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Mayor Charlie Latham of Jacksonville Beach
One Mile of Jacksonville Beach Should be Designated as Clothing Optional
Florida is a beautiful state with a diverse population. The variety of cultures that can be found here is almost as large as our variety of plant life. Living in this peninsula, one learns the importance of respecting this. Our diverse population and plants truly make this state special, and it is something to be respected and celebrated. Just as we have given way to respect other’s cultures and our environment, we must allow others to practice their beliefs.
When you think of a nudist or naturalist, what is it that first comes to mind? Many people assume that nudists are over-sexualized and vulgar. These negative stereotypes and judgements have been assimilated by America’s cultural links to Puritan and Victorian moral codes, as they have connected nakedness and sexuality together. The question is, when dealing with nudity and sexuality, is one really the cause of the other? When one is naked, should it only be seen as sexual?
Much of American society depicts that answer as yes, however, some think differently.The practice of nudism is purposely nonsexual. It serves as a personal comfort and a stronger sense of freedom. There is the belief that nudism helps with self-esteem, relaxation, and overall well-being.
It should also be noted that in cultures around the world, nudity is not seen as strictly as it is here in the States. Rick Steves, a journalist with the Chicago Tribune wrote within one of his articles,
“Americans may be taken aback, but Europeans think nothing for shedding their clothes at the beach or in a public bath. Nudity is the norm.”
-(In Europe, Strip Off All Your Inhibitions).
Yet in the end, I am not here to convert you to believe in one or the other, but rather ask that we respect each belief.
This is why I believe, as a resident of Jacksonville Florida, that a section of Jacksonville Beach should be designated as clothing optional. Jacksonville Beach stretches out over 22 sq miles, with around 4.1 miles of sandy beach land (jacksonvillebeach.org). With only one mile designated as clothing optional, more than 3.1 miles of the beach would still be left as “clothing-required” (–or however you want to term it–). In this we give way for everyone to go to the beach however they choose. As many will want to go to a clothing-required beach, they will definitely have the choice within more than 3.1 miles of land, not to mention Neptune Beach and other surrounding beaches as well; and for those who recommend clothing optional, they may now have the option also.
I love this country we live in. One statement I read by a journalist named Larry Darter in an online article on nudism read, “After all, personal freedom is one of the hallmarks of democracy” (Stereotypical Naturism). This statement is very true. I am asking that the city of Jacksonville allow all people to practice our personal freedom and designate one mile of Jacksonville Beach as clothing optional.