f/k/a . . . the archives

April 27, 2008

at least they’re upscale nudists

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 1:56 pm

Nakations? The New York Times tells us today that there’s a big trend of Americans heading to nudist resorts for their vacations — dubbed “nakations”. See “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Worries” (by Michelle Higgins, April 27, 2008). The article came just a couple days after I wrote to a friend that, “American obesity has taken a lot of the fun out of watching the change from winter to spring wardrobes.” So, I’ve got to confess that the general notion of Americans wearing no clothes is not a big draw (much less a turn-on) for me.

nude beach
a man and a woman
collect shells

nude beach
the jet ski instructress
tells me to “concentrate”

………….. . . . by ed markowski ["shells" from The Heron’s Nest.]

On the other hand, our cranky contrarian Prof. Yabut pointed to the NYT statement that:

“the real boom in nude vacations is coming at the high end of the business, as upscale hotels and resorts, and even some luxury cruise lines, have begun to see the economic potential in the no-clothes crowd — particularly those who want to shed their clothes but not their pampered lifestyles.”

keep your shirt on, buddy

As a lifelong (and long-lived) practitioner of lookism, Yabut added, “at least they’re upscale nudists.” That got me thinking about the widespread assumption that the rich are not as fat as the poor in America. I turned to Mr. Google for help, and went first to the Wikipedia entry on obesity, where a relevant section states:

Social determinants

“. . . In particular, a class co-factor consistently appears across many studies. Comparing net worth with BMI scores, a 2004 study found obese American subjects approximately half as wealthy as thin ones. When income differentials were factored out, the inequity persisted—thin subjects were inheriting more wealth than fat ones.

A higher rate of a lower level of education and tendencies to rely on cheaper fast foods is seen as a reason why these results are so dissimilar. Another study finds women who married into higher status are predictably thinner than women who married into lower status. [Ed. note: my empirical evidence definitely jibes with that last statement.]

“A 2007 study of more than 32,500 children . . . indicated that BMI change in friends, siblings or spouse predicted BMI change in subjects irrespective of geographical distance. The authors concluded from the results that acceptance of body mass plays an important role in changes in body size .”

family picnic
the new wife’s rump
bigger than mine

… by Roberta BearyThe Unworn Necklace (Snapshot Press 2007)

That sounded about right. See also: “Lower-income Neighborhoods Associated With Higher Obesity Rates” (Science Daily, Feb. 10, 2008) (“A new study appearing in the journal Nutrition Reviews reveals that characteristics of neighborhoods, including the area’s income level, the built environment [e.g., "barriers to physical activity"], and access to healthy food, contribute to the continuing obesity epidemic.”); “DIETING LINKED TO INCREASED WEALTH, STUDY FINDS” (Research News, July 2005) (“Overweight Americans who lose a lot of weight also tend to build more wealth as they drop the pounds, according to new research.”); and “Obesity Often Linked to Income” (npr, Aug. 18, 2004) (“Americans spend a good deal of money eating out, a habit tied to the nation’s obesity epidemic. Researchers say the less people can pay for food, the more calories they consume.”)

dia de los muertos —
the anorexic looks
envious

……. dagosan

Nonetheless, the f/k/a Gang doesn’t [usually] just stop its research as soon as we find materials confirming our own assumptions. And, when we looked at a few additional Google results for the search “obesity [income OR wealth]“, we quickly saw that — like just about everything we talk about at this site — things are not as simple or clearcut as we first thought.

For example:

  • Obesity surges among affluent” (by Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY, May 2, 2005) According to this article, “Obesity a condition that for decades has been more prevalent in the poor, is skyrocketing among affluent Americans, a new study finds. Defined as 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight, obesity has increased nearly threefold over a 30-year period among Americans who earn more than $60,000 per year, according to researchers at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.” Since the 1970′s, obesity rates “went from 9.7% to 26.8% . Among those making less than $25,000, the increase was much smaller, from 22.5% to 32.5%.”

These are scary numbers, but they do no necessarily contradict the Rich Is Thinner notion, since — for most Americans — “rich” and “affluent” refer to people making a lot more then $60,000 per year. I’d like to see how the numbers break down for the “truly rich” who can afford to go upscale. But, what about:

  • Children’s Risk of obesity soars with family income” (Sept. 17, 2008) According to the Daily Mail, “Children with wealthy middle class parents are more likely to be overweight or obese than those from poor households, a study has revealed.” The article goes on to say that:

 

 

“The findings go against conventional wisdom that Britain’s poorest families have the worst diets – showing the risk of obesity actually soars with family income. . . . Researchers linked the problem to the rise of highly-paid working mothers – who are often forced to leave a nanny or nursery in charge of their child’s diet and physical exercise.

“High consumption of snack foods and sweetened drinks, long hours spent watching television and low rates of breastfeeding – shown to prevent obesity – were also said to be factors”.

 

As the article notes, this seems to be a warning to middle-class parents, “who often ‘assumed’ their children were living healthy lives.”

the naked child crawls–
the blooming
poppies

.. by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

It’s sad that the children of the well-off are also caught up in the Western world’s obesity epidemic. Thankfully, as today’s Times article points out: “No matter how popular and upscale nude resorts become, one social convention is unlikely to change: Nudity and family vacations don’t always mix.” Thus, nakationers can probably avoid having to look at the fat, naked kids of wealthy Americans and Brits. That’s definitely a relief.

Buddha’s birthday–
fat little sparrows
and their parents

a chubby girl
offered pickles…
soot sweeping

my child
in the barley field wind…
nicely plump

.. by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

 

no thanks: nudist camp weight-loss center cartoon

roly-poly pigeons
growing fatter…
a long day

being so fat
he’s not a good jumper…
frog

giving these skinny legs
new life…
a pheasant

.. by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

Does Richer Mean Thinner? We don’t get paid enough to have a definitive answer to the Are Rich Nudists Thinner question. Nevertheless, we note the section of today’s NYT article devoted to the notions of U. Berkeley psychology professor Dacher Keltner:

“Today, America’s increasing obsession with health and wellness may be contributing to the rise of clothing-optional vacations. “Americans have moralized healthy bodies,” said Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, who has studied moral emotion and judgment. He added that “a case could be made that people are traveling to these places to be pure for moral reasons — to achieve harmony in nature.” It’s really a form of self-expression, he added, that dates back to Walt Whitman and John Muir, as well as Thoreau, all of whom advocated being as true to yourself as possible. “The truest you can be is taking off those clothes,” he said.”

It seems to the f/k/a Gang that most of the folk who would agree with and abide by Prof. Keltner’s explanation are likely to be the educated American elite, who tend to be rich rather than poor (and from California rather than Indiana). Therefore, if we had to be dropped into the middle of a nudist resort — and not ones like the Times says “turn away single men” — we hope it’s one of the upscale nakation spots, perhaps the kind that caters to a lot of those “women who married into higher status” mentioned at Wikipedia.

cloudburst–
a naked rider
on a naked horse

.. by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

the old couple’s legs femaleSymmaleSym -
skinny and white as
mine

empty cookie tin –
letting out last year’s
santa suit

……….. by dagosan

3 Comments

  1. You said “So, I’ve got to confess that the general notion of Americans wearing no clothes is not a big draw (much less a turn-on) for me.”

    I’ve never been to a nude resort, but have been to nude beached several times. The people there tend to be older and fatter than average, but you do have a decent sprinkling of young and fit people. The point though, is that you’re not there to be turned on or aroused, but for your self. Lying naked in the sun on a beach not caring that hundreds of people can see you is liberating.

    I tend to fall into the more young and fit category, and, if nothing else, seeing people who clearly don’t look anywhere near as good as you do naked is a bit of a cheap ego boost.

    I have always attended nude beaches with my wife, who is in the ‘hottie” category, and felt that the sex ratio, usually somewhere around 2-1 male/female, was the biggest detractor from the experience. I also read the NYT article, and if I ever decided to go to a nude resort, it would be one in the “no single men” camp.

    Comment by tdny — May 2, 2008 @ 10:52 am

  2. One would think the potential for sunburn, insect bites, poison ivy, stinging nettles, and other acts of nature would deter the nakationers from their nakationing.

    Comment by Anne — May 3, 2008 @ 1:10 pm

  3. Anne, I’m not sure the added risk from removing clothes is enough to deter those seeking true liberation and full self-expression. An ocean of calamine lotion should redress the undressed.

    Comment by David Giacalone — May 3, 2008 @ 11:15 pm

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