparent (or change due to a need to maximise footfall).

If I leave aside my ‘genuine’, though, there will be those who may say events such as an orgy are a part of a wider ‘naturist’ lifestyle even though I, and others, wouldn’t agree with that.

I need only think of foam parties at Cap D’Agde, or toga parties at Hedonism, as events that are sometimes closely associated with ‘naturism’, despite our best endeavours to separate them. Should we reflect that wider ‘naturist’ lifestyle, regardless of personal opinion? Should we report these events and inject personal opinion on how sordid we find them? Sordid in real life and kind of ‘yucky’, in terms of the cybersex, in a Second Life perspective?3graces2_001b

Where should we draw the line in terms of ‘genuine’ naturism? I don’t particularly like tattoos. Thousands of naturists have them. Do I exclude that from ‘genuine’ naturism (or my definition of what constitutes ‘genuine’ naturism)? I can cite medical opinion that pubic hair is there for a reason, and how removing it can result in increased infection risks. Should we insist that all real life photography on the site includes only the hirsute? Should all SL avatars photographed have hair own there? Or do we reflect wider trends in naturism?

Do we neglect our desire to limit ourselves to ‘genuine’ naturism if we report on a real life Hedonism toga party, or its SL equivalent?

And…hang on a moment…a Commune is associating itself with part of the 1960s counter-culture. Wasn’t it a time of free love (i.e. people sleeping around)? Wasn’t that a time when public nudity, the concept of flinging off your bra and dancing topless in a field to the Grateful Dead emerged? Would we be in denial to suggest that this free-love, communal nudity (that wasn’t within the confines of a naturist club) impacted positively on a wider, naturist movement in the longer term? I think there’s a strong link to be made with that ‘free love’ era and the fact that, in Europe, damned near every beach in existence is now routinely ‘topless’, at the very least, due to a paradigm shift in thinking during the 1960s. Do we separate that off? Compartmentalise that? Hack off bits of history that don’t suit a wider, rounded, larger definition of where naturism is today?3graces3_001b

And didn’t Nazi Germany have some strong links with the freikorperkultur (FKK) movement? Were someone to build a WW2 era sim with an FKK beach, with lots of physical exercise pose balls, accurately reflecting the mood of the times, and the creation of strong, healthy Aryans, are we right or wrong to reflect on that?

You’re the readers. You tell me.

It’s not my job as editor to impose my will on everything. It’s my job as editor to reflect wider trends in the broad church of naturism, with different strands of what’s acceptable and what’s not, although yes, we try maintain our core values. It’s my job to steer the ship. And if something is deemed acceptable, or unacceptable, why are they acceptable or unacceptable? Just because someone agrees with tattoos, or objects to pubic hair, it’s not enough to say ‘and it’s because I don’t like them’. We need to debate the issues, whatever they are.

What we don’t need, though, is to forget our core values built over three years, core values that spill back and forth with my views on real life naturism.

An orgy isn’t one of them, for me, regardless of how many foam parties are held at Cap D’Agde or Hedonism. And why it isn’t one of them has been well rehearsed on these pages, by me, before.

I emailed Diane regarding the post and got the following reply:

email
Pookes and I went online earlier to discuss the matter ‘live’, in real time, ‘face to face’ and we did manage to speak to Diane, but as things stand it looks, devastatingly, as though we’re probably going to lose her. I’m also fully aware of the circumstances in which the post got posted. That remains confidential. We owe no one any further explanations.

Diane has been a stalwart of SLN for a long time now. I will continue to fight to keep her as part of the crew.

Tomorrow, hopefully, we go back to reporting the stories, rather than being the story. As English footballing legend Steven Gerrard would put it, ‘We go again’.

Ella