Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Daily Newds 9/26/07

  • Topfreedom Wins: An appellate court has thrown out Daytona Beach's attempt to overturn the acquittal of topfree revolutionary Liz Book. No written opinion was issued, and the move prevents Daytona Beach from taking the case to the Florida Supreme Court.
  • No Complaints: Police will not charge New Zealand TV personality Marc Ellis for streaking at a rugby match because nobody complained, and "most of the crowd of about 300 found the sprint amusing."
  • Pump it Up: A Massachusetts woman has been granted additional time to take a break during a medical exam so that she can pump breast milk.
  • Kid-Friendly: Two congressmen have introduced a bill to limit the content of in-flight movies to family-friendly fare.
    One of the parents who complained to Shuler was Katie Kelley, who said she was on a plane last February when an R-rated movie with "a lot of nudity" was shown. She said she was traveling without her children, ages 4 and 7, but was still bothered by the situation.
  • Sanitized: Dallas officials have removed several works by fine arts major Alex Trevino from an exhibit at a city library out of "concern for young library patrons".
    "Some of the pieces they took down, I don't understand," he said. "You can't see any genitalia or anything."
  • Money Shots: A Cleveland man has been ordered to pay a woman $200,000 for e-mailing nude photos of her to 100 of her co-workers.
  • Bod Squad: Best-selling Christian author Dannah Gresh is on her Secret Keeper Girl Bod Squad Tour to promote modesty among pre-teen girls.
    "So we did a little research and found most sexual values are basically taught between the ages of 8 and 10," Gresh said. "We thought wouldn't it make sense that you would also teach modesty to 8- to 10-year-old girls. So we developed Secret Keeper Girl, which is not only about modesty but also about beauty because the world kind of throws at them a false standard of beauty. Girls as young as 12 are really struggling with depression about their image and their bodies."
  • Blue Nun: A convent-turned-hotel has scrapped plans to use the image of a topless nun on its sign.
  • The Human Canvas: Instead of painting on canvas, artists at the annual U.S. Body Painting Festival are using naked bodies.
    Candice Aguirre modeled in last year's festival and returned this year.

    Aguirre said she liked the process of being transformed into a human work of art."

    It's fun," she said. "You don't feel like you're naked. Standing around in a thong and pasties can be intimidating, and the artist gets to touch you places not everyone gets to. But they're really good about placing us with artists we feel comfortable with, and I love getting painted."
  • Strike a Pose: Art classes at the University of Texas at Arlington are short on funds, so the life drawing models are wearing clothes.
    Studio Art senior Breanna McFarling said she wasn’t sure drawing a clothed model would provide the same level of experience with the human form as drawing a nude model.

    “If you stick a box under a cloth, and you can’t see the box, how can you understand how to draw the box?” McFarling said.
  • Kathmandon't: Mountaineering authorities in Nepal are seeking to put an end to displays of nudity on Mount Everest.
    "People taking their clothes off and so on -- these kind of things we are trying to stop," said Ang Tsering Sherpa.
  • Naked Munros: Stuart and Karla are attempting to climb all of Scotland's 284 Munros (mountains over 3000 ft.) completely nude.
    "I've never identified myself as a naturist as such, I just get my clothes off. In an ideal world no one would have any issues regarding nudity and there would be no such thing as naturism.

    "It would be a world where you could strip naked whenever and wherever you want without a second thought. And that's what I try to do. I just feel like doing it rather a lot..."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pinups for Vets

It's amazing that showing a little skin for a good cause is readily accepted in American society. Consider the case of pretty Gina Elise who has been called a "role model for this nation's youth" by stripping down to raise money for wounded Iraq War veterans. This is just one in a long line of fundraising calendars that have run rampant since the original Calendar Girls stripped down to raise money for charity. Oddly enough, I don't know of any nudist groups that have sponsored fundraising calendars, it's usually elderly women's garden clubs or funeral directors taking it off for a good cause. So remember: naked for charity - great; naked for money - super; naked for art - questionable; and naked for fun - taboo.

Tip of the hat to Wonkette.

Kiddie Porn?

Some would consider the above Reformation painting as being obscene because it shows a nude baby Jesus with genitalia. The thought process behind the Christian paintings of that era was to illustrate that Jesus, while being divine, was also a human male.

There is nothing wrong with depicting a nude child in art or photography as long as there is no sexual exploitation. Let me be perfectly clear - I abhor anyone who would sexually exploit a child, and I personally find it impossible to understand why anyone would have a mindset to do so.

But today society has become so over-protective of children that we are over-reacting to any nude imagery that includes children. The famous 1958 Coppertone ad with the dog pulling down the bathing suit of the little girl, who is also topless, probably could not be made today for fear of offending the morally righteous. Children have also been depicted in their nude innocence on album covers such as "Woodstock Two" and Nirvana's "Nevermind".

Now we read that police have seized a photograph by American artist Nan Goldin before it was to go on exhibit in a UK art gallery.
It is thought that one of the assistant directors at the centre called in the authorities last Thursday after a private view as he was concerned that the picture could be offensive.

The picture is now being examined by lawyers at the Crown Prosecution Service. Officials at the gallery confirmed that the police were involved but refused to say who had decided the picture should be removed.

Claire Byers, the communications director, said: "The police are involved in this incident and we are fully cooperating with their inquiries. That is all I can say on this at the moment."
The photograph is from the personal collection of Sir Elton John, who is a personal friend of the artist. Goldin's work is widely available on the Internet - here is one link with several of her images, including one controversial shot which features a nude child.

State sponsored censorship, such as this seizure in the UK, is a dangerous precedent. Put up a disclaimer if you must and let the public judge for themselves, but when a government steps in to define what is obscene and what is acceptable, it stifles creativity and prevents the artist from working instinctively.

Children are natural nudists. Given the chance to run around naked, they do so willingly and innocently. Painting a picture of innocence, or taking a photograph, should not be considered child exploitation when it is actually a celebration of childhood.

The problem is that law enforcement tends to view all nude images of children through the eyes of a pedophile, and lives are being ruined because of the over-zealousness of photo technicians and prosecutors. The seriousness of this type of "witch hunt" can be found in the story of the 65 year-old woman who was busted for taking nude photos of her grandchildren.

Not only is this an erosion of our basic civil rights, it sets a precedent that makes all nude imagery of children criminally suspect. Perhaps the intention is good, just about everyone agrees that child pornography is a true evil, but the end result of this sort of oppression is to actually heighten the sexualization of children, and wipe away innocence forever.

The "thought police" are like a runaway train. The easiest thing is to play it safe and just get out of the way. It takes the courage of an artist like Nan Goldin, or Robert Mapplethorpe, to stand on the tracks and take the hit, much like the brave Chinese student who stood up to a tank in Tiananmen Square, demanding democracy and broader freedoms.

It's not the body that's obscene. True obscenity lies in the minds of those who would inflict shame upon pure innocence.

To Shave or Not to Shave

Society imposes to many unrealistic body images on women (and men) that it becomes increasingly difficult for anyone to look in the mirror and be happy with what they see. One of the oddest cultural "norms" is for women to shave off underarm and leg hair, while men get the "privilege" to let their freak flags fly. And with the pornification of society, off comes the pubic hair, too. Metrosexual males are also part of the smoothie culture.

So what happens if a woman decides that she is tired of the razors and cream? One woman in the UK decided to let her pits go au naturel.
I moved to Paris a month or so later and decided to stop shaving my armpits. This was harder - I thought they were gross, I couldn’t look in the mirror. But I chucked my razor away and persevered, wearing sleeveless tops on nights out and forcing myself to dance with my arms in the air. I got some funny looks, which amused me more than anything else, and eventually I grew to love my hairy armpits. I grew to love myself, to accept my grown woman’s body and, more than anything, to love the freedom I discovered when I no longer had to waste time and money preparing my supposedly unacceptable body for the outside world.

I’m never going back.
In the 1970s I dated a woman who did not shave, and while I remember this about her, this never stood in the way of how I felt about her as a person. In my mind, her decision to be natural only made me respect her more as an individual. But that was then and this is now, and societal images of women have grown more extreme and demanding. More women (and men) need to reject these stereotypes and get back to more or a reality-based vision of our bodies, our selves.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Feed Me

This shocking photo of an anorexic woman by controversial Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani appeared in Italian newspapers and on billboards to coincide with fashion week in Milan, to highlight the problems in the fashion industry with size zero models and the dangerous body image that they portray.
Toscani's aim was "to use that naked body to show everyone the reality of this illness, caused in most cases by the stereotypes imposed by the world of fashion".
The good news is that models in Milan this year must carry medical certificates, and the opening show featured more shapely women.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Weekend Newds 9/22/07

  • Isn't It Ironic: The PETA ad featuring a nude Alicia Silverstone has been banned in Houston, while at the same time ex-porn star Jenna Jameson was given a V.I.P. tour of Washington D.C., including a visit to Walter Reed Army Hospital to visit wounded soldiers.
  • The Naked Portrait: A UK art gallery is featuring an exhibition of 15 nudes by many artists including Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Pierre Bonnard, Helen Chadwick, Tracey Emin, Lucian Freud, Gilbert & George, Robert Mapplethorpe, Alice Neel, Eduardo Paolozzi, Marc Quinn, Auguste Rodin, Jo Spence, Wolfgang Tillmans, Alfred Stieglitz and Sam Taylor-Wood.
    ...naked portraiture engages with the specific identity of an individual sitter and subverts portraiture’s usual concern with the social façade, and the way status and self-image are communicated by what people wear.
  • The Sword is Mightier than the Pen: In India, a dealer has been arrested for selling "obscene material".
    “They are called projector lighters and projector pens. One can use them as lighters and pens. But at the bottom of the lighter there is a lens which projects the image of a nude woman on a wall or paper when its button is pressed,” said police commissioner D N Jadhav.
  • Down Under(wear): Two Australian female college students apologized in court for streaking during a soccer match.
    "We kept our underwear on and we were considering the kids and people around so we didn't go totally nude."
  • Exposing Horrors: Guatemala's Regina José Galindo uses her naked body to protest the systematic violence towards women in her country.
    Galindo has over time shown herself naked while being pummelled by a high-pressure hose, drawn blood by biting her nails, and whipped herself the same number of times – well into the hundreds – as women have been murdered in her country.
  • Sweden Topfreedom: Two young women who were banned from swimming topfree in an Uppsala pool have taken their case to the Equal Opportunity Ombudsman.
    ...they saw no reason for men an women to be treated differently. If anything, a bikini top could be accused of drawing unnecessary attention to a woman's breasts. "It's a question of equality. I think it's a problem that women are sexualized in this way. If women are forced to wear a top, shouldn't men also have to?"
  • So Long to Sandals: Wisconsin Dells School District Administrator Chuck Whitsell is cracking down on t-shirts and sandals for teachers and support staff.
    He described how he first thought one of the district's bus drivers was topless until he took a closer look and realized she was wearing a tank top. It was the type of dress the district is trying to avoid in the classrooms, he said.
  • Library Larceny: A woman in Maine was so upset by depictions of normal human sexuality in an acclaimed sex education book published 14 years ago, that she decided not to return the books to the library.
    "Since I have been sufficiently horrified of the illustrations and the sexually graphic, amoral abnormal contents, I will not be returning the books," JoAn Karkos wrote the Lewiston and Auburn public libraries last month.
  • Nudists Nabbed: Police in Provincetown are coming under criticism for using sneaky tactics to fine people for nude sunbathing.
    "It was crossing the line as far as I am concerned," said Susie Maguire, a summer visitor. Maguire said she and a friend were walking up South Pamet Road in Truro on July 27, fully dressed, when a young park ranger drove up in his truck. “He got out, walked down to us and as he was walking said, ‘You two just hold it right there. I’m giving you a ticket for public nudity.’”
  • Indecent Exposure: A professor explores the complexities of English law.
  • Not a Polish Joke: A women's political party in Poland has launched their campaign with a nude poster of themselves.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Daily Newds 9/19/07

  • Grandpa Andy: Victoria Wyeth likes to tell stories about her family, including her grandfather Andrew.
    It seems there's always another one he's coaxing to take off her blouse. "All jokes aside, one reason he likes to do nudes so much, they're timeless," says the only grandchild of Andrew Wyeth, before offering a personal testimonial to how harmless that posing is.

    "Well, I posed nude for him," 28-year-old Victoria says, "and I didn't have sex with him."
  • Amazing Colossal Woman: The traveling museum "Jugs Across America" seeks to raise awareness of breast cancer. The exhibit includes an inflatable pair of 60 foot breasts.
  • Nudeniks: A Florida columnist reflects upon the people in society who are willing to bare all for a cause, or just for fun. personal preferences should not be construed as criticism of those who feel otherwise, such as habitues of nudist colonies, genuinely libertine spirits, locker room occupants and those who simply don't care a rat's ass about how bad they look to others.
  • Rubber Ducky: A breast cancer survivor has posed nude for a charity, wearing only some body paint and holding a rubber duck in her hand.
  • Perfect 10: Rating body parts is a new trend in teenage girl magazine websites.
    Urging teenage girls to rate parts of their bodies was inviting an unhealthy body image, said Ms Bawdon. "Should a teen magazine really be encouraging young girls to think in terms of 'hating' their still developing bodies? It's hard to see what possible purpose such a survey can serve, other than scoping the teen market for potential plastic surgery customers."
  • Packaged: The International Male catalog objectifies men the way that Victoria's Secret objectifies women.
    “It’s funny in the same way a blow-up doll is funny,” said Simon Doonan, the creative director at Barneys New York. “Objectified men are always hilarious, because it’s so outside the norm of society.” He also points out that International Male serves a valuable function in the hierarchy of men’s fashion.
    “All the things that are supergroovy and acceptable, like Hedi Slimane and Prada and Balenciaga, can’t really exist without things like International Male as a point of reference.”
  • Stiles Style: Julia Stiles is not a prude, but she refuses to strip on screen.
    "I've worked with foreign directors who think that it's an 'American thing' [her reluctance to do nudity] and they don't understand why it would be such a serious issue for me. But it's not my own hang-up; it's the hang-up of the audience."
  • Yo Majesty: The lead vocalist of the Florida hip hop group went shirtless at an Oregon show.
    Let's put the pseudo-intellectual, wannabe-neo-feminist pontificating aside, though, because it's doubtful Jwl. B took off her shirt to strike a blow for women's reclamation of their sexuality from the oppression of the male. At a guess, maybe she just likes taking off her shirt.

    Maybe she's just unusual in that way, and maybe it isn't such a big deal.
  • The "F" Word: A columnist wonders if the recent rash of laws attempting to criminalize "droopy drawers" pants are against our basic American principles.
    I don’t throw the “f” word around much, but this pretty much sounds like fascism to me. I, personally, think people walking around with their asses hanging out while they have to use one hand to hold up a pair of pants that’s belted around their thigh look pretty stupid. But I don’t think it’s appropriate to use the force of law to ban the harmless practice.
  • Ugly Betty: Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle thinks naked bodies are ugly.
    Nadine told a magazine, I would never get my kit off for any magazine. It’s so degrading. The naked body is not beautiful, male or female. The suggestion of naked is nice, but not nude. I’d never do it for any price.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Naked Britney = Bad Mother?

Maybe Britney Spears doesn't use child safety seats in her cars and feeds her kids sugary drinks to rot their teeth, and just maybe she could temporarily lose custody of her children for bad behavior and exercising poor judgement. Most of the media seem to celebrating the singer's downfall, when in reality this is a human tragedy that deserves a little more restraint and understanding rather than blanket condemnation.

Now comes the "shocking" revelation that Britney might have appeared naked in front of her very young children. This sensational "charge" against her comes from an ex-bodyguard who apparently has an axe to grind, "hinting that she routinely struts in the buff in front of sons Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1".

Thankfully, at least one person came to Britney's side on this issue. On "The View", Sherri Shepherd admitted to being nude in front of her own children and did not see anything wrong with that.
She says her son will say "Mommy! Booby!" Asked how old her son would have to be for her to stop, Shepherd said "probably 8? Is that too old?" She was assured that, yes, that would be too old for her son to see her naked.Whoopi Goldberg suggested the cutoff age should be "when he starts bringing friends over" to see her.
We have gotten so prudish in America that even a mother cannot be nude around her own babies. Does this mean that if a mother is alone at home with a baby that she must be discreet and "cover up" while breastfeeding? It won't be long before even infant nudity will be taboo.

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Alicia Silverstone Gets Naked for PETA

Alicia Silverstone has made a video for The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, declaring herself a vegan while she emerges naked and radiant from a swimming pool. The message is that vegetarianism has made her body healthier and stronger.

In 2004 Silverstone was asked by Britain's "Radio Times" magazine if it was true that she enjoyed naked gardening, and she replied, "Yes, that is something that I enjoy doing. I don't know how you know about that but it's ... not untrue. It's just that if it's really hot and you're in LA, and you happen to be doing some gardening -- your clothes come off. I also like to swim naked and trampoline naked and do all those kind of things."

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Sunday Newds 9/16/07

  • Sweet Home Alabama: An art exhibition of works by women opened in Dothan's Wiregrass Museum of Art with a champagne reception including readings from "The Vagina Monologues".
    After the readings, (Art Executive Director Susan) Robertson told the museum’s female guests to be advocates for the museum. She said the Conversations in Color exhibit marks a new day for the Wiregrass Museum of Art.

    She drew their attention to a piece of art called “Man with a Stick,” which hangs in the museum’s lower gallery. The unclothed subject is seen from the waist up and is experiencing what Robertson called a “spiritual ecstasy.” But a companion piece of a woman cannot be displayed due to the subject’s nudity.

    “Sometimes it’s not about what you see; it’s not about what you know,” Robertson said. “It’s about what you don’t know.”
  • Holy Toledo: A woman who was told by a mall employee that breastfeeding was not allowed has hired a lawyer, and a local Ohio radio station is sponsoring a nurse-in to show support.
  • Running of the Nudes: A record 135 people, including a 6 year-old girl, participated in the annual Sopelana nude race on a Spanish beach. (Photo here)
  • Naked Truth: A Georgia columnist wonders why nudity is such a big deal in the media.
    I love to see America all out of sorts over nudity. We're perhaps the most sexually repressed non-Muslim society in the world. Individually, 90 percent of us can handle nakedness without flipping out, but American society (that one-hundredth of a percentage point that won't shut up about anything) is easily offended.
  • Best Foot Forward: Your bare feet reflect your personality as well as your emotional health, according to UK celebrity foot reader Jane Sheehan.
    Britney Spears: “She has tattoos on her feet and these are drawing attention to something, in this case thoughts about her relationships and the impact of her working life.

    One is the Chinese symbol for freedom, which indicates she wants a relationship which still allows her the freedom to work.

    She is very independent as she has a lifted big toe, and her toes go up in a line which means she is extremely methodical and hates being interrupted in the middle of anything.”
  • A Town Renude: The Brattleboro anti-nudity ordinance expires today.
  • Please Don't Squeeze the Chairman: Two men stripped down in the Garden of Health and Harmony at Beijing's Summer Palace and were almost immediately taken away by security.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bill Maher and Breastfeeding

On the 9/14 edition of HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher", the host went through his show-ending laundry list of rants entitled "New Rules", with the final subject dealing with women breastfeeding in public. Typical of many American males, Maher took the sophomoric approach, making fun of "lactivists" and stating that there was already a place for breasts and eating called "Hooters".

His rant stemmed from the recent incident where a woman breastfeeding her baby was asked to cover up at an Applebee's Restaurant. Maher took the restaurant's side, using the old, tired argument that just because it's natural does not make something fit for public viewing. He stated that masturbation was natural but he would not do that in front of a lot of people.

Breastfeeding is not masturbation, it is not even something sexual. It's eating, something we all do in public, something we do to celebrate special occasions, something we do to stay healthy and alive, something we do to socialize with friends. Comparing breastfeeding to masturbating in public is not only offensive, it's plain ignorant.

There was a time not too long ago, in the 1950s, when women who were pregnant were not socially acceptable in public. You could not even say the word "pregnant" on television. Lucy and Desi had separate beds so Little Ricky must have been a product of immaculate conception.

We were wrongheaded in thinking that this charade was somehow more civilized. Infant formulas and bottle-feeding were promoted as being more convenient and more nutritious, and certainly a lot more profitable for the companies that made these products. Little by little American society separated mothers from their infant children by putting up barriers to breastfeeding. Not only was there a loss of physical bonding, it turns out that breast milk is the perfect food for a baby, and it was being denied to millions of children.

So, Bill, while you seem to think that it's perfectly OK now to have a woman running for President of the United States, you still believe deep down that women are second-class citizens, that the female breast is nothing more than a sexual plaything for men, and that when it's used for the motherly act of feeding a child, it must be covered up or sent to a bathroom.

Thirty-nine states now have laws protecting a mother's right to breastfeed in public. Bill, get with the program, your sexism is showing on this issue. Women should not have to feed their children in shame just because you think that tits only belong in Playboy.

Yes, I get the ultimate point that you were trying to make, that people do tend to latch onto "narcissistic" social causes and ignore the greater issues at hand, such as the War in Iraq, or our dwindling Constitutional rights. But you forget that it is the grass-roots causes that give us inner strength. Certainly the same "narcissistic" charge was leveled at Rosa Parks when she refused to go to the back of the bus. Imagine the selfishness of that woman, Bill, she wanted to be treated as an equal.

Breastfeeding has always been a necessary component of raising any child throughout history. While alternative methods of feeding were sometimes required when breastfeeding failed, such as employing a wet nurse, it was not until the last century that bottle feeding became practical and affordable. Today, we have the benefit of modern science which clearly shows us that the breast is best, so the only thing that is standing in the way of widespread acceptance of public breastfeeding is our own immature attitudes.

And that means you, Bill.

UPDATE: Suburban Oblivion has a good take on Maher's rant, as well as a link to the YouTube video.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nudism in the Modern World

"It's sad, but true... nudists are no longer loved by all. Apparently, in recent decades, the ranks of the clothes-free class have shrunk to record low numbers. Is this another sad example of a superficial society afraid of seeing saggy skin and expansive (pantless) waistlines? Or is nudity just a modern day inconvenience? This Just In's Hyla Matthews investigates... "

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The Daily Newds 9/13/07

  • No Haven: According to the Connecticut police, if you're nude, you're lewd.
  • Fight for the Right: A former Bowling Green woman is appealing her disorderly conduct conviction for being topfree in a park back in 2005. She plans on taking her First Amendment case to the Ohio Supreme Court if necessary.
  • Be on the Lookout: Police are seeking a man in Newton, Massachusetts, for appearing nude in public wearing only a gas mask.
  • Greybar Hotel: A man who streaked a football game in Utah has been sentenced to 60 days in jail after pleading guilty to lewdness and possession of drug paraphernalia.
  • Fly the Unfriendly Skies: Showing a little cleavage? You just might be treated like a terrorist.
  • The Gayest Show on Earth: Ringling Brothers never imagined that their glittering costumes, animal bondage, and ripped male trapeze artists would lead to homoeroticism and nudity in modern circus entertainment.
  • This is What Happens When People Elect a Politician That They Would Like to Have a Beer With: The mayor of Albion, New York, is in hot water for having nude photos on the Internet, as well as a recent DWI conviction.
  • Going Upscale: According to a Sea Mountain Inn press release, the nude resort draws a "celebrity accented crowd" and is ranked by AOL as "one of the top ten nude experiences in the world".
  • Nudes 07: The Australian Gallery Show has been running for two years now and is "everyone’s favourite subject".
  • The Adventures of Mary-Kate: The Olson twin is apparently a home nudist.
    "I run around my house naked with heels all the time. It's so funny.

    "All my friends will tell you I love running around in kimonos and jewellery or naked with jewellery."
  • Foot Phobia: A Tufts student is grossed out by all the naked feet on campus.
    Do people like the thought of licking other's people feet? (Let's leave kinky cases out of this.) How about the thought of smelling other people's feet? No, no, no! In our society, feet are known to be dirty, smelly and unpleasant; I mean come on, I don't even want to be close to my own feet.

Radio report on naturism at the Cap D'Agde

Worth checking out...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Modern Vitruvian Man

Celebrating Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, Mayoral Candidate George Davis bares all to God and country outside the entrance to the Mayor's Office (room 200), at San Francisco City Hall following the first 2007 mayoral debate last month. Davis, a Buddhist nudist, is running on a single-issue platform to designate areas of Golden Gate Park 'clothing optional.' More here and here.

UPDATE: George has a blog detailing his campaign here.

Britney Speared

At age 53, I am not a Britney Spears fan, but you can put me in the category of people who actually feel sorry for the torrent of negativity that has burst forth over the past few days about her comeback performance on the VMA Awards.

Sure, she sucked. This is obviously a young woman in distress, her career and personal life in shambles, all played out in the press which allows millions of people to all dump on her at once.

But the thing that really pisses me off is all the comments about how fat and out of shape she appeared to be. Granted, it was a poor costume choice for a woman who has given birth twice, but there really is nothing wrong with her body. With larger women making their mark in popular culture, like Jennifer Hudson and America Ferrera, it would seem that the general public would be a bit more tolerant of a woman who has put on a few natural pounds since her teen fantasy days.

Rebecca Traister over at Salon has written perhaps the best assessment of exactly what is really going on here with the public execution of Spears.
Spears is living out our ur-nightmares -- showing up naked at school, or arriving at a test that we didn't know we had while everyone chortles and points and we fail. That is actually what MTV set her up to do on Sunday night and since, as we've passed around the video clip of her lameness.

It didn't stop with laughing. There was also the harsh but deserved criticism of her performance and, more horrendously, of her physique. Spears, it seems, two children and five years of self-abuse later, no longer pleases the public with her hourglass shape. No, her ill-fitting outfit showed off a figure that was not as compact and pink as it was when she was a teenager. Sure, she looked better in a bikini than probably 98 percent of the Americans sitting on their couches and howling at her, but she was no longer porn-star perfect. And in the American lexicon, that equals fat. Wonder why your daughters have eating disorders and hate their bodies? Maybe because they're reading reports that label the thin young woman dancing around in a bra and panties physically unappealing and obese.
In America, you can be overweight and accepted if your talent is "hot", you can be "hot" in appearance and totally lacking in talent (think Paris Hilton), but you cannot be overweight and mediocre or you will be skewered.

The hatchet job that has been done in the press and in the blogosphere on Britney Spears' physical appearance is a true moment of shame in American society.

The Daily Newds 9/12/07

  • In the Flesh: How do people react when student Christine Htoon tells them that she is a nude artists' model?
    People usually think it's really cool, but sometimes I think they get the wrong impression. I am comfortable with my body, but I'm not an exhibitionist. I just do it because it's fun, and I get paid really well. I also get to meet a lot of really cool people. Artists are never boring.
  • Here Comes the Sun: Nudists will likely live longer because of the Vitamin D they receive from natural sunlight.
  • Be on the Lookout: A Connecticut man has been seen in the nude walking his dogs, prompting high school cross country teams to "take precautions".
  • Marry Prankster: Urban nudist and science-fiction editor John Ordover has been masquerading as the publicity director of the spoof website
    Mr. Ordover quickly conceded the page was a parody aimed at drawing attention to inconsistencies in state marriage laws. States consider it a crime for adults to have sex with minors, but they allow kids as young as 12 to get married with parental and sometime judicial permission.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Kid Knows Better

Here's a cute little blog entry that shows the kids are natural nudists, and they know that wearing anything in the pool is just dumb.

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The Daily Newds 9/11/07

  • Government Malfunction: A Federal Appeals Court will consider today whether or not the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" was indecent.
  • The Real Skinny: A new survey has found that only 6% of men prefer thin women.
    Lisa Smosarski, editor of More magazine, said: "Some men feel intimidated by women with super bodies and find it hard to talk to a body-perfect woman, let alone take their clothes off in front of her.

    "The truth is men are happy with us the way we are."
  • Nude Blackmail: 300 laid-off female factory workers in Bangkok are threatening a nude protest in front of the government house if they do not receive pay compensation.
  • Censured: FMH magazine has been censured in the UK after publishing a topless photo of a 14 year-old girl without her consent.
    FHM said it received around 1,200 photos of women either topless or wearing lingerie for publication each week. It added that it was "extremely surprised" to learn that the girl was 14 "as she certainly appeared to be older", the PCC reported in its ruling today.
  • Pluck of the Irish: A female Irish Student was the Naked Run Champion at the Roskilde Festival this year.
    The Festival Radio’s hostess asks Aoife how it feels to win, and she shouts her answer promptly: “It’s fabulous, liberating and a most pleasant freedom, standing here quite naked.” The crowd goes wild.

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Octopus Pie

You would not expect a comic strip to tackle the issue of topfree equality, but that's exactly what the Brooklyn based "Octopus Pie" did in the August 27th strip "Bad Connotations". One of the characters, Hanna, decides that it's just too hot and takes off her shirt, prompting various reactions from her friends and passers-by.The comic, written and drawn by Meredith Gran, is gaining in online popularity, due in part that there are no censorship boundaries on the Internet.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Nudes OK in Northampton

13 bronze sculptures by Andrew DeVries on the on the lawn of the Hampshire County Courthouse in Massachusetts show male and female genitalia and nipples, and so far nobody has complained.
"I really like it," said Ashley Loehn, 19. "They have great movement. Some of them are so precariously tipped." Susan Loehn said her office had not received any complaints about the nudity and she did not anticipate prosecuting DeVries any time soon. "I love that it's in such a public place," she said.

The Daily Newds 9/10/07

  • Ripped Off: A man who attempted to rob a Duluth home got into a scuffle with 69 year-old homeowner Wayne Boniface.
    First, Boniface said, he ripped the man’s shirt off. Then, “his head was down over the railing, and in today’s world, pants are worn fairly loose. I pulled his pants, and his pants and underpants and shoes came completely off. He was completely nude.”
  • The Mayor's New Clothes: San Francisco mayoral candidate George Davis spent several hours on Labor Day campaigning in the nude. The cops showed up but could not arrest Davis since there was no signed complaint.
  • Year of the Penis: Male full-frontal nudity is on the rise in popular entertainment.
  • Rights vs. Morals: The battle between Christianists and Strippers over the Ohio strip-club appears to be headed for a November 6 statewide vote. Angelina Spencer and the Citizens for Community Standards are opposed to the law which criminalizes even the slightest physical contact between dancers and customers.
    "This is about the First Amendment," Spencer said. "Adult entertainment is in the front line for freedom. What starts in adult entertainment will trickle down in other forms of media and art."

    Sandy Theis, spokeswoman for the repeal campaign and a former Columbus bureau chief for The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, said polling shows that the more people know about the strip-club law, the less they like it.

    "When people hear about this no-touch rule -- if you touch a dancer on the head or the elbow or the toe, you can go to jail for 30 days -- they're astonished."
  • Eatin' Good in the Neighborhood: A Kentucky mother has turned lactivist after being asked to cover up while breastfeeding her child at an Applebee's restaurant.
    Brooke Ryan also is asking for a public apology from Applebee's and training for its employees about the rights of breast-feeding mothers.

    "I'm not trying to be provocative," she said. "I want to teach."
  • Cadillac Ranch: The Spruce Hollow Naturist Campground in Michigan is seeking to expand but faces opposition from one zealous landowner who has been fighting the club for years.

Getting Naked for Autism

A group of 100 women in the UK posed naked in a field to raise money for a six year-old autistic girl, and apparently the nudity was contagious.
"When we chucked our towels aside we all felt so self-conscious and I didn't really know where to look.

"But pretty soon we were chatting and laughing and telling the Channel 5 cameraman - the only man there - to strip off and join us.

"There was a great atmosphere and everyone was so brave - now I know how naturists feel."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Porn Myth

Naomi Wolf has an excellent article in New York Magazine on the adverse effects of pornography, specifically on the male sexual mindset.
Well, I am 40, and mine is the last female generation to experience that sense of sexual confidence and security in what we had to offer. Our younger sisters had to compete with video porn in the eighties and nineties, when intercourse was not hot enough. Now you have to offer—or flirtatiously suggest—the lesbian scene, the ejaculate-in-the-face scene. Being naked is not enough; you have to be buff, be tan with no tan lines, have the surgically hoisted breasts and the Brazilian bikini wax—just like porn stars.
It's not the nudity - it's the objectification of the nudity. Wolf goes on to say:
For the first time in human history, the images’ power and allure have supplanted that of real naked women. Today, real naked women are just bad porn.
Bingo. You want to know why younger people are not going to nudist resorts? It's because nudism is the anti-porn, it is reality, it is actual human beings showing all their nature-given corporeal flaws. It's au naturel, not au preternaturel. Nudism cannot compete with pornography on the thrill scale.

Today's porn industry is all about the almighty dollar. It is a capitalist enterprise that rivals the entire professional sports industry. It is a fantasy fulfillment for all adolescent-minded males who are losing the ability to relate to real women and real sexuality.

I am not anti-pornography, but I am opposed to the mechanized, siliconized, Viagraized product that permeates the industry today. There is nothing wrong with sex, it's perhaps the greatest pleasure available to humans, but the product that the porn industry is putting out today is not based in reality.

So has nudism just become bad porn?

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Suppressing the Nude

A Michigan college student wonders why it is perfectly legal for a fat guy to walk around with his ample man boobs on display, but it is illegal for a woman to do the same.
Perhaps I'm one of the last true feminists, but our traditionally male-dominated society should immediately take a good look at itself and quit trying to shame women into being second-class citizens. Instead of making women feel ashamed of themselves by creating laws that forbid the exposure and expression of their natural beauty, we should realize the female body should be celebrated - not suppressed.
I wholeheartedly agree. The reason we suppress the female nude is that we fear our own sexuality. Even the thought of a male becoming aroused at the sight of a female nipple, even during the act of nursing, is terrifying. This is why we, as a society, frown upon topfreedom, ban the breast on beaches, and strive to wipe out any sort of public nudity, including strip clubs.
Exotic dancers should never receive our scorn. They only deserve our respect and admiration. They make our world better through both their captivating performances on stage, and also by providing some innocent companionship and joy for men and women who feel like treating themselves to a special night out.
I'm not so sure about the "innocence" aspect of strip clubs, but I do believe that nude dancing is protected by the First Amendment as a means of artistic expression. If we are going to allow Daniel Radcilffe to appear completely nude on stage in "Equus" on Broadway next year, then we must also allow completely nude dancing in clubs.

Suppressing the nude only makes it more taboo. It is the defining of acceptable nudity is precisely what makes it more prurient. It all comes down to that mysterious female nipple, which somehow threatens all of society whenever it makes a public appearance. The first step that advocates of nudism must take is to create true topfreedom for women. Even if women choose not to take advantage of topfree equality, the right should exist for anyone to bare their breasts to the sunshine without fear of public scorn or legal ramifications.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007


Are you NIFOC (nude in front of the computer?) Well, some parents in Texas are really irate over a sixth-grade homework assignment that asked students to decode twenty text message appreviations, such as ROTFL and LMK, and apparently NIFOC. I'm sure that the teacher threw in NIFOC just as an attempt at humor, but in America, when it comes to children, even the mere mention of nudity is forbidden. Now some parents are calling for the teacher to be taken out of the classroom. SWDYT?

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Philip Pearlstein: The Dispassionate Body

The James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, is presenting an exhibition of nudes by artist Philip Pearlstein, September 15, 2007, through January 6, 2008.
"Pearlstein is an innovative and significant artist in part because he created realistic figure paintings at a time when abstract painting dominated the American art world," explains Brian H. Peterson, Senior Curator at the Michener Art Museum. "This challenging exhibition questions our typical ideas of beauty and meaning in art. Pearlstein is not concerned with the human figure as the bearer of symbolic and cultural narrative; he is interested in a more dispassionate, playful observation of the human form in complex visual interactions with other bodies, objects, etc. Pearlstein paints what he sees—no more, no less."
The cool and detached nature of Pearlstein's paintings is more reflective of the reality of the nude body in everyday life. The images work to normalize nudity, to present it as something ordinary and natural. With nudism, what you see is what you get.

Katy Did

Katy Evans never dreamed that she would be naked in a hot tub under the stars, but that's exactly what she ended up doing on a visit to the Buddhafield East Retreat on a farm in the UK.
And I wasn't alone, either. So what possessed me to commit such an act of bravery? I had begrudgingly agreed to go on the Buddhafield East weekend retreat at a farm near Halesworth. It was my first time and had heard stories of previous year's naked escapades. I had asserted, then, that if I went I would be participating in no such antics. However, by the second night, there I was, happily trotting between changing area and hot tub, starkers, with not a care in the world (OK, a few cares, but by then I had decided to stop being so prudishly British and just get on with it).
Katy discovered one of the great simple pleasures in life. Her three days and nights spent communing with nature helped escape from the hectic pace of everyday life and get more in touch with her own well being. Although she may not call herself a nudist, she found out just a little what nudism is all about.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Vanessa Hudgens Apologizes

Vanessa Hudgens caved in to pressure, presumably from the powers-that-be at Disney, and apologized for the nude photos that are all over the Internet.
"I want to apologize to my fans, whose support and trust means the world to me," Hudgens said in a statement, according to Us Weekly. "I am embarrassed over this situation and regret having ever taken these photos. I am thankful for the support of my family and friends."
Embarrassed. Regretful. Apologetic. I was really hoping that finally we would have a celebrity that would slough off the nude photos and treat the incident as "no big deal". Now the perception is that she did something terribly wrong and brought shame to her family and friends. One more day and this story would have simply faded away, and now it has legs for at least one more news cycle. Is the lawsuit coming next?

UPDATE: It is clearly pressure from Disney that prompted the apology, since the House of Mouse is now sticking with Vanessa Hudgens.
"Vanessa has apologized for what was obviously a lapse in judgment," said Disney Channel spokeswoman Patti McTeague. "We hope she's learned a valuable lesson."
UPDATE 2: Hudgens is sicking her lawyers on websites that post the nude photo. Egotastic has already been contacted and threatened, so they've removed the photo.

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The Weekend Newds 9/7/07

  • Napa Nudes: A group of Napa Valley farmers have posed for a nude calendar to raise money in an effort to protect the Valley's agricultural resources.
  • Bum Rap: Four men from Calgary have been arrested and charged with indecent exhibition in a public place for streaking during a football match.
  • Keep Your Shirt On: North Carolina high schools have banned body and face painting from football games.
  • Bums for Bush: 50 activists lined up to moon the American President during his visit to Queensland for the APEC Summit. There was also a 21 bum salute.
  • Nipplegate: Lactivists are protesting the policy on Facebook which prohibits photos containing an "exposed breast".
    It's not clear what constitutes an "exposed breast", which has the lactivists baffled.

    Facebook did not respond to emails requesting further clarification but several group members have reported that their images were removed despite the fact they contained no nipple.

    "Where does the feeding stop and the boob begin?? A peek of nipple?," one lactivist wrote.
  • Naked Night: The audience at Chicago's Bailiwick Theatre is invited to strip down for tonight's performance of "Barenaked Lads". Many nudists are expected to attend. Bring a towel and some flip-flops, and a gym bag for your clothes.
  • It's the Penis, Stupid: A Virginia community is up in arms over a neighbor's decision to display a small version of Michelangelo's "David" on her front lawn.
  • In the Lion's Den: Daniel Radcliffe will bring his naked performance in "Equus" to Broadway next year.
    "I would be very nervous because I think that (the audiences are) even more discerning than in London," he said. "But I know we have a good show, it was a good show when we did it in London and hopefully if we do it again it will still be that good. It has to be better."
  • No Sex Perverts: Organizers of this weekend's reed dance by Zulu Maidens in Nongoma are imposing strict guidelines to prevent unauthorized photography of the topfree event.
    "It has come to the attention of the organisers that this event has also been targeted by sex perverts masquerading as media personnel only to use the images for their nefarious purposes."
  • Ramble On: Stephen Gough, "The Naked Rambler", has picked up his 11th conviction for disturbing the peace, and will spend 83 days in jail.
  • Going Commando: A whopping 86% of Australians polled say that they are comfortable walking around their own pad in the nude.
  • Spy Hard: It has been revealed that a Norwegian spy used a Naturist magazine to pass secrets to the Nazis in World War II.
  • I Am a Camera: Photographer Guido Karp has an exhibition of nude photos taken with cell phone cameras.
  • Nudie Newbies: A journalist and her sister bare all to explore the world of nudism at Solair.
    We excuse ourselves for a stroll in the woods, batting at bugs and pondering the whole scenario. Donna wraps her towel around her chest. I look at her strangely. "What?" she says. "I just feel like, you know, they've been out for so long. I just need to pull 'em back up for a bit."
  • Bare Truth: A group of Germans have produced a nude calendar in order to improve the image of their town, which is plagued by poverty, smugglers and Neo-Nazis.
    "Everyone is different — all are the same" is the slogan behind the campaign for a calendar that includes 28 pages of photos of the district's young people posing "totally nude and unstrained, while conscious of their natural environment and their social sphere".

    One of the calendar's organisers, Sebastian Blumreich, said that he had imagined it would be difficult to find people for the calendar.

    But it was "relatively easy", said Mr Blumreich, who himself posed for the calendar.