Peace Protest Ends
in Watery Fiasco
The latest nude peace protest to sweep the globe was swept out to sea in Southern California.
By George Wolfe
HUNTINGTON BEACH — A nude peace protest took an even more unusual twist today when a high tide wrecked the work done at the event. The anti-war activists were trying to spell P-E-A-C-E with their bodies.
Joining the more than 40 nude women protests
that have swept the nation, the Huntington Beach event was on schedule
to be the biggest of its kind in the Los Angeles area. Organizers
said that more than 150 women, calling themselves "Unbridled
Women of the Southland," took part. Most of the women in the
group are in their late teens or early twenties.
"When we get naked, we become more visible
because everyone can see us — unless something like this happens...
and then we just want to run and hide and become invisible again."
— Sandi Marchant,
Crystal Kleinhaus, one of the organizers, noted
that, "Clearly, events like these are not going to stop a war
from coming, but if we're lucky we might turn a few heads or raise
a few eyebrows. Why do we do it? We disrobe because our sisters overseas
have to wear these big heavy robes, even when it's super-hot out."
Kleinhouse says she got the idea for the Los Angeles event after she'd accidentally taken too much of a prescription drug. "I saw all these beautiful naked women traipsing around a beach. It was sunny and there was some sort of spelling bee. Then the sky opened up and all these bronze angels wearing polka-dot bikinis and white wings flew down and we all made huge letters with our bodies. It was awesome!"
What started out as a dream, however, ended as
a near nightmare.
Wrapped in towels, the protesters began to arrive
in the early morning hours. Plainclothes supporters turned out with
signs saying, "Nudity Not Stupidity!", "More Thongs,
Less Warmongers!" and "Bodily Corporations Not U.S. Corporations
It was chilly, with some wispy fog drifting in
and a few strong waves were already creeping up the beach. One survivor
of the event, Shaiwana Dewing, described the beginning. "We
stripped down and made and started making the letters. We got up
to "P-E-A-" but when they got to the "C" things
According to other witnesses, waves washed over a few of the women
and a riptide pulled them out to sea. Those who tried to save the
others were pulled out, too. There was widespread panic and the
fog made it hard to see. In the end, about eleven women were washed
It wasn't immediately clear how many knew how to swim though it is believed that all of the women were returned to dry land. The Coast Guard was called in to retrieve the flailing women.
Several of the organizers, though flustered by the debacle, tried to put a positive spin on it. "When we get naked," said Sandi Marchant, "we become more visible because everyone can see us — unless something like this happens — and then we just want to run and hid and become invisible again. Maybe we'll try it again some other day."
Kleinhaus looked disappointed but reasoned, "Even though we didn't get the chance to fully say our peace, I think that people all over the world will certainly remember and appreciate our gesture."
In Baghdad, speaking through an interpreter, a
group of Iraqi woman were informed of the Southland mishap. They
spoke among themselves, then one of them responded, "Please,
we would all sleep better at night if you American women would stop
taking off your clothes on our behalf. Really, we're fine."
CLINGING TO THEIR DIGNITY: The Unbridled Women
of the Southland take a turn for the worse.