Friday, May 09, 2008

Indefinite Hiatus

First of all, I want to thank everyone who stops by every day and reads this little nudist blog, which averages about 1100 visitors per day. I'm glad that so many find nudism of interest.

Blogging is basically a labor of love, requiring constant renewal. Sadly, I have lost much of my enthusiam for writing, and while still committed to the nudist lifestyle, I've just run out of gas. This is due in part with the sad state of nudism and naturism in central Ohio, which is approaching extinction. I'm sure that if I was located in Florida or California it would be a lot easier to find inspiration.

Anyway, I am keeping the blog open, and will still be back now and then when the spirit moves.

Stay committed to body freedom, and stay naked.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Sunday Newds 5/4/08

  • Cathy Sorbo explores the naked truth about Seattle.
    The Web site has its manifesto clearly outlined. Topics include the importance of proper signage and nudity and children. At the beach, most children have to fight the urge to take clothing off, and in fact find nakedness rather funny. Every summer I have to have that conversation with my daughter (now 9 years old) as to why she can't take her top off at the beach but the boys can.

    "I don't see what the big deal is," she said last summer. "I look just like a boy up there anyway." []
  • In Nevada, it's legal to advertise your brothel on a public billboard as long as there is no nudity. []
  • A Louisiana lawmaker seeks to strictly define nudity statewide.
    Six of the bill's 13 pages are devoted to definitions of terms used in the law, including "nudity," which is forbidden. "Semi-nudity," which in part means "the showing of the female breast below a horizontal line across the top of the areola and extending across the width of the breast at that point." []
  • More Miley Miley Miley.
    “She is 15. She is in this transitional period. She is exploring her sexuality. I don’t have a problem with her being sexual, but I do see a problem with the way her body is being exploited by Vanity Fair and other adults for profit. And it turns out she was not in control (of the photo).” []

    I don’t think a photographed bare back and a 15-year-old’s idea of a sexy smile is nearly as damaging as the real needs of a painfully emerging adult being funnelled through the franchise demands and financial ambitions of the Walt Disney Corp. []

    A 15-year-old should be thinking about bubble-gum pink nail polish, riding her bike or making the volleyball team. And the adults in a 15-year-old's life have a responsibility to limit her world to at least a PG-13 level. []

    People are all bent out of shape about the “semi-nude,” seductive picture of Miley Cyrus. As if somehow this photograph defiles this supposedly clean-cut, virginal 5-year-old role model/icon. If you look at it closely, you can argue that her expression is anything you want it to be. Put your fingers across the photograph to cover her body and if you look only at her face, she could be thinking or doing anything. It is non-descript in the extreme. Her back is bare. So what? Anybody with a long lens could catch a much more disturbing picture of her in a bikini at the beach. []
  • A 30 year-old Arizona student and mother of two is fighting for women's topfreedom.
    I was raised in a very liberal home, and we would go to hot springs and Native American sweats, and nudity was never an issue. I was never taught to be ashamed or told there was anything weird. To me, it’s always fascinating. Why would you be offended by boobies? I don’t get it. They feed children; they are just there. There’s nothing sexual about breasts in my opinion, not any more than a man’s chest. It probably boils down to insecurity. … It’s really the only thing I can think of. [] [Taboobies]
  • More on the legal case which has opened to the door for Queensland's first official nude beach [], and a profile of the 77 year-old naturist at the heart of the issue. []
  • Lisa Lewis has won the job as New Zealand's first nude newsreader. []
  • A Canadian naturist declares "People are getting an interest in nudism...It's coming out of the closet." []

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

"A Predator-Infested World"

Slowly but surely, American lawmakers are turning every US citizen into a criminal. Already one out of every 100 people are behind bars, marijuana arrests are way up in the last decade, and now, because of the Miley Cyrus photo flap, anyone who takes a picture of a child, or looks at a picture of a child, could be convicted as a felon.

"Life. liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" has become "death, prison, and the suppression of happiness".

Incredibly, a conservative Illinois activist is actually suggesting that the Cyrus photo could be considered child pornography.
So will this Vanity Fair issue be allowed on Illinois store shelves next week? Store owners should be concerned because distributing child pornography is a Class X felony. Does Vanity Fair contain child porn?

That question could well be tested when the magazines go on display. Miley's photo is within specific boundaries of Illinois child pornography definitions, except for one phrase left open for interpretation: Does the questionable photo stir "prurient" interest?
ANY photograph can stir "prurient" interest. Do we ban all advertising for shoes just because someone out there might have a foot fetish? Do we ban fishnet stockings, or plunging necklines? Do we ban ALL photos of children, even when taken by parents? The writer closes with the following statement:
Indeed, the seemingly frivolous "Hannah Montana" photo controversy may have wide-ranging legal implications that could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court once again.

Until then, determined parents will need to find their way through unchartered (sic) territory to successfully protect their daughters and sons in a predator-infested world.
It's always about protecting the children from "evil". Never mind that the US Department of Agriculture reports that 17.2% of ALL children in this country are "food insecure", meaning that they live in households where food is hard to come by, that they skip meals, or are forced to eat substandard foods. Never mind that nearly 10 million children in America lack health insurance. Never mind that our education system is failing.

Yes, it is a "predator-infested" world - these arch conservatives who work to erode our freedoms and distract us from the real issues which face this country are predators. Children are hungry, malnourished, dying from illnesses and failing in school, but our legislators and judges are holding up a photo of a pop star as the number one evil confronting our society.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

The Weekend Newds 5/2/08

  • The CEO of a $300 million company prefers to spend his life in the nude. []
  • The Australian Nudist Federation is supporting the use of security cameras on a nude beach in order to discourage offensive behavior. [Geelong Advertiser]
  • Arizona State University in Tempe is joining the string of colleges supporting "undie runs" whereby students strip down to their underwear for a jog around campus, and then donate their clothes to charity. [College Times]
  • The Sun uses World Naked Gardening Day as yet another excuse to publish photos of topless women. [The Sun]. Seriously, May 3 is the official World Naked Gardening Day. [WNGD]
  • ABC News headline exclaims that teen breast enhancement is "no big deal'. []. And don't forget about Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation to make your Brazilian look more attractive. []. Or boob jobs to help strippers survive a bad economy. [Los Angeles Times]
  • A New Jersey law outlaws the "change of clothes in any public area or public street unless within a permanent enclosed structure". []
  • A Florida biology teacher claims that she was fired from her high school because she moonlighted as a bikini-wearing babe on a fishing charter boat. []
  • African police are cracking down on "indecent conduct" at the annual Pink Loerie Mardi Gras parade in Knysna.
    Event co-ordinator Juan Lerm said Pink Police marshalls would clamp down on nudity. An 80-year-old man who has exposed his rear each year - last year he was archbishop of the moon - is to be asked to cover up. []
  • The bare-breasted woman on Virginia's state flag is called "Virtue", but the commonwealth has a long history of regulating consensual sex. []
  • Five musicians in a UK orchestra will bare all on How to Look Good Naked.
    "We've all got a great deal of respect for one another, and don't have anything you wouldn't see on a beach in Brighton on a sunny day.

    "The programme is very much about developing confidence, and the nudity is just a metaphor of being comfortable with who you are." [The Courier]
  • Naked girls and giant puppets are part of a new stage production of Carmina Burana. []
  • A Cleveland reporter sheds his fears and his clothes to become a nude model for a life drawing class. [The Plain Dealer]
  • The naked sushi craze has hit Florida. []
  • People were shocked! shocked! to see Britney Spears wearing a towel in an exercise room. []
  • A new Florida law will punish anyone who takes a nude photo of a minor, even with parental authorization. Offenders face a five year jail term or a $5000 fine. []
  • Thirteen lacrosse players have been disciplined for writing a prom invitation for one of their teammates on their bare bottoms.
    "Inappropriate is inappropriate," school athletic director Dottie Davis told The Ann Arbor News. "It disrespects women, and that's the clear message we need to have the students understand — what may be fun to them isn't necessarily fun to everyone else." []
  • A group of University of Maryland students were taking a nude bicycle ride when the police arrived in answer to a complaint. Although they managed to throw on their pants, the 4 males and 1 female remained topless, but only the female received an indecent exposure citation.
    Maryland code doesn't specify exactly what constitutes indecent exposure, though attorney and government and politics professor Amir Sadeghy said a topless woman likely would fall under the definition.Singling Caitlin out from the shirtless bunch probably would not be classified as gender discrimination, said Sadeghy, who is also the director of the university Mock Trial team. []
  • A Massachusetts town has OK'd strippers to take the stage at a local club, but they cannot be nude. [The Morning Call]
  • Charges of indecent exposure have been dropped against a 77 year-old Australian man, prompting the president of Free Beaches Australia to call for at least one official nude beach in Queensland. []
  • If you can't get up the courage to go skinny-dipping this summer, you can always go skinny-sipping with Nude Beach Beer. [The Business Journal]

Student Body

An independent art project at Bowdoin College in Maine seeks to challenge viewers and raise awareness about the human body.
"The body is an infinitely intriguing thing," she (artist Sylvie Piquet) said. "It can be a source of a lot of power, as well as struggle and pain."

"Being naked as part of an art form often serves as a psychologically, mentally, and physically liberating experience," she added.

Both (Professor Mark) Wethli and Piquet agree there is a need to address the unhealthy image surrounding the body, which American culture promotes.

"Our society pays prurient attention to the human body," said Wethli, "and this show attempts to see past that to the natural state."
The show opens tonight, May 2, at Fort Andross in Brunswick, Maine.

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Beyond Skinny-Dipping

Nudism is going through a period of positive publicity, and today's article on nude bowlers in Canada (accompanied by a similarly positive video) is one of the best. Without being "cheeky" or condescending, the writer treats the subject with respect and understanding, especially since she is clearly out of her element.
Still, there's something undeniably weird about a bowling alley filled with naked people. Think of nudists, and images of being outdoors, communing with nature, sunbathing and swimming come to mind. Yes, we know that some people take pleasure in vacuuming their own homes starkers, but bowling?

“There are all sorts of people that are practising social nude recreation,” Mr. (Paul) Andreassen explains. “Bowling is new for us and it's proving a great success.”
Breaking out of the nudist mold of swims and rustic retreats is not easy. Even finding a swimming pool for use by a naturist group can be a daunting task. One group here in Ohio is building its own pool. Another Ohio group once was able to rent out a bowling alley for a night, and according to the club president, it was a "blast". But the bowling venue was pretty far away and expensive, so a repeat visit has proven to be prohibitive logistically and financially. The Canadian group was very fortunate.
Surprisingly, the club had little trouble finding a venue. When it first approached the owner of the bowling alley about a rental, she thought they were kidding, Lucky Strike employee Charmaine Smith says.

“When I told her I'd heard of the nude swims and the group was for real, she just shrugged and said, ‘Oh. Okay,'” Ms. Smith laughs.

Ms. Smith volunteered to staff the session. “I think it's great – good for them.”
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Thursday, May 01, 2008

More on the Miley Mess

I hope I'm not beating this to death, but I find this whole Miley Cyrus photo flap fascinating. Media people are tripping over themselves in order to state their positions and formulate solutions to the "problem".

Today a "psychologist", Dr. Andrea Bonoir, went completely over the edge of reason by labeling the photos "creep-tacular", and suggesting that the pregnancy of Britney Spears little sister looks "downright healthy in comparison".

Now Dr. Bonoir has an impressive resume which includes Yale, AU, GWU and Georgetown, but scholarly credentials do not necessarily guarantee the presence of common sense. These pop psychologists have a tendency to over-analyze, simply because it's part of the job.

If my daughter came to me when she was 15 and told me that she was pregnant, it's not likely that I would have been as cool, calm and collected as Juno's parents in the recent movie. I would also not have been too pleased if she had come to me and told me that she posed for a magazine wearing nothing but a sheet. But given a choice between the two, the photo is easily the most preferable.

Dr. Bonoir also goes on to say:
This isn't the first time I've kvetched about the sexualization of young girls. The damage is serious. It's not a problem with sex or bare backs — it's a problem of taking away girls' power by making them objects, granting them worth only by how much they can turn guys on.
Anybody who has followed this blog knows that objectification and sexualization of women is a serious problem in our society, but at the same time I do not necessarily feel that it is something that can be controlled, or abolished. People are sexual animals, and sex is one of the most wonderful gifts in the life experience. Women are going to dress provocatively, with facial makeup and plunging necklines, and men are going to try and look as virile as possible. Men and women have been searching for ways to turn each other on since they first walked upon the planet.

Miley Cyrus has already been objectified. She is a product, something to be marketed and sold. In order to "solve" this problem, one would have to advocate the end of show business, the end of photography, of the film industry, of stage presentations, of television, of magazines, etc., or at least prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from participating in these businesses. Ain't gonna happen.

What is needed here is a healthier attitude towards the human body, which is the essential core philosophy of nudism. Instead of apologizing for the photographs, Miley Cyrus should have adopted the attitude of the photographer, Annie Leibovitz, who called the images "simple" and "beautiful", which they are. Once Cyrus "apologized" for the images, they suddenly became a source of shame and scandal, fodder for The Today Show and The View, and a problem to be "solved" by pop psychologists.

What began as a photographic session showing the transition from a young girl into a woman, has now become a call for Cyrus to suppress her sexual awakening. I am reminded of Judy Garland, who at the age of 17 played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, and was the victim of the same sort of sexual suppression.
Her breasts were bound with tape and she was made to wear a special corset to flatten out her curves and make her appear younger; her blue gingham dress (her only costume) was also chosen for its blurring effect on her figure. [wikipedia]
So is this what they want to do to Cyrus, bind her up and keep her as a child for the sake of marketing?

It's a very complicated issue, primarily because as a society, we Americans are afraid of our own sexuality, to the point where the bare back of a 15 year-old pop star becomes a source of scandal and cultural trauma. It's the Dr. Bonoirs of the world that exploit what should be a simple issue and turn it into a full-blown societal ill, with ridiculous statements like these:
Certainly, I am not in denial about what many 15-year-olds are doing in the backs of cars. But at least that is at their own private pace, under their own control, and not for the pleasure of 50-year-old marketing execs (or, presumably, the teens' fathers).
Miley Cyrus has no "private pace". She is on course to be a billionaire, and she is a pop-culture phenomenon. Maybe this photo was her own "private pace", something which made her look beautiful, and brought out the emerging woman in her. Maybe it was for her pleasure, and now that's been taken away from her by fools.

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