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7 posts categorized "Body"

August 02, 2008

Time Vs Body

Hanif_kureishi_150 Every time I pick up a book to read, or explore my local library, I think 'so many authors, so little time,' and there are millions of authors out there. What does one do? What sort of story does one select? Some authors are blessed with a type of foresight, able to pinpoint common trends that concern the human population, and Hanif Kureishi is one of those authors.
The Body, a short novel, explores the character of Adam, who is a renowned author with a major problem - he is getting old. He's, as Kureishi aptly states (as narrator), shitting screws, as he tries to accept his upcoming twilight years or senior life.
What happens, can be taken straight from a sci-fi story. Adam meets Ralph, who reveals an extraordinary secret. Ralph isn't what he appears to be - young, handsome and attractive. He is closer to Adam's senior years, but underwent a procedure that transplanted his brain into a younger person's body. Ralph talks Adam around. Adam doesn't have any issues trying out the technology for six months, after all, he'd like to experience a new surge of creativity in his life. So he goes ahead and becomes Leo, a younger specimen. It can be said that Adam/Leo relives his life, travels around Europe indulging in everything from recreational drugs to copious sex. He is no longer the recognized author, but a young 'Newbody'.
The fountain of youth appears in many folk tales. People tend to - like Adam/Leo in Kureishi's story - look back on their lives and find something unsatisfactory. Leonardo Da Vinci felt that he didn't achieve everything he set out to, and in his later decades, felt unsatisfied. Then again, had Da Vinci lived in the modern era, he could have eclipsed the Wright Brothers, but that wasn't to be. So people are still restrained by the time or era that surrounds them. Time is something that humans cannot control, and it's one of the points in Kureishi's story.
Even within our modern era of cosmetic surgery, time is still standing in the shadows and it catches up with people irrespective of the carousel of cosmetic procedures they commission. In this current era, is it really mind versus body, or time versus body? Sometimes the mind enters the equation as an insecure narcissist ("Does this outfit look good?" "Do I look old?" "Do I look fat", ad infinitum).
Every single leading lady has some sort of cosmetic procedure. Desperate Housewives may as well be an advertorial on the uses of Botox. Pornographic films frequently depict pneumatic women and the only reason (I suspect) why older female pornstars shave their pudendum is because it's more convenient than dyeing gray pubes. Then there's vaginal cosmetic surgery, plumping up labia to further emphasize youth, and it goes on. Society is obsessed with youth because companies are obsessed with it, not because younger people are more appealing or more beautiful (if you take beauty as an intrinsic quality) - most adolescents are egocentric, insecure and socially awkward - but because they need to maintain a market, condition future customers and maintain profits. Brand awareness is important. Starting young, or marketing toward children and teenagers is important to companies. How else will they create a customer base? The older one gets, the more cynical one may become. Older people tend to question things, weighing up pros against cons. Impulse tends to diminish over time, and while this may be ideal for saving more pennies and making better decisions, it doesn't diminish the 'what if?' question that crawls at the back of our minds from time to time. If we had our smarts then, as we do now, then what? What if we did things differently in our twenties? And these are pointless thoughts because time cannot be rewound and re-enacted. There are no repeat performances in life and even if -by some weird stroke of happenstance - there were, there is no guarantee that one would be happy or content, as indicated in Kureishi's, The Body. It's like trading one set of problems for another, and life is like that: a continual train of trade-offs known as the compromise.

~~

For those interested in reading one of Hanif Kureishi's short stories, check out "Long Ago Yesterday," at the New Yorker.


May 19, 2008

Bad Ink

Tattooing is considered an art, but it all depends on the subject and body placement. One of the worst tattoos I ever saw was in Newtown. It was a case of what was more repulsive: mangy dreds, or the bold black tattooed arrow -from her chest to her lower abdomen, that pointed to her koochie.

Bad tattooing is usually tacky, and contains subject matter that will automatically evolve into regret a few years later, such as having the film logo from Snakes on a Plane on your skin, or a bald Britney. Images that will always gain freak show 'what is that?' appeal in a few years time.

If you'd like to see a gallery of bad tattoo art, head here. Don't say I didn't warn you. The tackiest tattoo in the gallery, has to be the Lacoste croc logo on a pec. The guy in that image could very well qualify for Tightarse/Miser of the Week.

May 02, 2008

Bringing Out My Bazookas

I’d like to consider myself open-minded, but the actual term ‘open-minded’ can be a misnomer, because people always have their own personal opinion, and they often don’t reveal that personal view or opinion. Being open-minded to the point of not debating or questioning anything at all, and having the ‘oh yeah, I’m going along with that, right on,’ with no input whatsoever is like being a sheep.

So am I or aren’t I?

I guess I’m in between. The subject that got the ball rolling for me is one that you will find posted on Dan and Jennifer’s page and it is about breasts. It’s a poignant piece that discusses the double standards and absurdities associated with the breasts in public, and for someone like me, and I imagine many other women -after they undergo the various stages of their breast life - breasts are much more than sexual objects, and such superficial controversies test one's patience.

Continue reading "Bringing Out My Bazookas" »

April 23, 2008

Lights, Camera, Cock

The first film penis I saw unfolded during my high school English excursion to watch A Room with a View. Although we were studying the novel for an important assessment, Julian Sands took center stage as his penis jiggled up and down during a scene. My friends were in hysterics; laughter is a sign of happiness, but it’s also a sign of anxiety or nervousness. Our two female teachers silently watched the film. We looked for any sign of discomfort or nervousness, but the two women were absorbing Julian’s…acting skills.

There have been many breasts on television. Somehow breasts are fine and dandy for mainstream films, and have been for the last three decades, but a penis? The television programs that make me laugh are those that proclaim to be controversial (due to the sexual subject matter) - without body parts on show. Yes, in these shows, people fuck with their clothes on, and all female characters drape their bodies with sheets to resemble a Roman senator. Hello, you’ve just engaged in the Kama Sutra, gone down on the person, and gave them a close up of your butthole, and now you’re covering up in case your butt is seen?  Mainstream films always follow the female formula, but penises aren’t that famous in Tinseltown. European films don’t shy away from showing a bit of cock, but American films tend to avoid it. Comic and producer Judd Apatow has acknowledged this, and is making it his mission to include as much penis in his films. And it’s high time someone did that. His take on the subject sharp and to the point:

"America fears the penis, and that's something I'm going to help them get over," Apatow is quoted as having said in December. "I'm gonna get a penis in every movie I do from now on. It really makes me laugh in this day and age, with how psychotic our world is, that anyone is troubled by seeing any part of the human body."

The preservation of the intimidating penis -as a concept - can be related to its absence in film, and sure there is porn, but a large chunk of porn is show pony performance, and if it isn't show pony, it can be tacky. Pudenda are fine in mainstream film; Sharon Stone created waves when she crossed her legs and flashed her muff, but did we see Michael Douglas’s cock? No. It has been like this for many years. American film isn’t renowned for showing male bits. It is as though the penis is ‘bad’ or should remain a secret. It is enough to create a certain perception - the penis as taboo.

Would a sector of people (or women) be more comfortable with a penis if they weren’t conditioned to ignore it in popular media? Many female magazines, like Playgirl, are prohibited from showing an erect penis in print. Many girls reach their adult sunrise without having any idea what to expect, to be confronted with Mr Rigid. My very first experience with an adult male penis was nightmarish. I had mixed emotions.

I’m all for film cock.

Continue reading "Lights, Camera, Cock" »

April 12, 2008

Celebrity Cock

I didn't know how to categorize this post: Body or Celebrity cock? Decisions, decisions...
I do like to think I'm up to the minute, as most writers/internet people do, but alas it has taken meNudemale3 considerable time to find this little treasure of a blog: Full Frontal Friday. Dare I say that it certainly is more exciting (and artsy) than 'cockblogging Wednesday?'

I found the Full Frontal Friday blog via Crazy Days and Nights.

The full frontal blog is like Pringles: once you pop you can't stop. Once you're in, you can't help but go nuts clicking on the treasure trove of celebrity cock.

~~
Image: Full Frontal Friday. I'm not telling you who. You have to find the celebrity in the Full Frontal Friday blog.

Bigger isn't Better for Men

Men are confident about their bodies and women aren’t. All these studies, where is the time? I’m amazed I keep up, even though I lose track of when, where and which topic.

Yet another new study has come to light and it is one that states Australian men have difficulty recognizing extra kilograms, but I think that the results could be replicated all over the world because guys aren’t pressured to fit into teeny tiny jeans, have boob jobs or go on relentless diets. The majority of Jenny Craig spokespeople are females. The average weight loss counselor at Weight Watchers is almost always female, and it is easy for women to freak out about the extra kilogram and notice it. Dare I say there are also women who imagine extra kilograms?

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen male friends rub their extra tire like it is Mt Everest, a gold nugget or the most mystical phenomenon to mankind.
“Yeah, look at this!” For the comment to be followed by an audible pat and jiggle. I’ve never seen women do the same. Women don’t do the full hand grab of their ass and say ‘phwoarrrrrr will you look at my chunky ass!”

Women are much better at recognizing weight gain because of media imagery, erratic dress sizes and a bunch of other things, like celebrity ‘yummy mummies’ dropping ten dress sizes in the first fortnight after childbirth.

Men don’t have to look fantastic. Jeez, take one look at Donald Trump. The concept of youth, or youthful limbs, tight butts and flat/hard abs are targeted toward women. The most recent fashion controversy toJagaciak_lead_narrowweb__300x3890 hit Australian Fashion Week involves, 14 year old model, Monica Jagaciak. Australian Vogue eventually dropped her from its cover after finding out her age, but fashion editors were still open to 16 year old models. Yes, 16 year old models modeling clothes for women. 16 year old girls aren’t women and their bodies are contrary to a grown woman’s body. Does one often see 16 year old boys modeling clothes for men over the age of 30? Is it realistic to even have a 16 year old model in a women’s magazine? Few have womanly breasts. Few have hips, many are beanpoles and yet to develop, and they model clothes that the average 16 year old cannot afford, and don’t resemble the average woman, so many women try to emulate the ‘look’ that rarely comes to pass.

Don't get me wrong, Monica Jagaciak (even though the Harpers Bazaar cover is awkward) is attractive, but she isn't a woman and yet the makeup artists age her to make her look like a woman but it still doesn't cut the mustard.

April 11, 2008

Is Thin Sexy?

When a small portion of fashion designers step away from the controversy over anorexia and extreme thinness, they step away from answering questions relating to the choices they make. Such choices often3623019mw appear in magazines, flaunting the latest season, and a portion of those models are raised on a pedestal to become spokespeople for standards of attractiveness. It is a vicious circle. Is extreme skeletal leanness sexy or attractive?

France has decided to take a proactive stance against imagery that promotes thinness by proposing a bill in government. The French fashion industry has now signed a charter, and it is about time it did put its money where its mouth is after years of designers sidestepping the role they play in promoting skeletal body forms. The new anorexia law may see websites and designers prosecuted for promoting imagery. What has created a lot of hot debate in recent years are Pro-Ana websites that endorse eating disorders and the skeletal ideal.

How extreme is this new law?

"Fines of up to €30,000 (£24,000) and a two-year prison sentence will be imposed on offenders who “provoke a person to seek excessive thinness by encouraging prolonged restriction of nourishment” to the point of risking death or damage to health. The prison term is raised to three years with a €45,000 fine if the person dies."

This move to outlaw 'thin-reinforcement' is probably a natural progression or the aftermath that has seen many international models suffer, or die by pursuing a beauty ideal. When designers have tantrums and express their anger at such moves it makes one wonder. Do designers really need waif like models to begin with? Many fashion designers are male, and many of them have used waif like models in the past and present to present an ideal woman, which is something I personally find distasteful. A man doesn't live in the body of a woman, and doesn't experience the hormonal changes that accompany menses, pregnancy or post pregnancy. Many flouncy male designers merely project their own androgynous take on the world, subtly telling women what they ought to be. What designers don't see, or maybe they ignore it, is that it is not about fashion causing anorexia, but rather, the limitations designers create for women. If a designer focuses on creating designs that only look good on skeletal models, then this imposes a limit on women. It is much like saying, "you have to be this thin in order to wear this creation and look good."

The pressure to fit into a garment forms a feedback loop. The diet industry utilizes the concept of 'looking good' by promoting weight loss campaigns such as 'look good for summer' or 'fit into your wedding dress,' and showing a person of a specific build, and although known weight loss companies don't promote extremely thin or anorexic body types, they do focus on looking 'good' rather than being healthy.

Will this new French law alter the way fashion is depicted in the media? It is too early to tell, but it can only be a good thing if it means a reduction on the amount of visible rib cages, hip bones and spinal columns.



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© Anastasia Mavromatis 2005 - 2008