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Courtney Love Wears Bikini After Losing Weight

Los Angeles, CA (BANG) - Over the past few months, Courtney Love has kicked her life into shape in more ways than one.

Courtney has lost an incredible 45 pounds in just four months.

The former Hole singer showed off her new svelte figure in a tiny string bikini when she took a dip in the pool at Hawaiian vacation resort Kea Lani this week.

A source told Us Weekly magazine: "She starting losing weight in December when she began drinking diet shakes and sticking to a strict healthy eating regime. She has cut out carbs and is eating fish, steamed vegetables and doing lots of yoga.

"She's feeling like a different person. Her goal is to lose 55 pounds altogether."

Last week, the 42-year-old rocker was seen passionately kissing Bruce Willis while he celebrated his 52nd birthday at Sunset Boulevard's Roxy nightclub, in Los Angeles.

A source said: "They were full-on making out!"

However, Courtney's representative insists the kiss was nothing more than a friendly embrace.

He said: "Courtney was just giving Bruce a quick hello and then they went their separate ways."

Courtney Love's stunning bikini body following yoga and diet regimen

March, 29 (ANI): Planning to lose some weight? Then take tips from American rock musician Courtney Love who has shed lots of weight in the past few months.

The former ‘Hole’ front-woman bowled over fellow tourists at Maui’s Kea Lani Resort, as she looked amazingly slender when she donned a small string bikini to take a swim.

A source revealed that this change began after the 42-year-old started taking Isopure diet shakes last December and followed a strict diet routine.

The singer’s diet has no carbs, but just fish and steamed veggies and is ‘doing lots of yoga’. Love’s diet has certainly paid off, for she’s managed to lose 45 pounds in four months.

Golden Globe-nominated Love feels that her life has really changed a lot after losing weight and she wants to reduce 10 more pounds.

"She's feeling like a different person," US Weekly quoted a source, as saying.


Courtney Love has lost an amazing 45 pounds in just four months, and has celebrated the achievement by being snapped wearing a skimpy bikini in Hawaii.

Speaking to Us Magazine, a source said: "She started losing weight in December when she began drinking diet shakes and sticking to a strict healthy eating regime. She's feeling like a different person. Her goal is to lose 55 pounds altogether"

Courtney's diet regime reportedly included losing the carbs and lots of fish and steamed vegetables.

Love also caused a storm recently by snogging Bruce Willis during his 52nd birthday party in LA last week.

"They were full-on making out!" a witness exclaimed, though apparently that was just Courtney's way of saying a "quick hello".

Could Survivor thrive in bikini-less North?


EDMONTON - Survivor: Baffin Island, Canada?

Producer Mark Burnett is leaning towards bringing his highly-rated show to cold Canada, says host Jeff Probst, though several factors still give him pause.

"Mark is leaning towards, truly considering, a colder climate, especially if the show goes on further, because it is hard to find locations," Probst says.

The production crew has had long discussions about Canada, he says. "We see a lot of positives that would be new and different, and then there's some negatives because physically you tend to shut down when you get cold, you don't do as much. You're going to be wearing parkas and hats and boots and you're not going to be in bikinis, and challenges become a little different. So there's pros and cons."

Probst admits things haven't worked out so well so far on this season's Survivor: Fiji, which has seen one starving tribe routinely trounced by the other, pampered tribe.

If the producers could go back, they would have had the tribes battle for the luxurious camp weekly, a plan that was considered but dropped because it was thought the constant switching might be too confusing for both contestants and viewers.

But the well-fed tribe has had far more energy so it utterly whipped the impoverished tribe in all the challenges, which has so far made the show predictable.

"This one I'd call an idea that didn't work out so well," Probst says.

Now that the tribes are mixed up, things will get better, he adds: "The show begins to pick up a lot of steam."

There will be more fireworks from this year's villain, Lisi Linares, he promises. On the last Thursday's episode, after the emotional Linares was sent to the privation of Exile Island, she freaked out and talked aloud about walking off the show. On air, Probst strongly questioned her decision-making, but inside he was gleeful.

"Believe me, when I was sitting out there I was thinking, 'Oh thank you, Lisi, thank you. This is gold.' "

Mossimo Bikini Summit

We didn’t hear about Mossimo Bikini Summit last summer. Or was it a hush-hush event, not even the most avid bodywatchers in this part of the planet heard anything about it.

This summer, though, Mossimo is determined to revive the Mossimo Bikini Summit. After all, this is the competition that paved the way for the likes of Brent Javier, Carlo Maceda, Einar Ingebrigtsen, Jordan Herrera, Martin Jickain, Denice Montecillo and April Tanjueco to hog the limelight and build a career from thereon in modeling and show business.

Despite the raised eyebrows this competition induces among those who seem bent on taking a condescending look at men and women showing off their physical assets, there are really hundreds who wish they could be like Javier, Maceda, Herrera, and Jickain who are now enjoying the fruits of their unfettered love to be skimpily clothed for the most part of their lives.

So those who wish to follow in their footsteps—as well as those of last year’s winners Jerome Ortiz and Joyce So—should better get ready for the 2007 Mossimo Bikini Summit: Take It Underground.

Yes, the most anticipated modeling event in the country is back—but with a twist. As in previous years, there will be boys, babes and bikinis aplenty. But in addition to all that, the summit will also promote the “street” lifestyle.

What is the “street” lifestyle? “It is a lifestyle befitting Mossimo’s status as one of the world’s leading street and urban clothing companies,” explains Alan Tecson of The Village Advertising and Promotions, the production outfit behind this year’s competition. “In fact, this year’s summit will incorporate key elements of the ‘street’ lifestyle.’”

When asked to elaborate, Tecson had only this to say: “One of those key elements involves reggaeton music—a style of music vital to the ‘street’ lifestyle. This year, Mossimo will take the summit to the streets of Metro Manila via a reggaeton-themed party.”

Yes, you heard it here first: The culminating activity of this year’s biggest and sexiest summer event will be an underground reggaeton-themed party.

For the uninitiated, reggaeton is a widely popular blend of hip-hop, dancehall, reggae and techno that is fast becoming the sound of today’s dance floor. In fact, one of today’s best-loved party anthems, Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina,” is a reggaeton song.

Jeff Paulino, also of The Village Advertising and Promotions, defines it as follows: “Reggaeton is the anthem of the hip, the young and the rebellious. It is a reflection of one’s desire to be free—to fit in and stand out at the same time. Reggaeton represents the ‘street’ lifestyle, a fun, fast-paced life of struggle and survival.”

The Mossimo Bikini Summit has always been known for setting the hottest trends in fashion and music.

In 2005, they brought different style of music—namely classical, pop, hiphop and rock—together in a pageant-concert at the Araneta Coliseum. Last year, the summit satisfied the Filipino’s need for speed with an Asian Formula 3-themed event held at the NBC Tent at the Fort Bonifacio Global City. Those events were exciting in their own right, but this year’s reggaeton theme will surely blow past summits out of the water.

Presented by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, the 2007 Mossimo Bikini Summit: Take It Underground is designed to emulate the “street” lifestyle—one that consists fast cars, high-tech gadgets and the best in street and urban fashion courtesy of Mossimo.

It will be held at an as-yet undisclosed location in Metro Manila on April 21.

Hot copy, still

Don’t write off Imelda Romualdez Marcos yet. She is still a hot copy. Well, among foreign journalists, at least, she is.

In the April issue of W, the bible of true blue fashionistas, the former Philippine First Lady merited a front cover teaser (Kirsten Dunst is W’s cover girl for April) with the blurb: “Forever Imelda: Inside Her Strange, Strange World.”

W staff writer James Reginato does a not-so-interestingly written re-hash of what the rest of the world knows already—the aging matriarch’s unmitigated penchant for the ostentatious.

A Filipino friend living in California e-mailed this reaction to the article.

“At 77, Imelda continues to be gossip fodder. Apparently, there are still those who remain gaga over her rags-to-riches story, which is primarily an American fascination. The hometown-boy-who-does-good saga is really more of an American dream. In more feudal-like societies, like the Philippines, it is where you come from that matters. As the ‘altas’ of old are wont to ask, ‘Hijo de quien?’

“While there is mention of Mrs. Marcos’ recent foray into the faux jewelry business, that segment of the article opens with: ‘Then it’s time for the jewels, and things get even weirder. Imelda, it turns out, is now hawking her own line of costume jewelry—which she proudly describes as ‘recycled junk’...

“Her wares are described as an unusual combination of cast-off gems and junk. Imelda herself admits that her jewelry is made to disintegrate so the wearer gets a chance to re-cycle.

“Reginato concludes that Mrs. Marcos may be deemed weird but to her, what matters is that she still can hog the spotlight.”

Nadia to Congress

She has been out of show business (officially) for the last three decades (if I remember right), but Nadia Montenegro has never been really out of the showbiz circles, having maintained good relationship with those she came to know and worked with in the limited time she was in the business.

When she chose to live a life with then Caloocan Mayor Macario “Boy” Asistio, she quit the business and became a dutiful wife to the mayor and a beautiful mom to their equally beautiful kids.

Now, the kids are all grown-up and Nadia is ready to play a new role in her life. She is running for Congress representing the first district of Caloocan.

Nadia’s awakening came when she started mingling with her husband’s former constituents. She listened to their problems, complaints about the current administration’s lack of concern for their well-being.

Over lunch at Annabel’s not too long ago, Nadia intimated to us that every time she’d meet the destitutes in the city of her husband, she would be enveloped with sadness.

“I don’t know why, but I get emotional listening to the people’s stories about their sufferings, their lack of material things, their struggles to cope with day-to-day problems. I told myself that if I don’t even raise my hand to do something to help these people, I won’t be able to tell my grandchildren later in life that I did anything meaningful at all.”

And so, with the blessings of Boy Asistio, Nadia launches her bid for a seat in Congress this coming elections. Already, the former teen star has been pitching for support from fellow showbiz personalities. And she might just get that come campaign time. After all, Nadia is a child of the movies, her fellow actors will come to prop her up.

Ryanair's bikini babes


Ryanair, Europe's No.1 low fares airline, today (Sunday 25 March) celebrates the start of European summer time with a fare offer of £9.99* on all routes from the UK to destinations across Europe. Our two Ryanair blonde stunners are ready to hit the hot beaches of Europe (though maybe they're a little under-dressed for March) and are encouraging people to stop hibernating and book a flight to the sun.

They've got their bikinis, their cocktails and their beach towels, and they're all set to find the sun this summer with Europe's largest low fares airline.

Ryanair's UK Marketing Executive Elaine Duff said: "It's time to throw away the winter coats and scarves and feel the sun on your face. Summer's coming and Ryanair has 455 fantastic low fare routes across 25 countries, all fabulous destinations offering summer sun at the lowest fares in Europe.

"Choose from the usual magical tourist hotspots in Spain such as Vitoria, Santander and Santiago or Italy's Ancona or Alghero, or even Marseille or Toulon in France, or maybe this summer consider something different - in Hungary, Slovenia or Latvia. They're off the beaten track, untouristed, and cheap as chips!

"Right now, fares start from £9.99* one-way, inclusive of tax, so get that summer break booked now on ryanair.com.

"At fares this low, we advise you to book them fast because once they're gone, they're gone."

Picture shows Ryanair lovelies Llana and Ashleigh soaking up the sun at London Stansted Airport today.

Try on that Bikini this Month


March is a very important month for us ladies because this is the month we typically face our worst fears by trying on our bathing suits that have not seen the light of day for months.

fter the suit try on, the reality sinks in and most of us turn to the first fad diet we can find. Problem is that fad diets could take off the pounds quick but they won't keep the pounds off for a duration of time. Remember: Summer is 3 months long.

  • Change it up: We tend to measure success by the numbers on the scale. It's better to think about the shape and strength of your body. Lifting weights and exercising will help you burn calories and develop muscle tone. You may not see a rapid change on the scale by doing this, but the important thing is that you'll look and feel slimmer.

    On the other hand, quick weight-loss diets let you drop pounds quickly, but often at the expense of body tone and body strength. Set your goals toward change — change of habits (take the stairs instead of elevator) and change in what, how and why you eat (hungry? Snack on fruit, not pretzels), and stick to those changes. The pounds will come off as a result, and you'll look great.

    There are other great tips so

  • Know yourself: What do you need to do to keep yourself motivated? Is it essential to have noteworthy weight loss right off the bat, or is slow and steady just as good? Is losing weight a private affair or do you do better with a group of fellow dieters? Are there certain triggers to your eating, such as the time of day, watching TV, stress or being with certain friends?

    The more you're aware of your reasons for falling into bad eating habits, the better equipped you’ll be to clear the hurdles between you and success.

  • Remember, the tortoise won the race: The “lose weight fast” approach may be all right for a couple weeks, says registered dietitian Cathy Nonas, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “But these diets seriously lack staying power and for some people can be physically harmful." For example, skipping meals or cutting too many calories may rob your body of needed nutrients or send it into starvation mode, which could lead to loss of muscle mass and an unhealthy look.

    If you're looking for steady, yet painless weight loss that you can maintain, try cutting just 50 calories from each meal. Granted, you won't be losing weight as quickly as you might like, but the pounds will melt away slowly and steadily. Squeeze in regular exercise, and you'll be able to slip into that swimsuit even faster.

    No matter what you do to get yourself going, Nonas emphasizes the importance of “next steps,” or transitioning from weight loss to weight maintenance. Those steps should move you closer to habits that can last a lifetime.

  • Be accountable to someone: Support from family and friends is linked to long-term weight-loss success. Dieters who have someone interested in their progress and willing to take on that shepherding role are often more apt to stay the course. Try signing up for an exercise class with a friend or making plans to walk your dogs together so you can act as support and encouragement for each other.

    Starting a diet plan now gives you enough time to shape up before swimsuit season hits its full stride. Whether you start small or start big, remember: Those who fast won’t last.

TOP TEN BIKINI HINTS

1. If you are more milk-bottle than mahogany, wear bold colours on the beach as they suit paler skin tones.

2. To create more curves, wear funky, multicoloured stripes.

3. Black is brilliant for flattering a less than perfect figure.

4. White is tops for showing off a perfect tan but only with a perfect body.

5. Nautical red, white and blues suit everyone, whatever your skin tone.

6. Earthy tones, such as rich browns and khaki greens, make the most of your bronzed body.

7. To shrink a big bottom, wear plain bikini bottoms with a patterned top.

8. Tie-side styles suit bigger bottoms and make legs look longer.

9. Avoid wearing flip-flops and opt instead for wedges or mules to give you better posture and height.

10. Halter-neck styles give great support to bigger busts.

So what better incentive do you need to shed those stones scored by sitting on the sofa stuffing yourself with sweets?

Simple Rules for getting Bikini Fit

My simple rules for getting bikini-fit: sure, top model Daniela Pestova is a natural beauty—but she works hard to stay bikini-ready year-round.

Though Daniela Pestova has been modeling swimsuits for more than 15 years--2006 marks her fifth Shape cover--don't think for a second that she lives on bottled water and salad. "If I don't eat, I'm exhausted," says the 35-year-old mother of two. "I'd much rather eat healthy and be healthy." Here, Daniela's tricks for looking fit and having energy to burn.

MAKE WORKOUTS COUNT

"I hate to admit it, but when I first started modeling I didn't like to exercise," Daniela says, "but now that I have kids and a demanding career, working out actually helps me to relax." She goes to the gym three times a week while Yanick, 9, and Ella, 4, are at school. She does 40-50 minutes of cardio on the bike, the elliptical trainer or occasionally the treadmill. After stretching, she does resistance training to stay toned. Since she's been a Shape reader for more than eight years, she says many of her moves--be they leg-toning squats or sexy arm-baring biceps curls--have come straight from our pages! "I change up my toning routine often, but I usually start with my abs," Daniela says. (Go to Shape.com/getfit to find moves like Daniela's favorites.) "Then I rest and do the whole thing again!" she says.

Twice a week she exercises at home using Gaiam Pilates DVDs (gaiam.com) and resistance bands. "Though the workouts aren't particularly advanced or exhausting," she says, "they force me to relax and concentrate on stretching and alignment--and leave me feeling invigorated."

EAT FOR ENERGY AND ENJOYMENT

Daniela often steers away from her native Czech cuisine, which is heavy on meats (like sausages), starches and creamy sauces. "I'm not a vegetarian," she says, "but I love lots of tofu and veggies." She drinks a cup of black tea every morning and follows it with yogurt ("It has healthy bacteria that helps balance my digestive system"). Lunch often includes a big bowl of homemade vegetable or chicken soup, and midafternoon-snack favorites are crunchy veggies like carrots and cucumbers. Evening meals are lighter, but always contain protein like eggs, cheese or chicken.

You won't find many junk foods in Daniela's diet: "If I'm working out I don't like to put lots of unhealthy food in my body," she says. Which isn't to say she doesn't like to indulge: "My occasional treats are a glass of red wine or a big chunk of dark chocolate," Daniela says.

FIND TIME TO TAKE IT EASY

Like so many working mothers, Daniela is always looking for simple ways to relax. "These days it feels like I'm either at work or working at home!" she says. When she can grab some private time, she looks forward to her workouts, a hot bath or a long bike ride. It sometimes means letting go of the idea she can (or has to) do it all. "Something has to give and maybe my house won't always be in tiptop shape," she says, "but if I can steal away for half an hour, I can find balance, and that's so much more important than housework."

RELATED ARTICLE: 'A few of my favorite things'

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs ($10; at drugstores) "I bring this with me when I'm modeling swimsuits--it makes my legs look flawless and doesn't stain clothes."

adidas by Stella McCartney hoodie ($100; shopadidas.com) "It's cool-looking and totally functional. I wear it out with jeans--and to the gym."

L'Occitane Green Tea Eau de Toilette ($40; loccitane.com) "This scent is fresh and just a little exotic."

Lancome Juicy Tubes lip gloss in First Class, Copper Cabana, Exotic Kiss and Tropical Tryst ($16.50 each; lancome.com) "This evens out lip color with just a hint of shine; I wear one of these every day."

RELATED ARTICLE: MY SHOOT PLAYLIST

Modeling bikinis takes loads of confidence. Here, Daniela's strike-a-pose soundtrack:

* U2 "Two Hearts Beat as One"

* Pavol Habera & Team "While I'm With You"

* The Rolling Stones "Emotional Rescue"

* The Chemical Brothers "Galvanize"

* Interpol "C'mere"

RELATED ARTICLE: How I keep slim on the road

Daniela's career demands constant travel, so exercise has to be flexible and portable. "I try to stay in hotels that have gyms," Daniela says. "If that's not an option, I take long walks." Her biggest challenge? Coming "home" to her routine after weeks away. "Motivating myself can be so frustrating," she says. "But as soon as I walk in the gym door," she says, "I remember again why I'm there: for me!"

"I began loving exercise when it stopped being something I had to do--
and started to become something that I wanted to do for myself."

Bikini 1946 to Present

An itsy-bitsy history of the teeny weeny bikini 1946-2003: from the voluptuous screen stars of yesteryear to today's toned and buff surfer girls, a retrospective of our bodies and the bikini - Essential Guide to Summer

It's hard to imagine you can attribute so much meaning to so little fabric, but it's true -- the bikini has spent the last 57 years showing off the female body in all its glory, from the hourglass figures of the '50s to the athletic abs of the '90s and beyond. "Since the beginning, the bikini has represented freedom, fun and a sense of liberation," says New York City-based swimsuit designer Malia Mills.

That sense of fun was just what French engineer Louis Reard decided his countrymen needed after the grim years of World War II. In 1946 he had the simple but scandalous idea of splitting the swimsuit in two. Needing a name as explosive as his creation, Reard borrowed "bikini" from the Pacific atoll where the United States was testing early atomic bombs. The bikini wasn't immediately embraced -- in fact, Reard had to hire a nude dancer to debut it, since no reputable French fashion model would.

Scandalous though it was, the sexy suit slowly infiltrated American beaches and pool parties, and by the late '50s and '60s the soft, curvy figures of Marilyn Monroe, Gina Lollobrigida and Brigitte Bardot were the idealized bikini bodies. In 1964 the bikini made its first appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated; that same year, mod designer Rudi Gernreich took the two-piece concept one step further with his topless "monokini." A minor hit in Europe, the R-rated suit never made a big splash on American shores.

By the '70s, American women were catching up with the Europeans' more daring attitudes. At the same time, swimsuit designers were discovering Lycra, a stretch fiber that allowed them to stitch tinier pieces of fabric, yet still provide support. The result: The string bikini -- with more string than fabric -- was born. The daring young women of Rio de Janeiro and St-Tropez went even further -- forgoing all rear-view coverage to show off their assets in the "Tanga" (what we Americans know as the thong).

From Curves to Crunches

The fitness boom of the '80s led to one of the biggest leaps in the evolution of the bikini, Mills observes: "The leg line became superhigh, the front was superlow, and the straps were superthin. That was the era of aerobics and Jane Fonda, and women really wanted to show off their bodies."

But as skin-cancer awareness grew and a sleeker, simpler aesthetic defined fashion in the '90s, the skimpy bikini practically dropped off the radar. By that time, the voluptuous figure that looked so good in tiny triangles was out; athletic, toned bodies became the ideal, as epitomized by surf star Malia Jones, who appeared on Shape's June 1997 cover wearing a halter-top two-piece built for rough water.

Today, bikinis are back with vengeance: Just witness Halle Berry's bikini moment in the 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day, an homage to her Bond Girl predecessor, Ursula Andress, in 1962's Dr. No. This time around, though, there's no one ideal "bikini figure." Mills says that women of all shapes are discovering that two pieces just fit better, no matter their body shape. "We find that very few women come into our stores and say, '1 can't wear a two-piece,'" says Mills, who sells tops and bottoms separately to provide the perfect fit. "Women today are very liberated in how they feel about their bodies and comfortable with who they are, and they want to show it!"

Weird Bikini

Fifties Swimwear Will Heat Up Summer 2007


One piece swimsuits will be big this season according to the catwalks of London and New York Fashion Weeks.

Designers including Missoni and Chanel featured glamourous full body swimming costumes in their Spring/Summer collections and the high streets are set to follow their lead.

Vogue says: 'Spaghetti straps reveal summer skin and high-waisted bottoms are cruise-casual'

One piece swimsuits are great for exposing only the most flattering areas and showing off a great tan whilst still looking glamorous and stylish.

Chanel's latest collection featured simple high-leg white swimsuits teamed with gold accessories for St Tropez glamour. High leg cuts are great for making the legs look longer.
Click here to find out more!

Missoni went for a more ethnic look with with high-waisted designs contrasting a number of colours and patterns. A mix of designs and colours around the middle disguises curvy hips.

Topshop has already lanuched its new ranges for the Summer season. Their Holiday collection includes a number of one piece swimsuits in monochrome and floral prints.

This covered-up look is made sexy with a plunging neck line or revealing back view. This style is great for anyone body conscious pear-shapes because the dark tones and snug fit around the hips will create smooth lines.

The range also features a number of smock tops and jersey playsuits that can be worn over a bikini between sun bathing sessions to give the fifties look without tell-tale tan lines.

H&M will pay tribute to Kylie Minogue with their Austrailian summer themed swimwear range, launched in May.

The 'H&M loves Kylie' line is part of their main swimwear range and contains fifteen 'bohemian-chic' styles.

H&M’s head of design Margareta van den Bosch says: 'When we think Australia and glamour we think Kylie, who is such a stylish person.'

10 percent of all money spent on this beachwear line will be donated to WaterAid. The international charity WaterAid is dedicated to the provision of safe domestic water, sanitation and hygiene education to the world’s poorest people.

Bikinis in Winter???



Right: A model presents a bikini collection during a fashion show at a ski resort in Lebanon. This has been the warmest winter since records began.

Many have spent the winter complaining about a lack of snow and marvelling at the warm temperatures. With good reason. Turns out, this was the warmest winter on record.
The unusually warm winter which is now coming to an end caused headlines in Germany, with ski resorts suffering from lack of snow and animals unable to hibernate. Now it turns out that this winter was the warmest on record, according to the American government agency that tracks weather.

The combined global land and surface ocean temperature in the months from December until February was at its highest since records began in 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported Thursday. The report comes just weeks after the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which brought climate change to the top of the political agenda, and is likely to be seen as further evidence for global warming.

Record temperatures in January helped push up the combined winter temperature, the agency reported. "Contributing factors were the long-term trend toward warmer temperatures as well as a moderate El Niño in the Pacific," Jay Lawrimore from the NOAA's National Climatic Data Center told the news agency Reuters. The climatic phenomenon known as El Niño is a periodic warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean.

The researchers cautioned against over-interpreting the new report. "We don't say this winter is evidence of the influence of greenhouse gases," Lawrimore said. However he added that research by his and other institutes as part of the IPCC supported the conclusion that "the warming trend is due in part to rises in greenhouse gas emissions."

he combined temperature for the December to February period was 0.72 degrees Celsius (1.3 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century mean, the agency reported. The report also said that global temperatures have increased by about 0.06 degrees Celsius (0.11 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade, but that the rate of increase has been three times larger since 1976.

The second warmest winter on record was in 2004, and the third warmest winter was in 1998. The 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1995.

Sports & Sex Forever Intertwined

"Get fit, get hot, start sooner, last longer, look cool, be loved. It’s summer, so strip down!"

Incitements to look fit and be sexy are everywhere, with sport both a site for showing off and a source of having something to show off -- and not too much to hide. The most obvious sign of this development is the emergence of the "metrosexual," a term coined in the mid-1990s by queer British critic Mark Simpson after he had encountered "the real future" and found that "it had moisturized." In Simpson’s words, the metrosexual 'might be officially gay, straight or bisexual, but this is utterly immaterial because he has clearly taken himself as his own love object and pleasure as his sexual preference."

The metrosexual endorses equal-opportunity vanity, through cosmetics, softness, women, hair-care products, wine bars, gyms, designer fashion, wealth, the culture industries, finance, cities, cosmetic surgery, and deodorants. Happy to be the object of queer erotics, and committed to exfoliation and web surfing, the metrosexual blurs the visual style of straight and gay in a restless search "to spend, shop and deep-condition." Midtown Manhattan now offers specialist ear-, hand-, and foot-waxing, with men comprising 40% of the clientele. Such sites provide pedicures and facials to the accompaniment of cable sports and Frank Sinatra, using manly euphemisms to describe procedures -- coloring hair becomes "camouflage,’" and manicures are "hand detailing."

And everyone’s embodiment of the metrosexual? David Beckham. But it could equally be Yannick Noah, Francesco Totti, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, Roger Federer, or Ruud Gullit. (Maybe Ronaldo, Ronaldhino, and Wayne Rooney need a little work). Even NASCAR promotes itself metrosexually. Noted driver Jeff Gordon told KTLA Morning News that "you need to smell good’ in an environment of ‘burning rubber and gasoline." He endorses wine, watches, and body spray. In case men aren’t sure they rate, an on-line metrosexual quiz is available through ESPN. The average grade of the 100,000 who took it in its first year was 36.5%. I scored 54%, and qualified.

Sport and sex jumble together. They cannot be kept apart, for they live cheek by cheek, cheek by capital, torso by torso, torso by Totti, boot by boot, boot by Beckham -- just like the other major social categories that characterize sport -- age, race, class, religion, region, and nation. The paradox at the heart of sport, its simultaneously transcendent and imprisoning qualities, and its astonishing capacity to allegorize, is most obvious, most dangerous, and perhaps most transformative when it comes to sex. With the advent of consumer capitalism and postmodern culture, the body has become an increasingly visible locus of desire. The manipulation of appearance through fashion codes, bodily adornment, calculated nutrition, and physical conditioning has changed the daily terms of trade in the clothes we wear, the desires we feel, and the images we create and consume.

Sporting bodies are powerful symbols because they embody free will, self-control, health, productivity, and transcendence. In elite sport, sex sells, and it does so through style. Dennis Rodman appeared on the basketball court with many earrings, many hair colors and a queer persona. Amy Acuff, frustrated that her consistently brilliant high-jumping over many years had not brought public attention, competed in a fur halter top and fur-lined bikini pants, then gathered top women athletes together to create a nude calendar. Anne Langstaff, veteran ultramathoner and topless dancer, won sponsorship for her running career from her night-time employer, Dreamgirls of San Diego. And the movie Satree Lex, based on a real volleyball team almost entirely made up of cross-dressing men that won the Thai national amateur title in 1996, quickly became the country’s second-highest grossing film. Why? Sport has always represented something beyond itself—and linked to sex.

MEN

Consider the nexus of men between male athletes, sex, and leadership in the Ancient World. Xenophon, Socrates, and Diogenes believed that sexual excess and decadence came from the equivalent of sporting success. In sex and sport, triumph could lead to failure, unless accompanied by regular examination of one’s conscience, and physical training. Carefully modulated desire in both spheres became a sign of the ability to govern. Aristotle and Plato favored regular flirtations with excess, as tests as well as pleasures. The capacity of young men to move into positions of social responsibility was judged by charioteering and man-management, because their ability to win sporting dramas was akin to dealing with sexually predatory older males. Each success showed fitness not only physically, but managerially.

The Ancient Olympics saw men competing naked. Only other men and virgin women were allowed to watch them. Centuries later, this masculinist lineage of leadership reasserted itself: when Pierre de Coubertin founded the modern Olympics, his goal was to follow the example of British muscular Christianity, and redeem French masculinity after the shocks of the Franco?Prussian War. During the same period, the late 19th-century popular novel Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman sees the story of a ruling-class British cricketer and jewel thief told by a male narrator through thinly coded admiration:

"Again I see him, leaning back in one of the luxurious chairs with which his room was furnished. I see his indolent, athletic figure; his pale, sharp, clean-shaven features; his curly black hair; his strong, unscrupulous mouth. And again I feel the clear beam of his wonderful eye, cold and luminous as a star, shining into my brain—sifting the very secrets of my heart."

Hmm. The male body is sport’s everyday currency, and up for mockery as well fandom. Ann says Farley Granger "looks so silly in his tennis clothes" in Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. Or the great Frenhc libertine poet Charles Baudelaire, whose 1863 essay "The Dandy" refers to the dandy’s need for "flawless dress at any time of day or night" as well as the capacity to perform "risky sporting feats." Sixty years later, marketing systems ushered in the notion of men as clothes horses by associating goods like corsets and services like hairdressing with sportsmen.

Sport has always licensed men to watch and dissect other men’s bodies in fetishistic detail, a legitimate space for them to gaze on the male form without homosexuality alleged or feared. The fetish of admiring body parts ("look at those triceps") gives a scientistic pleasure and alibi. A man weightlifting gives off signs of pleasure-pain akin to facial correlatives of the male orgasm, a sight otherwise denied men defining themselves as straight. Some lifters say a good pump is ‘better than coming’; no wonder turning tricks is as common in such gyms as the disavowal of homosexuality. And the English footballer Paul Ince famously compared tackling favorably with sex.

Consider swimming. On the one hand, it is regarded as masculine because of its self-sufficiency and demands for fitness, strength, and skill. On the other, the sport’s lack of violence, and the practice of shaving the legs and torso, mark it out from body-contact games and can lead to a "reputation." Gay swim meets play this up, often featuring a "pink flamingo relay" in which team members wear plastic flamingo hats and pull each other along, one kicking and the other stroking. And Olympic swimmers? There they are, cocks outlined in form-hugging briefs, body hair trimmed for minimal drag, lean, leggy, ducking, diving, turning, and speeding, seemingly oblivious to the gaze of others and the actions of fellow-competitors. Bug-eyed in goggles, their muscles strain with each eruption from the water. Our vision of them is from a multitude of angles -- warming up, swimming (seen from above and below the water), atop the podium in victory, and shivering in interviews. Through it all, we confront the uncomfortable sense of the male body straining whilst almost naked.

And what is going on with all that kinky medievalist sadomasochism and bondage named fencing, and half-naked men climbing over each other to wrestle and box? Then at the level of merchandise we see Michael Jordan selling his underwear and baseball player Rafael Palmeiro endorsing Viagra because he says that sex improves with preparation, just like fielding and hitting home runs.

As readers of this site are well aware, US football player David Kopay became the first major sportsman to come out as gay. His 1975 autobiography made the best seller list of the New York Times, but the paper did not review it, and a column about the book written by Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Anderson was rejected by management. Today, Kopay claims that many on-field brawls still result from players being called "fag," a sign of continued intolerance. Kopay was out to many teammates, finding particular solace from African Americans, whose knowledge of straight white male bigotry made them excellent confidants. He says obstacles lie with team owners, who believe openly gay players will lose them money through diminished sponsorship and ratings. Kopay calls for football associations and players’ unions to issue civil-rights statements supporting gay athletes.

On the less savory side of sportsex, male violence is often seen as a hormonal danger that can be pacified and redirected through sport into an appropriate sphere. But there is a strong link (sometimes proven, sometimes not) between sex, sport, and violence: commentator/athlete OJ Simpson and jealous murder, Australian rugby league teams and rape, and basketball player Kobe Bryant and boxer Mike Tyson with rape. Consider the moment when the logical-positivist philosopher AJ Ayer was at a Manhattan party hosted by underwear designer Fernando Sanchez. A woman ran in and said her friend was being assaulted in another room. Ayer went to investigate, and reportedly encountered an aroused Tyson forcing himself on a distraught Naomi Campbell. Ayer warned Tyson to desist. Tyson retorted: "Do you know who the fuck I am? I’m the heavyweight champion of the world." To which Ayer replied: "I am the former Wykeham Professor of Logic. We are both preeminent in our field; I suggest we talk about this like rational men." Then there is the obvious link between hyper-masculinity and football-spectator violence -- the so-called hooligans of Germany, the Netherlands, and England.

Sport is frequently -- and correctly -- criticized as a symbol of male power, because it superficially embodies the physical disparities in strength between men over women. Consider the male domination of FIFA and the IOC, with administrators like Sepp Blatter calling for women footballers to wear more revealing costumes to stir up media interest. But a brutality towards the self is there, too. Alan Klein describes men pumping iron in a gym:

"The first time I witnessed a bodybuilder suffer a nosebleed while lifting weights it was triumphantly explained to me that the man in question was a true bodybuilder, paying dues, training in earnest and willing both to risk and to endure injury for his calling. Sometime later, when I watched another bodybuilder doubled over in pain from what would later be diagnosed as a symptom of hepatic tumors on the liver, it was again interpreted by the behemoths in the gym as testimony to his commitment to the subculture. In both cases I watched men reinterpret signs of clear and present danger to their health as ringing endorsements of character."

Clearly, there are costs as well as benefits to this hyper-masculinity. In 1998, the late NFL Green Bay Packers "hero" and fundamentalist faith-man Reggie White appeared suited up in newspaper advertisements against gays in sport paid for by the Christian right wing. Then he wrote a 1999 op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal protesting "female reporters and camerawomen ogling guys in the locker room," showing his anxiety when all-male shrines are visited by the very people he professes to view as the only true partners in life.

WOMEN

Women have routinely been excluded from sport for reasons to do with sex. In the late nineteenth century, gynecologists debated whether women should play tennis during menstruation, and biologically derived alibis for restricting women’s participation in sport have continued. Medical articles and educational manuals frequently discouraged activities coded as masculine. During the inter-War period, the American Medical Association worried that basketball could impede "the organic vitality of a growing girl," placing undue strain on the uterus. Into the 1940s, tennis was deemed risky because it was thought to promote over-development of abdominal muscles, which might hinder childbirth. The corollary was that competing without regard to one’s cycle was somehow to be less a woman. There are links to styles of play -- by the 1960s, men were using power via a serve-and-volley game or vicious topspin, while women emphasized grace and finesse.

Women were not admitted to track and field events at the Olympics until 1928, in response to a separatist event in 1922, and were not permitted to run further than 200 meters at the Games until 1960, while the marathon and the pole vault only became legitimate in the 1980s and ’90s, and the IOC excluded women from its numbers until 1981. Playboy featured figure skater Katarina Witt in a December 1998 nude pictorial, part of her successful sale of sexuality -- but tennis champion Martina Navratilova lost major endorsements when her lesbianism became public.

The recent turn towards strong bodies as female fashion statements, for all the associated rhetoric of empowerment, makes the body into three questions -- is it still female, is it still feminine, and is it drug-enhanced? After defeating world No.1 Lindsay Davenport in the 1999 Australian Open Tennis semi-finals, Amélie Mauresmo "leapt into the arms of girlfriend Sylvie Bourdon and was cradled with hugs." Throughout the match, Bourdon had been "pumping her fists and yelling, 'Allez.' "

Following a whirlwind romance, begun just a month or two earlier earlier, they had moved in together and embarked on a joint workout régime of several hours weightlifting each week. Now they were on tour. Davenport had attained the world number one ranking by developing a style suited to her 6 feet 2 inches of height and marked strength. She was defeated at her own game. Although 5 inches shorter, Mauresmo prevailed due to her superb physical condition, a fast and accurate serve, and a hard topspin forehand (traditionally used only by male players). Until her victory, the media had barely noticed Mauresmo, even though she had been world junior champion in 1996. But after the post-match media conference, Mauresmo became front-page news, because Davenport said:

"A couple of times, I mean, I thought I was playing a guy, the girl was hitting so hard, so strong … she is so strong in those shoulders and she just hits the ball very well … I mean, she hits the ball not like any other girl. She hits it so hard and with so much topspin. ... Women’s tennis isn’t usually played like that."

French television satirists made a puppet with Mauresmo’s head on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body, accompanied by this voice-over: "It’s the first time in the history of French sport that a man says he is a lesbian." French lesbian groups rallied behind her, and after a few years of up-and-down play she has emerged as a major champion in the past 18 months.

CONCLUSION

Change is afoot and contradictions are aplenty in sport and sex. It’s not just women who are objects of the gaze, not just women who are physically damaged in the interests of social expectations, and not just men who are inspecting the bodies of others for foibles and follicles. In the past three decades, professional male sport has transformed itself into an internationalist capitalist project—and new pressures accompany the spoils. As part of the desire to address TV spectators and capture their attention for advertisers, the male body has become an object of lyrical rhapsody -- and the gaze of gay and female money. It is up for grabs as both sexual icon and commodity consumer. Sculpted features, chiseled waste-lines, well-appointed curves, dreamy eyes, administered hair, and an air of casual threat that does not need traditional machismo to electrify. These are the currency of the day. But like beauty and fitness of all kinds, the years will attenuate them. Age will weary them. But sportsex will just identify new names, new bodies, new Eros, new Euros.

Size zero vs size 18


'Size zero' has become one of today's most contentious phrases. To some women it's the Holy Grail, to be attained whatever the cost to their long-term health and even fertility. To others, it's the terrifying obsession of an influential few which will lead impressionable young girls to develop eating disorders. Here, two women - one size 0, the other size 18 - pose for these dramatic pictures and defiantly defend their very different body shapes.

Sasha Larner, 29, is a model and mother of two boys, Crawford, six, and Presley, three. She lives in Kent with her partner Matthew, 36, a carpenter. She has been a size zero (UK size four) for the past two years. Sasha says:

A few weeks ago, I went out for the evening wearing my favourite figure-hugging orange dress. Although it covers up my figure at the front, the dress is cut up to my thigh on one side, showing off my long legs, and the back has lots of little straps, revealing patches of flesh.

Walking into the bar with Matthew, I felt sexy and womanly and revelled in the admiring glances. My job involves people looking at me all day and I admit it's enjoyable to be appreciated by the opposite sex.

But - and I have no doubt about it - there were probably a few women looking at me not with admiration but disgust at what they perceive to be my "too-skinny" figure. I hear it from women all the time: "Do you actually eat? You're far too thin."

Well, I admit it, I am a size zero. But I like it, I'm healthy and I refuse to apologise. As far as I'm concerned, I look good, eat three healthy meals a day, exercise moderately and lead an active life looking after my two children, a house and working as often as I can. My weight - 7st 8lb - is not the result of any crazy crash diet but the result of my lifestyle as a hectic working mother.

When these women criticise me for my shape, I just ask them back: "Would you say to a large woman, 'Did you eat all the pies?." I find it offensive and insulting, and it makes me angry.

However, there was a time, I admit, when it wasn't always this way. As a teenager I was quite body-conscious, like many other young girls. Although I was a slim size 10, I still worried whether I looked good enough, especially as I harboured dreams of becoming a model.

When I was 16, I went to London to audition for a modelling school. The interviewer asked me various, quite normal, questions - what I hoped to achieve, what I was studying at school - and then suddenly asked me to strip down to my underwear and jump on some scales.

When my weight came up - 9st 3lb - the interviewer looked me up and down and shook her head: "You're a little bit big, aren't you? If you are serious about modelling, you have to lose weight." Outside, I collapsed in tears. I'd always been happy with my figure, but now I started to doubt myself.

That evening, I ran up to my room, put on my bikini and stood in front of the mirror examining my body. However hard I looked, I just couldn't see what the woman was talking about.

A few weeks later they offered me a place - which half surprised me because of the interview. But after my experience with the scales, I decided against it.

For a couple of years I trained as a make-up artist and my weight remained a steady 9st. I'd learned to be happy again and I actually enjoyed the curves that my size ten figure afforded me - particularly my C-cup breasts.

Then, at the age of 23, I fell pregnant with Crawford. It was in the months following his birth that I dropped to a size eight. I didn't eat any less, but I put it down to the stresses of being a new mother - feeding, changing nappies, being woken up in the night.

It wasn't until Crawford was six months old and I finally had a bit of time to concentrate on myself that I noticed my clothes were a bit too big. It was something of a novelty.

I'd never put any pressure on myself to lose weight, but I did get a kick out of slipping into a size eight. Also, when I tried the clothes on, I noticed how nicely they hung off my new shape.

For the next few years I remained that size, but after the birth of my second son, Presley, my weight dropped again - this time to 7st 8lb and a UK size four (U.S. size zero).

Again, I put this down to rushing around after two young children. At no point did I change my diet or decrease my calorie intake.

A couple of friends remarked that my face was looking a bit gaunt and my cheekbones were protruding, but although I took on board their comments (for a short time I had dropped to 7st and did make an effort to eat a little bit extra to get back up to 7st 8lb), I didn't think there was anything wrong with the way I looked.

In fact, I was quite proud of my 32-22-32 measurements, which are even less than the standard size zero measurements of 31 1/2-23-34.

My modelling work was going through the roof, too. Having shrunk a couple of sizes I was suddenly in much greater demand. I had a few catwalk jobs, even though I'm a little on the short side for their 5ft 8in requirement. I also found myself getting a lot more work in adverts and a huge amount of catalogue opportunities.

I think it really helps that, since getting to a size zero, my face is much more structured in terms of having defined cheekbones and so on - which is just what's needed for fashion photography. My earnings in the past two years have trebled.

Some of the other models can be a little envious. Sometimes, at the catwalk shows, they say: "I wish I had a waist like yours."

But I tell them they shouldn't starve themselves - because I certainly don't.

People are meant to be a certain way, and I think it's terrible if young girls force themselves to be something they're not. I'm not naive. As a mother, it does worry me that young girls see pictures of celebrities like Victoria Beckham and Nicole Richie - who are both painfully thin - and think they have to be that way.

When I look at Nicole Richie, who is even tinier than me, I do wonder how she could naturally be so small. She can't be eating enough.

At least I have a shape: I'm not just skin and bones. Not all overweight people are overeaters, just like not all size zero women starve themselves.


Mikyla Dodd, 29, played Chloe Bruce in Channel 4's Hollyoaks. The actress, who is single and lives in London, is 6ft, size 18 and weighs 15st 7lb. When she joined ITV's Celebrity Fit Club in January last year, she weighed 19st 2lb but lost 44lb through healthy eating and exercise. Mikyla says:

Despite appearing on Hollyoaks, this is the first time I have ever been asked to take my clothes off for a glamorous photoshoot.

Are you incredulous at my audacity in believing the British public may want to see someone of my generous proportions naked? Or are you relieved that amid the size zero hype we are spoon-fed as a misguided interpretation of attractiveness, there's an image of a larger woman looking - if I do say so myself - pretty foxy?

I hope you conclude the latter, and that my pictures are the beginning of the womanly woman's fightback.

Why are we bombarded with airbrushed images of unobtainable female bodies - and made to feel inadequate if we don't match up? The trend for women to be ever-more skinny is frightening.

So Posh has the waist of a seven-year-old. Am I to go on a crash diet and develop an eating disorder in order to be in vogue? No, I'm not. I'm a real woman, with real curves - and more than a few wobbly bits thrown in. So what?

I am perfectly content with my lot. If I never lose another pound, I will be happy. I am a desirable woman. I've got great boobs and my last boyfriend said I had a nice bum. I've certainly got no inhibitions when it comes to the bedroom. I know for a fact that you don't have to be slim to be sexy.

I was a big child. I was also greedy and loved food. I gained weight quickly because, if I was hungry, I would eat at home then visit other people and say I hadn't eaten.

However, I do wonder whether I would have been so happy if I was a child in today's society. Things are so different now. I watched the TV footage about that poor 14st eight-year old who was in the newspapers the other week and thought it was a tragedy. I don't know how his mother can look at herself in the mirror.

My weight began to seriously rocket when I was 17 and started to prepare my own food. I was eating five or six meals a day and, at my heaviest when I was 21, I weighed nearly 25st and was a size 28. It wasn't a happy time and the only thing that alleviated my depression was food.

I was in complete denial about how big I was getting. I was working in the plus-size High Street shop Evans, so I always managed to buy clothes that would fit, allowing me to sink further into denial. I was permanently exhausted. But I still wouldn't accept how big I had got.

I feel much better now that I've lost some weight - but I'd never want to be a size zero. Pictures of people like Nicole Richie in her swimwear are so worrying. They are all skin and bone, and look as though they might snap.

The size zero craze is going to leave countless young women with eating disorders. I really fear for them.

I no longer feel I should be ashamed of being a bigger woman and I've got a much more relaxed view about my appearance. Men do not want to snuggle up to waifs. They want boobs and a bum.

I hope my pictures strike a chord. I may not have the best body in the world, but it's the only one I've got - so I love it, wobbly bits and all.

Bathing suit guide for all body types

Every girl wants to look amazing when the summer season hits. Not only are super short shorts a must and micro-minis the craze, but girls have to squeeze themselves into those itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny bikinis. According to many fashion gurus around the world, picking out a bathing suit should be determined by a girl’s body type. So here is a guide for the most common figures girls possess.

If you have a boyish figure lacking a lot of curves, wear a one piece suit that has cut-outs on the side. These cut-outs can give the illusion of an hour-glass figure. Avoid boy-shorts as bottoms and choose a suit where the cut is high on the leg. This will give your legs and hips a more curvy look as well.

A girl that is pear shaped should draw attention away from her bottom half. Do this by wearing a bikini with a bold, flashy top and simple bottoms. Wear a solid color bottom with a patterned top that has a plunging V-neck, which will help balance out your body.

Busty ladies need a lot of support, so choose a bathing suit with a halter top. Most of these suits tie together, which will allow you to determine how much or little support you need. If you want to draw some attention away from your top, wear flashy bottoms that will catch the eye.

If your stomach isn’t as flat as you had hoped it would be, go for a suit that can camouflage your belly. One piece bathing suits in dark colors are the best for this. Many suits now have a built-in stomach control that will tighten up your waistline. Also, angled patterns can give the illusion of a narrower waist.

For those girls with long torsos, try tankinis. These are great alternatives to one piece bathing suits, and the longer top will disguise your elongated upper body.

Now that you know what bathing suit will make your body look its best, you should have nothing to fear about strutting your stuff at the beach or local pool. So go out there and make some waves while looking fabulous.

Study Shows Schoolgirls Provocatively Dressed Less Studious

Inescapable media images of sexed-up girls and women posing as adolescents can cause psychological and even physical harm to adolescents and young women, a study in the US has warned. The pressure of what experts call "sexualization" can lead to depression, eating disorders, and poor academic performance, said the report, recently released by the American Psychological Association. "Sexualization of girls is a broad and increasing problem and is harmful to girls," it concluded.

Adult women dressed as schoolgirls in music videos, bikini-clad dolls in hot tubs, and sexually-charged advertisements featuring teenagers were among the many examples cited. Such omnipresent images -- on television and the Internet, in movies and magazines -- can also have a negative effect on a young girl's sexual development, the study cautioned.

Based on a comprehensive review of academic literature, the 66-page report noted that young adolescents and girls were particularly at risk because their sense of self is still being formed. School performance can also suffer. In one experiment cited, college-aged women were asked to try on and evaluate either a swimsuit or a sweater. While they waited for 10 minutes while wearing the garment, they completed a math test. The results revealed that young women in swimsuits performed significantly worse ... than those wearing sweaters. No differences were found for young men. Imagine that if the brain cells of college girls are affected by dressing provocative, the affect on younger girls must be devastating. I often see young girls on their way to local middle schools and high school overly sexed-up from their hair to their apparel. Unfortunately, it's out of the schools hands because if school officials reprimand inappropriate dress the parents will claim the child has been emotionally damaged and seek legal resolve. In my own personal experience, I have noticed in the Sunday school class that I teach that young girls with too much emphasis on the appearance are less likely to grasp the lesson.

The study, which includes numerous recommendations for concerned parents, coincides with a growing wave of public concern about the impact of highly sexed imagery. The study said, Sexualization occurs when "a person's value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior," when sexuality is inappropriately imposed, or when a person is sexually "objectified."

Looking at popular music videos, the authors quoted songs by several popular artists emphasizing lyrics that they suggested sexually objectified women. The report said, "Sexualization of women is particularly prominent in advertising," and singled out beer commercials as a major offender. Also cited was a shoe ad that features pop singer Christina Aguilera dressed as a schoolgirl in pigtails, with her shirt unbuttoned while licking a lollipop. The report called on parents to take a more active roll in helping to shape the sexual self-image of their children, and to exert consumer pressure on manufacturers and advertisers. Ultimately, some girls are lobotomized by popular fashion.

Armani Junior Ad Too Controversial?


A Giorgio Armani Junior advertisement may be the next fashion ad to spark a heated debate. The ad, which features a little girl in a bikini top and shorts, has caught the attention of the Spanish authorities who are questioning whether the picture depicts the child in a sexually inappropriate way.

The investigation into the ad began days after Dolce and Gabbana were forced to withdraw their racy "fantasy rape" ad from circulation. The chief of Madrid's regional government child protection said he will be asking the advertising industry self-regulator to decide if the image should be pulled.

Reportedly, the ad, which can be viewed on the Armani website, has compelled several parents to complain. Arturo Canalda, head of child interests in Madrid said, "It's an advert where little girls aren't portrayed in the attitude of little girls...They are wearing make- up and they are about six or seven."

In response to the controversy, Armani's camp issued this email statement: "The matter will be reviewed once complete information has been received concerning the specific complaint."

In the midst of such controversy, and enforced censorship, where is the line drawn; who decides what's art and what's inappropriate?

Dolce & Gabbana Cancel Controversial Ad Campaign

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the duo behind the popular design label D&G, are withdrawing their ad from circulation after protests erupted in Italy and Spain.

The ad, which women's rights groups call a "fantasy rape," features a lone woman in a prone position being held down by a shirt-less man while a group of men looks on. While D&G is known for their racy ad campaigns, many women's groups think this photo has gone too far and that it promotes violence against women.

In the U.S, the ad ran in the March issue of Esquire and it promted this response from Kim Gandy, President of the National Organization for Women: "...the idea that even a stylized image of rape appeals to a broad readership of men is disturbing."

Dolce & Gabbana insist that the ad was never meant to be controversial and that it represented an erotic dream; a sexual game.

The timing for the ad's release couldn't have been worse; Spain was in the midst of dealing with a large wave of crimes against women at the time of publication, and public outrage over the image was high.

Earlier this week, after demands from the Spanish government and Italian senators, Dolce and Gabbana decided to withdraw the ads from all publications.

The debate rages over whether or not this image represents an artistic interpretation of a sexual fantasy, or if it just glorifies rape. As the fashion industry continues to push the envelope and strives to remain cutting edge the line between risque and offensive continues to blur.

So, just how far is too far?

Brave Kylie models swimwear

Kylie Minogue has posed in a bikini in one of her first photo-shoots since battling breast cancer and breaking up with boyfriend Olivier Martinez.

The petite singer, 38, looked happy and healthy as she modelled for high street fashion chain H&M on a beach in Mexico, The Sun reports.

A spokesman for Kylie, who is still getting over her split from French actor actor Olivier, told the paper: "This photo shoot means a lot to her.

"It is incredibly brave of her to pose in swimwear."

Kylie underwent a partial mastectomy and chemotherapy after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005.

Last month she completed her comeback tour and broke up with Olivier.

H&M said they had chosen Kylie to model the special "H&M loves Kylie" swimwear range as a tribute to her courage.

The range, which includes 15 styles, will go on sale in shops from May.

Pregnant Beach Babes


Summer is sizzling and so are this season’s sensational swimwear from the luxurious A Pea in the Pod, contemporary Mimi Maternity and the hot fashions and hot prices of Motherhood Maternity.

Whether the expectant mom chooses to bare her belly or cover up, these irresistible fashions will have her sexy silhouette looking fabulous.

She is sure to make a splash with Motherhood Maternity’s red and white gingham bikini, Mimi Maternity’s bold oversized dot tankini and A Pea in the Pod’s gorgeous aqua blue bikini and cover up. This summer, the mom-to-be has nothing to hide.

Destination Maternity is the home of the world’s leading maternity brands Motherhood Maternity, Mimi Maternity and A Pea in the Pod. It is a one-stop shop for the most extraordinary selection of maternity fashion, accessories and everything imaginable for the pregnant woman.

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Students to Compete in Bikini Bowl

TEMPE, Arizona -- Can you run for a touchdown in a bikini? Do you know the sexiest girl in the nation?

Female students from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona will compete in the first Tempe 12 Bikini Bowl on April 14.

Anyone interested in coaching the teams can bid on the positions on eBay. Proceeds will be donated to a breast cancer research foundation, according to Tempe-based Tempe 12 company staff.

Tempe 12 is a company that runs a Web site and publishes annual calendars of female college students.

Miss Tempe 12, "the sexiest girl in the nation," will be crowned during halftime of the flag football game.

Contestants can enter online at www.tempe12.com. They must be 18 or older to participate.

The winner gets $5,000, will be featured on the Howard Stern Show and will be the centerfold in the 2007-08 Tempe12 calendars, according to the company. The calendars are distributed around Big 10 and Pac 10 universities.

Bikini Village investor eyes expansion

MONTREAL - Activist investor George Armoyan says the loss-making 56-unit Bikini Village Inc. swimsuit chain can expand into Ontario and the Maritimes with a modest infusion of new capital and he will work with management to make a turnaround.

Armoyan, via his Clarke Inc. holding company, owns about 13 per cent of Bikini Village, a survivor of the 2005 Les Ailes de la Mode failure, acquired at an average 10 cents a share. With other institutional investors, he controls more than a third of the stock, he said Thursday.

"We've proposed two new directors, both representing Clarke, and we want to work with the board to take Bikini Village national and create value for all shareholders, like we're doing at furniture-maker Shermag. It has an excellent brand but it's too small. We don't like owning more than 20 per cent of any company."

The Bikini Village board has proposed two new directors, including chief executive officer Yves Simard and a representative of Jolina Capital Inc., the private holding company of cheese baron Lino Saputo Sr. A special meeting of shareholders is due May 10 to approve the addition of two new directors.

Armoyan said he has tried to meet with management several times to discuss Bikini Village's future.

Workout aims to give you bikini body

You need to get to work now if you want to show off at the beach wearing that new bikini.

If you put your mind to it and stick to our spring bikini workout, you should see the results.

Joni Desmet of Pungo Personal Training says it’s important to be consistent and exercise to get swimsuit ready by summer.

While getting a Bo Derek “10” body may not be doable, Desmet says you can smooth out lumps and bumps.

She recommends three exercises for your lower body – the dead lift, the band squat and the side step.

The dead lift targets the hamstrings and buttocks. You bend forward at the waist, keeping your belly button pressed to your spine and then come right back up.

The band squat works every muscle group below the waist. You slowly sit back into the squat, keeping your knees from going past your toes.

For the outer thigh, do side steps.

Desmet has two exercises to help tone your tummy - the plank and side plank.

For the arms, do band push ups. She says the added resistance of the band works your biceps, triceps and chest even harder.

With each exercise, Joni says do as many as you can until you feel the muscle burn..

Then, increase your work load each day to reach your goal.

Desmet also suggests working some cardio into your routine and, of course, eat a sensible, healthy diet.

The goal of the workout is to get into the hot swimsuit trends of the season, which are polka dots, bright, bold jewel tones and patterns, the nautical look and hardware of all varieties.

The fashion experts at Everything But Water say there's something trendy for everybody who's ready for summer.

"The mini-skirt is definitely probably the biggest trend we're seeing right now and that works fabulous on every body type," said Kristen Ducette.

Bikini Accessories

Here's some kewl accessories I found. Looks great. I could fill a whole drawer of my dresser with just beachwear.











The Bikini Book


Kelly Killoren Bensimon, a model-turned-magazine-editor-turned-author, documents, in The Bikini Book, the substantial significance of the tiny two piece since the introduction in the 1950s of competing versions by Jacques Heim and Louis Reard. She documents the history of the bikini, from drawings on cave walls in 1400 B.C. to burlesque and vaudeville performers.

The name "bikini" came from the testing of atomic bombs on the Bikini atoll in the South Pacific that same summer. (It was common during that era for pop culture to borrow words from the military. Think blonde bombshell.)

Bensimon is donating a portion of the proceeds of the book, which retails for $29.95, to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Bikini Paradise - The Movie?

No, this blog isn't that popular that its being made into a movie... but it was already a movie, back in 1967.

Bikini Paradise was a 1967 comedy about two U.S. naval officers marooned on a "virgin island" populated only by women... scantily clad in bikinis of course.

PLOT SUMMARY:
Two U.S. Naval officers, Lt. Fraser and Lt. Crane, are sent to a remote South Pacific island to look for an American teacher, named Miss Harriet Pembroke, whom has gone missing for 20 years. They are captured by an all woman tribe whom are led by Miss Pembroke who has gone native. When the two men learn they are to be forced into marriage for mating purposes, they try to escape with the help from their two sympathetic wives-to-be Rachel and Maya.

Which is quite silly actually. Unless they are gay every man I've ever met would risk their lives to be stuck on an island with sex-starved bikini clad goddesses... not risk their lives to get away with it.

Bikini Paradise wasn't the only "bikini" movie of 1967. There was also "It's a Bikini World"

Obviously men back in 1967 were pretty obsessed with bikinis.

They still are today.

Our culture is sexualizing young girls

Last summer, my 5-year-old niece was hell-bent to persuade her mom to buy her a bikini swimsuit. So, while shopping one day and listening to the harangues, my sister reluctantly agreed to let her try one on. After wiggling all 40 pounds of herself into the wee two-triangles top and side-tie bottoms, she stared openly in the dressing-room mirror and then, never taking her eyes off herself, performed what can perhaps best be described as an exotic-erotic pole dance to show off the ensemble. It was quite a sight.

My sister and I hurried her into her T-shirt and shorts and out of the store, making lame excuses like, "One-piece suits are better for little girls; they're easier to manage." Back home, deftly pulling a tiny bikini top onto her Bratz doll, she was visibly disgruntled. She had no idea what all the fuss was about.

My sister is one of many parents, teachers, child advocates and journalists who have expressed concern in recent years over what appears to be an increasing sexualization in our culture of girls and girlhood. Because I do research on the consequences of the sexual objectification of girls and women, I was asked to serve on a committee named by the American Psychological Association to examine the prevalence of sexualizing treatment in the culture, and its consequences.

Our research was sobering. In study after study, we found ample evidence for a widespread cultural contribution, through media and merchandizing, to the sexual portrayal and treatment of girls. In some cases, we see girls sexualized through thong underwear or T-shirts emblazoned with slogans such as "Eye Candy" and marketed to 7- to 10-year-olds. We also are presented with adult women or celebrity partiers "dressed down" as young girls, in pigtails, with their cleavage busting out of pink ruffles.

With the proliferation of media, such images saturate the culture - and the message to girls and young women is clear: Being female has become nearly synonymous with being a sexual object. And perhaps the most disturbing feature of the bill of goods sold to our daughters is the equating of sexual objectification with power and popularity.

But the media and marketers are not solely to blame. Parents often encourage the maintaining of a sexy, attractive physical appearance as the top goal for their daughters, some even paying for plastic surgery for pre-teens and teens to help them reach that goal. Girls police each other. Boys harass. And these societal influences combine to form self-objectification, or what my niece so vividly demonstrated in her string bikini. Girls come to view and treat themselves as sexual objects, internalizing an observer's perspective on their bodies, and styling their identities after the sexy celebrities who populate their cultural landscape.

OK, but is this really that big of a deal? You betcha.

My studies and many others have shown that the self-objectification that follows carries significant psychological and physical health costs. Girls and young women who have this view of themselves have a poorer self-image, are more likely to suffer from eating disorders and depression, throw a ball less effectively, fail to use proper birth control if they have sex, are more likely to take up smoking and do worse on math tests. It would not be a stretch to say that sexualization functions to keep girls "in their place" as objects of sexual attraction and beauty, significantly limiting their happiness, free thinking, safety and movement in the world.

And those are just the consequences of the more benign end of the continuum of sexual objectification. At the more extreme end, we have child pornography, trafficking and abuse. One pernicious effect of the constant exposure to these images is that we may be "trained" to perceive sexualized girls as "seductive." Studies have shown that adult men often misperceive friendliness in women as sexual interest. We shouldn't be surprised if young girls who are made to look like adult women evoke similar responses.

So my colleagues and I take very seriously the sexualization of girls as a pressing public health concern. I fear we're fighting an uphill battle, however. The trouble is, sex sells. And pointing fingers at dolls or T-shirt slogans seems prudish and moralizing.

In a recent USA Today story, the CEO of the company that manufactures Bratz dolls scoffed at our APA report, saying that his dolls were not sexy, but rather looked like the typical school girl today. The school of what?

One of my daughters and I were riding the street car in Berlin, Germany, when I noticed we had entered an area where prostitutes solicit openly. My then 7-year-old daughter was enchanted by one of these women, who had very long hair and wore thigh-high vinyl boots. "Mommy," my daughter sighed reverently, "she's so pretty. She looks just like a Bratz doll."

The work I did with the task force convinced me we're not just talking about a little bit of second-hand smoke. We're in a smog-filled room, and we're all inhaling and exhaling. Of course, one doll isn't a problem. And maybe one bikini-clad 5-year-old gyrating before the mirror isn't, either. But a culture saturated with a view of femininity that focuses on sex appeal to the exclusion of other characteristics, and increasingly applies this standard to our youngest female members, is a problem we need to take seriously.

Cigarettes have warning labels. Maybe we should consider putting them on Muppet thongs and size 6 "Booty Call" tiny-Ts. Warning: This item is dangerous to your daughter's health.

Alicia Mayer wears a lettuce bikini for PETA

The FHM cover model agrees to be covered in lettuce for the pro-vegetarian ad of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).



Sexily clad in a bikini made of only a few lettuce leaves, actress and FHM cover model Alicia Mayer posed for a brand-new ad for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia-Pacific.

Alicia urges people to embrace a healthy, humane, and delicious meatless diet. The star of Lagot Ka, Isusumbong Kita posed provocatively while holding a placard that says "Let Vegetarianism Grow On You!"

"I'm asking people to turn over a new leaf and go vegetarian," she says in a statement. "With so many delicious alternatives now available, it's easier than ever to enjoy great food without causing animal suffering."

Alicia follows the likes of Diether Ocampo, Ornussa Cadness, and Borgy Manotoc in stripping off to highlight the pro-animal campaigns of PETA.

Last November 2006, Diether made a bold statement for the animal-rights group when he posed with a placard placed strategically on his private parts that says "Naked Truth: Animals Don't Belong in Zoos."

The two models—and real-life sweethearts—Borgy and Ornussa agreed to be covered in tiger body paint last September for PETA's ad advocating the tagline: "Even the wildest animals don't belong in zoos."

According to PETA campaigns manager Rochelle Regodon, the stars who pose for PETA agree to do so without receiving any payment in return for their advocacy. Ace photographer Raymund Isaac volunteered to shoot Alicia's pro-vegetarian ad for PETA.

Anyone who wants to help PETA out can call 8175292, 8183668. Or reach these animal-rights activists through telefax 8183556.


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