(For those of you who haven’t come across the term, the “single man problem” basically refers a perceived gender imbalance within naturist spaces, with men outnumbering women.)
I’ve been thinking a bit about how we as a community conceptualise this gender imbalance issue within naturist spaces, and what this particular conceptualisation tells us about the naturist community as a whole. I find it interesting that the problem is couched in terms of it being a problem with single men, rather than simply male dominance on the whole. It’s as if no matter how overbearing an individual man may be, as long as he brings his wife along than his impact of the gender dynamics within the space is neutral. Whereas a single man, who could potentially be an awesome feminist who calls out other men if they are lecherous, overbearing, or talk over women is seen as less welcome because he doesn’t have a woman companion. As such, I don’t think the problem is with “single men” but rather, men in general, or the behaviour of some men (regardless of relationship status).
I appreciate that for a lot of clubs it would be impractical to base it on behaviours instead of numbers, especially when most of the problematic behaviours aren’t necessarily creepy just mildly annoying, or somehow difficult to call out. However, I do think the focus on numbers over changing the behaviours of men within naturism is focusing on the symptom not the cause; a concerted effort amongst naturist men to change the way that they behave is a necessary part of addressing this problem, and one that currently isn’t really being discussed.
Another aspect of the “single man problem” is it sets up this sense of compulsory heterosexuality within naturist spaces. By making the problem of male dominance specifically about “single men” it assumes that all naturists are heterosexual, and by extension, that all naturists should be heterosexual. How does this impact on gay, lesbian, or other queer-identified naturists wishing to access these spaces?