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Spring 200

What is The Naturist Society? How, why, and where did it start? What does it hope to achieve? And why is it headquartered, of all places, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin?
This outline history of FKK expects to answer the above and other commonly posed questions. In its more than 20 years, the full narrative of The Naturist Society hasn’t been written down. This account is intended for those Naturists and nudists wishing to know something more about their ideological origins; for those in media who should follow up on a narrative about skinny dipping at a local plage; for students of American history seeking a summation of one strand of advocacy for logical recognition of social nudity; and even for those who are not at all happy that so many people revel in total body independence.
Defining Those Labels: Naturism & Nudism

Maybe for those new to social nudity, we can begin with a brief understanding of the terms “naturism” and “nudism.” Both refer to the belief that non-lewd, family-friendly social nudity is a superb thing. click of “good” will differ; depending on which individuals you talk to. Some will talk about the advantages to physical health. Others will commend the feelings of freedom and relaxation that come from being nude out of doors. Another group will say that they receive a spiritual advantage from being naked in the midst of nature. Some assert mental benefits derive from full acceptance of the body. The individuals who founded and at present compose The Naturist Society (FKK) have selected to describe themselves as “naturists” instead of “nudists” for a number of reasons. Europeans who practice social nudity have historically have referred to this set of beliefs and practices as “naturism,” and the word connotes a connectedness with nature FKK seeks to foster.

In America, from early in the century until the creation of FKK, groups of those who banded together in one shape or another to recreate nude ordinarily called themselves “nudists.” Often, said nudists would be members of an official nudist organization that functioned rather like a pastoral country club. Many of these clubs still exist today; others are developed into upscale and nearly posh resorts. Naturists, to the degree they think about it at all, like to differentiate themselves from nudists by stressing the value and delight of social nudity in as many facets of their lives as possible. They do not restrict their nudity to securely walled club grounds on the weekends, or to deep inside their own homes. In 1997 FKK defined nudism in this manner: “A way of living in greater fidelity to nature, with a standard of complete nudity in societal life, the genitals contained, when feasible appropriate. aim to improve acceptance and respect for one’s self, other men, and the biosphere.” In line with FKK’ definition is that of the International Naturist Federation: “Nudism is a lifestyle in harmony with nature characterized by the practice of communal nudity, with the intention of supporting self respect, respect for others, and for the environment.” Without claiming to settle the problem of how best to use the terms “naturism” and “nudism” for the goals of this history “nudism” will refer to the practice of being naked in a pleasant, non-sensual mixed-gender setting. “Naturism” will refer to the practice of nudism while also entailing a respect and acceptance for the ethics of one’s whole person, other persons, and the surroundings.
FKK Pre History: Lee Baxandall

A history of FKK could not be set forth without discussion of its creator, Lee Baxandall. Born in 1935 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Baxandall’s first skinny dipping encounters were as a young Boy Scout camping in Twin Lakes Reservation in Wisconsin. After receiving his master’s degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Baxandall moved to New York, where he became active writing, interpreting, and critiquing plays. He also applied his writing skills to producing books on the arts, psychology, and politics. His political activism at this time prepared him for his interest in naturism to come.