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Burger King Bikinis

Burger King to fight decision on bikini ad complaints

Should the bikini girls be banned?

Burger King is to appeal against an Advertising Standards Authority decision upholding complaints against two of the fast-food company's TV ads.

After a number of complaints, the authority found the advertisements for two different burgers, each featuring three bikini-clad women, breached an advertising code of practice forbidding the use of sex appeal simply to draw attention to a product.

Burger King said yesterday it would appeal the decision, which had caused the two "highly popular" advertisements to be withdrawn.

Marketing manager Megan Denize said she was disappointed the commercials had had to be withdrawn as they had received approval from the Television Commercial Approvals Bureau before being broadcast.

Burger King had used an independent research company to track responses to the advertisements for the past seven months. The results from more than 700 consumers aged between 15 and 49 showed most of them either "liked or loved" the commercials.

"We believe this is a much better indicator of community reaction than the small number of complaints received by the Advertising Standards Complaints Board," Ms Denize said.

In one advertisement, the women in bikinis ride horseback on the beach, then - still in bikinis - are depicted in workplaces including an office and a laboratory, before riding horseback to a Burger King outlet.

Complainants said the style was extremely sexually suggestive and "indecent", degrading to women and could best be described as "soft porn".

Trimming around the bikini line

I was recently out at my apartment complex’s pool, soaking up some sun with a few friends, when one made a comment about the hair around my nether region. I was totally embarrassed and shocked that she was looking at my bikini line. So now I’m concerned about it and totally uncomfortable putting on my suit, period. What should I do? - Hairy Girl

Dear Hairy Girl:

Now that Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, it is officially summer. And summer officially signifies the time to wear tank tops, sundresses and bikinis. The thing about bikinis is that they just don’t cover up much. Any excess flab or soft curves are visible (though a little color from the sun help shade this), as well as any stray body hairs (sun is not helpful for these). The truth is, everyone has body hair. Some have more than others and some people dislike that hair more than others.
In Europe, for the most part, they let it run wild. Got a little tuft, no big deal. In South America and the Middle East, they tend to get rid of all body hair — arms, legs and other regions — all smooth. Here in the states, we’re probably somewhere in the middle. It’s not necessary to make your entire body as smooth as a baby’s butt, but it’s also unacceptable to have private hair hanging out of your bikini zone. Truly, it’s what you are personally comfortable with that should be your standard, but I’m sensing from your question that you are not comfy with what you’ve got.

So, what’s a girl to do? You have oh-so-many options, my dear. Most common options: You can trim it (easy, but still a bit noticeable), shave it (causes quite the itch), use a depilatory cream (can cause a burn while using) or wax it (painful, but works well). The first three options are all self-administered and you can try them out at home anytime. Actually, waxing can also be do-it-yourself, but you have to be pretty good at yoga to remove the hair from all the right spots. Most ladies that wax go to a salon to do so. The thing is, you have to get over the thought of someone seeing you “down there” and also decide how much you want to remove.
I’ll admit it’s painful, but a good waxer will help ease the pain in many ways. If you’re not sure where to go, there’s a laundry list of places in the phone book. But I’ll tell you a few you can try out off the top of my head — Modish, La Dolce Vita, Aqua Salon or Spa Deus. Best of luck figuring out what works best for you and enjoy the summer.

Bust is a top priority when shopping

Swimwear designer offers advice on finding right style to suit you

NEW YORK - For most women, shopping for a bathing suit is not on top of their list of favorite things to do. There are unflattering lights to deal with, flashes of skin left dull and dry by the winter and sizing that seems to make no sense, bringing up all sorts of body image issues.

The least swimsuit manufacturers can do is offer a full range of shapes and styles, upping the odds that eventually shoppers will find the best one, right?

Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss thought so. But as a tween and then a teen, Gruss struggled finding a suit that would fit a frame that was petite everywhere but her bust. When she chose a career in fashion design, she made rethinking bathing suits a priority.

``It didn't make sense that swimsuits were in sets. You wouldn't buy your lingerie in sets,'' she said.

On a recent browsing expedition through the swimwear department at the flagship Bloomingdale's on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Gruss pointed out that many companies now offer bathing suit separates and tops based on bust size, as her line does, instead of dress size.

She's not claiming to be the first designer to do these things but she does think the rapid growth of her swimwear collection since it was introduced in 2001 certainly helped nudge the industry forward.

She began with only a handful of bikini styles and it has grown to include 40 prints each season, tankinis and one-piece suits, which she added after she became a mother in 2005.

Gruss thinks she owes that success to not only understanding her customers but also because she is a customer.

``I remember being here with my mom. I looked 29 when I'd put on a bathing suit because the styles that fit me were either too old, too sexy or nothing fit. That was the worst feeling in the world when you're 13,'' she recalled.

Because she was athletic and wanted to be able to move around without worrying about falling out of her bathing suit, she often resorted to a big baggy sweat shirt as a cover-up that rarely came off. Again, not really a look coveted by teens.

Gruss went to the University of California Los Angeles -- bathing-suit country -- and earned degrees in history and art history. Then she went to work at a lingerie factory to learn about fabric, construction and design. Her personal experience as a hard-to-fit figure has influenced everything she's done since launching the Shoshanna label in 1998.

She first produced sundresses because they were easier to market. In 2001, when she introduced swimwear, it was a personally important moment. Then, following the birth of her daughter with husband Josh Gruss, she added children's swimwear under the label of Shoshanna BabyGirl.

Now that she's 31, Gruss is looking for something different from her bathing suits than she did in her sexier single days. She's still trim and petite -- and she's still busty -- but now she needs to be able carry around her daughter, build sand castles and even dive into the water on little Sienna's command. However, she doesn't want to sacrifice style.

Gruss is, after all, part of the socialite set that is photographed regularly, including when she's at play in the Hamptons and elsewhere. For a recent -- and childless -- trip to Jamaica for a wedding, Gruss packed five suits: a pink gingham triangle bikini, two bandeau bikinis, a black eyelet bikini with a halter top and a white eyelet one with a strapless bra top.

``This is to look cool in front of my friends. If my daughter was coming, I'd have a one piece.''

The Bloomingdale's tour starts in her own section. Gruss emphasized that her tops, both for one-piece and two-piece suits, are offered with A-DDD cup sizes in either petite/small or medium/large back widths, similar to bras. (The line is primarily intended for women who wear a dress size of 0-12.)

By using an underwire bra construction with 26 components, including boning on the sides, silicone gripper tape at the top and a classic hook-and-eye closure in the back, Gruss is confident her strapless tops will stay up on women of all bust sizes. They won't flatten a large chest nor slip down on a small one, she said.

When you're in the dressing room, stand up, sit down and move your arms to make sure the suit fits, she said. ``If you think you might fall out in the dressing room, it's definitely not a suit for racing or swimming laps.''

Gruss thinks a teenager might gravitate toward a halter top, perhaps in eyelet or a madras print, because that silhouette offers the most coverage if she chooses to play a little beach volleyball or actually swim.

Conversely, though, the coverage from a halter might also appeal to an older woman who isn't interested in baring as much as she used to.

That doesn't mean this woman isn't sexy, Gruss said. She said a halter-style one piece, especially one with ruching and boning -- both tools to give support and flatter one's figure -- conjures up images of Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s.

A triangle top, especially as part of a string bikini, defines your shape for you, Gruss said, so it works well for a woman who feels her breasts are of unequal size. Also, she said, since it's often adjustable at the neck, it's appealing for someone looking for a little lift.

In general, suits with higher backs have more support, and crisscross straps are sturdier than tank straps.

Gruss pointed out a green one-piece by La Blanca with a shirred bodice, which hides a multitude of flaws, and then a Michael Kors one-piece with a plunging V front that's laced together with a chain.

The Kors suit creates the ``illusion of perfection,'' she said, because who else would dare wear such a risque suit than a perfect woman?

Except that, upon close examination, it's not that racy. Gruss highlighted the high back, built-in cups and full-coverage bottom.

The tankini is a phenomenon that Gruss doesn't quite get. She sees the appeal of a sportier style but it often comes off as a little matronly, she said. If you're going to wear one, make sure the top meets or covers the bottom and try a youthful, trend-right baby-doll style.

Gruss identified other key looks for the summer of 2007: geometric or nautical prints that have a 1970s jet-set vibe; the sweet sexiness of a full-coverage, Brigitte Bardot-style bikini in a gingham or eyelet fabric; or metallics. Gold, she said, is flattering on almost any skin tone.

``Swim is always all over the place but this year is very feminine, very celebratory of the body,'' Gruss said.

A fit that flatters


Every woman's body is different, which means that just about every body needs a different bathing suit.

The tank suit that looks so good on your neighbor might be flattering on you, too, but it might be even better if the leg were cut just a little bit higher or you went with a bandeau top instead.

Swimwear designer Lori Coulter deems there are 140 measurements relevant in choosing the best swimsuit for your body. Those measurements, taken by a digital body scanner to produce a three-dimensional image of each of her customers, are the basis of each suit produced by her company, Lori Coulter TrueMeasure.

There are 40 basic styles that can be adapted with different necklines, straps, leg heights, built-in bra types, fabrics and embellishments.

But Coulter, whose business is based in St. Louis, also says that personal style and mindset affect which bathing suit is right for you. Even a fabulous figure doesn't mean there isn't a good, better and best suit out there.

Dorothy Abrahams, a 33-year-old actress in New York, finally found the right bathing suit last year for her athletic frame - a J.Crew bikini - so she bought several on sale at the end of the season. "They elongate me. They've got lift, and the bottoms aren't too skimpy, so they're functional but look good."

Before that, she wore boy shorts. She says they're a genius idea but, surprisingly, she finds the smaller bikini bottom more flattering.

Like many women, Ellen Duffield, a 26-year-old British tourist shopping in Manhattan on a recent day, noted that her bottom is a bigger size than her top. She opts for bikini separates, usually a halter-style top and a medium coverage bottom.

According to Coulter's letter-based system of categorizing shapes, Duffield would be an "A," a narrower top and wider bottom.

A halter really is ideal for a woman with a V-shaped figure, someone who is broader on top, or an "0" shape, a full trunk often with slender arms and legs, Coulter says, but it actually works on almost anyone as long as she doesn't have very narrow shoulders.

Coulter's other recommendations, based on swimsuit shape:

A tank gives good coverage and bust support and is best suited for classic hourglass "X" figures or for "V" figures. Especially on an X, Coulter says the tank "is not a boring suit."

String bikinis are surprisingly flattering to a lot of figures. An "A," with narrow shoulders and wider hips, benefits from the smaller bottom on this kind of suit because it makes the bottom appear proportional.

The string top, with its triangles covering the bust, helps emphasize the bust and define the waist of an "H" shape, someone with an equally proportioned upper and lower torso, a straight waist and typically slender arms and legs. "An H looks great in a bikini almost all the time. You want the lower rise to elongate the waist," Coulter explains.

An "X" also can wear a string bikini if she's petite and the swimsuit isn't too skimpy.

A bandeau top is for women with a C-cup bust or smaller. It works best on H and A figures because they don't have overpowering shoulders.

A skirted suit is not Coulter's favorite silhouette on anyone, since she almost always recommends a higher leg opening to create an inverted V at the hips. But, she adds, a woman with full square hips and slim legs might find the skirt flattering.

The boy short is another style that Coulter steers women away from. "It's for the surfers or people doing athletics and have great bodies. It's hard to wear."

Coulter leaves the question of wearing a one- or two-piece suit up to the individual, since you don't really know which one will look better until you try it on.

"The one-piece is on the comeback, but if you have a great body and you want to show it off, the bikini never goes out of style."

Golden Bikini to Raise Funds for Charity

eBay India, in association with Peches Lifestyles, a European lingerie brand, has launched an online auction of a bikini made of ultra fine gold fibers and embedded with 215 topaz stones weighing 50 carats and 409 rubies weighing 53 carats.

Proceeds of the sale will support the Breast Cancer Management by the Cancer Patients Aid Association. The auction starts Sunday and will close Thursday June 7.

The bikini, reported to be one of the most expensive items ever to be auctioned on the site, was created by five craftsmen in 400 hours using a fabric made from extremely thin gold fibers, each thinner than a strand of hair.

The result is an extremely flexible and elastic bikini, weighing approximately 357 grams in gold.

The cost of creating this unique ensemble was reported at over Rs. 6,000,000 ($148,000). To participate in the auction go to

Bikini Hut Fashion Show at Bayside Expo in Boston

Singapore Bikini Fashion Show

Bikini Models Fashion Show

Boston 2007 Bikini Fashion Show

Body Glove Girls Bikini Fashion Show

Bikini Fashion Show Video

Bikini Catwalk Video Pictures

Gisele Bikini Fashion Show

Erina Yamaguchi in Bikini

Bikini Karate Babes

Benny Benasi - Satisfaction

Top Ten Resort Wear Essentials

Increasing travel options and access to exotic, tropical destinations has resulted in a niche market of casual, yet fashionable, resort wear apparels that invoke relaxation whilst also offering style.

Designers have been rising to the occasion by broadening their collections to include glamorous beach wear options, casual summer cover ups and chic lounge looks, even during autumn and winter seasons. The result has been an explosion of beaded kaftans, embroidered tunics, glitzy metallic bikini’s, jewelled sandals, elegant tropical prints in natural, breathable fabrics, all depicting a lifestyle of relaxation, classic luxury and elegance.

This is the essence of resort wear. Clothing that is easy, yet glamorous, sexy whilst being understated, casual yet elegant, fun and flirty.

Organizing your vacation wardrobe can be trickier than you think. Limited by luggage size and weight, you have to be economic with your vacation clothing choices. We’ve tried to make it easy for you with our 2007 top 10 list of resort wear must-have’s to ensure that your vacation packing is a breeze.

1. a pair of lightweight, neutral tone, linen pants are essential to every vacation wardrobe and can be easily paired with a variety of tops for different looks time and again. Matched up with a brightly printed T or kaftan they can give a sophisticated look to the most casual traveller out there.

2. A tunic cover-up for beach days, afternoons around the pool, or sun-downer cocktails at the bar.

3. A large, canvas tote handbag in a bold, tropical print will save the day when your toting beach accessories, or just mulling around local markets for a bargain or two. This season is showcasing even larger bags than last year which are just perfect for holiday shopping.

4. One well fitting bikini! Go the extra mile to find a bikini that fits to make you feel fabulous and ditch all of last year’s left-overs.

5. A selection of v neck, cotton t’s in tropical shades are handy to throw on for coffee runs, lunch outings, or even sporting activities.

6. A flatteringly feminine skirt in a floral or botanical print that speaks to the eco consciousness of 2007 will update your wardrobe this year.

7. A pair of bermuda shorts are easy, comfortable and a hip choice for summer casuals.

8. A pair of jewelled sandals/flip flops are casual enough for beach wear, but dressy enough to liven up casual bermuda’s or linens for a city outing.

9. A baby doll sundress can double up for day, or slinky evening wear if dressed up with accessories.

10. A pair of metallic, strappy heels will have you looking edgy for night time entertainment. Metallic is definitely the “new black” for 2007.

Resort wear is all about the fun of life. Enjoy your vacation wardrobe choices all year round and bring the sunshine into your life.

Airline drops ad with singing, bikini-clad Cubans

Spanish airline Iberia has cut an advertisement showing black Cuban women in bikinis bottle feeding a baby tourist as he sings "feed me mulattas come on little mamas, take me to my cot" after complaints it was sexist.

A consumer rights group demanded Iberia, Spain's national flag carrier, pull the ad for online sales as it was offensive to Cuban women and could encourage sex tourism. The animated cartoon shows young Cuban women driving the baby to the beach, dancing for him and massaging him after he is transported to the Caribbean island.

"It's sexist, Cubans could find it offensive," said Ruben Sanchez, a spokesman for the Facua consumer rights group. Foreign tourists have long travelled to Cuba to buy sex and companionship in exchange for hard currency and gifts. Iberia said it had not meant to offend anyone with the ad.

Best & Worst Beach Bodies 2007

Just in time for summer, Star magazine reveals which celebrities are beach-bod ready, and those who should opt to stay in winter hibernation mode.

Best Tattooed: PINK

Dainty bows tattooed under each butt cheek? Why not! When you look this good in a bikini from behind it’s a gift! Hard-bodied Pink shows off her super-toned physique on a beach outside Sydney

Best Booty-Shakin: Rihanna

This Barbados-born hip-hop princess grew up frolicking on the beach – and she still rules the sands! Rihanna, 19, is hot in a bedazzled black bikini- and even pulls off that dowdy cap! – while hanging in her native island country

Best Oscar: Charlize Theron

No fair! Charlize, 31, is blessed with killer beauty and great gams – and he has an Oscar at home (for 2003’s Monster) to boot! The statuesque former model lights up the beach in Malibu while sporting a teeny-weeny print bikini.

Best Bikini: Cameron Diaz

Wow, that’s one lucky ogre! The star of the new hit film Shrek the Third hits the beach and shows off her supremely toned and ultra leggy 34-year-old bod in an adorable sherbet-striped bikini.

Best Better-Half: Kelly Preston

Her tubby hubby, John Travolta, ranks among the worst bods, but Kelly proves that opposites attract during a Hawaiian getaway. John’s a lucky, lucky guy!

Best All Around: Jessica Biel

It’s easy to see what attracted Justin Timberlake to his new love! The bootylicious ex-7th Heaven star, 23 – who was recently spotted visiting her new sweetie in London, where he’s launching his world tour – Is a vision in white while romping ton the beach in Hawaii!

Best Plus-Size: Queen Latifah

All hat the Queen! Her best accessory? Confidence! In a flattering black one piece, Latifah, 37, proves that (a bit) bigger can be a whole lot better while vacationing in Hawaii.

Best Curvy: Penelope Cruz

How do you say hubba-hubba-haubba in Spanish? The Madrid-born stunner, 33, is muy caliente in a dark one-piece suit while frolicking in the surf on the celeb-fave Caribbean isle of St. Bart’s.

Best Back from Bony: Kate Bosworth

Now that’s much better, Kate! After shocking fans with her skeletal fram last fall, the Superman Returns star, 24, is positively pinupworthy – and absolutely gorgeous! – in a flower-print bikini and trendy white shades while in Maui.

Best Hot House-Wife: Nicollette Sheridan

You think she’s desperate? Fat chance! Nicollette is the TV housewife with the ridiculously hot figure! The 43-year-old (that’s not a typo!) rocks a colorful striped bikini while strolling in Malibu.

Now for the Hunky Hollywood Men – The Best Bods Go to…

Best Action Hero: Hugh Jackman

Wolverine is looking kinda fierce! The X-Men star, 38, flaunts major muscles along with his swoon-inducing, screen-idol good looks on the beach in his native Australia.

Best Hidden: Jude Law

Hey, Jude! We thought you were scrawny! Who knew that the dreamy and blue-eyed actor, 34, had such a rockin’, well-sculpted bod? Jude reveals just enough to prove he’s got the right stuff while on vacation at the beach on Britain’s Isles of Scilly.

Best Soccer: David Beckham

The English soccer legend and admitted metrosexual, 32, proves that he’s the rare guy who can actually pull off a teeny Speedo-style swimsuit (unless of course, those are his undies!) Question: Did wife Posh have the privilege of oiling him up so nicely?

Best Bachelor: Andy Baldwin

The star of the Bachelor’s tenth season is a ripped-and-ready megahunk – no wonder so many women made fools of themselves on national TV! The 30-year-old licensed doctor and US Navy lieutenant is clearly a catch – in or out of uniform!

Best Morning Show: Matt Lauer

Eat your heart out, Al Roker! The Today show chatter, 49, and his surprisingly ripped abs are the talk of the town in the Hamptons. Plus, Matt gets extra points for having his adorable daughter, Romy, 3, in tow.

Star's Fave Couples…These Heavenly Bodies Attract!

Best Back-ON Duo: Tommy Lee & Pamela Anderson

Their romance is on-again, then off-again, then – what do you know! – back on! Although it’s tough to keep track of the couple’s status, the buff tattooed rocker, 44, and his blonde bombshell baby moma, 39, always look awesome when they strip down to hit the beach together, as they did recently in Maui it’s tradition – they even wore bathing suits to their 1995 wedding!

Best: Side-By-Side Sexy: Rande Gerber & Cindy Crawford

He’s a former model. And she’s, well, a former supermodel! But this hot couple looks like they could still rock the runway. The pair shows off their fit bods in the Bahamas.

Best Reality TV: Heidi Montag & Spencer Pratt

Somebody’s proud of her new bod! And why not? The Hills beauty, 20, paid good money for it! Along with her equally fit manage/beau, Spencer Pratt, the recently augmented looker hit the beach in Malibu.

Best MTV-Ready: Nick Lachey & Vanessa Minnillo

He’s an MTV-fave heartthrob; she’s a gorgeous former VJ. Together, the brand-new live-in couple sun, sip and show off their fantastic swimsuit shapes while boating in Cincinnati.

Best Old Married Couple: Harry Hamlin & Lisa Rinna

After more than 10 years of marriage and two children – and it’s rumored, a few cosmetic procedures a piece – Harry, 55, and Lisa, 43, are still one of the hottest couples on the beach in Malibu! We should all be sol lucky!

Finally Star reveals the Worst Beach Bods of 2007: Everyone out of the water! Scary sea creatures have washed up on shore!

Worst Saggy: Uma Thurman

Talk about letting it all hang out, well, down. We know the mom of two, 37, can afford a bikini top that offers a lot more support – and a lot less droop!

Worst Burnout: Courtney Love

Let this be a lesson: Years of not caring for your body make you look scary in a bikini! Also, if you get gastric-band surgery – as Love, 42, reportedly did – splurge for the additional procedure of tighten saggy skin!

Worst Secret Sagginess: Kate Hudson

Kate, 28, looks so perfect when she’s wearing clothing! But the actress and single mom’s plunging blue bikini revealed a surprisingly saggy tummy during a Hawaiian vacation.

Worst Man-Boob: John Travolta

Where have you gone, Tony Manero? The one-time Saturday Night Fever heartthrob, now 53, looks like he ate him! Even worse than that flabby tummy? Unsightly man boobs that look like they could use a bikini top!

Worst Bikini: Hulk Hogan

The former hard-bodied wrestling stud turned Hogan Knows Best patriarch, 53, has gone wrong in so many ways – not the least of which is squeezing himself into a neon-green slingshot suit that makes it tough to avoid noticing Hulk’s uh, hogans.

10 Tips from Bikini Bootcamp

I cringed when I first read the title of the new cookbook by Erica Gragg and Melissa Perlman, owners and founders of the Amansala Spa on the Mexican Riviera. Based on their popular fitness program, it's called Bikini Bootcamp: Two Weeks to Your Ultimate Beach Body. It sounded like some type of regimen involving grapefruit and cabbage (possibly in tandem) and rounds of push-ups.

Despite initial hesitation, I was intrigued by the story of two best friends relocating from Manhattan to Mexico to open a resort — next thing I knew, I had read the book cover to cover. The premise is simple: It's a guide for spa clients who wanted to live like Amansala guests even after returning home. Though the book includes workout advice and a 14-day get-in-shape plan, I focused on the cookbook section, which features about 80 Asian- and Mexican-inspired recipes. I was impressed that a "diet" book wove in flavor-boosters such as avocado, white wine, sesame oil, and brown sugar, and also that nearly every dish contained some kind of fat to keep you sated. I tried a few of them, and the recipes tasted as good as they looked.

After taking one bite of the Amansala Salad with Ginger-Sesame Dressing, my husband — who does most of the cooking in our household — said, "You're going to have to make this salad three times a week. No less."

Gragg and Perlman's overall eating philosophy is sensible: Buy organic when possible, eat lots of fruits and veggies, choose foods that are only one step removed from their natural state, and mix in whole grains and good fats (nuts, avocados, olive oil) judiciously. Since not all of us can travel to the sleepy beach town of Tulum, where resort recruits snack on fresh mango and strength-train with fallen coconuts (no joke!), I asked Gragg for more healthy eating advice. Here are her tips.

Eat Mindfully: Raise your hand if dinner often means chowing down while zoning out to Idol (or whatever happens to be on TiVo backlog). To encourage readers to focus on their food and how it tastes, the authors suggest setting a pretty table (even if you're dining alone), turning off the television and iPod, and even ditching those books and magazines. "Being mindful of not only why you are eating but also what you are eating means not only will you only eat when you are truly hungry, but you will begin to value and enjoy your meals so much more," says Gragg.

Low-Fat, Not Nonfat: Gragg and Perlman love a smoothie (their ginger-pineapple, which is made with plain low-fat yogurt, was my favorite). And since I can't stand the insipid mouth-feel of nonfat yogurt, I was thrilled that all the recipes call for low-fat dairy products. Here's Gragg's take: "The human body needs some fat to properly absorb vitamins and minerals. Remember, it's about portion and balance."

Focus on Fiber: When purchasing cereal or bread, the authors suggest choosing products that have four grams of fiber or more per serving. "Fiber is very filling, which means that you will eat less, yet feel fuller," explains Gragg. "Beyond that, fiber aids in digestion, flushing through your body very quickly, and soluble fiber binds to cholesterol and helps the body eliminate it." Okay, okay. I'll eat more fiber.

A Is for Amaranth: I was skeptical about this indigenous Mexican grain that the authors suggest as a morning cereal. (It can also be used to increase the fiber content of bread or pancakes.) It took much longer to cook than the package indicated, and its stubborn bits clung to the saucepan, bowl, and stove, even after repeated scrubbing. But I do love a toothsome grain, and I've become fond of its nutty flavor. (Oatmeal now seems bland in comparison.) It also packs a nutritious punch: Gragg points out that amaranth has three times the fiber content of wheat and a healthy amount of calcium.

Start with Soup: Having soup before dinner fills you up, and it's an easy way to sneak in a few extra servings of vegetables.

Mixing Up the Salads: So their guests don't tire of the same old greens, chefs at Amansala create salads using beans (black, garbanzo, and cannellini), whole wheat couscous, soba noodles, and raisins with apples (for a chicken salad). My favorite "green" is Napa cabbage, because the hearty heads stay fresh for up to a week in the fridge.

Sprinkle, Sprinkle: Many recipes call for a teaspoon or two of healthy mix-ins such as flax seeds, sesame seeds, and slivered almonds, all of which add fiber and protein and keep you satisfied until the next meal.

Spice It Up: "Too much salt leads to water retention and an energy slump," warns Gragg. I'm a bit of a saltaholic, but I found I needed less of the white stuff with these recipes because their flavor was pumped up with herbs and spices. I was digging through my pantry and fridge to bring out ingredients I don't use nearly enough, including curry and ginger powders, turmeric, and jarred jalapeños.

Befriend the Blender: With all the soups and smoothies I was eating on the Bikini Bootcamp diet, I used this do-it-all appliance more over the last month than I have since receiving it as a wedding gift. Blended salad dressing has been my personal revelation, and I don't think I'll be able to go back to making it with a whisk. It emulsified better, so the flavors seemed more cohesive, and it stayed blended, making it a cinch to grab and pour without having to remix.

Follow Your Fist: If you're craving a snack, try to eat something about the size of your fist, suggests Gragg. Of course, this shouldn't be, say, four chocolate truffles. The authors' snack suggestions were mostly the usual diet suspects (fruit, yogurt, veggies, air-popped popcorn), though the jicama sticks sound interesting; they're dusted with chili powder and finished with a squeeze of lime. If spas served bar snacks, that one would certainly be on the menu.

Try these recipes from Bikini Bootcamp:
• Amansala Salad with Ginger-Sesame Dressing
• Chicken Curry with Veggies on Whole-Grain Couscous

The bikini: a feminist issue

Turkey's ban on posters showing women in two-pieces will not stop its emancipated women dressing however they please.

A brief history of the Turkish bikini: nice respectable teenage girls were wearing them in the resorts around Istanbul and Izmir as far back as the 1960s. On "unspoiled" beaches it was not uncommon to attract a mob of staring men in those days, but as more resorts opened up, the bikini followed. By the 1980s, attitudes had relaxed all along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. This was partly because so many millions of Turks had spent time as guest workers in Germany, and partly because many more millions now had television, and their favourite programme was the bikini-studded Dallas.

In the 1990s, when mass tourism went massive, it was not uncommon to see a Turkish village woman bathing fully covered, while on a skimpy towel only metres away a foreign tourist sunbathed topless. You can think of that as a contradiction, or you can think of it as inevitable when some sectors of a rapidly changing society modernise faster than others. By the middle of that decade, though, the bikini was facing a serious challenge. The Islamist Refah party (soon to be banned and replaced by the Fazilet party, also later banned, eventually paving the way for the latest ruling) was by then taking a serious interest in women's modesty. It was at about that time that you began to hear about beach clubs that offered separate facilities for men and women and required Islamist dress. There was also the sad tale of the group of Islamist girls who were drowning but not rescued for fear of offending their modesty.

This caused great consternation in secular circles, where women's clothing is also politically symbolic. So it has been since the founding of the Republic in 1923. Ataturk did not actually ban the veil, but he did instigate what the Turks call a dress revolution; his adopted daughters were amongst the first to model western clothing and it soon became a mark of modernity - and patriotism - to follow suit. Turkish women got the vote before French women did. Because westernised families also took female education seriously, women established themselves in the professions far sooner than in many parts of Europe (including the UK). The percentage of tenured women professors was already higher in Turkey than anywhere else in the world in the mid-1990s, when the then dominant Islamist party came up with the brilliant idea of sending covered women into the universities that were commonly acknowledge as secularism's most sacred space.

Many of their secularist classmates were so upset by the very sight of them that they'd spit in their faces. This is not hearsay, as I saw it with my own eyes. But the divide was not as clear cut as that might suggest. There were many women academics who understood the political gamesmanship involved, but who thought that covered students had the right to an education just as they had the right to decide on what they wore and that, armed with an education, they would, with time, effect change from within. Of course, this presupposes a family that allows girls to make their own decisions (which is definitely not always the case) and even more important, a state that upholds those girls' right to do so.

There is a very real and understandable fear that an Islamist-dominated state would turn the country into "another Iran". But the Turkish state has since its inception been dominated by secularists - secularists who are inclined to believe that Turkey is not really mature enough to enjoy the human rights that those of us living in European democracies take for granted. So the Turkish state decided that it should be the one to decide what women did or did not wear on their heads. It banned the headscarf in universities and all state buildings.

The debate about the rights and wrongs of this measure still rages on. Some ask why it is Islamist women who have to bear the full brunt of this state-imposed sanction, and not Islamist men. Isn't that sexism in a pernicious new form? When one Islamist leader decided more or less overnight that the headscarf game had played itself out in terms of political advantage, he commended his female followers to abandon them. Some did; others took the rather feminist position that they should be the ones to decide when to take their headscarves off. A handful of disgruntled activists started a human rights organisation for covered women. Others took to conserving their modesty by wearing wigs.

In the mid-90s, the approved uniform for Islamist women was not something anyone could have enjoyed wearing in the heat of summer. There was not just the Islamist headscarf (tightly tied under the chin, to distinguish it from the common-or-garden peasant headscarf) but the heavy, badly cut ankle-length trench coat. That there has been continuous negotiation "from within" is evident from the annual revisions to that outfit. Trench coats eventually gave way to waistcoats. Scarves became ever silkier and colourful, and this year skirts worn by girls from good Islamist families have gone right up to the knee. It is commonplace to think of Islamist parties as representing the marginalised, the hopeless, and the dispossessed, but the mainstay of today's ruling Islamist party is the emerging Anatolian bourgeoisie. They have money and (like the westernised urban bourgeoisie) they like to express their rising status with expensive clothes.

Expensive or no, their clothing remains politically symbolic. But what does it signify? Some (and I would include myself in this group) believe that Turkey is now confident enough after 84 years of secularism to allow for muted religious expression in the private sphere and that a democracy can and should support the right to such expression without blurring the line between Islam and the state. But (partly because Turkey is indeed so very secular in spirit) there are many who fear the AKP's ulterior motives. These include not just the westernised bourgeoisie but the Alevis.

The Alevis are a substantial minority (between 10% and 40%) who were persecuted by the Sunni Ottomans, and also by the Republic after Ataturk turned all Sunni clerics into civil servants but chose not to recognise the Alevis or even to count them. The Alevis believe in the equality of the sexes. Alevi women in particular fear what might happen to them should the Sunni AKP gain too much power. The hundreds of thousands of secularists who have been marching in recent weeks to protest encroaching Islamism are predominantly women and most of these women come from secular middle-class families or Alevi families or both.

What has fanned their fears? The media. In particular, those sectors of the print media that are closely allied to the party that stands to gain most by fanning that fear. This is the CHP, the Republican People's Party, founded by Ataturk, and traditionally the home of westernising, Europe-facing secularism. But ever since the Islamist AKP decided to embrace the European project, it has turned virulently nationalist, even ultranationalist. By which I mean not just anti-Europe, but pro-army, perhaps even pro-military coup. Freedom of expression is not high on this party's list. Neither is democracy. I don't want him to sue me, so I won't tell you everything I know about Baykal, the CHP's leader, though I would urge you not to buy a car from this man.

The sad fact - and it is a fact much discussed in the electronic network of Turkish feminist activists - is that neither the AKP nor the CHP have much to offer Turkey's emancipated women. But there are millions of them, and they have minds of their own. They even have an Emily's List. So we shall see.

Bikini skater going that extra mile for charity

THE lengths some people are willing to go to in the name of charity is truly remarkable; from swimming the Channel, climbing Everest, running a marathon dressed in a rhino suit or even roller-skating 14 miles in a bikini.

The latter is exactly what 29-year-old Newtownstewart woman Amanda McConomy is currently training to do in aid of the Ulster Cancer Foundation (UCF).

On Saturday July 28 Amanda will be embarking from her Grange Park home to skate a total of 14 miles along the back roads between Newtownstewart and Omagh before turning at the Sperrin restaurant and heading home down the main road.

"Running was destroying the bones in my hips so I had to stop it and soon fell in love with skating, after only three weeks I noticed I had lost inches around my legs," said Amanda. "Every chance I get I am out on the skates."

It was while skating about one day and Amanda was inspired to use her new fitness hobby as a means to raise money for the UCF.

Amanda explained why she chose the cancer charity: "It is a disease that affects so many people. I am a diabetic myself but I am able to control it; I am never going to be placed in a situation when I am suddenly told that I have only a few months to live."

Amanda has been practising the route over the past few weeks, getting ready for the big day when the tracksuit comes off and the bikini comes out of the cupboard.

According to Amanda there is a great buzz around Newtownstewart, although some locals think she is "not wise" for attempting this unique charity appeal.

She said, "Everybody in the town knows me and think I'm mad for doing this in a bikini. But I don't care about the embarrassment to me, I am thinking about the money this will raise for the people suffering from cancer.

"If people want to see me in a bikini out on the roads they will have to sponsor me."

Call me Bikini Babe if you like

Bipasha was at Cannes on Saturday. "But it was like not being there! I wasn't at Cannes film festival for even a full day. This was my first trip to Cannes and I'd have liked to see and experience more. I landed with John in the morning and was out by evening.

All I had time was the press events for our film Goal. That's it. No sightseeing, no shopping. I'm a major shopaholic, though I like to buy stuff for others and not just for myself. And of course I'd have liked to swim and relax."

The actress has just been labeled the hottest bikini babe in Bollywood.

"Have I?" she laughs. "I don't mind being called a bikini babe. I guess I looked right in a bikini in Dhoom 2. I know and so do my fans that I can pull off anything, from a suit-clad Corporate to a bikini in Dhoom 2. Looking hot is a good thing, I guess."

Bipasha is pretty miffed by her 'flying visit' to the French resort.

"The worst blow was I missed meeting Jude Law. John met him at a party hosted by Nike for another football film at the festival. I couldn't attend. Damn!"

Back home she has another Hollywood icon singling her out for praise on Koffee With Karan.

Richard Gere has described her on the talk- show as bright hot and desirable.

Bipasha laughs pleasurably. "I'm not just flattered. I'm flattened! If someone as sinfully goodlooking and amazingly cute as Richard Gere thinks that way about me., I don't mind missing Jude Law. Strangely I haven't met Richard Gere that much.

Though I've made it clear to Parmeshwar Godrej that I'm constantly available for any AIDS-related work on the field, I generally shy away from the charity dinners that Richard generally attends. Such dos are a don't for me. I'm not a social butterfly at all."

But she did resent not getting more time at Cannes. "The ambience is very likeable not just for movie buffs but anyone who wants to shop or simply stroll by the riverside. I got to do none of that.

In fact I was supposed to start shooting for Abbas-Mustan's Race early morning after landing late the previous evening. Fortunately for me they were gracious enough to postpone the morning shift by a few hours.

Thank God for such considerate souls. I don't know what I'd have done otherwise," sighs the busy actress who has had to cancel her holiday to Goa because of her schedules.

"Goa will just have to wait until I've a little breathing space. Right now with so much traveling I don't know whether I'm coming or going. I've another Goal to achieve at the moment," she puns about her next release where she plays a Pakistani medico.

"What preparations did I make to play a Pakistani girl? Nothing! Aren't working -women all over the world the same in dress, attitude and gender relations? I kept my makeup to the minimum, just dabbed some kajal in my eyes and picked up my medi-bag to take care of the injured souls on the field."

If she had one wish right now what would she like? "I wish I was one of the footballers in Goal instead of sitting on the bench. And if you give me one more wish, I wish I had met Jude Law at Cannes."

Malignant Mole Bikini

Anymore you can’t even mention tanning without someone jumping down your throat and preaching about all the hazards of the sun. I think secretly the whole thing was cooked up by geeks who hate to go outside (it’s a conspiracy). Well this Malignant Mole Bikini is just another way to take a stand about the issue.

I’m pretty sure this is the creepiest bikini I have ever seen, but it does make a valid point about sun damage. It was created by Fiona Carswell and it only reacts when exposed to UV light. Which means as long as you wear it inside, no funky brown moles for you.

Unfortunately it’s not quite high tech enough to know that you put on sun block. Even if you are smart about being in the sun, it makes you feel a bit guilty anyway. I just hope she doesn’t create a herpes condom or crabs underwear, I’m pretty sure that is the only thing that could possibly rival this bikini.

Bikini scandal nets Keira Knightley $7000

Actress Keira Knightley has won more than seven thousand dollars in damages over a British newspaper article claiming she was excessively thin.

The 'Daily Mail' ran a story with a picture of Keira in a bikini, with the headline: 'If Pictures Like This One Carried a Health Warning, My Darling Daughter Might Have Lived'.

Keira had argued that this could be interpreted as meaning she bore some responsibility for the tragic death of a 19 year old girl with anorexia.

Keira said she was embarrassed by the 'deeply offensive' suggestions, and argued to the court that she needs to weight train for action films, and she is an acceptable weight for her age, gender and height.

Kelly Brook in a Bikini

Curvy KELLY BROOK shore makes a splash at a sizzling shoot in Miami. The Kent cutie posed in a selection of bikinis.

‘My bikinis are the USP of my film’

Celina Jaitley in a sizzling hot interview, as she talks about the steamy kisses and her steamier bikinis in ‘Jawani Diwani’

You have worn a bikini in your debut film, ‘Janasheen’. How is it different now?
I feel me wearing a bikini in ‘Jawani Diwani’ has more to do with the theme of the film, than my debut film. I play this Christian girl who is always close to the beach.

We have worked a lot on the designs of the bikini and have kind of revolutionised bikini wearing in Bollywood. We have worked out certain colours like magenta, green, black and red which were never used on screen before for a bikini. We have also designed certain double layered bikinis. I can say my bikinis are the USP of the film.

You are not very modest, are you?
I have realised that being modest never helps. So I have to talk about it.

What about the steamy kisses in the film?
The film talks about the sexual chemistry between a man and a woman. So there are bound to be plenty of steamy scenes. I still remember for my first shot, I drank 25 glasses of water because I was really nervous. I watched at least six Hollywood films to know how to get my moves right. But in the end, they have come out really well. I didn’t want to look vulgar and they haven’t.

Are the kisses deeper than a normal Bollywood kiss?
Oh, much deeper than that (laughs coyly).

Tanissha invited a lot of wrath for her clothes in ‘Neal and Nikki’. Do you expect that kind of a reaction?

We are an evolving society. I am so glad that kisses are allowed on screen because that is a brilliant thing to do. Whenever there is attraction between a man and a woman, the best way to display it is through a kiss. It is happening all around us. We cannot deny it. There is going to be a lot of shock value. But I don’t really care. I am doing my job perfectly well.

Bikini Babes of Bollywood

It is hard to say exactly when heroines started appearing in bikini in Bollywood, and who was the first gal to strike a pose wearing skimpy clothes. In the 70’s actress Sharmila Tagore appeared in a bikini (which made her into an overnight sex symbol) followed by Dimple Kapadia, who was called as the bikini idol by the media at that time. Since then almost all Bollywood leading ladies have been seen in bikini or swimsuit for once or more. And though many starlet have tried taking the bikini route to fame, only a select few have made an impression. Here they are:

Riya Sen

Riya Sen, daughter of actress Moon Moon Sen, one of the hottest ladies of the 70’s and famous for bikini shots, followed her mummy’s footsteps and sometimes even crossed her. As a model, Riya has her own identity. In films, she is still at struggling stage.

Celina Jaitley

“Indian audiences are not matured enough,�? complained Celina. Here people focus more on heroines’ revealing shots. Acting skills are always secondary to judge one’s class and how good she is. Knowing acting is not one her strengths, it’s no surprise she poses in bikini without any inhibition

Lara Dutta

Wearing bikini is no more taboo in Bollywood showbiz. Beauty queen Lara Dutta has no problem capitalizing on bikini shots to find her foothold in the Hindi film industry.

Mallika Sherawat

Whatever she does, it makes you sit erect. Whatever she wears, it titillates you. Her intention is clear to make your attention pin-pointed on her sensual parts. She is sultry Mallika Sherawat, who always says it script demands.

Neha Dhupia

Here is Neha Dhupia, one of the current hotties of Bollywood, letting the waterfalls to hit her bare-dare bod with seductive glow in her face.

Koena Mitra

She is Bengali bombshell Koena Mitra. Koena started her career with modelling, debuted in films as the item girl in Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Road’, and has now said ‘no’ to any more item number. In fact she has a problem with the term itself. But thankfully, Koena didn’t stop posing in bikini, public demand counts after all!

New Lara Croft model: Same boobalicious video heroine

One of the places where women are rampantly portrayed as objects, hoes, sluts, and bimbos is video games. I worked in the video game industry for a few years, and was constantly appauld by the way video game designers constantly "Hoed up" the female characters. In almost every video game, you will find a shower scene, bikini bounce, and outfits that would make Paris Hilton look virtuous. It surprises me that more women's groups and crusaders are not all over the video industry like rap on P. Diddy.

Lara Croft is one of the very few lead characters in mainstream video gaming, and we all know her now because of Angelina Jolie. Lara kills bad guys, goes on exciting adventures, and is a fiercely powerful female force. However, the emphasis on her bodacious looks is always clear.

Lara's got bountiful size D boobs, which is just not practical when you're swinging from vines in the jungle, she looks like a goddess born out of perfection, and you almost NEVER see her fully clothed. Even when everyone else is in a scuba suit, Lara will be in a bikini. And, the real life models, like newly crowned "Lara" Karima Adebibe (more pics), are of course Amazonian, skinny, big-hootered, and have perfect highlights & skin, just like every proper fantasy woman should be even if she is saving the world from bad guys.

Pregnant beer babes in Bikinis

Brazilian beer company, Nova Schin, introduced a non-alcoholic beer, and their management actually approved of an ad campaign featuring pregnant women, dressed in bikinis and daisy dukes. More pics here.

Supposedly, all these ads are photoshopped pregnancies because'd have to seriously have no shame whatsoever to pose for this if you were really pregnant, and 2. how do you go about casting for pregnant hotties for a beer ad without looking like complete scum.

In the season opener of CSI:NY, one of the "suspects" in the death of a businessman was a pregnant stripper. I am kidding you not. On stage with her pole was the bump-and-grind belly. Below is the video clip.

Another mention, here's a pic of a family sports car ad with a pregnant mom in a couture one-piece swim suit and heels looking like a hood ornament.

This stuff honestly makes me want to vomit, and then go and pummel some ass-anine executive who actually gave a thumbs up on this stuff. Yes, I'm all for showing that pregnant women can still be sexy during their pregnancy but this ABSOLUTELY not the way to do it. This stuff is highly exploitive. For CSI:NY, they didn't have to show us the pregnant stripper actually on stage. They could have just visited her backstage in the dressing room. We would have gotten the point.

Am I the only one who is nauseated by seeing pregnant beer babes and strippers?

Children Used to Market Adult Bikinis: Disturbing


For Los Angeles Fashion Week, swimsuit designer Ashley Paige had a model in a bikini who looked about 10 years old. She was the only child in the group, and appeared with adult models who were in bikinis themselves. Most obviously, this did not go over well.

The Hollywood-based Ashley Paige says of her designs: "I think the women who like my stuff...exude sexuality."

This was not a showcase of clothes for kids. This is a little girl prancing around a runway with flashing bulbs in a string bikini along side adult women exuding sexuality. What on earth was Ms. Paige thinking?

The source of this post is the Daily Mail from the UK, and what is interesting to me is the 28 comments from the readers on this particular article. While most agreed that the bikini clad girl was tasteless, there was a notable amount of comments that essentially said, "What's the big deal? Little girls wear bikinis on the beach all the time."

The bigger issue is why can't kids just be kids as long as they can. There is something very inappropriate about girls in 3rd/4th grade in bikinis on runways. Why are we stripping little girls of their innocence so young when they will have decades to wear makeup, high heels, and skimpy clothes? This is exactly how beauty and body isues start.

Oprah: Kirstie Alley beyond the bikini

So everyone knows that Kirstie Alley pranced on Oprah's stage yesterday to keep her promise of showing off her slimmer body in a bikini. Kirstie lost 75 pounds from a high of 220. The video broke out online early in the day before the Oprah episode aired here in the Bay Area. I wanted to see the show before I made any comment on the video, and I'm glad I did.

Kirstieoprah_1 In the video clip, all you saw was the first 30 seconds or so of Kirstie's unveiling. Many of the comments on the other blogs/sites where the video was posted early were mostly positive, but there were a good deal that were negative. The message behind the bikini prance was much deeper than to say, "Hey don't I look hot now." It was about giving some courage and relief to other women about their bodies because we are so obssessed about tying our value and esteem to the way we look.

If we don't fit a mold or are not perfect, many of us feel we have no right to be so bold as to celebrate our selves as the beautiful women we all are. Kirstie is no Giselle but she is also not 220 pounds anymore. Dropping 75 pounds is a big accomplishment, and more importantly Kirstie is using her experience to help encourage others.

Kirstie made this appearance on Oprah not as a publicity stunt but as a way to show other women, "Hey you are good enough!" From the Oprah website show summary:

"At age 55, Kirstie now feels comfortable in her own skin. "I don't think women ever feel like we're good enough," she says. "We don't feel like we're thin enough or pretty enough or smart enough or work hard enough … We all are good enough and we look good enough and we are not our bodies, you know?"

Bravo! Following Kirstie's story there were follow ups on other guests including a 22 year-old young lady who lost 170 pounds and looked so amazingly happy, two girls who survived the Rwandan genocide and were reunited with their parents almost a decade later, and another woman who worked at Starbucks and somehow supported 10 children and her own mother. With Oprah's help she has a new house, and college money for each one of the kids. Bono's Product (RED) endeavor has already raised $15 million. Buy (RED) this holiday.

The whole Oprah episode was incredibly uplifting, and I'm very glad I stay tuned to watch the whole thing. It's awesome to watch something on TV and walk away feeling good.

Walking downtown in a bikini in the middle of cold & flu season

This is a Japanese ad for Jet Star, a Qantas airline brand. Now, the idea of going to Maui when it's Winter sounds like a really delicious idea, but I don't know many women, well any actually, who would be caught dead walking around downtown in a bikini when it's 30 degrees or even 90 degrees. Me thinks, the by standers are not looking in awe but in "WTF?" Silly marketers.

Will posing in an online "Hottie Girl" contest hurt a college girl's future?

If you're a college Coed and are thinking about entering a "Hottie Girl" type online contest for the potential to win cash prizes to pay off your student loans, you might want to think twice. In the SFGate, there is a story asking if photos of online beauty contests can hurt a college woman's future.

For example, the site College Humor has this popular hottie contest called, "America's Hottest College Girl 2007" where girls are matched up against each other each day, and the voting public gets to vote who climbs the ladder until we get a winner. For each girl there are even profile details where they ask things like, "What are the beat and worst pick up lines? and Have you ever made a guy cry?" Yeah, it's deep stuff.

Most, not all, of the girls are dressed in a bikini, swimsuit, or some kind of tightly clingy ensemble showing loads of skin. No nudity is allowed but you can pose in your best Maxim or FHM pose which mind you is locker pinup material. Because this contest is online, these pictures will stay around forevah!

Will the fact that you entered or participated in a hottie or beauty contest hurt your future? I say it depends on what kind of contest it is, what kind of pictures you are posing in, and what do you want to do in your future? If you want to be a Paris Hilton or Jenna Jameson when you grow up, that is one thing, but if you want to be a in a future position that requires the utmost level of respectability and honor like being a Chief Justice, school teacher, or even a potential Miss USA, then I would seriously, seriously sit down and think about what kind of risk you're willing to bear for the sake of having some fun and popularity in some skin baring hottness tournament.

* Are you going to be proud of being in this contest and having your parents, future husband and children see you nearly naked posing seductively for millions of oogling hormonal males?

* Picture yourself 10 years from now, jockeying for a Vice-President or Partner position at the Firm, and they throw on the desk the pictures of you in that wet t-shirt contest you entered when you were a college sophomore. Will you be prepared to handle the jokes and the taunting from co-workers who are trying to bring you down because people get really mean when competing at work?

* Think of two people you highly respect and regard, and picture yourself telling them about this contest you want to enter and show them the pictures you want to submit. Will they support your decision or not?

The lessons in being young is doing stupid crazy things we think we can. But now, we live in a digital age where pictures, videos, and voice recordings can live on forever, and are accessible to anyone once it hits the Internet. I'm not saying you can't go do wild and crazy things. Just take a moment to think. If you think that you don't care, really, you just might later on.

The Tits of Destiny: Wrestling and Bikinis

Wrestling companies have often promoted their top stars based on, of all things, a body part. It's not really that difficult to see why; the sport involves man-to-man combat and requires a wealth of knowledge about the human body (theoretically). Plenty of performers have made a few bucks over the years capitalizing on their bodies to get over. Would could ever forget such menacing extremities as Lex Luger's bionic forearm, which took Lex's tendency to string eight clotheslines together and put it to good use? How about the Hulkster's big leg, which still stands as the most ridiculous finisher to ever end WrestleMania (even in competition with that one chair shot Vince gave the Rock in 2000) but was still legit to the crowd because of the move's booking. And of course there's the People's Elbow, which looks like it hurts about as much as a somewhat forceful shove but still helped Rocky mega-over and spawned the Worm and the Five-Knuckle Shuffle. To be certain, the anatomy is ripe for picking in the wrestling world, but one fixture (well, fixtures) has shaped more individual careers than the lot of them. You guessed it, boobs!

At the time of this writing, Melina Perez holds the WWE Women's Championship, a title she won after about a handful of TV wrestling matches. Her opponent this past month at WM23, as we all know, was Ashley Massaro, the second winner of the Raw Diva Search. Ashley's run at the title (un-coinciding with her Playboy debut) was granted after only a handful of matches and exactly no big-time angles not directly involving Trish Stratus. This represents a common trend of "the breast is mightier than the hammerlock" mindset in WWE and in wrestling as a whole.

Now of course, the title hasn't always been held and defended by non-wrestlers. Mickie James, a well regarded performer by all kinds of fans, is scheduled to fight Melina for the championship this month at Backlash in fact. But WWE clearly sees its top female draws as the ones who can give them the kind of outside coverage a Playboy spread brings. If they can do some wrestling moves while they're at it, awesome. And one event, at the height of the Attitude era, kicked this thought process into high gear. It was the PPV production of Fully Loaded 1998 in Fresno, and it featured the all-time greatest mark out moment for thirteen-year-old boys everywhere. It's star: the one and only Sable…and her huge ta-ta's.

For the majority of the ‘90s, women in wrestling were cast in largely traditional roles. They were either valets for male superstars or wrestlers in their own right. Female stars like Sherri Martel, the Fabulous Moolah, Miss Elizabeth and Madusa were known to fans all over, either for their superior skills in the ring, their uncanny ability to draw the right kind of heat, or both. Sure these women were beautiful, but the reason they connected with the fans was because of their ferocity or their grace or their sheer will to win.

But along with most everything else in the business, the onset of "Attitude" changed all of that. Granted the ball was already rolling with people like Sunny and the Nitro Girls running around, but 1998 tore the door wide open for the female angles we've come to expect. The increased focus on the adult male demographic (who generally condone women removing their clothes) quickened the pace of change in how women were being presented on TV. Sable symbolized this change far more than any other woman did during this time.

After debuting as one of HHH's ladies in waiting at WMXII, the WWF paired Sable with real-life husband "Wildman" Marc Mero. After Mero was sidelined with an injury, Sable's increased exposure led to a sudden burst in popularity. When her husband returned as "Marvelous" Marc Mero later in the year, he was jealous of his valet and became a marvelous asshole. This turned into a very engaging feud between the two and made Sable into one of the hottest acts in wrestling.

Mero, in kayfabe response to Sable's rising status in the fans' eyes, did what any of us would do: went black. In June, the WWT brought in Jacqueline as an actual female foil and paired her with Mero. Their war, which started solely because of how hot Sable was, culminated not with a regular old wrestling match. Such a move just wasn't…attitudinal…enough. No, this confrontation required a booking tool that would become the showcase for the company's women: a bikini contest. Inspiring, I know.

To comment on the action at Fully Loaded would be foolish, since the entire segment consisted of one woman taking off a shirt to massive boos and one taking off a shirt to massive cheers. What is worth mentioning are the bikinis themselves, which defied laws of physics simply by staying on. Jackie stripped down first (to the surprise of no one) and revealed a red number that JUST BARELY covered her gargantuan jubblies. Unfortunately since Jackie was A) the heel, and B) unattractive, she and Mero were shat upon by the crowd. It was a good thing they weren't there to see Jackie.

When it finally came time for Sable to throw her tit in the hat, she removed the shirt and introduced the world to two hand prints painted ever-so-subtly right where logic would dictate they be painted. All she had on besides those was a simple bikini bottom. She was disqualified from the contest, most likely under the "can you swim in it" paradigm of bikini design, and Jackie was awarded the win. Now, regardless of whether or not that really qualifies as a bikini, it shocked the wrestling world and received a good deal of mainstream attention. Not to mention it gave teenage fans like me (at the time) a reason to repeatedly hit the pause button for years to come. That is, if you can block out a hormone-overloaded King from your screen as he becomes a man all over again right beside her.

Where have women's roles in wrestling gone from there? Well from an overall standpoint, it's hard to say. The Sable/Jackie feud did serve as a catalyst for the return of the women's title after four years of being defunct. This brought women's wrestling back to national television, which has to be considered a good thing. But taking the title out of it, think about how many female wrestlers have been made famous this decade as opposed to the "pretty" ones. With the sport's target audience, it's just easier to get a girl over on looks than on talent. Now put the title back into it, and think about how it's been booked since returning. Other than Trish/Lita, Trish/Victoria, Molly/Victoria, and Trish/Mickie, and can't remember a single women's feud that brought the goods in both the wrestling and booking departments…in almost ten years! Hell, Sable wasn't even a real wrestler but was booked at the top of the division anyway.

Before Fully Loaded, we didn't have a very good idea of Vince vision for the ladies of the company. The bikini contest between Sable and Jacqueline provided a template for that vision. Since then we've witnessed such masterpieces as the Lingerie Pillow Fight, the Paddle On a Pole match, and the coining of that ever-so-defining word: Diva. WWE even tried to recreate the Sable moment in the buildup to WM23 by having Ashley sport the same kind of "suit", just with Playboy bunnies instead of hands. Classier maybe, but as Vanilla Ice said, "It's not the same."

The ripple effect caused by events like Fully Loaded has created this strange code of behavior and acceptability involving the Divas. We've gotten to a point where it's okay for Lawler to act like a sixteen-year-old and shout "puppies" more often that he says the words "move", "hold" or "wrestling" combined. It's okay for fans to mercilessly boo the one girl who refuses to take off her clothes for millions of people's entertainment in what's basically a glorified livestock show. And it's okay for Vince McMahon to act out deep sexual fantasies on his television show with girls younger than his daughter, as if he were some roided up Cassa fucking Nova!

Now one can say that I'm being a tad hypocritical here; I've been using the same rhetoric and slang terms that everyone says makes women feel inferior throughout this entire column. But actions speak louder than words, and I would MUCH rather book someone like Mickie James to go for the title at WM than someone whose attributes can be removed effortlessly with a strong enough laser. When finding someone to blame for the unfortunate state of women's wrestling, feel free to look at Vince or the King or the bookers or the huge population of horny young guys in American. As for me, I'm placing the blame firmly on the shoulders of whoever the hell got to paint those hands in Fresno…lucky bastard.

It's simple: make the women's wrestling championship about the wrestling. Leave the boob-focus in the past, where it belongs.

Defining Summer fashion

WHAT defines summer fashion? Bikinis? Boardshorts? Sleeveless? Tube tops? Pastel colors? Sandals? Slip ons? Sundress? Hawaiian shirts? Whatever your choice is, just remember that summer fashion is all about comfort.

All of the above-mentioned summer-fashion symbols were donned by the various weekend warriors last April 21, when Iloilo's ultimate party place, Flow, threw its "Wet and Wild Summer" party.

It was nice to see the majority of the Ilonggo nocturnal creatures and habitués of Flow cooperating with the theme for the night as they came garbed in the summer fashion pieces of their respective choice.

A few daring Ilonggas came in their bikini tops, though some of those souls brought smiles of ridicule---rather than smiles of admiration---to the faces of men. I couldn't help being amused with comments I heard from the men as some of those ladies wearing bikini tops passed. "Wala na gid guro inugbakal drinks pre (Maybe, they have no money to buy drinks)," quipped one guy to a friend since Flow offered free drinks to women in such a getup. How mean---but funny.

The party turned out to be a really wild one, as usual, as Ilonggos unleashed their body heat with their moves and grooves. Plus, the presence of water guns provided by Flow made the event more riveting, and wet of course, as the nocturnal creatures tried to douse the temperature by shooting water at each other. How childlike, but undeniably fun.

Speaking of bikinis, I'd like to offer these tips to women who dare to wear this most popular summer fashion symbol for ladies. Maybe other party places or private parties may request you to come in bikini tops, full bikini gear or summer-wear this season. To avert harsh comments from the men, please try to observe these three suggestions.

1. Don't dare to be daring when you are uncomfortable. People might think you are being pimped or forced into prostitution.

2. In the April 9 issue of Wonder V Mandays, most of my respondents defined sexy in terms of attitude. You don't need to have those super sized bulges and evident curves to be considered as one. However ladies, don't be overconfident when wearing those bikinis with your chin up, especially when you have nothing to be proud of in terms of the physical. Men will definitely think you are nothing more than a trying hard.

3. Cover those flawed parts of your skin with foundation or concealer that matches your skin tone. Most party places are dark, I know. But you know, some men are so particular about good skin quality. Better yet, if you have blemishes or stretch marks, opt for other summer fashion outfits. Floral or sundresses are great. Don't be so engrossed in the idea that it's all attitude. The physical still matters, believe me.

Solar powered bikini to charge iPods!

London, Apr 23: A New York University student's curiosity to explore new ways of producing energy has resulted in a solar- powered bikini that can charge iPods.

Designer Andrew Schneider made the apparel by covering a black cloth with a line of panels and the piece, which can also be worn in water, has got the charger on the hip area.

But, the designer has asked users to keep in mind that though the garment can be worn in water, the apparel has to be dry before connecting it with an iPod.

"It can be worn in water but you'd have to let it dry completely before you plugged your iPod in," the Sun quoted the designer, as saying.

Schenider is now thinking of designing a pair of male beach shorts that can charge a beer cooler.

Swimming to liberty

The summer heat is upon us and many of you may have started swimming, the only sensible way to stay fit in this season.

And almost all of us women take the swimsuit/bikini that we wear to swim in for granted. But not so long ago women in “liberal” Europe had to wear clothes that covered their modesty and which were hazardous in water.

A new book out in the UK called The Swimsuit by Sarah Kennedy chronicles the way the swimsuit changed as women fought for their rights to what we wear, and take for granted, today.

Says Kennedy, “The bathing suit is a perfect barometer. No item of clothing has evolved as dramatically as the swimsuit.” What women in Europe and America in the 1800s and early 1900s wanted was a piece of clothing that did not hinder their enjoyment of swimming, and not clothes which looked like gowns with crinoline with hems weighed down so that the garment would not float up.

In the 1850s, as part of the rational dress movement promoted by Amelia Bloomer, an American, loose trousers worn under a shorter skirt were introduced. Initially this did not catch the fancy but later, after being popularised as bloomers, they were also used for swimming.

Actually the Greeks, according to evidence on mosaic walls, wore the modern equivalent of the bikini as far back as 300 BC. But Europe in the 1800s and early 1900s was cruel to its women.

Says Kennedy, “In Europe and America, women could be arrested for revealing too many inches of calf. Wardens patrolled beaches to ensure that local laws were being adhered to.”

The swimsuit has in recent times been pilloried as a garment that over-sexualises women’s bodies, note the instance of the effort by some adherents of Islam to create a swimsuit that covers women all over (also called burqini).

It represents what women fought for so hard and won; the right to decide what to wear, an important step in the feminist movement. In 1907, Australian sportswoman Annette Kellerman was arrested in Boston for indecent exposure: her crime was that she was wearing a one-piece swimsuit with no skirt or pants to cover her modesty.

It may be hard to believe in a world where spaghetti straps are normal, everyday wear that the bikini was first designed (some use the word invented) in 1946. But even after that it took Hollywood’s glamour to make it an acceptable garment to swim in.

Are swimsuits and bikinis, in light of all these facts, garments of liberation or costumes that have exposed women’s bodies to the point of exploitation? Did the women who fought so hard to be able to wear an appropriate garment for swimming ever envisage that one day that same fight would be turned on its head, to be able to wear a more conservative garment?

The answer lies, much like it did during the debate over the burqa, in whether the choice is being made by the woman. Women are at the receiving end of fashion’s fickle nature and even losing their ability to choose what they wear.

In some ways having to stick to any stereotype denotes a lack of choice. And that would be sad, for after having come a long way, women and fashion would take a big step backwards if any one style in swimwear is inflicted on us.

More power to both the bikini and the new Islamic swim suit. For in choice lies true fashion and empowerment.

How the Stars Get Bikini Ready

Brazilian trainer and author of The Brazilian Bikini Body Program, Regina Joseph, gives us the scoop.

Drew practices Pilates! Forget dieting! Drew Barrymore prefers to burn calories with a workout that includes Pilates, one of the most popular pastimes in Brazil. For a complete cardio session, fitness pro Joseph details a combo of core Pilates moves and capoeira (a Brazilian martial art that includes cartwheels, kicks and flips) in her book.

Cam eats early in the day! An always active Cameron Diaz gets going with a protein-packed breakfast of eggs and meat. "The beginning and middle of the day are when you need a big burst of energy," says Joseph. "In Brazil, evening meals are smaller and lighter." That leaves plenty of room for desert!

Denise's smart snack! "I need foods that energize me," says Denise Richards, who revs up on the Amazon-grown acai berry (now available in stores like Whole Foods Market. Says Joseph, "An Acai smoothie provides enough fiber and protein to last until lunch."

Kristen never feels hungry! "I stopped dieting because it made me binge," Kristen Cavallari tells Life & Style. The reality show alum solved her dieting dilemma by opting for smaller, more frequent meals (she snacks on almonds) to curb her cravings. Explains Joseph, "Meals and snacks spaced throughout the day help keep blood sugar up."

Gisele fills up on fruit! Brazilian-born Gisele Bundchen can thank her homeland for her supermodel bod. The Victoria's secret stunner says her fav foods are tropical fruits from her country - which she considers to be the "best place to live."

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