Monday, March 22, 2010

World Naked Bike Ride 2010 - Melbourne

The crowd hit Parliament House. Photos: Richard Serong

NAKED cyclists invaded central Melbourne Sunday 21st March 2010, with 130 riders stripping off to protest oil dependency and highlight bike safety.

According to organisers, the two-hour Melbourne World Naked Bike Ride was the biggest in the southern hemisphere, surpassing the 50 cyclists who took to Melbourne’s streets in last year’s event.

It is the first year the cyclists haven’t been accompanied by police. Spokesman Senior Constable Marty Beveridge said there were no units assigned to the riders this year.

World Naked Bike Ride organiser Heidi Hill was glad “Melbournians are finally becoming less prudish,” and said the ride had moved from more of a naturist theme to a bike safety theme.

Ms Hill said the aim this year was to show how vulnerable cyclists are on the road. “Pro-bike safety is the overhwelming theme this year”, she said

Ms Hill said there was no sexuality involved in the event and that “as soon as you get your gear off, people need to be themselves.”

Melbourne’s oldest rider was 75.

The riders set off at 3pm in Fitzroy at the Union Club Hotel and went through Lygon St, Carlton, Russel St and Bourke St in the city and ended up at Parliament House.

“People were gobsmacked, they were running out of buildings to see us,” Ms Hill said.

She said as they rode past, onlookers had a smiles on their faces. “We didn’t upset anyone”, she said.

At the end of the ride, the cyclists were overjoyed, yelling “On ya bike!” and “Nude is not rude!”

Ms Hill hopes Melbourne’s 2011 ride will be even bigger, and she hopes it will be as big as the London ride, which over 2,000 people took part in.

Leader Community Newspaper - See article here

Isn't it nice that the major papers didn't pick this up and run with it and the usual sensationalist skew that we have come to expect.

Well done to the organisers who have shown another non-sexual display of nudity this time with positive public message.

Oops, break out the "blur tool" we can't have the unsuspecting public seeing nipples or genitals!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Clothing or Covering / Fashion or Farce

Looking through the eyes of a naturist clothing takes on a completely different place within our world.

Corporate attire has always been a uniform. The suit and tie, even in the heat of an Australian summer, is more attuned to the prescriptive uniform than the commonsense covering of the body for practical purposes.

With the rise of equality of women in the workplace this was reinforced as woman donned suits, thus perpetuating the same corporate uniform.

Other forms of subtitle uniform can be readily seen in the clothes of our adolescents as the baggy low-slung pants predominates and practicality has no place.

This leads us to fashion, the multi-million dollar industry founded on discontent, social pressure and change for change sake.

The often-flaunted justification for clothes, that of practicality, is seen for what it is, a fabrication.

When clothes are essential for protection from the elements or within a hostile environment, this is perfectly clear. For example for heavy clothes for a European winter, the welders gloves and apron, the use of hats in summer and shoes to protect the feet one’s feet.

The rest of the time, the only explanation is “modesty”. This societal construct is based on opinions formulated by society’s “centres of influence” who fail to see that the human body is anything beyond sexual.

There is also an element of power and manipulation in keeping the population clothed as it reinforces the differences and segregation within society. How can anyone deny the commonality of the human form and see that regardless of colour, shape, age or beliefs, we are in essence all the same.

The social construct of “modesty” can be best typified by the colonial attitude, when zealous missionaries instructed the natives in tropical climates to dress like themselves.

Why again was there no differential between nudity and sex? Surely the connection is in the mind of the beholder, not the naked person.

If this were not the case then at every nude beach or social nude gathering men would all be walking around with erections? This does not happen, why? Because of context!

There is a fundamental difference between the sexual environment between lovers and being at a barbecue with a group of friends. It is also the same reason that in a clothed work setting when a man is introduced to an attractive woman, he will not spontaneously have an erection!

In reality a social occasion in a clothed setting can be more sexually stimulating than a naked one. This is because of the titillation effect for example, a low-cut dress, hinting, what lies beyond stimulates the imagination and that is what causes arousal.

Conversely in a naturist setting, once initially observing the whole person, you can then put that aside and concentrate on the meeting of the person with freedom from distraction and innuendo, allowing for a more genuine interaction to take place.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Addicted to Boob Jobs

Addicted to Boob Jobs -Lifestyle You Channel, 6 March 2010

Last night I was watching this British produced documentary through the eyes of 26-year-old Fashion Journalist Louise Roe. Addicted to Boob Jobs looks at women who are not satisfied with having just one boob job but who are choosing to return to the operating table again, again and in some cases again.

During the course of this show, it became clear that the women interviewed were considering additional surgery were doing so for “themselves”, not for their boyfriends/husbands, although their partners were supportive.

There was one woman who had one augmentation and now wished to go up an additional cup size. Divorced with two children, and no man in her life, her comments were that she wanted to feel better about herself and had identified that large breasts would be the end to this.

Kate Merrony, 20, a glamour model and Mum from Bournemouth admits that one boob job just isn’t enough for her. Even though Kate’s first boob job has made her an E cup she still isn’t satisfied with the size and wants to go even bigger. 

Anne Marie Hart, 24, had her first boob job eighteen months ago which took her from a b cup to an e cup she now wants larger breasts that she believes would help to pursue a career as a “glamour model”.  Clearly, she felt that had enhanced breasts were not good enough and larger implants would make a difference.

The interviewer, in her side comments. rightly pointed out that it reminded her of pinning your happiness on the acquisition of a new car, then after a few months, one then realised that the feelings associated with the acquisition of the car had passed, they then started to plan for a “better” new car, to achieve this elusive happiness.

The show goes on to document the ordeal, that is involved with not only traditional augmentation surgery, but also a less invasive process called a boob jab, where a substance is injected into the breast tissue, under local anaesthetic, and then moulded into shape, like plasticine. This then last about 18 months until the product is obviously absorbed into the body ?

British and Australian television networks are to be applauded in the presentation of shows such as these as unlike the American networks there is no issue showing a nipple during these informative procedures. The viewer observes the true graphic details of the augmentation procedure, where the incision is made, the old implant removed, and then more breast tissue removed to accommodate a larger implant  The interviewer, who was allowed to watch the procedure had to leave the room at one point, and understandably so.

What was abundantly clear was that the perceived issue that these women are trying to address is more psychological than physical.

Now from a naturist perspective, the whole aspect of body acceptance is confronted within the first experience of social nudity. The great freedom experienced, when one sheds your clothes in a totally accepting social setting, allows one to be comfortable in one's own skin.

Now I realise that this is a “chicken and egg” situation as one must have a certain degree of body acceptance to take the plunge and remove your clothing in the first place. However, having done so, one realises the infinite diversity and infinite combinations that makes up a human form and we can then celebrate the variations rather than compare to some conceptual "perfect image" that is, in fact, an illusion.

On our local beach, we see all sizes and shapes of bodies, and yes, breasts in all their variations, including enhanced and reconstructed. There are also scars, birthmarks and stretchmarks, all on show, and all totally unimportant.

In the naturist setting, we have the rare opportunity to see people for who they are, rather than what they look like. It also gives us the opportunity to appreciate all body shapes, sizes and ages. Plus, putting a spotlight on the truth of who we are, that we are much more than our body.

Over the course of this month the same Lifestyle Channel, will run a number of programs that will show the folly of perfect body image, particularly in the eyes of the young. They were supposed to be airbrushed magazine industry are unhealthy body shapes of the runway models and other false images that are put forward as aspirational “real” men and women.

What a pity that this society is so gymnophobic (anxiety from nudity) for a greater acceptance of public nudity, and therefore exposure to it would create a new body acceptance of the whole population.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spenser Tunick in Sydney

A crowd in excess of 5000 people gathered at the Sydney Opera House just after dawn today, defying cool temperatures to put together an installation titled Mardi Gras: The Base.

Tunick is known worldwide for his large-scale installations comprising of nude people posed and photographed in varying formations and patterns. In addition to the temperature which hovered around 20 degrees Celsius, the models also had to contend with a crisp breeze coming from Sydney Harbour, heralding the first day of autumn.

Read more here...

Great to see such a display of non-sexual nudity!