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Jornal Olho nu - edição N°37 - outubro de 2003
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Jornal Olho nu - edição N°39 - dezembro de 2003

Anunciam nesta edição: Corpos Nus | Pelados |

     Nature vs. virtue, and nudity wins:[Chicagoland Final , CN Edition]

Por Patricia M Jones*

Nov 3, 2003


Abstract> (Article Summary)

Suitless sunbathers also contended that in a city such as Rio which seems to embrace the nudity that is openly displayed during Carnival--Brazil's biggest tourist attraction--the long fight over Abrico beach was a case of hypocrisy and discrimination.

Copyright 2003 by the Chicago Tribune

 LETTER FROM RIO DE JANEIRO. It's only natural, say naked defenders, who have won a decade-long fight to take it all off on their own beach, the Tribune's Patrice M. Jones writes

The city known worldwide for its jubilant annual Carnival celebrations, during which practically naked women gyrate on floats for a television audience, finally has the right to feature a beach where folks can frolic in the sun au naturel.

After a nearly decade-long fight, a five-judge panel ruled recently that Abrico beach, a secluded, white-sand cove on the western outskirts of the city, would be declared Rio's official nudist beach.

The 4-1 ruling last month by the equivalent of a state Supreme Court was a key victory for Brazil's growing number of sunbathers without bikinis who say they will take their court battle all the way to the federal Supreme Court if necessary.

The Brazilian Naturism Federation--Brazil's national nudist association and the only such national group in South America--has 60,000 loyalists and counts more than 200,000 Brazilians as practitioners of nudism. The group says the number has fleshed out, growing rapidly during the past decade.

The court decision means that nudists such as Pedro Ribeiro, president of the Naturism Association in Rio de Janeiro, can enjoy Rio's tropical sun without the worry of annoying tan lines.

"Believe it or not, there is a lot of conservatism in Rio," said Ribeiro, a 45-year-old high school art teacher who said he has been arrested five times for being nude on the beach--two times during the Abrico court fight.

Ribeiro and others in the group fighting for Abrico beach have argued that while the number of people wanting to appear naked on Brazil's beaches has been growing, a dwindling number of beaches across the country were being made available to them.

The court decision makes Abrico only the eighth official nude beach in Brazil, which also is home to more than a half-dozen official clubs where members pay for access to pools, shops and tennis courts where clothing is optional.

Suitless sunbathers also contended that in a city such as Rio which seems to embrace the nudity that is openly displayed during Carnival--Brazil's biggest tourist attraction--the long fight over Abrico beach was a case of hypocrisy and discrimination.

"In fact, during Carnival the schools of samba show beautiful women completely naked with an overtly sexual connotation," said Marcia Rodrigues, a 50-year-old grandmother and office manager who is a member of the Naturism Association in Rio de Janeiro. "It is hypocrisy to say that during Carnival, nudity is accepted, but when it is practiced among family and children in the most natural way possible, it is wrong."

The complicated debate has been raging for decades over whether already scantily clad beach goers in Rio should be able to take it all off.

The controversy is all the more difficult to resolve because Brazil has an ideal climate for sunbathers and opinions that vary with the region. For example, in the southern state of Santa Catarina, which has a tradition of European visitors accustomed to going topless, or more, on their home soil, there are three official nude beaches and the practice is more accepted.

Brazil has about 4,700 miles of sun-kissed coastline and offers many isolated beaches often used by those who want to go undressed and undetected. But the nudist movement means that many people don't want to hide any longer.

Meanwhile, the publicity over the court case has brought national attention to the issue of nude sunbathing in South America's tropical capital. Devotees of the pastime argue that going to the beach in the buff represents a philosophy of life that puts man and woman more in touch with nature.

And, in a case of art imitating life, a television drama about a man who is shipwrecked on an island with a colony of nudists is already in the works by the country's main television network.

Rio's City Hall, which first studied the issue of Abrico beach in 1994, was on the side of those favoring establishment of the nude beach.

But Jorge Beja, a well-known Rio attorney, who said nude sunbathing is a "violation" provoking "collective feelings of shame," had blocked the Abrico plan for years.

"I represent the majority of Brazilian people, the collective feeling," said Beja, who says he will appeal the court ruling.

Ribeiro disagreed in a newspaper opinion piece: "Clothes are only for shelter and protection against bad weather. Why wear clothes on a clean beach with a hot sun?"

*the Tribune's South America correspondent

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