Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Is America Ready for Topfreedom??

It really struck me the other day when I read the ALL of the beaches in Spain are topfree, and I realized how hung-up and sexually immature we are as a society here in America. The female breast has become the premier symbol of female sexuality. Adolescent petting of the female breast is "getting to first base", and millions of male teenagers learned to masturbate to the well-endowned "girls next door" in Playboy and Penthouse. If you go to the Sports Illustrated web site, there is a tab specifically for "Swimsuit" right next to the tab for "", and there is no argument on earth that can explain why nearly-naked models in sexy bikinis have anything to do with sports, other that to appeal to male prurient interests.
"Our society still doesn’t recognize the functional use of breasts,” says Karen Peters, executive director of the Breast Feeding Task Force of Greater Los Angeles. “It only recognizes the sexual aspect.”

We appear to have reached the tipping point on this issue, now that the mere sight of a female nipple sends people into hysterics and crying "what about the children?" What we need is a "Rosa Parks" of topfreedom to begin the reversal of this unhealthy collective attitude towards something as simple and basic to life as the female breast.

There are positive things happening. Laws are being passed all over America allowing women to breastfeed in any public place. Wikipedia has a list of jurisdictions in North America where topfree equality exists by law. The Topfree Equal Rights Association exists to help "women who encounter difficulty going without tops in public places in Canada and the USA, and informs the public on this issue". Photographer Jordan Matter's project "Uncovered" is a collection of images showing bare-breasted in and around New York, wihtout sexualizing or ojectifying them, as if the woman had the same freedom as men to go shirtless. In December, a Florida woman won the second of two cases in her fight for the right to bare her breasts in public as political protest.

The movement needs a figurehead, someone who can set an example and inspire others to drop the top. The people at TERA correctly point out that the appearance of a shirtless Clark Gable in "It Happened One Night" began the movement to overturn prohibitions against men removing their shirts in public. And while there are certainly many women who have appeared nude in films for the past 50 years, virtually none have done so in a non-sexual situation. One scene that comes to mind is from the Robert Altman film "Short Cuts", where a bottomless Julianne Moore has a fight with her husband (played by Matthew Modine), fully exposed but completely indifferent to her own nakedness. There needs to be someone with cultural clout to come forward and endorse topfreedom. Imagine the impact of someone like Oprah Winfrey telling her audience that she went topfree in Spain and loved the experience.

Nudity is normal in everday life, when changing clothes, when bathing, when making love, when in the locker room, etc. How odd it is that we put on clothes to go to the beach where activities like swimming and sunbathing are best experienced in the nude. I believe that this decade will be the era in which topfree equality is achieved on American beaches. If hundreds of women go the beach and remove their tops, there will be no law, no statute, no ordinance, and no morally outraged Christianist organization that will be able to reverse the effect.

Fear of the FCC

Who would have thought a couple of years ago that the split-second showing on live television of a female breast would turn the First Amendment upside down? On this Super Bowl Sunday, CBS is instructing its cameramen and technicians to be aware of any potentially offensive fan behavior, otherwise the FCC could impose a stiff fine. It all started when Janet Jackson had a wardrobe malfunction, and it has peaked with a recent incident on FOX where the camera showed a fan with a t-shirt that read "FUCK DA EAGLES" in a recent NFL playoff game.

FOX is claiming that showing the woman was unintentional and happened during the hectic pace of live television. Having once been a cameraman myself, I can understand completely how this could have been overlooked. When you are panning the crowd looking for good shots, you generally are not reading words on t-shirts - you are looking for interesting faces. Anyway, Christianist organizations are not buying the explanation and are bonbarding the FCC with complaints, demanding that advertisers be refunded the ton of money paid for commercials during the game.

This is an example of mass hysteria fueled by a small minority that have skill in manipulating the media. The case is now before the FCC and any decision will likely be delayed because the new "indecency enforcement policy" is in a federal appeals court, being challenged by the major networks.

Your freedoms are at risk. If the FCC and the Christianist complainers prevail, it will essentially mean that ANYTHING that is put on the air that is offensive to ANYONE could be actionable. I am not advocating chaos on the airwaves, networks still have to be responsible to put on programming that will appeal to the general population, but putting these decisions in the hands of a very few undermines the founding principles of our republic.

NO ONE is harmed in any way if television shows split second shots of a female breast, or a brief image of the word "fuck". This is false moral indignation, it has no basis in rationality or the real world, it is the work of Christianist organizations that need straw man arguments to rally their base and raise money. These organizations are not interested in the First Amendment, they scour the airwaves looking for one single incident that they can exploit and turn into a moral crusade. Government needs to get out of the morality business and leave that to the religious community.

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The Daily Newds

  • Seems like most of the naked news comes out of the UK. A man has appeared in court on charges of indecent exposure when a neighbor spotted him mowing his lawn in the nude.
  • A London ballet entitled "Hell" features 8 completely nude dancers. The critic comes to the conclusion that the nudity becomes quite ordinary, which is what naturists have been saying for years.
    Despite copious, and conspicuous, jiggly bits, the nudity wasn't erotic, or snigger-inducing, or in any way offensive, just a blurring canvas of pink/ beige tones. It seemed, after a while, almost ordinary, and only fleetingly hinting at the terrifying vision you'd expect from a dance work unequivocally entitled Hell and which references ideas from Dante's Inferno. It's often the way with stage nudity. A glimpse of bosom or buttock raises both eyebrow and pulse, while long stretches of the buff soon pall.
  • Body image roundup: Hollywood seems to be finally embracing the full-figured woman; the number of American women getting breast implants has quadrupled in the last decade; a woman has written a book about the mysterious power of the female breast in "Stacked: A 32DDD Reports from the Front"; and A Brief History of the Breast shows us that the current sexualization of the mammary glands is culture specific.
  • A New York state senator has reintroduced The Breastfeeding Bill of Rights.
  • Australia's Gold Coast Art Expo is highlighting freedom of expression.
    In a twist, this year’s Expo is being billed as an adults-only affair, with body painting and nude models posing for sketches. Up to 200 artists will wear costumes and masks to add to the creative, 'masquerade' atmosphere. “Promoting in such a liberal environment introduces a whole new set of rules,” says Andriani, “ones that insist that the creator has free reign to negotiate their own business (and) re-gain responsibility and pride of spirit.”
  • Naked Nudism takes on the weighty issue of the government regulation of indecency.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Nightly Newds

  • The Gammies, a naturist couple, are upset that the Titleys, a textiles couple, are planning to add windows to a loft overlooking their property where they enjoy being nude while gardening.
    But Mr Gammie 48, a corporate events organiser explained that while he is not embarrassed about nudity he fears arrest if he is seen by members of the public. He said: "We feel most comfortable when we are in the nude. We do not think clothing should get in the way. It is a family pastime. But these windows will enable adults and children to look out at us. We will probably get the police around."
  • A California woman was convicted today of killing her husband in order to collect the life insurance and get breast implants. Now this is a woman who has serious body issues. In a related story, it turns out that women can achieve larger breasts by getting liposuction on their tummies.
  • News from Bizarro World: In Spain, a man riding nude on his bicycle through a town was stopped by a police officer and told to cover up. Turns out the naked man is chairman of a nudist organization and took the officer to court for violating his democratic right to go clothes-free. The officer now faces a fine and will have to pay the naturist damages.
  • Homophobia Department: A Denver columnist has stopped working out at the gym because of "hairy naked dudes".
    ...who are not even bothering to cover up in a timely manner; hairy naked dudes who are conversing about sports - again while they're naked. Hairy naked dudes who stand buck naked in front of the mirror and comb their hair - you know the hair on their head. From the time it takes me to get dressed I feel like my eyes have done more awkward aversions than an observer at a leper colony. Apparently, I'm the only one who not only appreciates - but finds the invention of the towel as a social necessity.
  • Retired supermodel Tyra Banks has put on 30 pounds since her glory days on the runway, but she is not ashamed of her body and wants teenage girls to know that it's OK to put on some weight. She has been savaged by some for her fuller figure.
    Tyra said, "To call that ugly -- so many young girls are looking at that -- I need to let them know that's not ugly. It was very important for me to be on the cover of People magazine and bare my body and say, 'I'm 161 pounds.'"
  • Taiwanese women are stripping down to sell betel-nuts.
  • A woman in the UK was attending a Weight Watchers meeting in a church and was told to go into another room when she started breastfeeding her child.
    In England, there are currently no laws making it illegal to stop mums from breastfeeding in public.However, the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) has launched a campaign to allow all mums to breastfeed in public places.In a survey carried out by the NCT, 79 per cent of mothers backed a law.

Daniel Radcliffe aka Harry Potter Nude

These photos of Daniel Radcliffe posing nude as a promotion for the play "Equus" could have a positive effect on nudism. Good for him.

The Daily Newds

  • A conservative group in Ohio is seeking stricter legislation on adult businesses.
    A proposal tabbed as the Community Defense Act by its proponents would require strip clubs and other sexually oriented businesses to close between midnight and 6 a.m. and keep employees who appear nude or semi-nude at least six feet from patrons.
  • A Westerville, Ohio, high school student stripped down, greased himself up and ran naked through a crowded cafeteria. He was tasered and hauled off to jail and will be charged with inducing panic, public indecency, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
    "He's not offered any apology. He said he was looking to create some excitement and get an adrenaline rush. "Hindsight being 20/20," Petrozzi said, Killian "should have ate a burger instead. Put a jalapeno on it. I don't know."
  • Nude bowlers in Maine are getting some heat from the local community. Recently a man who wandered in on the naked event with his 8 year-old son became disgusted and immediately went to the police. It was concluded that no laws were being broken, but the morality police always seem to assume that something untoward is going on.
    "The big fear is that if this is allowed, how far does it escalate and how many liberties can other people take?" City Manager Peggy Daigle said Monday.
  • At the end of a stressful day, what could be more relaxing than getting naked and receiving a barefoot massage?
  • Because of the non-controversy involving actress Dakota Fanning and her rape scene in the movie "Hounddog", conservatives are seeking to regulate under-18 nudity in films.
    (Actress Janine) Turner added that society is suffering from a saturating amount of violence on television and in movies, and she thinks Hollywood should make a rule that no one under age 18 is allowed to be filmed naked or placed in scenes that are compromising or sexually graphic.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Nightly Newds

  • MSNBC wonders if breastfeeding is lewd or rude and why people are so conflicted on the subject.
    “Our society still doesn’t recognize the functional use of breasts,” says Karen Peters, executive director of the Breast Feeding Task Force of Greater Los Angeles. “It only recognizes the sexual aspect.”
    In a related article, advice ie given to men who somehow cannot handle themselves in the presence of a nursing mom.
  • Sexpresso to go: In Washington State, half-naked women are being put on display to sell coffee.
    "Most guys like to see pretty girls when they get their mochas," said Sarah Araujo, who opened The Sweet Spot two years ago. "We just figured we'd be honest about it."
  • The nudist/naturist philosophy regarding social interaction does not tolerate open sexual behavior. This stems from the fact that many nudist resorts are family oriented, or do not want to be treated by law as adult organizations. But society so strongly equates sex with nudity that I like to pass on news stories dealing with sex because many of the laws and ordinances governing obscenity and lewd behavior cross over and affect nudists. One case in point involves a 17 year-old boy who received consensual oral sex from a 15 year old girl and is now spending a 10 year sentence in jail.
    After Wilson’s conviction and sentence, the legislature changed the statute realizing it was unfair. It now makes consensual oral sex between teens a misdemeanor. Too little, too late for Wilson, as the law does not apply retroactively. The legislature could change the law again, and there is presently a bipartisan bill that has been introduced to do just that.
    It's just insane that any society could be capable of creating laws that would be so patently unfair, but it happens. Nudists/naturists always have to be aware of local laws, such as the one recently passed in Ohio that makes it a felony for an adult to expose his or her genitals in the presence of a minor, even when the situation is non-sexual, such as at a nudist resort. Always be aware, because America prosecutes sex and is sometimes very unforgiving.
  • Religion is coming between health providers and their patients in France, so a charter is being considered to keep religious beliefs and traditions out of hospitals. People have no business going to any doctor or hospital if they have some sort of religious belief that prevents them from being naked. Anyone who has been present at a birth knows full well that modesty has to be thrown out the window.
    Male doctors, particularly in maternity wards, say they are increasingly subject to insults, even blows, most often by men opposed to nudity or physical contact with their wives and daughters. The conviction last week of Fouhad Ben Moussa highlighted the issue. He pulled Jean-François Oury, head of the maternity ward of Robert Debré Hospital in Paris, from a hospital room in September and slapped him after the doctor examined his wife, who had hemorrhaged after giving birth, according to court testimony. "In my religion, a man doesn't touch a woman," Ben Moussa screamed, according to the testimony. In court, Ben Moussa, expressing regret, said his real motivation had been modesty, not religion. He was sentenced to a six-month jail term that can be partly served at home.
  • Nudists/Naturists still have to basically live "in the closet" when it comes to their lifestyle - many keep it a secret for fear of losing a job or friends. In the meantime, the pornography industry has become so powerful that it is now affecting the direction of video technology.
    But ironically, the biggest boost for HD-DVD may have been at the Adult Entertainment Expo, the trade show for the $3.6 billion video pornography industry that opened in Las Vegas the day after CES closed. There, three producers (Wicked Pictures, Digital Playground and High Def Home Entertainment) announced their first slate of high-def porn titles - all in HD-DVD only.
  • Daniel Radcliffe has shed his Harry Potter image in a big way by starring on stage in "Equus".
    Daniel is required to strip for the role in Peter Schaffer's controversial play about a stable-hand who has an erotic fixation with horses. Producer David Pugh said: "There was no hesitancy about taking off his clothes. "He has a confidence in his own appearance. With the performances that I've witnessed, when that boy takes his shirt off, Harry Potter has flown out of Hogwarts for good."
  • Get your plane tickets now for Japan's Naked Festival on February 17.
    This Shinto tradition dates back to 767BC and is said to commemorate the end of plague. It is also believed that the Naked Man absorbs all evil and bad luck from the men who manage to touch him on his way to the Kounomiya Shrine.
  • New Zealand artist Ian Scott thinks that some people will be offended by his upcoming gallery show featuring nudes.
    "It's one of the great contradictions of life that everyone has sex but they can't stand looking at nudes – or some people can't," he said.
  • Cabaret is set to meet art school in Toronto. Have a drink and sketch a burlesque model.
  • Exposure to pornography is widespread among youth in the UK.
    Boys and girls see sexualised images of females at every turn. Issues such as body image, eating disorders, self-harm, depression, teen pregnancy and pressure to have sex trouble many girls, and the signs are that both sexes are struggling to make sense of what it means to be female.

The Daily Newds, Part Two

  • The days of wearing clothing for purposes of modesty are rapidly coming to a close. In the UK, there are plans to install x-ray cameras on lamp posts.
  • Drought-stricken Australians are planning a nude rain dance.
  • Kelly Osbourne stated recently that she would bare all for Playboy, yet she was thrown off a nude beach for refusing to take off her top.
  • Just when you begin to believe that the general population is beginning to take global warming seriously, some right wing nut writes this:
    I can only say that there is absolutely no credible evidence of significant human influence where global warming is concerned. The planet heats and cools cyclically, and nothing Man does, short of a nuclear holocaust, can change it. Those on the left who attempt to inflict their views upon us are perfectly willing to use whatever tactics are necessary to achieve their goals of worldwide communism and primitive living. The bogus Kyoto Accord is a perfect example of the junk science and harmful regulations being pushed by leftists in every walk of life - from grassroots organizations to the anti-American United Nations.
    Of course, he then takes on the World Naked Bike Ride:
    The adults who participated in this disgusting display should be arrested, tried, convicted and registered as sex offenders. Exposing one’s self to a child is a criminal offense, and these freaks should not be allowed such a flagrant violation of both the law and human decency.
  • Australians are conducting an online poll to determine support for public nude beaches.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • A church in Coral Springs, Florida, wants to teach the bare naked truth about sex. Another church is offering porn and pancakes in upper New York state.
  • A woman in Tehachapi, California, freaks out when she notices a man viewing semi-naked pictures of other men on a library computer in sight of her children.
    I've grown tired of "political correctness". The situation was very clear, a sexual deviate was in the library abusing the resources of Kern County...viewing homosexual material, and if I had done what I wanted to do to him for bringing his filth within sight of the children around him, I am certain I would have been arrested.
    I was not there, so I cannot really comment on the material the man was allegedly viewing, but if it was indeed adult in content the man was behaving irresponsibly. But this woman has to understand that it is her responsibility to educate her children, and to be always present when they are in public places as long as they are underage and need parental guidance. In the late 1950s when I was a kid I remember being taught never to talk to strangers, or accept money or candy. It's a no-brainer. By the way, the library has their Internet policy online and here is a snippet:
    Parents and legal guardians are responsible for their minor children's use of the Internet. Parents and guardians should supervise all Internet sessions of minors in their custody...The library cannot protect users from materials they may find offensive.
    Living in a free country means that we might sometimes encounter things that upset us, so it falls back to personal responsibility to ensure that we live the lives that we want to live, and let others live theirs, so we can all live together.
  • Liz Renay has died at the age of 80. Other than being mobster Mickey Cohen's girlfriend, she once streaked naked down Hollywood Boulevard, was arrested, and eventually acquitted.
  • There is an audio interview online with Cheri Alexander of Travelites. Good idea, but the interviewer is pretty inept, worth a listen to though for what Cheri has to say.
  • An African-American graduate student at the University of Binghampton posted a series of photos showing nude Caucasian women as a protest against the showing on campus of nude African women from the 40s and 50s. You would think that a college would encourage students to speak out and express themselves in creative ways, but instead UB has revoked the student's Internet privileges, including access to e-mail, and she is being accused of copyright infringement and misuse of the University network.
  • Arkansas mothers need your help in changing the law to protect breastfeeding mothers. Currently there is no legal protection for mothers nursing in public places.
  • A Reno strip club owner alleges that local detectives are harassing the dancers, even offering them money for sex and ogling them when they are nude.
    "They are spending tax dollars to go after entertainers' licenses and at the same time they don't make it easy for them to get the licenses. The SET team must think it's easier to go after Crystal the entertainer than crystal meth."
  • A town in Australia published a calendar with nude local men to raise money for a community health center.
    Though some people came down with a bad case of camera shyness, others just needed the right kind of persuasion. Bob the dairy farmer is 72 or 73, Colin reckons and he had his grandson with him when he was approached. The youngun was enthusiastic. "Come on pop, we’ll both do it, we'll both do it."
  • A Yonkers, New York, seventh-grade teacher has been reassigned after he invited students to draw pictures of male genitalia on the chalkboard during health class.
    ...the administration learned of the drawings at the Pearls Hawthorne school when a parent complained. At least one parent said he did not believe the material was inappropriate."This is biology, it's anatomy, it's human sexuality," said Jon Klibonoff, who has a child at the school but not in the class. "They're in puberty. They're aware of it on one level or another."
  • An Australian zoo is putting humans on display in cages in order to raise awareness of primate conservation.
    Dr. Carla Litchfield, who is conducting the experiment, has laid down firm rules for the new apes: no nudity, no rude behaviour and no jumping into the enclosure spa.
  • A New Zealand university student is in trouble for getting naked in Antarctica. They should be giving her a medal.

Fear of Nudity in Michigan

I came across these posts on a Michigan newspaper's online message board. The first is from a woman who is "disgusted" that women are nude in the hot tub at the local YMCA.
I recently became a member of the Monroe YMCA, on my last two visits I saw naked women in the hot tub in the women's locker room. I find this unsanitary and unsettling. Also, who else is going to use the hot tub with naked people splashing around in it?
It's a complete misconception that nudity is unsanitary. In fact, the opposite is true. If the hot tub itself is unsanitary, folliculitis is more likely to occur in areas that are covered by a bathing suit, such as the buttocks. In addition, wet bathing suits can cause yeast infections. As for the "unsettling" aspect of the nude people, this is a symptom of society's mass hysteria regarding nudity. There is no rationale to becoming upset at seeing naked people at the YMCA.

The second post is from a male with homophobia.
But seriously, there is nothing worse than the first time I walked into the men's locker room. Talk about a sausage factory! I was horrified!
This is proof positive that children should be exposed to social nudity at a very young age, whether it be a family outing at a nude beach or resort, natural and normal nudity in the home, or gang showers in schools or organizations. After the initial shock of seeing all those "sausages", the man adapted to the situation.
However, it did help me to get past some hangups, and it actually encouraged me to feel more comfortable about myself. Including the jokes I tell people about some of the awkward situations, it doesn't bother me anymore.
The world would be a better place if we would all get naked with each other once in a while.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

The Weekend Newds

  • Kelly Osbourne sad recently that she would go fully nude for Playboy magazine, but that they would have to airbrush her "tits". Hugh Hefner replied, "I can't see it happening somehow - we don't airbrush to that extent." Hef proves once again that the damage he has done for more than half a century to women's body image is still a work in progress.
  • In China, the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress will take up the subject of breastfeeding. Women are too shy to breastfeed in public and are demanding baby-care facilities so they can nurse in private.
    "I never breastfed my child in public places. It's much too revealing," she (Xiao Hong) said. Even when I breastfed at home, I would not do it until others left the room. I don't want others to see my naked body."
  • A UK nightclub has been given permission for nude dancing, and, as usual, the morality police are outraged. Councilor Peter Chiswell was furious.
    "I am both saddened and angry because of the impact this will have on the town. We can look forward to more drunks being ejected onto St Peter's Street and businesses being forced to leave the town. This sort of club can lead to increases in crimes such as rapes, sexual assaults and drug-dealing. We have £500 million-worth of investment coming into Bedford, but the town is in danger of being seen as the regional sleaze capital."
    It has been proven statistically time after time that nude dancing clubs do not lead to more crime when introduced into an area. Generally municipalities force such businesses into areas that are "seedy" to begin with. Opponents always make this false argument yet never provide the facts to support the claim.
  • Actress Mena Suvari has been photographed enjoying topfreedom on a beach (believed to be in Miami). As a rule I despise paparazzi invading some one's privacy, but I think it's relevant to nudism and naturism when a celebrity is comfortable enough for non-sexual social nudity. Maybe this is the "topfree decade".
  • The Ohio prosecutor who was caught walking around a government building in the nude after hours might be off the legal hook. A judge ruled that his right to a speedy trial had been violated and the charges could be dismissed on this technicality. Non-sexual nudity should not be a crime.
  • A mother has written a letter to the editor of an Indiana newspaper praises the benefits of censorship.
    Consider the following scenario as well: You turn on the TV and you begin watching a movie that seems to be family-friendly with your children. Suddenly there is an eruption of passion between two characters. Then, on your television screen you have two people having sex. By the time you find the remote, that 30-second sex scene has completely changed your child's life - they have just been subjected to sex, something they will be forced to cope with for the rest of their life. They will deal with it in magazines, movies, advertisements, television, everything they are subjected to is becoming more and more sex saturated. This is where I feel censorship is truly lacking, I feel that the majority of today's media portrays many subjects it shouldn't portray at all.
    It's called parental responsibility, look into it. The government should not be legislating morality. Anyone dumb enough to turn on HBO and watch "The Sopranos" with little kids in the room needs a psychiatrist, not a censor.
  • Bernhoff A. Dahl, M. D., is scheduling appearances at naturist gatherings to promote his book Optimize Your Life! The One-page Strategic Planner.
  • Topless tourists are upsetting the locals of a town in India.
    “With vices such as nudism and drugs entering into the coastal villages of Canacona, some citizens and elderly residents have already begun to move out from coastal localities, either by selling or renting out their old houses.”
  • Did you know that in Spain there are 700 nude beaches, and all beaches are topless?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • In order to prove a case against illegal brothels, investigators are getting naked for a massage with a "happy ending".
    One private investigator, who was not identified, told Southern Cross Radio receiving sexual services while investigating illegal brothels is “just another job”.
  • Former Navy Petty Officer and Playboy playmate Sherry Lynne White recommends that the military develop a policy that specifically provides nude modeling guidelines to service members.
  • A self-styled "cultural vigilante" takes on the erosion of decency in society, including outdoor advertising.
    The billboard’s language was the least of the problems. Intentionally suggestive, it displayed a bare-bellied woman, posing provocatively in her oh-so-snug jeans. I was incensed. This kind of advertising was an assault not only on my children’s innocence, but also on the standards of decency that our culture once upheld.
    Oh yes, the "good old days" argument. Perhaps she means when slavery was legal, or when women did not have the right to vote and their husbands could legally beat them, or maybe it's WWI, or Prohibition, or The Great Depression, or WWII, or Jim Crow, etc. With 45 million people without health insurance, 100 people dying every day in Iraq, and our First Amendment rights being slowly eroded day by day, this woman is worried about a bare midriff on a billboard. Sheesh.
  • In a recent interview, actress Eva Green recalls her very nude performance in "The Dreamers".
    "For my mother and sister and father to see me naked on screen was shocking." For them? "No! For me." But one might be forgiven for thinking she got over the shock: indeed, she expressed her outrage when cuts were made for the film's US release. She said: "It is quite paradoxical, because in America there is so much violence, both on the streets and on the screen. They think nothing of it. Yet I think they are frightened by sex."
  • The Vice Chairman of the Brunswick Town Council in Maine sent an e-mail containing photos of several topless women to associates under the subject line "This is National Women's Breast Awareness Day". Due to all the outrage, the man has stepped down as vice chairman, but has not relinquished his seat on the council. Question: Would anyone been outraged if he had sent out an e-mail of shirtless men? Also from Maine, sales of a previously successful nude fundraising calendar have dropped off but still making money. So, let's recap: Nudes for jokes bad, nudes for money good.

The Daily Newds

  • Nikole Fraser is tackling cancer breast-on. At Breastfest 2007, she will encourage women to paint their breasts and imprint them on a large canvas.
    "It's a liberating experience to be comfortable enough to paint your breasts and have (imprints) displayed ... not just because you're naked, but because you're making your mark against breast cancer," Fraser said.
  • Tekki Lomnicki (who stands 3' 5") is doing a solo performance called "Clothing Optional" (via Terra Cotta Inn) in Chicago on January 28.
    When Lomnicki finds herself at a clothing optional hot springs commune in Northern California, she takes the audience on a hilarious tour, undressing her fears about her body image in the process.
  • After a year, hours of testimony and a lot of taxpayer money, a New York art teacher will be returning to his job in February, (via Barebrush Art News) after a 15 day suspension without pay.
    School district officials sought to fire Panse, who has tenure, accusing him of bringing sex into his high school classroom and violating district policy by offering students a figures drawing class — which would include the use of nude models — off campus and for his profit.
    A judge ruled that Panse's actions did violate a no-solicitation policy, but that his talk of bringing in nude life models was not sexual inappropriateness.
    The district suspended Panse with pay from his $54,782-a-year job in December 2005. His attorney, Jonathan Lovett, called the entire case against His client "ludicrous". "Because of this, the district has denied students of his talents and his expertise," Lovett said yesterday.
  • A Massachusetts teacher contends that a photo of a naked comedian is "the root of pornography".
  • Two UK women have a booming business in teaching women to pole dance.
    The pair moved into teaching more unusual forms of dance, such as capoeira - brazilian street dance - burlesque, and cabaret-style chair dance just over a year ago, and found that there was a growing trend for woman wanting to learn the skills more usually associated with strippers.
  • An eight-grade teacher in Canada recognizes the harm that can come from mainstream pornography.
    And pornography on the Internet has moved on. What was once basically the explicit depiction of sexual acts has become tailored to as many persuasions and possibilities as an entrepreneur's imagination can create. Sixty years ago, mainstream society's children got their sexual illumination from bare breasts in National Geographic. Then Playboy gave us the same bare breasts plus bare bums. Next, Penthouse brought exquisite colour to pubic areas. When the Internet arrived, economics meant any propriety or restraints disappeared. There was money to be made.
    Nudism is the anti-pornography. It teaches that the naked human body is something to be respected, not exploited.
  • Spokane artist Ildikó Kalapács uses her Hungarian roots and the human body in her art. When her public murals show the nude figure, sometimes people are uncomfortable.
    "I came from a culture where nudity in the visual arts is not a big deal. I'm very comfortable with nudes in the arts. It is not necessarily sexual but it can suggest vulnerability and can explore the similarities we share physically, no matter which culture or continent we belong to. It is to me more about the respect of the human body than anything else. It's interesting to see how people who are more conservative react to the body."
  • A high school art teacher in Richmond, Virginia, was fired when a video of him painting with his buttocks showed up on YouTube. The ACLU has taken the First Amendment case.
  • Is it acceptable to use one's own children for art? The Guggenheim museum is opening a show on February 9 called "Family Pictures".
    Atlanta-born Tierney Gearon (b. 1963) shows photos of her small children nude on the beach, urinating in the snow, and seated on the toilet...photographs of a subject — no matter his or her age — cannot be published without legal consent, if the person has a "reasonable expectation of privacy" at the time the photograph was snapped. The entire span of childhood may be termed a time of "reasonable expectation of privacy..."
    Well, this is a debate that pops up whenever an artist displays nude photos of children. Critics immediately cry "child abuse" and label the pictures as pornography or exploitation. It's all false indignation, based upon rigid religious beliefs or the false impression that anyone who wants to see a nude child must be a pedophile. The fact is that the tradition of photographic nude children dates back to the invention of the camera. Children are natural nudists, they have no shame and will run around naked all day if allowed. And just about every family has the obligatory naked-baby-on-the-rug photo in the scrapbook. There will always be someone who will assume bad intent on the part of the artist, but the truth is that children are beautiful and should be included in the art world.
  • Take a tour of California's Lupin Lodge Naturist Resort via YouTube.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Running Bare

It never ceases to amaze me the lengths to which people will go to avoid and prevent nudity, even when it occurs in extremely isolated areas. Case in point: a man has been seen running nude in the Cupertino-Saratoga foothills of California.
He's cordial and polite, not threatening. He doesn't do anything obscene. He avoids confrontations. A white middle-aged man with a paunch, he isn't much to look at.
So one would think that liberal-minded Californians would leave the man alone to his naturist jogging, especially since there have been sightings for a year and a half. He has not physically bothered anyone, and has been seen mostly by horseback riders.
One rider says that she chased, cornered and confronted him, yelling that he should not expose himself to children, women and the elderly...He acted worried, she said, and backed away from her.
Let's be clear - jogging nude in that area is illegal. "No person shall expose any part of the pubic or anal region or genitalia while on District Lands in Public View.'' So I guess he could wear a thong to cover up the nasty bits. Or if he was a woman he could apparently jog topless. Would the equestrians run down and corner a topless woman?

I don't know, it just all seems so silly. The park rangers say that "efforts are underway" to track down and capture the naked man, who is apparently just out enjoying true freedom in the beauty of nature. It's really time to set aside public lands for nude recreation, where people can swim, hike, jog or sunbathe in the natural state of the human body. Just put up some signs to warn the gymnophobes, and hire an extra ranger or two. With Americans hung up as they are about nudity, chances are the designated areas would not be overrun with nudists - most people are terrified of their own bodies. In Ohio it's legal for woman to go topfree in public, but it's extremely rare to see someone exercising that right.

I say leave the man alone. He's not harming anyone and seems to be polite when encountered. Besides, he could become a local legend, with people bragging that they caught a glimpse of the naked runner one lazy afternoon when they were wandering along a wooded path.

But that's not reality. The truth is that a naked man is perceived to be disturbed, perverted, homosexual or a pedophile. And he apparently is just not good looking enough for overcome the stigma.
His skin is pale, turning red and sweaty with exertion. His hair is dark. So are the frames of his glasses. There isn't much body hair...`It's not a pretty sight.''

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • Five years ago an application was approved to convert a UK nursery into a "leisure" facility. Turns out that it's actually a resort for naturists, and when someone saw a "naked bloke being chased by a woman with a stick", a few eyebrows were raised. Although the locals are not happy that the proposed use of the facility was somewhat misrepresented, the license will not likely be challenged because "it is difficult to argue that the description of the site as a leisure park is incorrect."
  • The battle against unrealistic body image goes on. Artist Amanda Koster photographs normal nude human beings in an attempt to get beyond the skin and reveal the true person.
    I don’t see the nudity anymore. I see a person who has boldly gone where she has never been before. She is naked, with strangers, in front of my camera. Naked, nervous and free. The only other time a professional photographer may have taken her picture was at her wedding, or in high school in front of a lame backdrop. Calculated and predictable. Controlled.
  • The University of Vermont newspaper has an article on the recent Naked Bike Ride here.
    The participants of UVM's nude bike race were lacking little in the creativity department helmets, bikes and bodies alike were decorated in everything from banana-hammocks to war paint. Luckily, from what I saw, everyone had decided that wearing shoes would not violate the act of being completely naked.
  • Are you an Aries? If so, you have nudity in your future.
  • Lots of nudity related aspects to this year's Academy Award nominees. Helen Mirren is nominated for Best Actress, and although she is always fully covered as "The Queen" she has a history of not being shy in front of the camera, and is living proof that sixty is still sexy. Kate Winslet, also nominated for Best Actress, is nude in "Little Children". "Babel" is nominated for Best Picture, and its young actress Rinko Kikuchi is nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Kikuchi appears completely naked in the film, symbolic of her need to get attention and to shed the dark secret she holds within. It's a very brave performance. Peter O'Toole could finally win an Oscar for his performance in "Venus", where he plays an aging womanizer who falls for a girl fifty years his junior, and talks her into posing nude for a life-drawing class. And finally, "Borat" is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, but there should have been a special Oscar awarded for the nude wrestling scene that is gross, gratuitous, and excessive, but rolling-in-the-aisles hilarious.
  • Julie Atlas Muz takes her exhibitionism to the extreme, whether as a burlesque queen, a dancer, or a visual artist. One time she attended a museum show wearing only some glitter.
    "I literally didn't know what to wear," she says. "I just wanted to feel comfortable. I wanted to one-up everyone, feel on top of my game. When you exist in a subculture, you don't really realize how shocking you are. I've been hanging out in a nightclub with heels and a G-string for years. Why not a museum? It seemed perfectly normal to me." She marvels that naked ladies in public spaces can shock so much: "It's still pretty much as radical as it was in the 1400s."
  • The Collegiate Times has a good editorial on the unconstitutionality of censorship here.
    Censorship should not trump the first amendment as the law of the airwaves. Censoring swearing, nudity and violence won't make them go away. The vast majority of the population can do without the bleeps and blurs. The first amendment gives the gift of speech. To surrender that gift is a failure in the principles of freedom.
  • All the brouhaha over the Dakota Fanning rape scene is apparently much ado about nothing.
  • An Australian club allows women in with bare midriffs, but not men. "Certain things are acceptable and certain things aren't acceptable" said a spokesperson.
  • Your tax dollars at work. Officials in Escondido, California, are putting the hammer down on adult businesses such as nude dancing clubs. 1500 letters were sent out to local residents, but only one person came to speak against "seedy businesses", although "several" people called or wrote in support of stricter guidelines. The only problem with this scenario is that there are no adult businesses in Escondido, and no businesses have applied to locate there. "But we have to operate in the theater of the possible", said Commissioner Guy Winton.
  • The New Hampshire state legislature is strengthing the language of the breastfeeding law in order to make it more clear that the act is not indecent exposure, public nudity , a nuisance, or disorderly conduct.
    "Lots of people still get freaked out by it, and I don't know why," said Rep. Christopher Serlin, a Portsmouth Democrat who is the prime sponsor of the bill. "Nobody would ask a woman bottle-feeding to go do it in the bathroom."
  • Nude snowshoeing is an activity that never occured to me.
  • The Terra Cotta Inn received a glowing e-mail from a couple of first-time nudists, who asked that their names be withheld.
    Word of mouth in the nudist industry is still terrible. Where else do you find people who have one of the best vacations of their lives and are too terrified to tell anyone else about it?

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • PETA is staging a striptease version of the State of the Union Address. As if the Emperor was not already naked enough.
  • "Naked Boys Singing" has reached the 2500 show milestone.
  • Heidi Klum and Seal have naked family portraits on their walls.
  • Rick in Dayton, Ohio, seems to think that Air Force staff sergeant Michelle Manhart got what was coming to her for posing nude in Playboy.
    They (The Air Force) have a perceived public image to protect and they have to maintain order and discipline among the ranks...I am a bit surprised that with 12 years in, she would not have considered the possible consequences.
    Of course she considered the consequences, The question here is if she really did something "immoral" by having nude pictures taken for a magazine that is readily available at military PXs. It's obvious that she is deliberately bucking the system in order to make a statement about her personal rights as a woman.
  • Toronto does not currently protect a mother's right to breastfeed in public, and officials are considering a policy to allow breastfeeding "anytime, anywhere".

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • Venus in a burqa? The Louvre museum of Paris is lending its name and collection to a museum in Abu Dhabi, but no nudes.
  • The Indian government is ratcheting up its censorship activities to protect the public from evils such as bare breasts or Paris Hilton videos. Critics of the policy say that the country is becoming a "nanny state".
  • The Broadway show "Spring Awakening" brings teenage sexuality to the Great White Way. "Our culture in general has a real acceptance and even love of violence and a real fear of sexuality that is troubling, and that is one of the things 'Spring Awakening' addresses."
  • Will Homeland Security come out with a color-coded alert system to warn of potential nipple attacks? Police are cracking down on this year's Mardi Gras in San Luis Obispo.
    And public nudity will once again be outlawed for the same time period, as police hope to keep women from baring their breasts for Mardi Gras beads — a practice thought to help incite crowds. Flashers face a $100 fine. Public nudity is not against the law through the rest of the year, unless it is connected with a lewd or lascivious act.
  • Hugh Hefner has published The New Bedside Playboy: A Half Century of Amusement, Diversion & Entertainment in an effort to further convince the millions of sexually-frustrated boys who masturbated to the images in his magazine that is was really all about the sophistication and not the titties.
  • After baring all on screen for The Notorious Bettie Page, Gretchen Mol is in demand for more movie roles. When asked if the nudity was worth it, she replied, "Yeah. I believe in what Bettie believed in, like, "What’s the big deal?""
  • Full-frontal Homer? D'oh! The Simpsons movie might contain nudity.
    "I will say this — we have things in the movie that you can't do on TV," Groening says. "There may be some nudity. It may be people you want to see naked. It may be people you don't want to see naked. But you will see things that you've never seen before."
  • Looking for a nude fundraising calendar? Someone has taken a lot of time to list them all here.
  • Australia's nude sporting festival has been postponed due to wild weather.
  • Good naked, or bad naked? The Japanese Contemporary Dance Showcase hits New York with nudity.
  • The Naturist Action Committee has an advisory on Florida House Bill 269, which could be unfriendly to naturists. No action is recommended at this time.
  • For Valentine's Day, consider giving the "Let's Get Bear Naked" Teddy Bear.
  • Young Dakota Fanning plays a child rape victim in her upcoming film "Hounddog", and the radical right is trying to paint the actress as the real victim. Fanning appears partially nude in the movie, and when asked about the controversy, she said this:
    “There are so many children that this happens to, every second,” she added. “That’s the sad part. If anyone’s talking about anything, that’s what they should be talking about.”
  • How will Indiana University students celebrate a Colts victory in The Super Bowl? Why, by getting naked and running around campus, of course!

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Weekend Newds

  • Nudity is not only healthy and fun, it can save a life.
  • Great essay on nudity found on MySpace (via NakedNudism).
  • The attorney for a Wyoming streaker has asked the state for a list of children who might have witnessed his client running in the nude at a demolition derby. The state alleges that the naked man “committed an indecent or obscene act in the presence of a child.”
  • You can read the AANR Club Report for 1/19/07 at this link.
  • What factors contribute to teenagers posting nude photos of themselves on the Internet?
    In American society, Paris Hilton can become famous for making an amateur sex video, and pop star Britney Spears can grab top headlines for being photographed without underwear. So it is not surprising that some teens think that there's nothing wrong with sending nude photos of themselves over the Internet, psychologists said.
  • Catholic Leage president Bill Donohue is waging a war against a movie that has not yet even been screened. The film is "Hounddog", and it is reported that the 12 year-old actress Dakota Fanning plays a girl that is raped by an older boy, and she may or may not appear partially nude on screen.
    “It matters not a whit whether Fanning’s mother, along with Fanning’s teacher/child welfare worker, gave their consent. What matters is whether they are an accessory to a crime,” he said in a statement.
    Donohue is calling on the Departmant of Justice and First Lady Laura Bush to join his crusade. UPDATE: Apparently the film has been shown at Sundance, here is an in-depth article on the film, its director, and its young star.
  • "Jodie's Body" is opening in Philadelphia. actress Aviva Jane Carlin is naked onstage for one hour portraying the story of a South African woman who poses nude for an art student.
  • In Jacksonville, it's "Girls Gone Mild" as flashing females cover their nipples to comply with local ordinances.

The Incredible Shrinking Woman

No, not Lily Tomlin, but the "image" of woman as dictated by the fashion industry. The Washington Post has a must-read article (free registration required) on the sad situation, exposing the Council of Fashion Designers of America six-point plan for reform as being nothing but a corporate sham.
The last thing an industry as creative and adventurous as fashion needs is for heavy-handed bureaucrats or zealous activists to step in and try to dictate the size and shape of the models who walk the runways and appear in fashion magazines. But if models continue to look like cadavers, that may be inevitable.
The "plan" includes such absurd guidelines as "provide healthy snacks" and "no smoking or alcohol backstage". These are just band-aids on the primary problem, which is the industry's demand for emaciated models.
Runway samples for womenswear -- and menswear -- are substantially smaller than they once were. If a size 6 was once the standard, it is now more like a size 2 or even 0. For menswear, the standard was once about a 40 regular, but it has shifted to a 38. The silhouettes are even narrower in Europe. Any woman who has ever been to a trunk show and tried to slip into runway samples knows they can be the size of children's clothes.
All of this insane marketing of skeletal human bodies further erodes upon the concept of normal body image, and creates impossible expectations of what we should all be seeing when we look in the mirror.
The industry needs to think of models as women -- not as girls, mannequins, coat hangers or any of the other terms typically used to describe them. Think of them as women, and perhaps that's what they'll more often resemble.
Fat chance.

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The Human Canvas

On Sunday, January 21, in New York is sponsoring a live nude art exhibit called "The Human Canvas". Two artists will paint seven models to resemble forces of nature, and the models will parade along a runway between paint layers so everyone can see the progress of the work. Nude audience members will save $2 at the door. Naturist Rochester is a very active organization with 80 members and a full calendar schedule, and they should be supported for their efforts in bringing the human body out into the open.

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Teenage Girls Hate Their Bodies

Nudism is about many things, but body acceptance is chief among the philosophies. While nudists believe that taking care of the body is important for good health, and we all agree that an all-over tan looks great, it is equally important to accept the body for what it is. Even though we all know that teenagers today are struggling with body image, it's alarming to read an article like this that spells it out in cold, hard facts.
A 2004 Bliss magazine survey of 2,000 girls gives an indicative, if shocking, insight into young women’s relationship with their bodies today. According to the poll almost every teenage girl hates the way they look. While 19 percent of those questioned were overweight, an astonishing 67 percent thought they were overweight.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is when a person is abnormally preoccupied with an imagined or minor defect in appearance. When we are naked in a social setting, it is immediately evident that no body conforms to the ideal that has been set forth by advertising and media, and it becomes easier to be comfortable in one's own skin.
Worryingly young girls are increasingly looking to more extreme solutions to counter their poor body image - more than a quarter of 14 year olds surveyed said they had considered having plastic surgery. This bodes well for the future of the cosmetic surgery industry, already experiencing significant growth with almost 700,000 cosmetic operations performed in Britain in 2006, at a cost of £539 million. By 2009, market analyst Mintel expects this to top one million, at a cost of almost £1 billion. The British Association of Plastic Surgeons notes that women make up 92 percent of their customers, with breast augmentation, breast reduction, eyelid surgery and facelifts being the most popular operations.
Low self-esteem can lead to depression, eating disorders, and even suicide. The fact that we, as a society, have become isolated within our clothes, our cars and our homes, is damaging to our role on this planet as human animals. We are rapidly becoming anti-human, trying in vain to achieve a physical ideal that exists only in our mind's creation. Plastic lips, cheeks, breasts, buttocks and other parts separate us from our true selves. When the body cannot compete with the image in the brain, the link is broken, and so is the human being.
But the tyranny of unattainable beauty is not all powerful. There are small, hopeful examples of resistance. For example, television programmes like Say No to the Knife and How to Look Good Naked try to solve women’s negative perceptions of their bodies without resorting to cosmetic surgery. Elsewhere Madrid Fashion Week (followed by London and Edinburgh) recently banned models whose bodies fell below the Body Mass Index figure of 18 (a BMI of 18.5 or below is classed as underweight by the World Health Organisation).
The normal, naked human body must become part of the life experience, else we all fall victim to the false commercial images that bombard us each and every day. The human body is beautiful in and of itself, it does not need to be augmented, tucked, nipped and sucked for the sake of massaging self-esteem. True body acceptance cannot be achieved with surgery, it can only come from the inside out. If we can all just set aside the fear of nudity, then we will get back on the right path.

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