Family First is at it again.

This time, “it” is the new bylaw allowing nudity that is not determined to be indecent on Kapiti coast beaches.

Apparently, a “decency check” is not enough for groups like Family first- any nudity is wrong and could potentially cause innocent children instant psychological harm. One wonders how Bob McCoskrie and the children he is out to “protect” manage at the swimming pool, where theu are no doubt confronted with plenty of penises in just a few minutes while changing. Or maybe nudity is only bad when it lasts long enough, like staring into a bright light. Who knows?

They’re swarming all over the Dominion Post now, too, with angry letters about how one of their opinion editors seemed to think a good test of whether something was morally permissable was to see if Bob McCoskrie opposed it. Good on her.

As far as I’m concerned, it can only do children good to be exposed to men and women who are not ashamed of their bodies, given the unhealthy pressures society piles on to have “ideal bodies”. A little nudity only hurts when you’ve been conditioned to panic at it, as my changing room example might remind you.

Eating disorders are all in the mind.

Feministing had a wonderful piece about men’s body image concerns, particularly about John Prescott, the former deputy PM of Britain speaking out about his stress-induced bulimia. There was also mention of how 10% of eating disorders are suffered by men, aided by wonderful back-patting publications by buff lads like Men’s Health that help spread body dismorphia and turn stress into eating disorders by giving us davidean visions of manly musclitude to live up to/bow down in front of while they exhort us to lose weight. (admittedly, they do this by providing some advice about fitness and health, but they could probably do a lot better than they are)

The real spark here though is that Courtney points out that while eating disorders often involve perceptions of physical inadequacy, or simply insufficient care for oneself, the root cause is psychological, and even attaining a healthy weight doesn’t cure the disorder- hence why eatings disorders turn sinister and drive healthy girls to starve themselves. They’re not just doing it because they believe that thin is sexy- in fact, it can have nothing to do with moving towards a sexier ideal. Continue reading

Dompost: Magazines are faking fatter models

\"Fashion mags make models look fatter\"

So, the story isn’t on Stuff yet, but the Dom Post has a wonderful story in today’s paper about how criticism is causing the fashion industry to have to change its ways.

It’s using the same image manipulation techniques it uses to clean up its models’ minor imperfections to make them look like they’re a more healthy weight- that is, they’re photoshopping them to be fatter. This is deliciously ironic due to the fact that they’ve previously been accused of doing exactly the opposite.

Personally speaking, I think this is a wonderful reversal of direction, but it really is just a start. It’s not enough for fashion magazines to stop pushing unhealthy extremes on women, they need to actively encourage the idea that lots of different types of women can be attractive, instead of pushing for some notion of a mythical female norm of beauty. Until I can pick up a fashion magazine and be utterly uninterested in women that are tall, short, fat, thin, white, tan, brown, and with several other distinguishing factors, they’ll still be distorting women’s ideas of acceptable body images, and men’s ideas of attractiveness in women.

Why men are big fat cowards

Men who are attracted to women, at least in the Anglosphere, (you can swap that with “western society”, if you like, they’re almost interchangeable in intent) have a big fat problem. It has to do with what we find attractive.

Frequently you’ll hear us say that we like big breasts. Sometimes we mention that lovely hourglass figure. But there’s a big disconnect: Most men won’t own up to what they really, deep down, find attractive. Here’s a hint: It’s probably quite different for each of us.

I’m going to break our unspoken vow of silence though. Because I can, and because it is time we woke up and started talking about our sexuality in New Zealand- and I don’t just mean whether we like boys or girls or both. I mean what we like about boys and girls, and how we act about that- certainly eyes are incredibly sexy, and eye contact is a great way to capture attention. Attitude is hugely important, too- I like women who stand up for themselves, who’re willing to disagree with me, and who aren’t afraid to ask me out. But none of these things are controversial- they don’t require me to challenge how much of a big fat coward I’m supposed to be. Continue reading