Instead, comfortism

The last two posts (here and here) were about naturism—defining it, critiquing it. The main thing about it is that naturism is ideology, or at least the stuff of ideology. It is a way of thinking about nudity and nudism.

As I have already explained, I'm not into it. My main contention with it is the concept of nature and the natural, which is so foundational to what naturism is and, effectively, what it can be.

But what else is there? Well, plenty—but there is no other position on nudism that bears a name, making for an easy contrast with nudism-naturism. (Not in secular discourse, at least; I have no comments to make on Adamite or Digambar positions.)

So let me say, at the outset, that I'm against ideology—which is to say, I'm against fixed ideas, received truths, dogma. I won't pretend that I have transcended ideology, cuz that's a trap, but I will say that I do my honest best everyday to keep my distance. Yet a word (even a word that ends in -ism) is not an ideology. Depending on how things play out, a word may come to denote an ideology (or even several ideologies that, confusingly enough, share the same name, even as they are referred to occasionally by other names), but the word itself is just a word.

All the better if it's a word that people can understand at first glance.

I'm not the first person to write out the word “comfortism”, but it seems that it hasn't been used to any particularly rarefied ends yet; a quick search of the internet suggests some people have used it as a synonym for “hedonism” (which is already a fine word for that particular concept) and some other people have used it for marketing purposes. This being the case, I think I can use it for my own purposes, as a shorthand for my own position vis-à-vis nudism and related topics.

In contrast to a nudism-naturism that, in some extreme iterations, even prioritizes nudity over comfort (for instance, in line with a religious ideal of poverty or asceticism), the point of a nudism-comfortism is to prioritize bodily comfort. It's in the name.

Following this schema, I imagine a lot of people who are nudists already could more accurately be described as comfortists rather than as naturists, insofar as comfort is more important to them than a particular idea about nature. Some of these people may be members of British Naturism or other formal associations that use the words “naturism” or “naturist”, but they may nevertheless personally understand issues around nudity and apparel through a comfortist lens more than through a naturist lens, at least as I have calibrated the terms.

Hell, they may understand, as I do and others have done before me, that the word “nature” necessarily corresponds to an ideological construct, not to any concrete or worldly reality.

Comfortism is not, and doesn't need to be, continuous with anarchism—but I do think it could become a part of the culture of more anarchist scenes in North America or anywhere else, just as some other elective positions (e.g. feminism, anti-fascism) have become more common thanks to their broad utility and agreeability.

To be clear, I think comfortism doesn't need to just be about, well, nudism—maybe in nudism-comfortism, but not in comfortism per se.

The option of nudity is an important thing to talk about, because that option is, quite often, the most comfortable one available—and not having any shame, fear, or negative emotions about the naked body seems beneficial to the cause of comfort. But nudity doesn't need to be elevated to a place of principal importance. There are many things to be said for lighter, softer, less constraining garments as well, of the kind that the prevailing anti-comfort society often identifies as either feminine and/or immodest. But that is a subject for another time.