Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Weekend Newds

  • The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that towns that wish to ban nude dancing must first provide evidence of negative secondary effects. In other words, simply saying that adult entertainment is bad for property values or causes an increase in sex crimes is not enough, there must be proof.
  • Are more women breastfeeding their children until they are toddlers? Evidence seems to suggest it's true.
    "Nursing an older child is no longer uncommon, but women know people today tend to be judgmental and feel free to share their opinions," says Heather Bingham of Arlington, a La Leche leader for nine years. Gail Levy, an international board-certified lactation consultant with the Center for Early Relationship Support at Jewish Family and Children's Services, says she sees more women weaning after 12 months. "We call these women 'closet nursers,' " says Dr. Ruth Lawrence , a pediatrician who specializes in infant nutrition at the University of Rochester. Lawrence, who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics' section on breast-feeding, helped write the academy's 2005 position statement that reaffirms breast-feeding for at least a year and "beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child." The World Health Organization's recommendation, adopted in 1979, is for a minimum of two years.
  • New Hampshire high school students published a sex edition of their newspaper to deal with mature issues such as homosexuality, anal sex and masturbation, but it's the parents that are having the maturity problems.
    The newspaper is not reviewed in advance of publication by administrators. The school board has not discussed the controversy in a public meeting, but parent Paula Wood, of Seabrook, said she wants it on the agenda for the next one. Zito told her it would have to be discussed in a closed session because it might involve personnel issues, but Wood said she asked the superintendent to hold a public meeting. "I don't want to discuss personnel," Wood said. "I want to discuss the paper. "I thought it was a vile, disgusting piece of pornography I wouldn't want to be in front of children, let alone paid for by taxpayers."
  • A first grade student in Pennsylvania was suspended for one day because he showed classmates a cartoon image of Paris Hilton in her underwear. The responsibility lies with the school for letting children have free access to the Internet, give the kid a break.
  • The ICANN has voted down the proposal for creating an XXX domain for porn sites.
  • An erotic art exhibit in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, hopes to exploit and overcome the shock value.
    According to a press release, the juried art show promises to open a dialogue about the slippery differences between naked and nude, between tasteless and tasteful. Ultimately, the artwork flirts with the age-old definition of pornography."Perceptions of human sexuality and the figurative human form are constantly changing," said Casey Kasparek, another of the show's curators. "Every time you approach something, you're a different person than you were the last time you saw it."
  • Byron and Kay McAllister have launched a series of murder mystery novels set in a nudist camp.
    And yes, I was also curious about the word “nudist.” I’ve known these folks for over 20 years, visited in their home, interviewed them for a long-ago story about student exchanges to exotic lands. Was it possible that these very professorial people were nudists? In Montana? When I talked to them about the first book, they quickly erased those naughty images from my voyeuristic mind. They’d never been near a nudist camp, they said—they researched everything about “naturists” (as nudists prefer to be known) on the Internet.
  • Is erotic art becoming mainstream?

Friday, March 30, 2007

My Sweet Nude Lord

Oh my God.

A midtown Manhattan hotel has canceled an exhibition of a sculpture of Jesus that was scheduled to go on display during the Catholic Holy Week. The creative director of the gallery inside the hotel has resigned.

So what's the big deal? Did I mention that the sculpture was made entirely of chocolate? Is that was caused Cardinal Egan to call it "a sickening display'?

No, it couldn't be the chocolate factor, because just last August a California chocolatier discovered the image of a chocolate Virgin Mary under a vat which dripped the 2" column into the sacred shape. Employees placed rose petals and candles around the pile of drippings and prayed to it.

So we've ruled out chocolate as the offensive factor in the Jesus sculpture. Oh, did I mention that the Jesus sculpture did not have a loincloth and that his penis is anatomically correct? That must be the reason William Donahue of the Catholic League called it "one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever".

No, it couldn't be the penis factor, because once upon a time an employee of the U.S. Postal Service airbrushed the image of a baby Jesus to cover up the little saviour's penis, and that employee got in a lot of trouble and the USPS corrected the desecration and issued the stamp with the little penis intact.

So we've established the fact that Jesus has a penis and that it's OK to depict it in art. So what in Heaven's name prompted this response?
The hotel and the gallery were overrun Thursday with angry phone calls and e-mails about the exhibit. (Creative director Matt) Semler said the calls included death threats over the work of artist Cosimo Cavallaro, who was described as disappointed by the decision to cancel the display."In this situation, the hotel couldn't continue to be supportive because of a fear for their own safety," Semler said.

Death threats? For a chocolate Jesus? Maybe for a spinach Jesus, that I could understand. Yeech.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Turning a Corner on Breasts?

On some days I wonder if the United States will ever mature enough to accept topfree equality for women, but there are events taking place that indicate that perhaps we are beginning to turn a corner where female nipples might lose their criminal status in society.

Linda Meyer has spent more than a decade fighting for topfree equality and is proof that one person can indeed make a difference.

"Linda Meyer is the most successful top-free activist in North America in that she has won more court cases than any other activist," says Paul Rapaport, of the Top-free Equal Rights Association based in Ontario. Ten years ago, the most common complaint was that topless women were walking pornography, but today, people are more concerned with their own right not to have to see a top-free woman in public, he says. To that, he argues the right not to be offended is "not really a right at all."

The "right not to be offended" is a pet peeve of blogger EJP over at Gymnophiliac. My position is that society always finds ways to limit things that the majority of people find offensive, such as cigarette smoke, loud noise, public urination, and nudity, and it takes political activism and hard work to change public perceptions, one way or the other.

It's going to be a long time before Americans will be able to walk down the street completely nude, if ever, but men already have the right to take off their shirts just about anywhere, and there is no constitutionally sound reason for women not to have that same right. New York and Ohio are two states where topfreedom exists because of court cases that upheld the first amendment, but women are still reluctant to exercise their rights.

And why is this? It's all about body image - most women are unhappy with their breasts, but society as a whole cannot seem to get enough of female breasts. Susan Seligson examines the dilemma in her new book, "Stacked: A 32DDD Reports from the Front: "It's amazing how much of it is women's own obsession with their breasts," says Seligson. "They're not happy with their breasts, they want to change their breasts, their breasts are too big or too small."

And there is also the fact that most people in America think of a female breast as a sexual organ, which it is not, but is has become a sexual object, and many women are undergoing breast augmentation in an effort to boost self-esteem and enhance physical attractiveness. Seligson also writes about how the female breast became such a sexually powerful icon.

- Healthy appetites. Lactating females needed lots of food. Males who brought back meals were thanked with sex, which led to more babies who inherited mother's traits. Seligson is unconvinced.

- Breasts Butt. Zoologist Desmond Morris argues that early humans mated mostly from behind, and big chests remind males of buttocks. Seligson doesn't go for Morris' theory, and she's not the first to dispute it.

- Nursing. Anthropologist's Elaine Morgan posits that breasts evolved for nursing - and they've stayed big due to modern high-protein diets. This is where Seligson puts her money.

The female body has many, many erogenous zones - the mouth, the tongue, the nape of the neck, the small of the back, the backside of the knee, the soul of the foot, etc., basically anywhere there is skin. Through the centuries, humans have developed different perceptions on what is or what is not erotic on the female body depending upon social customs of the day. A glimpse of an ankle was once scandalous, and when Claudette Colbert lifted her skirt to catch the attention of a passing car in "It Happened One Night" she changed the mindset of a generation, as did Clark Gable when he took off his shirt in the same film.

I believe that Janet Jackson intended for her "wardrobe malfunction" to be a cultural milestone, which it did become, but not in the sense that she planned it. And don't tell me that it was not intentional, the exposure was well planned and executed, what was not anticipated was the false indignation of the conservative moralist right which flooded the FCC with complaints and succeeded in sparking a new era of over reactive censorship, rather than an era of topfreedom. Had Jackson been brave enough, she would have admitted that the exposure was intentional and meant to be a political act, but rather she took the cowardly road and hid behind the "malfunction" lie.

Nobody can accurately predict the future, but generally society reacts to conservative eras with cultural revolution. The Victorian era was followed shortly by the Roaring Twenties. The nuclear family of the fifties and early sixties was replaced by a sexual revolution and the swinging seventies. Today's Christianist attempts at legislating morality is largely a reaction to these sexual freedoms.

But is the conservative egg beginning to crack? Democrats are on the rise, not necessarily because of their political expertise, but rather as a public rejection of the moralists. We could be entering a new era of liberalism.

Nudism is one of the fastest growing segments of the tourist industry. People are realizing that society has been too restrictive, and the shedding of clothes is one of the best ways to throw off stress and equalize the classes. College students are hosting nude parties. Every day there seems to be a new story about someone showing up nude on the Internet, from teachers, to police, to American Idol contestants. Sooner or later these activities will cease to be shocking to people, and people will not lose their jobs simply for having a photo taken of themselves in the nude.

Which brings us back to breasts. We are living in a society where the female breast is ubiquitous, cleavage is abundant on television and in magazines, but it is the actual nipple that is standing in the way of true topfreedom. As Susan Seligson noted, it is likely that the female breast has developed to such a large size due to nursing. Society is slowly coming back to the realization that these fascinating orbs that have been exploited by Playboy for the past 50 years are really sources of food.

Do not underestimate the power of the lactivists who are changing laws all over the country. As with nude photos on the Internet, there seems to be a story every day about a woman who is hassled in a restaurant or a mall for breastfeeding a child, and each incident serves to re-educate the public over just exactly what a female breast is primarily designed for. Just today Kentucky passed breastfeeding legislation and similar moves are being made in Ohio.

In the world of celebrity, from which any cultural shift in attitude is likely to originate, more and more actors and actresses are coming out and saying that nudity is no big deal. Drew Barrymore has admitted to running nude through fields and proclaims herself as a nudist free spirit. Christina Aguilera says that she and her husband spend at least one day a week in the nude. I am waiting for the day when an actress is photographed topless on a beach, and instead of suing the photographer, she laughs it off.

Surveys have shown that most people are comfortable with designated areas on beaches for nude or topfree sunbathing. This is where progress can be made today. In Las Vegas, topfree sunbathing is a rapidly growing trend, and many top hotels have separate pools for this, so there must be quite a demand.

I've previously written about America's readiness for topfreedom, but I feel more strongly than ever that this can indeed come to pass. If it does, it will happen on America's beaches. Who will be the brave ones who pioneer the removal of bikini tops en masse? When women burned their bras in the sixties and feminism became a movement, the female breast was only partially liberated in America. It's time to show people that the female nipple is nothing to fear.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • Young American Bodies is a series of twenty-something soap opera-type short films by filmmaker Joe Swanberg. While the content is primarily sexual, the nudity is quite natural and uninhibited, a quality that is missing from today's Hollywood offerings. Hopefully someday soon a filmmaker will explore the world of nudism with a similar eye.
  • Did you know that Paul Charlton, the US attorney for Arizona, who was recently fired by Alberto Gonzales as part of the Attorneygate scandal, was recommended for dismissal because he lacked enthusiasm for prosecuting adult porn cases? Brent Ward, Gonzales' pick to run the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force, urged Charlton's removal.
    As Utah's US Attorney during the 1980s, Ward prosecuted phone sex operators, shut down Utah's last two porn theaters by nailing their owner on tax charges, and tried unsuccessfully to force nude art-class models to wear bikinis. When Gonzales tapped Ward as his top porn cop in 2006, the Christian right's confidence soared.
    Who are these people and what gives them the right to legislate their own personal visions of "morality"? Ward represents what has become our own American Taliban.
  • A Bay Area columnists writes about her naked locker room experiences in high school, and more recently when she cashed in her gift certificate for a spa experience. Unfortunately, her irrational fear of her own body completely overshadowed any pleasure she might have gotten from the massage and steam.
    I almost made it. By the time I was told that a massage involved changing in a locker room, it was too late to back out. I smiled gamely as the manager showed me how to work the lock, pointed out the whirlpool and the steam room, and handed me a thick terry cloth robe and slippers. This locker room had mirrored walls, which were not conducive to relieving stress. My classmates back at Lincoln Junior High would have died of embarrassment at the number of body parts brazenly exposed in this room. Also, there were toddlers running around — dozens of them. The place was a beehive of women running from tennis lesson to dance class to yoga session while juggling hairdryers, gym bags and babies. And me? I was struggling to get undressed underneath the robe...

The Good News: 46% of Women Like to be Naked

A recent survey conducted by a bathroom equipment company found that 46% of women regularly walk around the house in the nude. For men, the number is two thirds. The bad news is that one-third of all women surveyed have such serious body issues that they fear being naked with their partners. And 79% of women admit to being shy when in the locker room with other women.
Jill Parkinson, from, the company which commissioned the research, said: "It's shocking how self-conscious people are about being naked in front of their partners - especially when it comes to the bathroom. "This shows how seriously people think about their body image - yet being bare-skinned is such a natural thing."
Modern society has a long way to go in helping these women overcome their fear of their own bodies, but from my perspective this survey shows that more than half of all people are natural nudists, at least within their own homes.

If you have the opportunity, the next time you step out of the shower and dry off, don't put on clothes and spend as much time as possible in the nude. Try sleeping in the nude. When you get home from work, take off all your clothes and relax in front of the TV, or have dinner in the nude. This is how most nudists start out, just discovering the simple joy and freedom of nudity, and most who adopt this sensibility never go back to the textile world.

You don't have to go to a nudist resort to be a nudist - all it takes is removing your clothes and letting go a little.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • Twin sisters in their twenties snapped photos of each other in lingerie, and some topfree, and did so in the presence of a 5 year-old boy, who allegedly also took some of the photos. Naturally the employees at Walgreens called the police, and the pair will be charged with "exposing a child to harmful material". Were these women stupid? Absolutely. But did they really do "harm" to this child? Of course not. He's likely to be harmed much more by the violence that prime time TV offers up every night. But remember, female nipples are weapons of mass destruction in America.
  • A Minnesota nude beach is about to be extinct because the police plan to start arresting skinny dippers.
  • Bowling balls on an ironing board: here is a guide to selecting the "right" breast implants.
  • Dan Spears is teaching naturist yoga in New Jersey - the first lesson is free, so check it out if you live near Morristown.
  • The creator of "Girls Gone Wild" is planning a chain of topfree restaurants.
  • Marylee Shrider believes that the federal government should be playing nanny when it comes to protecting children from online pornography.
    So what makes the Internet so sacred, porn so accepted? Yes, it's the parents' job to protect and correct, but even the most vigilant parent can't be everywhere with their children. But that's not the point. Exposing children and
    young teens to the debauched free-for-all that is Internet porn is nothing if not criminal. How ironic it's the courts that don't get it.
    The courts do get it - it's called the first amendment and it trumps Marylee's wishes. Get some filtering software, or just don't allow your children unsupervised access to the Internet.
  • Both the New York Times and the New Haven Register have refused to run an ad for a play at Yale because the image of a woman's nude torso with an apple over her pubic area has been deemed to be "obscene".
    Drama School Dean James Bundy said the controversial image was developed in the summer of 2006 to promote the production, which will run from March 30 to April 21. The image was also used in conjunction with a subscription campaign last fall, and it continues to be displayed on the theater’s Web site and on posters outside the theater and the Drama School. Bundy said the ads were closely scrutinized before going into production. “Many people within the organization looked at the image,” he said. “We recognized that some people might be uncomfortable with it, but we also felt it captured something essential about the play and the production. ‘Lulu’ is a complicated, adult play, and the image communicates that quickly.”

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Monday, March 26, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • A Muslim student in Canada has been told not to take the drawing course that requires drawing nude models.
    Ms. Okruhlik (dean of Arts and Humanities) said the university allows students to do substitute life drawing projects in introductory courses because it is recognized that, if they don't get through the introductory course, they will be barred from going further. "But for advanced courses for drawing and painting, we decided we couldn't alter the curriculum for Muslim students or anybody else. It doesn't keep anybody out of visual arts. It will keep some people later on out of specific drawing and painting courses. In those courses, drawing from life models is absolutely critical. It's such an important part of the tradition to be able to represent the human body."
  • Sir Ian McKellen appeared completely nude in a preview performance of Shakespeare's "King Lear" in Stratford-upon-Avon.
    A member of the audience said: "He didn't have a stitch on him. Then he put his shirt back on, but his manhood was still on display. "It was completely unexpected. When we went into the play, there were signs warning us about loud noises, but there was no mention of full nudity."
  • There is genuine fascination by the media regarding the age-old practice of nude figure drawing in art schools. Most artists will admit that the human form is both the most challenging and the most rewarding subject that one is likely to come across for making visual interpretations. As a student, I took figure drawing for a couple of years, and never once was the experience anything other than professional and completely non-sexual, but people who have never taken life drawing classes somehow believe that it is something a bit scandalous or titillating. So why does someone take their clothes off for the purpose of being stared at for hours by dozens of students?
    Dave Hill, 46, began modeling while attending college at Washington University. A teacher asked him to pose for a drawing class. "It sounded like an easy job," he said. "When I got done filling out the paperwork she said, 'You're going to have to go ahead and get undressed.' I didn't know what I thought about that but I did it. It was fun." Hill, a Hayward resident, continues to model about two times a week for Bay Area art groups, and occasionally at Merced College. He got over his embarrassment quickly and now considers modeling a relaxing activity, as long as the poses aren't too difficult. "I think there are three views of male nude models," he said. "One is 'that's really cool.' Second, there are people who are uncomfortable seeing you as an object." Then there are people who wonder why anyone would do it. "If you like to be nude, it's a good job," Hill said.
  • Willow trees at Mazo Beach on the Wisconsin River have been removed in an effort to prevent unwanted public sexual behavior.
    Naturist Action Committee executive director Bob Morton says his group applauds the D-N-R's attempts to control sexual activity on the beach. He says that, if there is overt sexual activity in public, it jeopardizes the beach.
  • While most students that attended a night of Burlesque at San Francisco State University found the event to be a lot of fun, some students were not so enthusiastic.
    ”It was too much,“ said Laura Covarrubias, 19. “I don’t mind nudity when it’s in the movies because it’s on screen, but this was a live show, so it was right in
    front of me. I didn’t like it.” Her friend Stephany Sedlmayer, 18, described Bombshell Betty and Sweet Cheeks galloping on two green chairs to the William Tell Overture. “It was very scandalous because her nipple thingy came off,” Sedlmayer said. “Maybe I’m just too young to appreciate something like this. It was very provocative and promiscuous. I was exposed to a nipple today.”
  • A nudist cruise to Glacier Bay, Alaska? The London Times reports that naturist cruises are a booming business with many exotic destinations now available.
    Among the British nudist converts to cruises is John Stockdale, 51, from Liverpool, who was invited with his wife on a nude cruise by some friends. He has been a naturist for 25 years and said he loved the relaxed atmosphere of a nude cruise: “We thought it was fantastic. All kinds of people go — there are lots of retired teachers, doctors and professional people. “After a while you don’t realise that people aren’t wearing clothes because everyone looks the same. In fact it is people wearing clothes that attract more attention.”
  • A man who streaked a Wyoming fair has apologized to the public.
    “I was wrong to streak and regret it more than I know how to say. I would strongly discourage anyone who is considering carrying on this dumb tradition.”

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Weekend Newds

  • The First Amendment was the big winner when a federal judge struck down an Internet pornography law that was "ineffective, overly broad and at odds with free speech rights."
  • If you are in D.C. you might want to check out Erotica 2007 in Georgetown which winds up in about a week. There is a nude body painting contest this Sunday. (Hat tip to DCist)
  • Pornographers and religious groups both agree that the creation of an online XXX domain extension is a bad idea.
  • Oregon House Bill 3317 aims to prohibit any nudity on one's own property if there is any chance of being seen by anybody with "an expectation of privacy".
  • As expected, the FCC ruled that the Dove advertisements showing natural and nude older women cannot be run in the United States because of "implied nudity". So now not only is a woman's bare breast something to be feared, the mere suggestion of the bare breast is also something to be protected from.
  • Vancouver's Linda Meyer is continuing her fight for women's topfree equality even though the law is now on her side.
    But, after a run-in with the Vancouver Police Department last year, "my law is under attack," she says. "Now, I guess I have to go pool by pool again - whatever it takes."
  • Here's a link with photos of the 2007 UCLA Undie Run.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • A party in the Maldives thrown by a British businessman featured topless dancers, prompting an outcry from critics.
    "This party was completely over the top," said Maldivian Democratic Party spokesman Ahmed Moosa. "Maldives people are easily shocked and strong in their Muslim faith," he said. Critics argue that the Buddha was incongruous in Muslim country "Scantily clad women and excessive drinking are not culturally acceptable."
  • Spencer Tunick is planning his next nude photo shoot in Mexico City, to take place in an still undisclosed location on April 28-29.
  • Nudism promotes body acceptance and allows individuals to realize that the normal human body is not "perfect". The cosmetic surgery industry would rather people believe that an improvement in body image can only be achieved with a physical improvement in the body.
    “So much attention is directed to men’s sexuality issues; we have all seen countless commercials on drugs and therapy devoted to improving men’s sexuality. Unfortunately, very little is discussed regarding women’s sexuality issues,” (Cynthia) Figueroa-Haas said. “I strongly believe that my research shows that interventions such as cosmetic plastic surgery can address these sorts of issues for some women. For example, those women who may have breast changes due to nursing or from the inevitable natural aging process. These women may not feel as attractive, which could ultimately negatively impact their levels of self-esteem and sexuality.”

Yo! Adrain! Put Your Top Back On!

There's no nudity in the "Rocky" movies. Lots of blood and battering, heads hitting the canvas and even a death in the ring, but no sex. In "Cinderella Man", Russell Crowe and Rene Zellweger keep it clean - she worries at home with the kids while he goes out and knocks somebody's head off.

See, boxing is a clean, family sport. You can take the kids and the grannies, it's all good fun. But earlier this month at a USA Boxing event in Stockton, California, some of the ring girls appeared topless, and it's "Janet Jackson" all over again.
The scope of the guest list remains uncertain. The identity and number of the ring girls who went topless during the fifth and sixth bouts of a six-fight card remains unclear as well. One witness said he saw three women; another said "four or five."

Officer Pete Smith, a spokesman for the Stockton police department, described Chief Wayne Hose as "absolutely appalled this type of behavior took place," adding that the department's youth athletic league, one of the intended beneficiaries of the event, has returned a $3,000 donation.

"This obviously is an illegal event," said Armando Garcia, head of the California state athletic commission, adding, "Distasteful is not the right word."

Maybe it's me, maybe I'm the crazy one here, but can somebody please explain to me with a rational and cohesive argument exactly why a pretty girl with bare breasts is "distasteful" between rounds of boxing where half-naked men beat each other into unconsciousness.

I'm really at a loss for words on this one.

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The Daily Newds

  • Topfreedom for health! Researchers have found that exposure to the sun during puberty might help prevent breast cancer in later years.
    "We found strong evidence to support the hypothesis that vitamin D could help prevent breast cancer. However, our results suggest that exposure earlier in life, particularly during breast development, maybe most relevant," concluded the researchers in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.
  • Australian reality show host Jodhi Meares supports efforts to help models achieve a healthy body mass index.
    Meares credits her mother, who "did the vacuuming naked" and lectured her about nutrition during her teenage years, with her own healthy body image.
    "My family are fairly relaxed about their bodies," she says. "We didn't go to any nudist beaches or anything. It was all in the privacy of our home. But I did a lot of sport when I was young and I think that held me in very good stead. I look at some people and think, 'God, it must be bleedingly obvious what you should eat,' but it's just not."
  • Sarah Kaufman's "Nudes" exhibit uses the body strictly as a matter of form.
  • A man is outraged that his wife had nude boudoir photos taken as a gift for him because he considers her body to be his "territory" and did not want any photographer "staring" at his property.
  • Police in the UK have been ordered to crack down on naturists using a beach due to some complaints.
    Beach-goer Max Pratt, of Fraisthorpe United Naturists, who has been visiting the beach since he was a child, said he would immediately report any voyeurs to the police.However, he added: "It is perfectly legal to practise naturism on Fraisthorpe sands. For the police to try and clamp down on people who are not harassing, not threatening other people is unacceptable."
  • A Penn State student witnesses topfreedom on South Beach and has some words of advice.
    In South Beach my friends actually saw two topless girls jumping around and tossing an egg to each other. Not only was that borderline inappropriate, but I imagine it was pretty painful. Ladies, keep them on the ground. If you want to run around and have a bare-breasted egg toss, go to a nude beach. Period. Oh yeah, and don't forget sunscreen.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • An unscientific poll by an Alabama newspaper indicates that over 60% of their readers approve of public breastfeeding.
  • The Topfree Equal Rights Association has a couple of photos of topfreedom pioneer Linda Meyer with Vancouver police in 2006.
  • 40 members of the nudist Caliente Resort in Florida are suing because of alleged bait-and-switch tactics in a recent lot sale.
  • The London Times has a great article on women's breasts, primarily the large kind, both natural and un.
    Without an occasional trip to the female changing rooms of your local pool, you might forget what real boobs look like, even if you are a woman and own a mirror. As a rule of thumb, I now know that the bigger the real boobs are, the less they resemble the fake versions. Frankly, it was a shock when Susan pulled up her shirt. Here were a pair of breasts which didn’t look as if they were about to head-butt me.
  • A writer in Malta explains why laws against topless sunbathing are obsolete, and compares the criminal prosecution of topfree woman to the old American practice of hanging horse thieves.
  • Are these bare-chested calendar hunks really morticians?
  • A witness in a New Zealand courtroom bared her breasts for the purpose of providing evidence of how an alternative medicine provider fondled his patients while giving massages.
  • For the upcoming Dyke Ball at Wellesely College, "creative black tie" means to dress as scantily as possible.
  • A woman attended a "breast casting workshop" and found that she was a bit more exposed to her peers than expected.
    I was then instructed to take my shirt off, like these other women, and put vaseline all over my torso. I don't know what I was expecting -- little cubicles where no one would see me -- but taking off my shirt in a room full of about 10 women was not what I was thinking I would be doing. However, I did it, and after a couple minutes, I was more comfortable with myself.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • A New Jersey photography group aims to bring together amateurs to learn more about the art of the nude.
    "Once you're nude, it's over. You're done," said (Christine) Conforti, 43, president of the Ivanhoe Artists Mosaic, an artists' community organization in Paterson. "You don't even feel like you're nude."
  • An Australian policewoman took a cell phone photo of herself with her top unbuttoned as a get-well message to her boyfriend. The photo ended up being passed around through police e-mail, and the incident has sparked an ethics review. If the sexes had been reversed, this would not even have been an issue.
  • On one hand many librarians are upset that the word "scrotum" appeared in a children's book, but on the other hand some of them are upset that Sports Illustrated decided not to mail this year's swimsuit issue to 21,000 institutions.
    "I think it's classic self-censorship," said Anne Turner, director of the Santa Cruz County library system. "If they're ashamed of what they're publishing then they shouldn't publish it. It's not their job to decide what we have on our shelves."

Scarred for Life

I came across something today that brought back a specific memory. A writer examining a DVD containing a film of the 1938 Springfield Illinois State Fair is struck by one segment:
The most bizarre scene is the physical exams of naked toddlers that were part of the state fair, courtesy of the Illinois Department of Health. If you were one of those kids, you might be scarred for life.
I was a member of a Boys' Club when I was a kid, and I remember one day when a doctor came to examine all the boys in order to screen out any potential health problems. There must have been hundreds of us that gathered that day in the locker room, all stripping down completely naked and getting in a long line to see the doctor. I remember a metal spiral staircase packed with nude little boys, with just our membership cards hanging around our necks.

One by one we all coughed obediently as we were felt in the groin for hernias. I also remember a nurse on duty to help the physician. Not once did anything seem out of the ordinary, and I don't think that the group nudity "scarred me for life".

Apparently this efficient and innocent little scenario cannot be played out today. The American people are so afraid of pedophiles and homosexuals that they want to keep their kids covered up and protected all the time. The problem lies with the adults and not with the children - kids can handle a lot more than grown-ups give them credit for.

I grew up swimming nude at the YMCA and the Boys' Club, went skinny-dipping frequently, and took nude gang showers in high school. A couple of years ago my wife and I joined a YMCA to work off some winter fat, and I was surprised to see privacy shower stalls in the men's locker room. There was also a small common area with 4 shower heads. I had not been inside a YMCA in years, so when I finished my workout I stripped down and went to the group shower area. I was there for a minute when a man in his early twenties walked in to shower, and he was wearing his bathing suit. He stood next to me, soaping up and rinsing off quickly and then went back to his locker. I actually began to wonder if nudity was even allowed in the shower at the Y anymore. I was actually relieved when a naked man joined me a minute later.

I think that the man in the shower wearing a bathing suit is the one "scarred for life". We need to get our children back to being comfortable in their own skins. Bring back nude swimming at the Y, get them used to gang showers, and revive the idea of skinny-dipping at the old swimming hole.

EJP over at Gymnophiliac recently posted about marketing nudism to younger people.
My point here is simple: the primary reason that younger people don't participate in nudism has nothing to do with whether we're using pictures of old men or young buxom females. It's pure logistics. The opportunity to participate just isn't there: it's expensive, it's far away, it's inconvenient, and the value of doing it nude has to outweigh the fact that I'm not too interested in doing it in the first place.

Basically this is a lot of whining, and just plain wrongheaded. It's not the logistics, it's the state of society today, where just about anything related to nudity is seen as something sexual. The man in the shower wearing the bathing suit is the problem - he was afraid of his own nudity, and judging by his very brief rinsing, he was also afraid of mine.

Despite hopeful signs in society, such as nude college parties, this generation of kids is "scarred for life" by the right-wing moralists who have turned the nude human body into something to be feared. It's going to take at least another generation or two to bring back a healthier attitude, perhaps more.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Sunday Newds

  • Nobody was arrested when 75 people posed for nude photographs in a protest against the removal of a grove of trees on the Berkeley campus.
  • An Alabama restaurant is receiving a lot of public support after management asked a woman who was breastfeeding her child to cover up.
    Nurses Deb Singleton and Lisa Pugh said they both supported the managers' decision to ask McDowell to cover up. "This establishment has been in business for 40 to 50 years, and a lot of elderly people eat here. This is disrespectful to them," Singleton told the newspaper.
  • The Seattle Erotic Art Festival is now underway.
    The festival was founded in 2002 by The Foundation for Sex Positive Culture (previously known as the Sex Positive Community Center) to promote freedom of sexuality, speech and creativity through the erotic expression of fine art. It's a love labor for all concerned. All volunteer. Nobody's getting a dime.
  • A man in his seventies is tooling around nude on his mobility scooter in Scotland.
  • In a First Amendment victory, a federal judge has ruled as unconstitutional an ordinance prohibiting the handing out of handbills advertising sexual entertainment on the Las Vegas strip.
  • A UK Nudist swim club on the verge of closing has been rescued by a surge of interest in naturism, with attendance up to 45 from a low of only 18.
    He (Norman Calvert) said: “We were hit really hard by last year’s increase in hiring the pool. The 60 per cent increase made it very hard for us to cope.“We were also hit really hard by the child protection rules. It was a silly thing as anyone who’s visited the club knows it’s absolutely fine.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Weekend Newds

  • Breastfeeding mothers in Norway are finding that they are unwelcome in many cafes.
    "When women start nursing (called amming in Norwegian) we get a lot of reaction from our other guests," said Christian Eriksen, assistant manager at popular restaurant and bar Süd-Øst. "People are offended, some lose their appetite."
  • The good news is that actress Michelle Pfeiffer is often complimented on her natural small breasts, but the bad news is that she would consider cosmetic surgery if "I look in the mirror and I just can't stand it anymore."
  • A columnist in Edinburgh has some personal issues with nudity.
    It seems this rampant nakedness - and our eagerness (and confidence) to strip off - is on the increase. And while I firmly believe we should keep our bodies to ourselves, I'm willing to believe it's actually me who has the problem.
  • Artist Hazel Dooney subjected herself to being the subject of nude photos in order to more fully understand her own subjects.
    Maybe because my old work was so self-consciously bound by ideas of (and objections to) how women are represented in traditional figurative art, advertising and mass media, especially in its early conceptual stages, I recently allowed myself to be photographed nude for a series of collaborative, collage-like works. I saw it as an extension of a process of ruthless self-examination to which I’ve been subjecting myself. Being photographed by someone else (I’ve often made photographs of myself as studies for my own work) introduces some scary but energizing variables: I am, by nature, a perfectionist, a control freak, a relentless obsessive-compulsive, and yet here I have to agree to surrender to someone else's perception of my identity and somewhat ill-defined sexuality in what have been largely unfamiliar, discomforting contexts.
  • Actress Olivia Hussey portrays a "cow-whispering nudist" in the new film "Tortilla Heaven".
  • Alan "Magoo" Priddle is a pianist, house painter, artist-cum-signwriter, nudist and sailor.
    Alan loves nothing more than a bit of a nude sail with his paint, brushes and canvas plus a couple of snifters.
  • Surfers and nude sunbathers will soon have a safer access to Black's Beach when a steel stairway is installed over a dangerous pathway.
  • A high school girl who took nude photos of classmates in a locker room will not face criminal charges and will be allowed to return to school after a four-week expulsion. It seems that the school board made the right decision not to ruin this girl's life for doing something stupid, but the parents of the "victims" are outraged.
    "My daughter had male students come to her and say they had seen her picture," said one girl's upset father. "It is horrible for her. It is horrible. If you can imagine at the age of 15 trying to go to school not knowing how many people might have seen you naked in picture or on a camera. That is devastating. It is just absolutely devastating," added the mother of the other girl..."Our kids of course are horribly hurt and suffering."
  • Someone added black censor bars to nude sculptures in an Oslo park.
  • 18 eighth graders in Colorado will not face criminal charges for taking nude photos of each other with their cell phone. Again, authorities made the right decision.
  • A Louisiana State University poses for Playboy and finds it to be a pleasant experience.
    As for my exes and future boyfriends, I don't care what they think. Anyone who's going to judge me harshly because of a picture isn't someone I want in my life.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Horrors of Breastfeeding

There are some aspects of modern American society that continue to baffle me to the point where I just want to scream. Case in point the ongoing "war" between mothers and the protectors of public decency over a woman's right to breastfeed in public.

Never mind that study after study shows that a breastfed child is healthier and happier, not to mention the health benefits to the mother. Some people still just don't get it.

A Maryland attorney wrote an essay here about his opposition to mothers who breastfeed in public. Here is one unbelievable quote:
I once had a stranger seated next to me on an airplane ask me to help her breast-feed her child. When I recoiled in horror and asked the stewardess to move me to another seat both the woman with the child and the stewardess called me all kinds of names. Several passengers joined the fray on both sides. It was only after I threatened to sue everyone involved that the woman agreed to take her baby to the lavatory where she wouldn't bother anybody else. If airlines are going to allow this sort of thing, they should provide areas where it can be done in private without annoying other passengers.
Wow. At first I thought this had to be some sort of spoof, that nobody with a college education and a lick of sense could possibly have such an ignorant attitude, but the jerk is for real.

A woman who responded with an opinion column of her own also has some fallacious information. She said:
The "get over it" retorts from rabid breast-feeding advocates are wasteful frustration at changing a reality that is as old as nursing itself. They refuse to see that the problem is the breast, not the mother or child, that is the hurdle to get over. Its dual role as a sex organ and source of infant nourishment is too difficult for many -- men and woman -- to separate.
OK, but the breast is NOT a sex organ. It is fatty tissue that contains the mammary glands which produce milk for the sustenance of the young. If the breast of a woman is a sex organ, then breastfeeding would have to be considered a sexual act, which it is not. And the problem is not the breast itself - the problem is the people who look at a woman breastfeeding and see something sexual.

We are a breast obsessed culture. Hundreds of thousands of women have breast augmentation surgery every year and the numbers are growing fast. And with the re-introduction of silicone-based implants, there is no letup in sight.

A letter to the editor regarding the attorney's "horror" at breastfeeding adds fuel to the fire:
I am a mother who has raised two wonderful, healthy, successful children on the bottle from day one. I personally do not see breast-feeding as a beautiful thing. Maybe, just maybe, it would be better for you, your babies and me to find a quiet spot to let, as you would say, "nature take its course." My discomfort rate has nothing to do with my sex, age, education or narrow-mindedness. There's a time and place for everything, including breast- feeding, and I don't want to see it when traveling, in restaurants, or while walking through the mall.
If this is not "narrow-mindedness", I don't know what is. Whenever someone is asked to give a reason why breastfeeding in public is wrong, you will hear plenty of cliches, such as "there's a time and a place", "it's not decent", "it's immoral", etc., but you will never hear a real reason, a rational argument, or a valid point. The truth is that the proper time and place for breastfeeding a child is anytime and anywhere, and thankfully now many state laws agree.

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The Daily Newds

  • Dozens of Berkeley students are expected to pose nude in a grove of Oak trees that are scheduled to be removed to make way for an new athletic training center on campus.
  • A Queens public school employee who works with special need children is ruffling some feathers because he also posed nude for Playgirl magazine.
    Outside P.S. 99, some parents questioned the appropriateness of a school worker appearing naked anywhere. But others argued Fantechi's modeling shouldn't detract from his work with special need children. "He's not doing anything bad in there," one parent said. "The way they get paid, modeling job, extra money is extra money. As long as he doesn't touch our kids, I say he's ok in my book."
  • Nude students in masks are about to invade downtown Montreal.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Weekend Newds

  • A teacher in the UK has been cleared to return to work after parents complained that her topless photos on the Internet made her unfit to teach. The children, as usual, had the proper perspective on the issue:
    "Mrs Crolla is the best teacher ever. Why should this be an excuse to sack her? "We loved her and she was a great credit to our school. We really miss her and want her back."
  • The first gay nude luxury cruise is being booked for this May.
    “This is a cruise for people who like adventure and nature,” said Robert Sandla Jr., the president of Gay Naturists International, which began 23 years ago and now has more than 1,300 men who are members. “Our society is always judging people by their watch, car or job. This is about body acceptance and finding out who you really are. Many people find they get in touch with their spiritual side while on naturist vacations.”
  • A New York police officer will be charged with unbecoming conduct for an off-duty nude photo which was sent to the department by a television news agency, which received it from an unknown source. Since there are no allegations of wrongdoing against the officer, this should not even be an issue.
  • A Florida teacher is being threatened with dismissal if he does not give up his night job as an actor in the play "The Full Monty".
    "We kind of hold our teachers to a higher moral standard than, say, someone who works for Comcast may or even the newspaper, because we're dealing with our children every day," said Mike Riley, public information officer for the Charlotte County School District.Riley said the decision was made because of "information we received that he is nude in this play. In public schools, public nudity does not fit in, where they're coming around children."Riley said he was not aware if any school officials saw the show before making the decision. "When he reveals that he's nude in public to his supervisor, that's the word we're going on."
  • What happens when a country abandons religion, allows nude bathing, legalizes prostitution and gay marriage, and accepts drug possession for personal consumption? In the case of Spain, it means tremendous economic and social development.
  • Actress Salma Hayek went on a special hamburger diet in order to gain weight for an upcoming movie, in which she has a nude scene.
    She says, "Once I got naked with all that weight I said, 'You know what? It's OK.'"
  • Citizens for the World have launched the BARE Campaign, an anti-poverty fashion show where the models appear semi-naked to raise awareness and money to fight world hunger.
  • Computer software experts are coming to the aid of a Connecticut teacher who faces up to 40 years in prison for exposing her students to nude photos on the Internet. Julie Amero claims that she was a victim of unwanted pop-up ads on a computer with no security protection.
  • A Florida Town Council candidate has severed his ties with a web site promoting clothes-free Haulover Beach because an ad service he used added links to pornographic web sites.
    "I'm not a Web master of a pornographic Web site," said Phil Busey, who is running for the District 3 seat in western Davie. "I never was and never would be. The idea of porn is disgusting."
  • A Canadian naturists group has been barred from using a public pool for lack of "proper swimming attire".

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • A Maryland bill that would have outlawed depictions of nude people or animal testicles as vehicle ornaments never even made it to a vote.
  • Anybody who gets up in the morning and puts on clothes will want to read this article on lice.
    If people first became nudists 3.3 million years ago, when did they start to wear clothes? Surprisingly, lice once again furnish the answer. Though humans
    may long have worn loose garments like animal skin cloaks, the first tailored clothing would have been close-fitting enough to tempt the head louse to expand its territory. It evolved a new variety, the body louse, with claws adapted for clinging to fabric, not hairs.
  • If someone exclaims "Think about the children" whenever some form of nudity is on display, my advice is to simply ask them "Why?". Chances are you will get a one words answer: "Because!" The fact is that people who are gymnophobic have no reasonable explanation feeling that way, and cannot explain exactly how non-sexual nudity is harmful to children. Which brings us to the art exhibit at Cornell University, which features a sculpture of a nude woman. A man who took his children to the museum was upset enough to fire off a letter to the local newspaper.
    As my 5-year-old and I were making our way through the exhibits, my 12-year-old daughter spoke up and said “Don't go into the next room. You are not going to like it.” She was right. I ended up hurrying my son past an exhibit of a naked young woman mannequin sprawled out on the floor, complete with black pubic hair. I was stunned that such an exhibit would be present at an event that included children and families.
  • A columnist for the Daily News expresses her support for women who breastfeed in public.
    ...breast-feeding moms should be cut a break. People in our country are overly sensitive to public displays of decency or lack thereof. I question why a mother who is feeding her child counts as one of these moments. Yet, there continue to be incidents on the subway, and even in business establishments focused on children, where breast-feeding moms are made to feel vile. My question: Don't we want mothers to care for their children in the best possible way?
  • Authorities have ruled that an art installation made up of 100 sculptures of nude men can remain on a beach in northwest England, despite some objections to the nudity, and environmental concerns.
  • Colorado middle school students who shared nude photos of classmates could face jail time.
  • A Virginia candidate is running with his past as a Playgirl nude model, rather than running from it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Daily Newds

  • Sorry, computer problems today - double newds tomorrow! Meanwhile, here's a photo to make you wish for an early summer!