There’s a strong tendency, these days, to quickly slap a label on every new group, and then judge those people by the label.
We don’t want to do that.
It’s easy to start slapping labels on our group. Are we hippies? Mainstream? Rebels? Naturists? Nudists? Weirdos? Crazy? Brilliant? None of those labels, though, accurately convey who we actually are, or what we actually do.
Defining a group of people by simplistic labels introduces many problems. We’re individuals, each with different ideas, and seemingly common labels don’t necessarily have the same common meaning to everyone.
A little social-media war this week between several members of the naturist community, some of which claimed a monopoly on the “one true definition” of naturism / nudism, made this abundantly clear. (I’ll refer you to Nude Is Not Rude for an excellent, sober take on this issue.) We recently heard from one woman who was very reluctant to use the terms “naturist” or “nudist” – not because they were inaccurate in describing her way of life, but because of the judgmental conclusions that some other naturists would draw when they made the connection between her day job (erotica) and her lifestyle. Simply using the label would spark an argument with people who disagreed on its meaning.
When we start defining ourselves by a label – and forcing our own definition of that label on people who already use it in a different sense – we have lost the dialogue, honesty and open communication that are so essential to the advancement of humanity.
Human subcultures are fractally nested. No matter how narrowly and precisely you define a group, you’ll inevitably get disagreement within that group about what it is, what it should do, and what it represents. If you define the group to be “40 to 45 year old steel industry workers who enjoy listening to Dark Side of the Moon while stoned on mushrooms in the back of a half-ton pickup”, you’ll spark at least three religious wars within that group: F-150, Ram or Silverado; clean high-end hi-fi sound or big amps with big subwoofers; and whether imported or local ‘shrooms are superior.
And so the Kingston-Frontenac Free Body Society eschews labels. Sure, we’ll throw a few search terms in there as bait for potential members. But we won’t define ourselves by them. We are what we are – a group of individuals, with different ideas and different lifestyles, of far greater complexity than can be summarized in a few loaded words.