Friday, November 30, 2007

Setback for Topfreedom in Sweden

Sweden's equality watchdog has rejected a case submitted by two women who want topfree equality with men in public swimming pools.
"There is a physical difference between a woman's upper body and that of a man," said Equal Opportunities Ombudsman Anne-Marie Bergström."There is also a great difference between how people in general perceive men's and women's bodies. It is therefore hard to maintain that [the topless bathers] were in a comparable situation to men who bathed with naked upper bodies."
The 'Bara Bröst women were not surprised by the ruling and they vowed to continue their fight for equal rights through political means.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

The Daily Newds 11/26/07

  • 500 women in Ghana are threatening to march naked to protest the dismissal of a woman government official. [modernghana.com]
  • A 60 year-old man has been arrested in Brattleboro for exposing his genitals to two young girls. At least the news report did not label this creep a "nudist". [reformer.com]
  • Some Brown students are earning extra money by posing nude for artists.
    "When it's in an artistic context, it's sort of desexualized. Once it's taken out of the one-on-one sexual situation, seeing naked people is just like seeing another body." [browndailyherald.com]
  • Sarasota is looking to crack down on the county's only strip club. While some dancers and customers took to the streets to protest the move, some residents support the closure. "We have enough problems in this world as it is without promoting this place for men to go and not be respectful to women." [myfoxtampabay.com]
  • Artist Frank Faulkner has undertaken a project to draw only penises and plans on assembling his favorites into a book. [news.intependent.co.uk]
  • Naked News now boasts of six million subscribers in 172 countries. [wikinewsreports.blogspot.com]
  • Natalie Portman was interviewed recently and she expressed her feelings about doing a nude scene for Wes Anderson's "Hotel Chevalier".
    'I'm really not prudish about doing nudity,' she continues. 'I think it's beautiful in films, and sex is such a big part of life, and nudity is obviously our natural state. That's not my issue. My issue is that I feel it takes something away from what you're doing. And also that it can be used afterwards for different purposes. Misappropriated.' [observer.guardian.co.uk]
  • A Turkish painter was asked to remove several nudes from an exhibition after being told that they were "too much" for the public. [hurriyet.com.tr]
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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Success for Sweden's Bara Bröst Activists

The Bara Bröst blog reports that 12 women were allowed to swim topfree at a pool in the city of Malmö. No pool attendants said or did anything to stop them. Whether or not they will be able to repeat their topfreedom at this particular pool is unknown pending a management decision, but this is an important step for these ladies who are trying to end the sexual discrimination against women who are not allowed to be topfree the same as men.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Weekend Newds 11/24/07


  • Brattleboro once again discussed the impending anti-nudity ordinance at this week's meeting.
    "If someone wants to do a nude installation, you can't have that," said Dora Bouboulis. "Plays like 'Caligula' and 'Hair' wouldn't be able to be performed because they have nudity. People nude sunbathing in their backyards, if visible, could be subject to getting a fine."

    One man in attendance compared prohibiting nudity to the fight for civil and gay rights.

    "The nudists are the last group who are pushed around," said John Lockwood. He also said the Selectboard, requiring a woman to cover her breasts while not requiring the same of a man, might as well start forcing women to wear a burkah.

    Another town resident said forcing a woman to cover her breasts could open up the town to a court challenge on the basis of discrimination. [reformer.com]
  • A 53 year-old truck driver was told by security to cover up his backside at Erotica 2007 in London. "But there's loads of women walking around with everything hanging out." [theage.com.au]
  • Naturists in New Zealand are donning clothes for the annual open day at a local resort.
    Although many New Zealanders still regarded naturists with suspicion, Mr Knowles insisted it was perfectly normal to walk around as God intended. The only reason people needed to wear clothes was to keep warm and not because they had been conditioned by society to think that being nude was wrong, he said. [stuff.co.nz]
  • A new report on the FCC's crackdown on indecency shows that the argument could go in favor of those who believe the tougher regulations are unconstitutional, or in favor of those who want even more regulations which would extend to cable and satellite broadcasts. [journalrecord.com]
  • An Australian woman supports the banning of nude swimming for children at a local pool, not because she is offended by the nudity, but because she is "concerned about the sexual predators lurking just about everywhere these days.' [bordermail.com.au]
  • Nude photographs of teachers at a college which preaches strict Christian values have been circulating among the students, exposing the hypocrisy of those who lecture against promiscuity and extra-marital sex. [mirror.co.uk]
  • More nude fundraising calendars here and here.
  • Some people in New Jersey are "appalled" at the prospect of a lingerie party to be held at a local community center for adults 18 and older.
    "People have moved here because of Lawnside's reputation as a nice, quiet, family-oriented municipality," she said. "If this becomes a precedent, what's next -- topless dancing or lap dancing?" [courierpostonline.com]
  • Attempts to close two nude beaches in Australia have come up short, but new signs will warn visitors about the nudism, and there will be an increased police presence to deal with offensive behavior. [mosmandaily.com.au]
  • Malcolm Boura of British Naturism has weighed in on the case of the man who appeared naked at his door to scare children at Halloween, and was placed on the sex offender's registry.
    We do not condone the behaviour of Mr Andrews which was unacceptable but judging from the report in the Citizen this case may have been yet another abuse of the legal process...The offense he was charged with is intending to cause fear, alarm or distress by means of exposure of the genitals. Unless the prosecution showed that there was intent, and there is nothing in the article to show that they did, then he should have been acquitted on that charge. ..We always advise our members to get really good legal advice where nudity is concerned. [burnleycitizen.co.uk]
  • "Heroes" star Kristin Bell once streaked the lobby of New York's Minskoff Theatre. "It was really fun'. [hiphop-elements.com]
  • Christina Applegate has posed nude for a PETA campaign to discourage people from buying animal fur products this holiday season. [abc2news.com]
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Holiday Newds 11/21/07

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

  • The owners of a clothing store in the UK have been asked to censor artwork depicting a naked man for fear it may cause “harassment, alarm or distress” to the public. [thesun.co.uk]
  • A 102 year-old woman has apparently become the oldest person to ever pose nude for a fundraising calendar. [news.com.au]
  • Kate Humble, a British television personality, is a naturist. "One of life’s great joys is dancing naked in the sun. It makes me feel so good...Even now, there are all sorts of places in the world where you can take your clothes off and not be seen." [digitalspy.co.uk]
  • A snow white sculpture of a voluptuous nude daintily holding a cigarette fetched $1.6 million at Christie's Latin American art auction on Monday, a record for a sculpture by Colombia's Fernando Botero. [reuters.com]
  • A group of drunken jockeys got into a brawl at a barbecue, so naturally news reports blame the topless woman for starting it. [news.com.au]
  • Sportswriter Mark Celizic condemns the crude "show us your tits" behavior of New York Jets fans, but professes to support topfreedom. "I’ve no objection to topless women and I never objected if my children saw a stray boob in its natural habitat. I always found it curious that the folks who rate movies didn’t care if my kids saw murder and mayhem but went ballistic if an earthy epithet or a glimpse of a personal body part slipped into the production". [msnbc.msn.com]
  • A participant in a recent Kansas City nude bike ride was "knocked off his bike" by police and issued a ticket which stated that he "Did knowingly expose his genitals under circumstances in which he knows that his conduct is likely to cause affront or harm by riding his bicycle on the city street and through large crowds with a tube sock over his penis and no other clothing." [pitch.com]
  • Catherine Price writing in Salon dismisses in part the efforts of Sweden's topfree movement. "But as for the idea of desexualizing the breast? I think that battle is going to take more than 14 naked Swedish women in public swimming pools. At least they'll have plenty of male support." [salon.com]
  • A quarter million dollar nude photograph was removed from the home of Tony and Heather Podesta prior to a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. [pdnonline.com]
  • Breastfeeding is more popular than ever in the UK. [news.independent.co.uk]
  • News on a couple of more nude calendars here and here.
  • A reporter for the Sunday Times has a Sunday lunch with a bunch of naturists. “The appeal of naturism is that it relieves you of your identity and creates instant equality,” said Mike, a 42 year-old architect. “Clothes are a way of defining yourself to others before they even begin speaking to you. Being naked like this, conversing with strangers, brings us all down to the same level because there’s a vulnerability to it. It’s deeply humanising.” [thetimes.co.za]
  • Soap star Marcus Patrick was fired from Days of Our Lives" after posing nude for Playgirl Magazine. [bgay.com]
  • Fire damaged a home at the Caliente Nudist Resort. [tbo.com]

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Introducing The World-Wide Nudist Collaboration Wiki


The Academic Naturist has created an online space for everyone involved in the Free Body Movement - The World-Wide Nudist Collaboration Wiki, or WWNCW.

The WWNCW is a website that anyone can edit, much like Wikipedia, that is ideal for collaboration and crowdsourcing, and appears to be a powerful vehicle to take the nudist or naturist movement into the 21st Century.

Some of the features include a calendar system, a project and task management system, a forum, polls, regional webs, user homepages, and anonymity.

From the press release:
Join In!
The wiki is a powerful tool because it's driven by smart people, and I believe that a large group of smart people can really make a difference in things.

Improve freedom: Nudist lawyers can help out in legal matters, such as lobbying for change or supporting cases where nudity is involved. There is some serious organization involved when trying to change a law -- and the wiki can handle it. (Even if rallies, protests, or abundantly contacting congressmen are involved.)
Improve safety: If your a woman, it would be nice to know in advance if someone you trust will be at the beach. The regulars can keep the beaches safe by volunteering to do patrol and keep an eye on things. This can be scheduled so that everyone knows who they can contact if something happens.
Improve accessibility: Nudist nurses or doctors could arrange to accompany the elderly if they'd like to go and have trouble going. Also, volunteers could escort newbies to the beach or resort if they have some initial fears about going, or at least act as a contact for questions.
Improve knowledge: People know what events are at the clubs, beaches, and resorts, and know what ones their friends will be at -- all without hours of phone calls. This is the easy way to plan the perfect weekend with your friends.
Improve organization: People also know what tasks need to be done, and have the option to help out with matters and voice their opinion.
Improve whatever needs improving: The wiki can flex into whatever you want it to, and handle needs that we can't yet imagine.

Please join in and help out!

- The Academic Naturist, WikiAdmin of WWNCW.org
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Friday, November 16, 2007

The Weekend Newds 11/16/07


  • Holly Schmidt and Allan Penn are publishing a series of coffee-table sex books that fall somewhere between pornography and instructional manuals.
    “We saw an opportunity to approach the subject visually in a way that is better, or different, than has been done in the past,” Schmidt says. “A lot of it is instinct and experience, as well as a recognition of the increased sexualization of popular culture.” [bostonmagazine.com]
  • More fading memories of the days when people swam in the nude.
    Another man told me that in the early '60s at Indiana University, male students taking swimming class also did so sans trunks. His impression was that before society had become so inundated with sex and lasciviousness, the body was simply appreciated as it was in the days of the early Olympians. It was nothing to be gawked at. No one really gave it much thought. It was simply the practice of the times. [nwitimes.com]
  • A 23 year-old college student who was scolded by a Southwest Airlines employee for her revealing outfit will let it all hang out in Playboy Magazine. [forbes.com]
  • The "Naked Rambler" Stephen Gough has been arrested for a 12th time and will undergo psychiatric evaluation.
    Sheriff Kenneth McIver said: "It may be he should be in hospital not a prison. His solicitor has revealed Gough was assessed by mental health professionals last month who reported 'no concerns of any significance'. [news.scotsman.com]
  • Attorneys representing Ohio strip clubs will try and convince a federal judge today that the new law regulating the industry is unconstitutional, and is hurting their businesses. [newsnet5.com]
  • Gok Wan, the host of the British show "How to Look Good Naked", is urging women to strip off for an upcoming live show. [eveningtimes.co.uk]
  • A former city councilman and Chamber of Commerce president has found a new life as the manager of a nudist resort. [signonsandiego.com]
  • There are no adult businesses in Plant City, but city commissioners are planning tougher anti-nudity regulations just in case one opens. [tbo.com]

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Daily Newds 11/15/07

  • A writer seriously wonders if the artists behind Playboy's annual video game pictorial have actually ever seen a naked woman in the flesh. [netjak.com]
  • An art installation on the female breast seeks to bring some reality to the way women view themselves and their bodies. [msnbc.com]
  • A publisher is trying to end Japan's ban on the importing of images showing human genitalia. [africa.reuters.com]
  • Here's an appreciation of Doris Wishman's nudist movie "Hideout in the Sun", which is out on DVD. [popmatters.com]
  • A feminist writer in the UK explores how society came to regard the image of a breastfeeding mother as something obscene. [thefword.org.uk]
  • You don't have to be a nudist or a naturist to enjoy the clothes-free rejuvenation found at Living Waters Spa. [pr.com]
  • Lawmakers in a West Virginia town were too embarrassed to read aloud their own anti-nudity ordinance. [timeswv.com]
  • Meet the unofficial mayor of Mazo's nude beach. [madison.com]
  • Bluefly's new commercials, scheduled to air during "Project Runway", feature nude women in everyday situations, symbolic of the age-old dilemma of having "nothing to wear". [businesswire.com]
  • Twenty-one shoppers stripped to their underwear to get $100 worth of free clothing at a UK store. [northantset.co.uk]
  • The number one etiquette issue for businesspeople networking at hotel spas is nudity. [nytimes.com]
  • A Canadian author is protesting the fact that her book aimed at children 8 to 13 has been banned at an elementary school for containing the words "generous bazoongas" to describe the breasts of a grandmother who poses for a nude charity calendar. [theglobeandmail.com]
  • "The Disobedient Male" is an online art exhibition which investigates society's hostility towards the nude male. [pr-usa.net]
  • A woman defends her decision to continue breastfeeding her four year-old daughter. [news.independent.co.uk]
  • 50 people posed nude for photographer Jack Gescheidt in order to save a grove of oak trees. [dailycal.org]
  • Women who violate a "trouser ban" in a South African township are being rounded up and assaulted. [int.iol.co.za]
  • 200 angry tenants are planning a nude protest against an Australia's Lend Lease Corp. [theage.com.au]
  • A survey found that 25% of all men are ashamed to be nude in front of their partners. [thisislondon.co.uk]

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Defiant Elizabeth Book to Protest Daytona Nudity Ban

Topfreedom activist Elizabeth Book plans on going topfree in Daytona on March 8, International Women's Day, to protest the city's recently enacted anti-nudity ordinance, which was basically passed specifically to deal with her activism. Book has notified that she intends to sue the city because she claims police violated her civil rights.
Besides the threatened lawsuit, Book also has started an on-line petition that she hopes to submit to the United Nations.

"I want decriminalization," she said. "There should never be a law against a woman's body."

So on March 8, Book plans to make a speech on the west end of the Main Street Bridge, then lead a march across the bridge and down Main Street on the beachside.

Asked is she planned to march topless, she said she wasn't sure.

But then she said, "Of course I will."
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's About How You Behave

At my first foray into social nudism, when I asked if it was OK that I was a married male without a wife in tow, I was simply told "It's about how you behave". In a nutshell, that sums up society in general.

In Columbus, Ohio, women who practice topfreedom are not hassled by the police because previous court decisions have ruled that women's breasts are not sexual organs, and do not meet the criteria for indecent exposure. In most areas of the country, a woman sunbathing topfree will be asked to cover up or face arrest, even if she is behaving well within the boundaries of the law.

Just yesterday, a Columbus firefighter was found guilty of public indecency when he exposed his genitals to a woman sunbathing topfree in a local park.

The ruling not only affirms a woman's right to topfreedom, it strengthens it by establishing behavioral boundaries to anyone who is either aroused by the sight, or opposes it on moral grounds.

The real issue with women's topfree equality is not about the female breast, but how people behave when exposed to one. Only time will tell if the Columbus case will be a landmark in the struggle for topfreedom, but I cannot think of any other time when the law not only allowed topfreedom, but actually protected it.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

"They're Just Breasts"


It cannot be said enough that if any progress is going to be made in decriminalizing the human body in today's anti-nudity atmosphere, it is in the area of women's topfreedom.

Such a movement is currently afoot in Sweden, where women have organized a group called "Bara Bröst" network, which translates into English as "Bare Breasts" and "Just Breasts". Twice now seven of the women have gone topfree in public pools, but twice they were asked to leave and they cooperated. When asked why the women were not allowed to be topfree like the men, a spokesperson said:
"Swimming pools generally require men to wear swimming trunks and women to wear either bikinis or one piece swimsuits...There are three reasons for this. First, there is a security aspect, then there is a hygiene issue and finally there is what we call 'prevailing manners and customs'. It is above all this last point which is important here."
Security? What's going to happen? Are all the men who see the topfree women suddently going to riot? And hygiene? There's an argument that won't hold up in any court. Last of all, "prevailing manners and customs", while they might seem etched in stone to some, are really just transient social habits that invariably change with the wind.

This new topfree movement is a logical evolutionary step in the feminist movement, as women strive for equality. In the sixties, women burned their bras in protest, but few went topfree. Blame Playboy, blame the fashion industry, blame pornography, and blame plastic surgeons - all are to blame for sexualizing the female breast to the point where it is now commonly thought to be a sex organ or erogenous zone, something to exist only for the gratification of the male of the species. The sexual mythology of the female breast has reached a breaking point, and women have to take their bodies back and de-mystify the female breast in society.
Sweden's Equal Opportunities Ombudsman is expected to decide later this month whether or not to take up the case of the topless bathers."Our aim is to start a debate about the unwritten social and cultural rules that sexualize and discriminate against the female body," said Astrid Hellroth and Liv Ambjörnsson.
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Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Sunday Newds 11/11/07


  • Australians voted Kevin Rudd as the politician they would most like to see in the nude. [news.com.au]
  • A new photography book called "Women Seeing Women" explores how females see themselves, and whether or not women photographers see the female nude differently than men. [telegraph.co.uk]
  • A man at a concert was "tased in the ass for a prolonged period of time" because when he was told by security to put on his shirt, he began taking off his pants instead. [blogs.riverfronttimes.com]
  • A woman in the UK who posed nude for a fundraising rugby calendar described the shoot as follows: ‘It was weird not knowing where to look, but after a few hours noone fluttered an eyelid!" [wessexscene.co.uk]
  • The Cheeky Chappies nude charity calendar features 12 working class men from Wales. [eveningleader.co.uk]
  • A California firefighter was suspended for a week for being photographed walking into the fire station wearing only a hat and a tie. [pressconnects.com]

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Romney: Adam and Eve Looked "Promiscuous"


Former Massachusetts Governor and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in New Hampshire today, and as he passed a tree with large leaves he noted that "Adam and Eve would not have looked as promiscuous if they had had leaves this big."

OK, Mitt, with whom would Adam and Eve have been promiscuous? Were Adam and Eve automatically slutty simply because they were naked as God had made them? Why am I asking questions about a religious fairy tale as if Adam and Eve actually existed?

Romney's supporters will slough off this comment as being merely a joke, but sometimes it is the off-the-cuff remark that reveals much more about a politician's true self than any prepared speech. To Romney, nudity, even in the Biblical sense, is dirty. Good thing he wears those magic underpants to protect his own manhood from promiscuity and damnation.

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Getting Naked With Strangers

A 25 year-old Canadian woman with a history of body issues decided to pose nude for an art class and discovered something that every first-time nudist experiences.
Admittedly, dropping my bright red, toaster-and-kettle-patterned fleece robe - sexy, I know - for the first time was a little strange. But once you're naked for five minutes, it's not like they're seeing something they haven't seen before.
For Laura Power, not only was the experience fun, she felt "more appreciated than a magazine cover model". She plans on doing it again.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

The Weekend Newds 11/9/07


  • A college woman realizes that she cannot compete body-wise with porn stars in any relationship. [bgnews.com]
  • A college man thinks that pornography can be part of a sexual relationship with someone other than himself. [bgnews.com]
  • Naked Rambler Stephen Gough was not allowed to appear naked for a court appearance. "The court is entitled to enforce standards of decency and decorum in the dress and demeanour of those who appear before it." [news.scotsman.com]
  • Sun worshippers in Australia met at a resort for their annual clothes-off.
    One young waitress said that it was a bit daunting for a few minutes when the naked guests first arrived, but after a few minutes she stopped noticing. "I just look them in the face," she said. [townsvillebulletin.com.au]
  • Juliette Binoche is quoted as saying, "modeling naked for Playboy was equally an act of universal love as well as a feminist act of militancy to change the world." [cinematical.com]
  • A book about naturist Wreck Beach has been determined to be "too risque" to be carried aboard British Columbia ferries. [canada.com]
  • Charges against an Ohio prosecutor discovered walking about nude late one night in a government building have been dismissed. [cincypost.com]
  • A nude sculpture made from thousands of coffee beans is being auctioned for charity. [thesun.co.uk]
  • Lobstermen and children in Maine were distracted by a nude model working outdoors in Ogunquit for art classes on Perkins Cove Rocks - in 1915. [seacoastonline.com]
  • Rather than paying a small fine, a 77 year-old Australian naturist is fighting the charge of willful exposure given to him by constables who said, "I don’t like seeing naked male people in public...It’s offensive. I wouldn’t consider it normal behaviour.” The naturist was sunbathing on an "unofficial" nude beach where police have ignored nude bathers for 25 years. [thedaily.com.au]
  • If you want to go smooth, here is a good overall guide to hair removal. [seattlepi.com]
  • A mistrial has been declared in the case of the comic book store owner who allegedly gave to a minor a book containing cartoon drawings of a nude Pablo Picasso. [comicbookresources.com]

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What's Up With ClothesFree.com?

For over a week it has been nearly impossible to access ClothesFree.com, or the online forums. They have stated previously on the forums that they were having server problems. Does anyone know what's going on?

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"Patently Unreasonable"

In unusually harsh language, the British Columbia Supreme Court has called the reasons for denying the use of a municipal pool to a nudist group "patently unreasonable".
The reasons for denying the unclad swimmers access to the pool included the city's preference for saving the monthly late-night spot for youth activities; concern for the lifeguards, who had been hired on the understanding that they wouldn't have to keep an eye on the unattired; and the health hazards inherent in bare-bottom bathing.
The court agreed with the naturists on all points, and that the city overstepped its boundaries by treating the private use of the facility as a "public place".
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts says it's unlikely the city will appeal the case, given that the dispute stemmed from the actions of a previous administration.

"It's time to move on," she said. "We have more serious things to deal with."
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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Nipplegate, UK Style


In an incident that looks to be the British equivalent of the Janet Jackson Super Bowl nipple incident, two ITV television personalities bared their breasts and encouraged other women to do the same on a series called "Trinny and Susannah Undress the Nation". Since the program was aired at 8 PM when children are watching TV, the backlash has been harsh, with viewers and family groups calling the nudity "gratuitous and inappropriate".
One viewer described the programme as "nasty, leaving a bad taste in the mouth" while another said: "This is primetime family viewing. I switched on with young children present and was deeply disturbed by the level of nudity at that time. "It made for extremely uncomfortable and gratuitous television, particularly when I had to explain it to my children." Another wrote: "They belittle and embarrass their victims."
Hardly. It's about time someone had the courage to approach the issue of female breasts in a frank and honest manner. This particular episode concerned the problems women have in getting bras to fit, and one of the hosts, Trinny Woodall, donned prosthetic breasts so she could experience the physical and social effects of living with a large bust size.

Women's breasts have become sexual icons in the media. Men consider them sex objects, and women obsess over their own size and shape, to the point where thousands undergo plastic surgery in order to achieve more confidence in their own bodies. The fascination with female breasts has reached a breaking point. Women need to take back their own bodies, to de-objectify and de-mystify their breasts.

And people need to stop making the argument that the sight of female breasts is harmful to children. Breasts are designed for children! Any other purpose is an invention of an oversexed society that just needs to back off and get back to some more rational attitudes about the human body.

UPDATE: The Daily Mail swapped the above photo for one showing the same women wearing a bra...apparently the British nipplegate has now spread to the print and Internet media.

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Naked Musical Touring the UK

The eight men who sing and dance in the nude for the show "Get Naked! The Boys Are Back In Town" insist that they are not doing a Chippendale's routine, but are taking the audiences in the UK on a journey around the male body.
"Men can talk about boobs, bums, women and football but find it really hard to talk about themselves," says the 38-year-old.

"In this production, we show the girls what men talk about behind closed doors, like the size of their manhood or how they can't get a girl.

"It helps girls to understand boys a bit more and encourages lads to talk about themselves too."

The Buckeye Bares

The Buckeye Bares is a nudist group now forming in the Akron/Canton area of Ohio, and they have announced their inaugural meeting for Saturday, December 1, in Akron. Their press release states:
You'll meet and enjoy the company of a variety of people who, like you, come in many shapes, sizes and ages. Our philosophy of body acceptance means that we learn to appreciate the diversity of body types, gain a better understanding and acceptance of our own bodies, and reap the social, psychological, and physical benefits of a healthy and natural way of life.
The organizers welcome all whether or not you have any nudist experience, but they request that potential members follow the guidelines set down by AANR and TNS. For more information, you can visit their website, or send them an e-mail at info@buckeyebares.com.

Support your local groups!

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Daytona Revises Nudity Law

City Commissioners in Daytona have revised the city's nudity ordinance to prohibit nudity for the sole purpose of protesting nudity ordinances, and allowing nudity only when it is "incidental and necessary". This seems to be a Catch-22 of ordinances, directed specifically against Elizabeth Book, who has been cleared three times of violating the law when she was arrested for being topfree.

It would appear that people would be able to protest nude against certain social issues, such as war, or global warming, but not specifically against nudity laws. It does not appear to me that the government has any right at all to tell people what they are allowed to protest. In addition, the new language probably makes it illegal for art galleries to exhibit nude paintings, or to feature nude models. This is government gone mad.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Is This a Crime?

It seems more and more that nudity is being criminalized, even in the absence of criminal behavior. 19 year-old Victoria Schattauer, a cheerleading coach at Goshen High School in Ohio, was charged with "tending to cause the unruliness of a child" by posing topless with a 15 year-old student, and fired from her job.

The Topfree Equal Rights Association has chimed in on the incident and has posted an uncensored version of the photo in question. While a male coach was also charged with providing alcohol to a minor, it appears that Schattauer's only offense is taking the photo, which is sexy but not sexual, and certainly not illegal. Trumping up a charge such as "causing unruliness" of a child is apparently the only way authorities can make any sort of case against this young woman. Once again, this is a case of women being treated as criminals simply because they have breasts. If these were males in the photo, there would be no issue.

TERA is inviting it's readers to express their opinion on the issue, specifically focusing on whether of not the photo is "wrong", and if it should be banned from publication.

As for me, put me in the corner of believing that while the behavior is immature, and the taking of the photo was stupid, it's not a crime, and we need to stop ruining lives over issues of normal sexual expression, and normal nudity.

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The End of Privacy


Privacy.

It's something we all seem to crave. We close the door when we go to the bathroom, we don clothes to cover our bodies, we commute alone in our cars, we lower the shades at night no that nobody can see in.

All that is coming to an end, and society is having a great deal of difficulty in coming to terms with this revolutionary change.

No longer can we expect out phone conversations, our e-mails, our Internet activities, our finances, or even our personal travel to be private. Our government wants to know where we are, what we owe, what we say, what we think, all in the name of "homeland security".

While there is some outcry at this new government intervention in our lives, people generally seem to be accepting at this new baring of our lives, perhaps out of a certain amount of fear of terrorism, or perhaps a certain amount of acceptance of this as an inevitability or modern life.

But the one thing that we are having the most trouble dealing with is the baring of our bodies. For centuries people have worn clothes, first as protection from the elements, then as a means of preserving modesty, and then as a means of personal expression and fashion.

The modesty aspect of clothing is from conditioning. So called "primitive" societies in Africa, the Amazon and in Oceania were unclothed until European missionaries taught them to cover up their bodies for religious reasons. Children have no natural modesty until they are integrated into society, and they begin to believe that covering up is the only acceptable way to be.

It is this strict conditioning with clothing that makes it so hard for people to accept this new electronic age, where people can be virtually stripped down by airport machines, where their children are posting nude photos of themselves on the Internet, and where images of nude people in every sort of once-private sexual situation are readily available at any computer, even in schools and libraries.

People no longer have an expectation of privacy in locker rooms, tanning booths, bathrooms, or dressing rooms because of cell phone cameras and small surveillance video equipment. Teenagers are snapping photos of themselves in the nude with their phones and sharing the images with their friends. It seems as if every day someone is fired from a job as a teacher, policeman, or government position for nude photos, of themselves or of others.

At some point we must come to terms with this new exposed society. It is the age of objectification of the human body, where body parts are defined by governments, restricted by ordinances, limited by boundaries, exploited by the media. Ruining lives by criminalizing the human body is a symptom of a society struggling to maintain ages-old norms that are no longer valid.

As the old saying goes, the toothpaste cannot be put back in the tube.

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Anti-Nudity Ordinance Advances in Brattleboro

A draft of an anti-nudity ordinance will be read at the Brattleboro Selectboard meeting on November 20, which will make nudity in the Vermont town a civil infraction instead of a criminal offense. The compromise on the penalty has allowed the ordinance to move forward to apparently an inevitable adoption in the Vermont town.

While a person will still be allowed to be nude on their own property, it will still be an infraction if anyone is able to be observed from the street or sidewalk. This would mean that if you were nude in your own home and someone was able to catch a glimpse of you through a window, you would be subject to a fine.

One citizen argued against the ordinance on the grounds that nudity was not harmful to anyone.
Citizen Tim Wessel said that he could not see a problem with simple nudity, since simple nudity did not harm or endanger anyone. Jerry then asked if the Selectboard didn’t have better things to do, including emergency preparedness and the like, without spending hours of their time on the nudity issue. “There are many more pressing issues,” he said. “You voted, [the ordinance] failed, put it on the town ballot, and move on.”
The members of the Selectboard were unmoved and scheduled a reading of the ordinance for November 20.

The Selectboard also voted to outlaw any employee of any business from taking their clothes off as part of their job.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Nudist in Me

I was invited as a guest blogger to TheNudeLife.com. Here is a quote from my first post:
Some days I think that everyone is a nudist at heart. We’re born naked, we bathe naked, we make love naked, but as a society we generally do not socialize naked, except for the lucky few who have managed to come to the realization that clothing is not only unnecessary, but that it serves to imprison the true self.
Please click here to read the complete post.

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Brattleboro....Again!

The Brattleboro Selectboard once again takes up the discussion of an anti-nudity ordinance at its meeting tonight. Ironically, a town that does not want to be known for public nudity brings back the media circus.

None of this wrangling really makes any sense, especially when you consider that only a very small amount of people have actually gone naked in the town, and some of them only bared their hides because of all the publicity in the first place.

Attempting to define nudity, and/or to restrict it from certain geographical areas, is a slippery slope that solves nothing, and only further complicates the matter. For example, the baring of female breasts would be prohibited, but breastfeeding mothers would be exempt. On the face, this would appear to be unconstitutional on the grounds that it discriminates against women who do not have children, or those who might wish to be topfree and share equal rights with any man who wishes to remove his shirt in public.

Selectboard Vice Chairman Dick DeGray wants to lock up anyone who defies an order to cover up. "If you want to have the thing be effective there has to be more than just getting a ticket." Others on the board are more reasonable and do not wish to make nudity a criminal offense.
"I'm not willing to make it a criminal issue," said Selectboard member Rich Garant, who has opposed any anti-nudity ordinance in the past. There are already laws in place, he said, to deal with nudity or related behavior if it gets out of control, such as disorderly conduct and lewd and lascivious behavior.

But, said Garant, this may be the time to enact such a regulation because of the amount of time spent discussing nudity in Brattleboro when the town has more pressing issues to deal with, such as budgeting for next year.

"Why are we spending time on this for something that has very little to do with public safety or public morals?" asked Garant.
This is something I have noted many times on this blog - that politicians will almost always err on the side of caution when it comes to issues of morality. The solution is to drop the issue if it's taking up too much valuable time. Passing an unnecessary ordinance merely to take the issue off the table is not only irresponsible and lazy, it's dangerous in the sense that it further erodes our natural freedoms for the sake of convenience.

The Selectboard should consider what I stated in my post earlier this week:
"A definite social evil" should be the criterion for determining whether or not an action of a government or any of its agents is justified in enforcing "societal norms".
Is public nudity a true and overwhelming social evil, or is it merely a small inconvenience that has been blown out of proportion? The answer seems clear, that nobody has been harmed in Brattleboro, that the real damage to the town has been self-inflicted by the politicians who are bowing to pressure from a few Christianists who want to impose their religious beliefs into a secular political process. Wake up Brattleboro, the human body is not a social evil, but limiting the personal freedoms of individuals most definitely is.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

The Daily Newds 11/5/07


  • In the military, it's OK to train to blow someone's head off, but the American Family Association wants a soldier to be the sort of a man (or woman) who doesn't read Playboy. [postchronicle.com]
  • Investigators are shocked! shocked! to find images of bare-breasted women on school computers. [10tv.com]
  • Someone has the common sense to realize that baggy pants are not the problem in schools. [sun-sentinel.com]
  • Breastfeeding can raise a child's IQ an average of seven points. [theage.com.au]
  • Sienna Miller on filming a nude scene for her upcoming movie: "We take our clothes off, eight boys and girls, and go for a swim. We were nervous but it's real camaraderie when you're all together. It's actually hilarious getting naked in front of people you love and respect." [thisisnottingham.co.uk]
  • Official's at Chicago's Loyola University have censored a student magazine for the first time in the school's history because it contained erotic drawings. [earthtimes.org]
  • A psychology grad student laments about American Puritanism. "It is extremely disconcerting that many Americans are so obsessed with preventing their children from being exposed to nudity and sexual content that they are willing to suppress free speech to do so." [emorywheel.com]

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A Definite Social Evil

Ask anyone who opposes public nudity why they don't want to see naked people and they will say that it's "immoral", or "indecent", "offensive" or "disrespectful", and invariably they will say that it's not proper in front of children.

But ask them to explain the harm that nudity does to people, and they will have no answer, because there is nothing inherently dangerous about a naked human being.

An Ohio court recently ruled that government has the authority to protect "societal norms". Does that mean if I walk down the street on my hands, that the government has the right to tell me to walk on my feet just like everyone else? Most people in the United States believe in an almighty being and belong to some sort of organized religion, so does the government then have the right to enforce this "norm" and force me to subscribe to a faith? The examples of where government has no right to enforce "societal norms" are almost infinite.

Nobody is going to argue that just about every society on the planet Earth has clothing as a norm, and nobody is going to argue that generally every person on the planet has a body underneath the clothes. Having a body is a societal norm, but exposing that body in public is not considered part of everyday life. Just because something is a societal norm does not mean that the opposite of that norm is either illegal or dangerous.

A government cannot possibly defend and protect all societal norms, especially given the fact that virtually everything we say and do is rooted in some sort of tradition or habit, and also because attitudes change, new traditions emerge, and old habits die out.

It seems to me that our government has absolutely no Constitutional right to interfere with people who wish to merely swim against the current, unless such action poses a specific and immediate threat to society. The problem we have today is that there is a lot of feigned moral outrage from a minority that has exerted pressure on politicians and law enforcement officers to overreact to certain instances where societal norms are challenged.

In Britain, police sent out a force to follow, hinder, harass and even arrest a group of 15 naturists who hiked along part of the rugged coastline without clothes.
The walk's organiser had advised Dorset police of our plans principally so that, should any member of the public ring them to report the unusual sight of several walkers naked between rucksack and socks, then the boys in blue could reassure them that it was known about and broke no law. Unfortunately the police took the view that the public would be so distressed by us that they mounted Operation Thistle to chaperone the walk (boys and girls now in yellow) with vehicles and changes of shift along the route. Officers videoed us, ordered us to don clothes on a whim, approached passers-by to solicit "complaints" and even arrested one of us for not obeying an order to dress.
In Britain, as in America, officers have the right to arrest anyone simply for being disorderly or creating a disturbance, even if the person is not breaking any laws. There is a specific prejudice against naked people, no doubt rooted deeply in religious dogma beaten into our heads for centuries teaching us that since Adam and Eve were ashamed in the eyes of God, so should we all be. This irrational "fear" of nudity, both in seeing and being seen in such a state, has reached epic proportions, to the point that we are making nudity a criminal enterprise, and anyone shedding their clothes is viewed as a deviant, or even as a sex offender.

It does seem that this prejudice on the part of the authorities is limited to those that are most easily intimidated, such as the topfree woman in Ohio, or the group of hikers in the UK. Larger events, such as the Spencer Tunick installations, or The World Naked Bike Ride, not only are tolerated, but they receive support from law enforcement. At some point society has to stop being selective and recognize the fact that if a certain freedom is OK for some, it must be OK for all.
I'll let Lord Jenkins of Hillhead, the former home secretary, have the last word: "If you want to stop people doing something which they enjoy doing, which they believe is within their liberty of action, then you've got to have an overwhelming social case. If you're going to stop them, you shouldn't do it out of prejudice or out of habit, but only because you can show that a definite social evil results."
"A definite social evil" should be the criterion for determining whether or not an action of a government or any of its agents is justified in enforcing "societal norms". Somewhere along the way we as a society have become blinded to what is and what is not a true "evil" when it comes to human behavior. If we truly believe, as a people, that the human body in and of itself is something evil, then we are truly lost, completely out of touch with our own humanity. We have become afraid of ourselves.

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