W hy are we so critical of men showing their bodies? When some Towie participants recently wore half-thong mankini hybrids on a beach, the media responded with outrage at the audacity of their outfits, vilifying them for daring to be exhibitionist. Ironically, by openly condemning any expression of male sexiness, the end result would certainly end up being negative. What's more revealing, pun intended, is that the journalist's own prejudices are clear: they state they are "scarred for life" looking at the photos, as if images of semi-nude men could actually make their eyes bleed. Similarly, the Metro apologised , almost with embarrassment, for publishing the images, saying they were "disturbing" and "could give you nightmares". Men's bodies: creepy enough to stop you sleeping. The Daily Mirror's ampp3d blog, which generally deals with correcting data errors in politics, helpfully offered an infographic on the half-thong , placing it on the lowest position on the "acceptability" axis and adding "Not this swimwear please for the love of god". Because wearing something so exposing is both unacceptable and abhorrent, right? Sure, the swimwear style may not be to everyone's tastes and much of this coverage is done with tongue firmly in cheek, but that still presents a problem: men and male bodies are mocked and shamed as a matter of routine.
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Nudity , or nakedness , is a state of being in which a human is not wearing clothing or is not covering the genitals. Nakedness was the natural state of human beings in the tropical climates where they first evolved and continues to be the norm in many isolated indigenous societies during the 21st century. The modern understanding of nudity is culturally complex due to different meanings given various states of undress in differing social situations. In any particular society, nudity is defined in relation to being properly dressed, not in relation to the specific body parts exposed. For humans, nakedness and clothing are connected to many cultural categories such as identity , privacy , social status and moral behavior. In Western societies , there are two contradictory cultural traditions relating to nudity. The first comes from the ancient Greeks , who saw the naked body as the natural state and as essentially positive.
Warning: This post contains full-frontal male nudity and may be inappropriate for work environments. Sure, depicting a naked body can lead to objectification and sexualization as women can surely attest. But a powerful nude representation also has the power to be empowering, liberating, and, of course, beautiful. In , photographer Abigail Ekue embarked on a mission to photograph the unclothed male body in a truthful, expressive and direct manner, a style Ekue saw was lacking in the larger cultural lexicon. Her project is open to all men over 21, including trans men, regardless of race, body type, tattoos, piercings, or whatever else. From the start, it was important to Ekue that she capture the entire male form from head to toe, so the images resist becoming either too sexualized or too romanticized. She wanted a real person, desirable yet flawed, as we all are. Ekue photographs her subjects in their homes, an effort to make them feel as comfortable as possible.
Every time I use the bathroom at one of my grandchildren's school events, I flash back to my own childhood. Coming face-to-face with the communal trough urinal and door-less toilet stalls triggers my feelings of juvenile embarrassment. In case a man has never used one of these urinals, eHow offers up advice on "How to Use a Trough Urinal. Communal bathing and spas have been around for thousands of years, but the concept of modesty is a relatively recent one for Western culture. Many indigenous people would play sports without any covering, and athletes in ancient Greece also competed naked. Taboos against nakedness grew in Europe in the 18th century. Women began to wear more layers of clothing and protected their modesty and avoided the gaze of men at the beach by entering the water through elaborate bathing machines. But certain aspects of the tradition of naked competition still existed when I was a young man growing up in Chicago in the early 's.