Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Childhood and naturism: nudity and body education in Brazil during the 1950´s
Carlos Herold Junior

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


From the late nineteenth century to the first decades of the twentieth, various movements justified their importance related to their affinities to the nature. Among them, naturism/nudism was a set of ideas and practices spreading from Germany and France to other parts of the world. In Brazil, the first records of it date back to the 1920s. In the following decades, naturism was mentioned in several ways in newspapers circulating in the great cities of the country: initially as a naivety, a curiosity or something bizarre, then, becoming a target of criticisms levelled from several groups who saw in it an immorality. This wide array of point of views was stimulated by the publication of magazines specifically focused on the dissemination of nudism during the 50´s in Brazil. In this research, these magazines are used as empirical basis to the following goal: to verify how children and their education were represented in the nudist publications in Brazil during the period. From a theoretical point of view, the concept of representation, associated with the Roger Chartier´s thinking, will guide the analysis of the sources. We will focus either on the texts published in these magazines or in the photographs wherein children were displayed carrying out different activities in the fields and nudist beaches. These images, although produced in contexts other than Brazilian, are assumed in their importance to the issue in the country: different meanings were attributed to them by the editors and the readers/consumers of these publications, as well as by the critics who opposed themselves to the movement. As a result, the study of Brazilian nudist magazines showed that there was a great concern within the movement regarding the education of children. Representations were released showing the movement as a possibility for greater contact with nature: not only the surrounding nature of forests, rivers and beaches; but also, the nature regarded as existing within each child as well, forming a healthier, happier childhood. This corollary was considered crucial to the construction of a new civilization in Brazil, since it was evaluated that these children would be freed from "lies" and "falsities" prevailing in civilization in general and with a magnified influence in childhood in societies which became urban, as it got underway in Brasil. Above all, these lies and falsehoods were linked to the sexual dimension of human relations. The educational benefits aforementioned were seen as achievable by the great attention given by nudist movement to the body and its activities: bathing, play, games and sports, in addition to the experience of nudity, all of them together would create the possibility of individual and social enhancement in Brazil through children's bodies. We conclude that the study of the nudist movement is instrumental to highlight the value that the body and corporal practices had to educational aspirations throughout the twentieth century.