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Banner Triggers Complaint at Oregon Mall


Last week we heard from AANR Government Affairs Team volunteer Shirley Gauthier with report of a story too important not to pass on.

It seems that Shirley and other volunteers from The Willamettans nudist club in Marcola, Oregon, set up a table alongside other participating members of the area chamber of commerce at an annual event held within a local shopping mall.  Within minutes of putting up a tasteful “window shade” type display banner, they were asked to take the banner down.  Ever diplomatic and cordial, Shirley complied but she did ask why. The reason? Its presence had generated a complaint to mall management.

What triggered the complaint? The words American Association for Nude Recreation, as well as the AANR-Northwest logo that appeared along with very discreet pictures, shots of couples pictured from their shoulders up, plus a 40-something woman crouched behind her dog after enjoying a stroll on a nude beach.

But the story doesn’t end there.  As she lowered the banner, Shirley looked directly across the mall corridor from her location into a full-size window promotion for a well-known chain that sells novelty items. The feature items?  A corset “trio” complete with garter belt and skimpy bra–modeled on a poster by a woman wearing the getup and little else while grasping the metal pole on a touring bus. Delightfully surprised men look on, and a girlfriend snaps pictures. Oh…plus a few adult “novelties” in a briefcase are also on display.

Ironic, huh?  

Admittedly, the store is a rent paying tenant, and the chamber of commerce conducting its trade show was a guest.  Hence Shirley’s tactful cooperation (FYI: she did follow up the day’s events with a very well-stated letter to the chamber president.) 

But what does it say about current attitudes toward nudity in this country when a banner in which 40-something adults appear where there’s little more than implied simple nudity and it triggers a complaint within minutes?  Yet crowds pass novelties, lingerie, or T-shirts bearing crass slogans, offered for sale. And they don’t seem to bat an eye.

From time to time, I am asked, “Why do we even need an AANR?” I hope this story provides another answer.  We’ll continue to do what we have done since 1931: advocating for nudity within appropriate settings and educating the public about the wholesome benefits that enjoying nudity offers. 

For those who want something else, it appears they’ll have to visit the local mall.   

By AANR Executive Director Erich Schuttauf from the February 12 AANR Weekly Report.


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23 Responses to Banner Triggers Complaint at Oregon Mall

  1. Bill Porter says:

    There should be more places and events where nudity is encouraged, much less permitted. I live in Rockville, MD. I have to travel a long way to be socially nude. WHY??

  2. Jeffrey Lane says:

    You are absolutely right. This kind of thinking in America is so wrong. It makes me want to leave for that reason but I know I live in the best country in the world for many other reasons. Sex in advertisment is not the same as nudity in the aanr. I wish the media would stop harming our society.

  3. thomas says:

    The media has made it publicly acceptable to wear and advertise “lingerie” to promote and sell “sexy”! This creates undue pressure on women to have that perfect body. We were all born without clothes and as we go through life we all end up with “life’s battle scars” and if we take a non-chalonte attitude towards nudity look at all the money the whole “sex or sexy” selling industry would lose. Lord forbid a man to see a womans bear breast but it is ok if she wears a see through blouse. If we could get media to start promoting nudity instead of sex you would see a change in acceptance.

  4. Dwight Christensen says:

    It appears that this situation was handled in the very best way. You are not going to win converts to a lifestyle with yelling and screaming your “values”. As this was handled, gentle pressure, education, and showing folks how normal the nudist lifestyle is goes a very long way!

    Kadoos to a positive approach to a challenge!

  5. George White says:

    Shirley Gauthier might have answered a little differently. She deserved to know who the complaintant was or, as a minimum, the sex and approximate age of the person complaining. Is it possible no one complained? Did management point out to the compainant the adjacent window promoting sexy articles. Dose management know the difference between sex exploitation in marketing in their stores and naturist nudity at private resorts et al being promoted as a member of the chamber of commerce? AANR needs to take this up, right now, with the mall management and educate them pronto. I just don’t understand why Americans are so uptight with decent law abiding citizens enjoying social nudity in discreet plances. We should be banning sex exploitation in advertising and there would be less problmes with our youth.

  6. Dennis says:

    Keep up the good work in time it will all pay off

  7. I believe that the courts have ruled that the common area of a mall is a public space, that if they allow some form of public communication — such as the chamber of commerce’s members’ displays, they’d have to allow all. Given the window display, I think a judge would rule in the AANR’s favor. A simple letter from a lawyer threatening legal action if such a demand is made in the future might suffice. Worth a try in the future.

    By the way, it is the responsibility fo all nudists to change the way society responds to nudity. Bear in mind that it is only a few cranks that are keeping us down. How is that? Read my article “Is it Reasonable to Be Open” on for an answer and a solution. While you are there, read “Exercise Your Right to Write”.

  8. Dunc Fowler says:

    I would hope that AANR sends a letter to the Mall Management and complain about a violation of free speech and point out the inconsistencies between the AANR display and the store front.

    I do not see this as a Chamber issue but one of the Mall Managment

  9. Tony Burke says:

    I’m glad I wasn’t there as I may have been a bit more vocal.I had a recent problem as I live in a condominium and received a letter from the management.It was nothing to do with nudism,but I asked who had complained,they said ,no one.So I said then whats the problem.I’ve not heard back.
    Yes I would have asked the management if there had been a complaint and if not,what was the problem.
    As the old adage goes “Filth I’m glad to say is in the mind of the beholder

  10. Dave Arter says:

    I wonder what the mall management would have done if someone had complained about the racy display in the store window…

  11. Al Preen says:

    This is a surprise. Normally Oregon is a very liberal state. I just don’t understand the mindset of some folks.

  12. James McLaughlin says:

    It seems that there may be a free speech issue that we should consider for the future. I would be happy to help a legal affairs attorney. I am a retired attorney from cal. now living in Idaho.

  13. CHRISO says:

    Stand up for your rights! Nude is NOT lewd!

  14. Tom Gowen says:

    The Chamber of Commerce is one of the most reactionary organizations in the country. If you were selling something that could have made money for their members they would have been ok with it. They rarely take a position on anything that is pro-people so not to hard to imagine that they would be offended by this modest display.

  15. Mark says:

    Shirley handled the complaint situation most appropriately. I’m sure the situation must have bothered her, but putting up a fuss or threatening legal action would have made more enemies than friends. Our society thinks that taking everything to the courts solves every problem, but often all it does is make more problems.
    Responsible people pick their battles carefully. I applaud Shirley and AANR for turning a conflict into a teachable situation. I’m sure the Wilammettans and AANR will be back at this mall with no problems.

  16. Sharron says:

    Shirley Gauthier once again responds with class and is a wonderful example of promoting the right to nudism in an intelligent and thoughtful way. Plus she knows how to make a point. Love that picture. I’m so appreciative of the spirit and activism of AANR members. Thank you.

  17. Norman says:

    Once again the leftovers of censorship and media control of the previous administration has reared it ugly head where any citizen felt they have the right to control others at their whim. It will take years to undo the damage caused and we must all try to correct those injustices. Hang in there. The freedom we all seek will return if we just stand up to those who wish to control us.

  18. Shirley Gauthier says:

    The Willamettans Family Nudist Resort has been an active member of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce for three years. I attend Greeters weekly sub-committee meetings where between 100-145 business owners gather for networking. Chamber members have purchased Willamettan memberships, conducted workshops at the resort, taken tours, purchased day pases and participated in the AANR World Record Skinny Dip.

    The Chamber Business Expo is their largest fundraising event. The Chamber leases the space and the Willamettans paid $100 to participate. Over one-hundred Chamber businesses participated.

    Mall Management approached the Chamber organizer with the complaint. The organizer relayed the complaint. I immediately asked who had complained and asked for a written copy of the Mall policy. Both were provided to me immediately.

    I represented The Willamettans, AANR, AANR-NW and the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. It was an easy call for me to make the decision to use this complaint to demonstrate the problems we nudist have in putting distance between family nude recreation, swingers and the sex industry.

    I do not believe that addressing it from a national level would have been productive without first trying to resolve it locally. I immediately informed AANR staffers and proceeded to address the complaint.

    I wrote a detailed letter to the Chamber of Commerce President and attached descriptive pictures to show the basis for the complaint. I will attend the Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Team sub-committee to discuss this incident.

    It is refreshing that members are reading the blog report and taking the time to share their comments. I have received emails and phone calls and appreciate everyone taking the time to voice their opinions and thoughts.

    In closing I want to put a plug in for the AANR convention and encourage you to go to and check out the beautiful AANR-NW resort that is hosting the AANR convention in August.

    Shirley Gauthier

  19. Tim Charles says:

    I think if the truth in advertising were enforced here and the window display shop owner were mandated to tell their true intent, the window display would say “Sex Sex Sex and more unending sex” something which the complainer did not see nor complain about in that window. There is a big difference between implied sex and implied nudity. I do not see why our freedom of expression should be curtailed when that shop owner is not curtailed for something more licentious.

  20. Alan Christensen says:

    Thank you Shirley for enlightening us as the the details of the incident. I applaud your efforts to keep nudism in th epublic eye and your tactful handeling of an awkard situation. I know some will say we should have forced the issue but I think that you were wise to do what you did. I am sure you will have the support of public opinion and that of your fellow Chamber of Commerce members by the actions you took. Good job and please keep us posted as to the outcome I sincerely hope you get an apology from that mall.

  21. Eric says:

    I believe Shirley handled the situation correctly. I do not agree with the mall management asking to remove the sign. We see much more nudity on TV, and much of the time not very tastefully. I would hope that AANR addresses this with the Chamber and even mall management, to make them understand what we are all about – it’s not about sex, sex, sex!!!

  22. Leslie Askew says:

    As always, Shirley has responded with her usual class. This incident just goes show you how important our membership in AANR is.

  23. Chris says:

    This is exactly why we need to distance ourselves from clubs that do not believe in the AANR standard.

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