Eleven years ago, Franky and I started Naked Girls Reading. I was reading on the couch, naked, and Franky found that image inspiring. I joked and said we should do a pay site for this particular kind of fetish. A few months later, we were on a walk and I had just opened Studio L’amour in Chicago. I proposed doing Naked Girls Reading as a live event. Like a salon.
But who would read? Who would show up? We didn’t know but we had to try. I asked some of the women from our troupe, The Chicago Starlets, to read. We asked people that we knew loved to read and enjoyed being naked. They said YES!
We had our first show to a packed, and captive audience. CBS News even showed up! Being there in that moment, looking across the couch at my fellow readers, I knew we had something special. This was a moment. It was vulnerable. Touching. Beautiful. Pure magic.
After that first event in Chicago, we started getting inquiries from people in other cities wanting to do this in their town. Since then, we’ve had more than 20 chapters across the globe to critical acclaim. But, after all of this time and success, it’s time for a change.
A lot has changed in 11 years. What started as a cheeky and very descriptive title, became a point of contention for some of the chapters. What about non-binary people? What about those that identify as women? What about trans-women? Isn’t the word ‘girls’ diminishing? When these conversations first came our way, we were not as receptive as we should have been. We just wanted to keep it simple, both for ourselves and for our audiences. As for the word ‘girls’, we thought it just sounded better and flowed better off the tongue than ‘Naked Women Reading’.
For the past few years, these concerns have been weighing on us. We knew we had to make a change, even if it meant throwing 11 years of branding and name recognition out the window.
Another push towards change came from social media. The landscape was not so intense 11 years ago. Were those the MySpace years? Or maybe Facebook was just starting? Either way, the rules about what you could post and couldn’t post weren’t as strict. We could simply create an event and people would show up. We didn’t have to worry about the events being taken down, or buried under thousands of other events and posts.
And we also didn’t have to worry about Shadow Bans (Instagram) and we didn’t have to worry about the word ‘naked’ being flagged by misogynist algorithms. Naked Girls Reading has had two Instagram accounts shut down and many chapters have had their Facebook accounts deactivated.
Trust that the posts on these accounts did not showcase anything that you couldn’t see on the beach. But, because these posts have been deemed ‘suggestive’ and we used the word ‘naked’ and ‘girls’, we were removed.
Several chapters were forced to stop doing events because they couldn’t effectively get the word out to the public. This beautiful idea of combining the vulnerability of the body with the vulnerability of the word and the soul was being crushed in this new climate.
The game has changed. And now that means that we must change.
I now present to you, Bare Book Club! We are thrilled with this name because it is less gender specific, although we will continue to have it be a womxn only event, and it is more easily promoted and hopefully has less potential to be flagged by the social media algorithms.
Please join us in Chicago on April 10th for our 11th anniversary, for the new Bare Book Club! We’ll be bringing back the founding members Lady Ginger, Greta Layne, Dominique Trixx and myself. And, moving forward, Hot Tawdry will be heading up the Chicago chapter, because I am now in Los Angeles. I will make appearances at this event when I can, but know that she has our full trust with our baby!
Thank you for all of your support over the years, in Chicago and beyond!