It’s ‘Royal Ascot’ which is one of Europe’s most famous race meetings, and dates back to 1711 when it was founded by Queen Anne. Every year Royal Ascot is attended by HM Elizabeth II and various members of the British Royal Family such as The Prince of Wales, arriving each day in a horse-drawn carriage with the Royal procession taking place at the start of each race day and the raising of the Queen’s Royal Standard. It is a major event in the British social calendar, and press coverage of the attendees and what they are wearing often exceeds coverage of the actual racing. There are three enclosures attended by guests on Royal Ascot week.
Royal Ascot takes place at Ascot Racecourse, located in the small town of Ascot, Berkshire, UK.
Ascot Racecourse, especially during Royal Ascot, is famous for its strict and detailed dress code. Which you can read here (it’s just too long and boring to copy and paste here!).
Sarah Ditum of The Guardian, in a blog post back in 2012, explains in detail and in her own opinion why the dress code is so important:
"If all this sounds absurdly prescriptive, it’s because Royal Ascot is creating an absurd situation: dress codes are usually a way of keeping the wrong people out, not coaching them on how to fit in. No sportswear, no football colours, no pyjamas in the supermarket. The only places that normally have to give such stringent guidance on hem lengths and hat size are work and school – places you don’t belong to by choice, which use apparel to stamp themselves on your identity…
…The demise of formalwear is part of it: the number of occasions for which jeans are inappropriate is probably fewer than the number of pairs of jeans you own. And when nobody wears a hat any more, anything on your head – even if it is just one pluming feather – can feel like making an effort.
But most of all, I think it’s about the occupants of the royal enclosure needing to feel reassured that the ticket they’ve paid for is keeping the wrong people out. You may not be totally au fait with the coded class meaning of the spaghetti strap (it means you have no class, apparently), but with all the money and effort you’ve made to get in there, you’re bound to notice if someone else if lowering the tone with too much knee flesh.
It’s a sign of wealth closing ranks. No more of the pretence that social mobility is likely or desirable: in the coalition’s Britain, it’s openly acknowledged that the poor will stay poor and the rich will stay rich. And the rich, increasingly keen to assume that their spoils are a result of good character (and not, say, luck or greed), prefer not to be confronted with the sight of other people struggling to articulate the signs of privilege – or worse, to feel that they themselves are showing their lack of breeding.
Any slip-up could betray them all, give away the secret that they’re not some separate, midriff-less caste whose innate talents have simply drawn money towards them. The more they measure their hat bases and tug at their skirts, the more it’s obvious that what rich people really fear isn’t a commoner slipping past the sentries and sidling among them; it’s that their own commonness might start to show.”
So in short, it’s about snobbism! So where does naturism/social nudity fit into all this? Well let me explain:
Thoreau wrote "It is an interesting question how far men would retain their respective rank if they were divested of their clothes." All other things held equal, when nude, a king appears no different than a peasant, a doctor no different than a steelworker, a wealthy CEO no different than his lowest-paid employee. Thus, these classifications disappear and the playing field is levelled.
Society says you must have clothing at all time when in public. Even the simplest tasks, such as stepping out your front door to pick up the newspaper, require you to get dressed. A naturist’s outfit is always easily available. Sleep nude, and you are already “dressed” when you awake.
Still not conviced? Let K. Bacher explain:
"Nudity promotes social equality, feelings of unity with others, and more relaxed social interaction in general… clothing locks us into a collective unreality that prescribes complex responses to social status, roles and expected behaviours. As the artificial barrier of clothing is done away with, social class and status disappear. People begin to relate to each other as they are, and not as they seem to be.”
"Naturists tend to be especially accepting of other people, just as they are. This is an attitude that is undoubtedly related to the fact that Naturists are generally more accepting of their own bodies, just as they are, than the general public."
"Socially and demographically, nudists are almost exactly like the rest of the population, except that they are tolerant of nudity. There are few other trends, social or psychological, positive or negative, that correlate to a statistically significant degree with nudists as a demographic group."
"Naturism rejects blind conformity to cultural mores and assumptions about the body, which see clothing as a constant necessity, in favor of a more reasoned, rational approach which recognizes the need for clothing to be dependent on context."
At the end of the day, we are all human and I believe that we shouldn’t have/don’t need dress codes. Especially when clothing is used to separate, categorise and even demonise different groups of people and individuals. I never heard of a horse that has complained at the sight of a nude human - nor “needed” to be clothed to to separate themselves from other horses!
If you want to know more about naturism, please visit our main Naturism page on iNaked.
P.S.: The fantastic Clover Spa (Birmingham, UK) will be hosting a “NAKED ROYAL ASCOT” day on the 22 JUNE 2013, 12 NOON TILL 10PM. More details can be found here.