Thursday, June 20, 2013

Victorian Breastfeeding Photo Fad: Shifting Discourses Of Motherhood

Last year Lynne Grumet set the Internet a-flutter when she appeared on the cover of TIME magazine breastfeeding her toddler. Reactions were largely negative, often reflecting unease at the open display of a sexualized body part being used to feed a child older than the age we generally find acceptable. Others objected to what they saw as the sensationalism of the photo. Grumet later posed on the cover of another magazine in a pose that focused on bonding and intimacy, commonly cited as benefits by breastfeeding advocates. The entire episode tapped into larger cultural anxieties about appropriate mothering.

And as Jill Lepore explains in The Mansion of Happiness, it’s just the latest round in the changing discourse about breastfeeding; in the mid-1800s, images of breastfeeding mothers became a fad in the U.S. The use of wet nurses had never been as common in the U.S. as in Europe, and it became even less popular by the early 1800s; breastfeeding your own child became a central measure of your worth as a mother. Cultural constructions of femininity became highly centered on motherhood and the special bond between a mother and her children in the Victorian era.

As daguerreotypes became available, women began to pose breastfeeding their infants, capturing them in this most essential of maternal roles:

Read more, see photos

Friday, June 14, 2013

Miss USA Winners For PETA: Four Crown-Holders Pose Naked To 'Say No To Fur'

Four Miss USA crown-holders became the latest faces -- and bodies -- of PETA's anti-fur campaign.

In a video for PETA, the Miss USA winners posed naked alongside a Miss USA sash and crown to lend their support to the animal rights organization.

In addition to baring it all for the PETA ad, Susie Castillo, Shandi Finnessey, Shanna Moakler and Alyssa Campanella also pledged to go fur-free in their own lives.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Naked bike ride in Mexico City – video

Hundreds of cyclists strip off to take part in World Naked Bike Ride Day on Saturday. Participants ride on the capital's main streets, bringing traffic to a standstill as onlookers take photos. The international event is designed to raise awareness of road safety for bikes, though some in Mexico also use the event to promote the normality of nudity


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Nudism/Naturism: One of the crowd

“Seek and ye shall find,” the sages have instructed us, along with this: “The answers often lie within.”

Those two pearls of wisdom, basically, are what led me to Ottawa on Saturday to answer a question I had about nudists/naturists, and about why I was so interested, personally speaking, in this subject as opposed to, say, in hot-air ballooning.

My question for the naturists was: Why do people want to be naked in non-sexual public or semi-public social settings?

I had been invited by the Ottawa Naturists organization to an evening swim event at an indoor pool, one of 18 they hold annually. The group is celebrating its 20th anniversary and has about 200 members, with a strong contingent from Quebec, I’m told. They also hold other social gatherings, such as a summer barbecue and a weekend camping event.

I accepted the invitation, but told them I would be attending as a private individual, not as a journalist on assignment for my paper. Sure, I would probably write about it in both my blogs, but they are labours of free love, i.e. I am not paid for writing them.

I spent a good part of Saturday afternoon chatting with my host for the event, Ted, the president of the board of the Ottawa Naturists. I asked him about the appeal of public nudity, and about the origins of his passion for naturism.

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