Monday, May 01, 2006

The Daily Newds

  • In Tucson, a former dude ranch has opened as a nude ranch.
  • Dame Helen Mirren regrets having done nude scenes because she feels that the stripping down has given her an undeservedly racy reputation. I don't think that's entirely true. As for myself, I have always respected her for her lack of inhibition, but now it turns out that it was always "mortifying" for her to be naked on film. Anyway, check out the HBO film where she plays Queen Elizabeth I, it's a fine performance.
  • A Northwestern student believes that nudity is a "generational thing", that only the geriatric are willing to bare all in a locker room. Is the current generation growing up with an unhealthy obsession with modesty? Is the lack of willingness to be naked among members of the same sex a bit of homophobia? Whatever the reason, it's an unhealthy attitude to label nudity as strictly a sexual activity.
  • In Los Angeles, neighbors surrounding a house where a porn film is being shot have not seen any nudity or sexual activity, but they are troubled by the mere idea of it all.

Marybeth Hicks and Nudists

Marybeth Hicks scares me. Not only is she a gymnophobe (see previous post), she is also a voyeur. In a July 2004 column entitled "Just a Day at the Nude Beach", Marybeth and a friend hear that there are nude sunbathers on a beach in Long Island and promptly proceed to "power walk" along the shore in search of the "nudies". Once they find what they are looking for, she derides the sunbathers as "aging hippies", and specifically one couple as "wrinkled" and "sagging". So the conservative columnist who was shocked to find a topless bather in Florida was all giggly and curious about nude swimmers merely 2 years ago. She is apparently also a hypocrite.

You can access this story and many of Marybeth's past columns at her homepage here.

In another column, Marybeth confronts her own phobias about body image when trying on swimsuits by stating her teenage girls "can't appreciate the absurdity of trying to fit a fortysomething body into a garment designed by someone who forgot to factor in the long-term effects of gravity". The real absurdity here is in the fact that people traumatize themselves when selecting, trying-on and wearing swimsuits, which are unnatural and completely useless. Let's fact it, there is not a swimsuit made that really hides anything, any illusion of body altering is in the mind of the wearer. If anything, a woman in a skimpy bikini is more provocative than a woman who is completely naked. Marybeth apparently knows this because she insisted on conservative suits for her daughters.

And all this from a woman who is writing a book on how to raise children. We have a problem here in America, it is called body image. We are a society that celebrates "perfect" bodies on TV, in the movies, in magazines and in virtually all aspects of popular culture. People are now even injecting botox into their underarms so that they will no longer sweat. My question is: Where does the sweat go if it cannot escape the armpit? Does it go directly to the brain?

Marybeth is raising her kids to be ashamed of their own bodies. Kids with poor body image are uptight, hung-up and anxious, many develop eating disorders, and some even die. It's great to be healthy and fit, there is nothing wrong with that, but we must be accepting of our own bodies and the bodies of others because we all need to know that we are not all going to look like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie no matter what we do.

Seeing one another in the nude is not traumatic, it is not "dirty" or "shameful", it is natural and normal to be aware that people all have skin all over their bodies. In other cultures people bathe, steam and swim in coed nudity. It's not sexual, it's just human. By pushing and pulling ourselves into bathing suits and "protecting" our children from the mere sight of a female breast we are succeeding in de-humanizing and harming an entire generation.