girls

Nude photos of female students were on display at one of our nation’s most prestigious colleges.

“Photographs of women laughing, gazing dreamily into the distance, hugging friends or teammates, holding up soccer balls, or, in one photo, biting into a greasy piece of pizza…”

The above description pertains to a recent exhibition at Bowdoin College’s Lamarche Gallery. The newly curated exhibit of photographs, entitled, “Celebrating Women, Celebrating Bodies,” was on display for several weeks in April.

A previous version of “Celebrating Bodies” was exhibited on the campus in 2012.

According to the Bowdoin Orient, a student publication, the “Celebrating Bodies” display featured “an exhibition of nude photos designed to celebrate the diversity of women on campus and their bodies.”

A source with knowledge of the exhibit told The College Fix that the images showed breasts and vaginas, although done “more artfully” than porno style.

Speaking of 2012’s exhibit, project director Laura Armstrong said the nude photographs were supposed to help women counter “self-critical internal and external dialogues.”

Armstrong, along with two fellow students, photographed roughly 100 women for the exhibit.

Bowdoin student Julia Mead wrote about her experience posing with a group of friends this year: “Ten of us went into a side room, stripped down to our underwear, stood side-by-side, laughed nervously, sweated under the bright lights, and click click click. We put our bras back on and then the rest of our clothes.” 

Ten Percent Posed Nude

Bowdoin is a very small college, with about 1800 total students. Currently, only 890 females attend the school. If 100 Bowdoin women were photographed, that means more than ten percent of the women who attend the college agreed to pose nude.

For this year’s exhibit, participation remained strong. About 50 Bowdoin women chose to participate, according to organizers of the 2014 “Celebrating Bodies” exhibition.

In some cases, props were included. “People brought a lot of props: pots, pans, someone brought their mountain climbing belt, someone brought a longboard,” said event leader Janki Kaneria, who posed nude herself in 2012.

Maura Allen, a student who posed in 2012, and again this year, told the Bowdoin Orient that she was “one of the more bashful people that I knew,” in middle school and high school. Her decision to pose nude was a way to show how she “had really changed a lot since then.”

A number of the photos featured of female athletic teams stripped down and photographed as a group.

The only rule was that students had to agree to show their heads in the photographs, and not just their bodies.

U.S. News ranks Bowdoin College as the 4th best liberal arts college in the nation. And the college boasts an acceptance rate of only 15%.

For those young women who will one day be engaged in high-powered careers in business and politics, the potential for these images to reemerge and cause embarrassment or scandal did not deter them.

At least one member of the Bowdoin faculty advised students as they planned and executed the project, according to Armstrong, 2012’s “Bodies” projectdirector. In a gallery statement she writes:

michael-kolster-bowdoin.new

Before the shoot, I had the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with photography Professor Michael Kolster in which he probed me to think more deeply about why we chose the medium of photography, why nudes, and why only women… I chose to focus this exhibit specifically on women as a result of my work at the Women’s Resource Center. It is a shoot that celebrates women in solidarity with one another…

Professor Michale Kolster, who teaches photography classes and works one-on-one with students for independent studies in the “visual arts,” is on leave for the Fall 2014, semester, according to his faculty profile page.

The Women’s Resource Center at Bowdoin, which Armstrong says inspired her to do the “Celebrating Bodies” project, is a campus organization that “builds awareness of gender issues,” according to the group’s website. The Women’s Center also hosts other female-themed art projects, including a production of the “Vagina Monologues” and an even called “V-Day,” which seems to be a short for “Vagina-Day.”

It’s All About Empowerment

“We really want to reiterate the fact that these are real women. It’s not just a body—these are the women behind the pictures. This is their story of empowerment,” Kaneria told The Orient.

On the comment feed below the school newspaper’s story on the exhibit, the reaction of the public was mixed. One commenter who went by the name, “Fan of Naked Co-eds,” had this to say: “Nothing wrong with a little nudity. Who doesn’t like youthful boobies? Lay off and let ‘em celebrate their youth.”

Meanwhile, another commenter, “Gooseontheloose” had this to say: “I doubt any employer when reviewing their Facebook pages would find this extracurricular activity of any value other than to use it as a reason to reject the applicant.”

Another dubbed “Holden” suggested the college could turn this into a fundraising venture: “Perhaps Bowdoin should create a student calendar with the sexiest 12 photos and let the Alumni Association sell them online…or create a website for the girls to video chat for a few dollars per minute.”

In an age in which cell phone cameras are everywhere, the potential for an unauthorized person to record and distribute these nude images online, either now or in the future, seems not to have caused students, faculty, or administrators much worry.

Total cost to attend Bowdoin College, including tuition, room and board, is $59,568 annually. As they sign checks of that size, surely there are very few fathers and mothers who realize they are paying to keep the lights on in a college gallery where nude images of their daughters are on display.

**Bowdoin College spokesman Scott Hood and Women’s Resource Center director Melissa Quinby refused to respond to The College Fix’s requests for comment on this story.**

Nathan Harden is editor emeritus of The College Fix and author of SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Follow Nathan on Facebook /  Twitter:@NathanHarden

(Image: MichaelPorter.Flickr)

 

The New Haven Register reports:

Frances Chan says she’s done stuffing her face with ice cream and Cheetos just to make Yale University happy. After months of wrangling, the university finally agrees.

The 20-year-old history major has spent the past few months sparring with Yale’s health center over her low weight. Chan is 5’2” and 92 lbs., and Yale doctors were concerned her health was severely at risk.

She contended that she’s always been very thin, as were her parents and grandparents at her age.

Yet until Friday, Yale had been telling Chan she might be forced to leave school if she didn’t put on some pounds…

Read More.

(Via Drudge)

Haven’t you heard? There’s no such thing as male and female anymore. At least, not in the state of California. Not in the public schools there.

On Monday governor Jerry Brown signed a law that gives all students the right to use the restroom or locker room of their choice.

As Todd Starnes writes at FoxNews.com: “The new law gives students the right ‘to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities’ based on their self-perception and regardless of their birth gender.”

Do you feel like a girl today? You have a right to enter the girls’ locker room. It’s that simple.

Feeling more boyish? Go right ahead and try out those urinals girls! You don’t mind if the guys watch, do you?

In California, quite frankly, no one has a legal right to stop you if you want to watch students of the opposite sex undress at school. Liberals have finally succeeded in destroying all distinctions between male and female.

And that’s not all. This new law may even allow students to participate on sporting teams of the opposite sex. A boy who says he identifies as a girl could play on the girl’s basketball team, or could compete against girls rather than boys in track and field.

This is a prime example of liberalism attempting to ignore reality in a blind attempt to appease special interest groups on the extreme edge of the radical left. Those groups say divisions between boys and girls are discriminatory against transsexuals or transgender individuals. But they never once give a thought to the privacy of all the other students who now may be forced to undress next to someone of the opposite sex. Nor do they care about the obvious safety risks girls will face under such conditions.

If you are a parent with a child in California public schools, I pity you.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Like The College Fix on Facebook.  / Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

Inside Higher Ed reports on new research that seeks to explain why women, on average, are outperforming men academically:

The facts of women being more likely than men to go to college, perform better academically, and major in fields other than science, technology, engineering and mathematics are mostly attributable to factors affecting students before – in some cases, long before – they enter the halls of academe. But that doesn’t mean colleges can’t do anything to mitigate the consequences.

Those are the conclusions of the authors of a new book, The Rise of Women (Russell Sage Foundation), about how and why female students continue to outpace their male counterparts in education (yet still can’t seem to earn a comparable paycheck).

“We’ve seen astonishing change over a very short historical period,” Thomas DiPrete, the book’s co-author and a sociology professor at Columbia University, said on a call with reporters Wednesday.

Starting with the people born around 1950, the rate of men’s bachelor’s degree completion stopped growing, and it stayed stagnant for years. In 1970, 20 percent of men and 14 percent of women finished college. By 2010, women’s graduation rates had “skyrocketed” to 36 percent, DiPrete said, while the rate among men grew only seven points, to 27 percent.

Today, women outpace men in college enrollment by a ratio of 1.4 to 1.

Beginning as early as kindergarten, the authors explained, girls have better average social and behavioral skills than boys, and that relates to girls’ higher average grades at each stage of school and why girls are more likely to earn a degree.

“The grade gap isn’t about ability,” said Claudia Buchmann, co-author and sociology professor at Ohio State University, “it’s really more about effort and engagement in school…”

“We really need schools that set high expectations, that treat students as individuals – not just as gendered groups – and also motivate students to invest in their education so that they can reach the big returns of a college degree that exist in today’s labor market,” Buchmann said.

Read the full story here.

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From reality shows, to Youtube, to HBO hits like Girls and Shameless, the material labeled as art and/or entertainment has really deteriorated – to the detriment, especially, of heavy media consumers like those of us in the 18-24 year-old demographic.

Sure, some of us like to read books, some enjoy gardening, and others like shooting hoops or baking or going for long bike rides. But far, far too many of us, especially in my generation (and including myself), spend a large portion of our time filling our brains with complete garbage via both the internet and television.

Our age group is already far less inhibited than previous generations, due to growing up in a world where the internet and Facebook fostered an almost constant stream of personal revelations laid bare for all to see. Perhaps that’s part of the reason we don’t question the “revelations” of those who produce the programming with which we fill our minds, and our hours.

Now, there are those (generally older people) who look at this programming with intense distaste, and then call for more censorship, particularly regarding lewd and inappropriate behavior on television.

But I don’t think it’s the government’s job to censor lewd content, especially on paid cable channels. I do, however, think that the individuals who create and air these shows ought to seriously consider the ramifications of what they’re disseminating, and that a discussion of those ramifications is long overdue.

Perhaps even more to the point, the individuals in my generation need to learn to change the channel.

Why?

Well, not necessarily because it causes people to emulate bad behavior.  People are free to make their own behavioral choices, and no movie or TV show forces them to do anything.

But shows that unflinchingly depict the reality-show style exhibitionism that we see in Girls, or scripted shows like Shameless that dwell on the most abominable subjects (like pedophilia) from the very dregs of society in an effort to reflect “reality,” or shows that portray real people trading their dignity for a fleeting glimpse of fame or a few lousy bucks by engaging in degrading and humiliating acts (take your pick of numerous reality shows) – can anyone honestly justify how this is a productive use of time for any of us?

Wallowing in the ugliest the world has to offer generates nothing positive in one’s life. It does, however, desensitize us to that very ugliness – and that’s not a good thing for the individual or for society.

When people of my age group (and, of course, younger teens) see “Hannah” and “Marnie” consistently having casual sex with any and every guy they meet on Girls (including gay men – why not throw that in the mix, too) – or, even worse, girls lining up on The Jersey Shore and other reality shows to sleep with the “stars,” how can that not affect how we think about sex?

Again, watching it doesn’t translate to losing the ability to distinguish certain behaviors as right or wrong, and we may still hold to higher standards – but it absolutely desensitizes us to the consequences of abdicating those higher principles or guidelines. In other words – the very popularity of these programs indicates that shame is really no longer a factor.

“Shameless” is a pretty fair description of the society these programs portray. They are obscene and crass. I’ve often heard people from previous generations make the case that there is a moral issue with pornography and lewd behavior because it causes temptation or is alluring to some people, but in the sexual encounters in these types of shows, it’s revolting, not intriguing. In fact, it is so repetitive that it loses its intended effect, successfully desensitizing the viewer.

If there’s no shame – it’s no big deal! – to get drunk and have casual sex with a man you’ve just met, and there’s no social stigma to posting all about your drunken or sexual exploits (or deepest feelings, for that matter) online, and it’s perfectly normal to be entertained by videos of other people humiliating themselves – then obviously there’s no harm in me “having a little fun” too, especially if it doesn’t go that far? After all, no young person wants to be “the weird one,” and if life is a spectrum between uptight prude and Jersey Shore, then most of us feel pressured to be somewhere in between, right?

But there is real harm, in that “in between” space, because that spectrum has gotten longer and longer, and it’s only traveling in one direction. When the extremes grow more and more outrageous, and are not only tolerated but celebrated in the media we consume, then a healthy “in between” place becomes harder and harder for a young person to find.

My epiphany on this issue arrived after watching a few recent episodes of shows like Girls and Shameless, and realized they actually left me feeling dirty. Sex is no longer something meaningful to share with someone you love, but cheap and meaningless – an activity to occupy time – with no more emotion or thought than a trip to the bathroom. This is depicted as quite normal. Nothing is inappropriate to see or talk about, nothing is shocking or disgusting, and there is no standard of decency. These shows are the intellectual equivalent of filling your body with a dozen donuts; you think they taste good while you’re eating them, but they lose their appeal the more you eat – and they leave you feeling nasty afterwards.

Unfortunately, many of my friends have told me, “I love Girls because it’s just so realistic.” But even if there are realistic elements, why is that, in itself, something to be celebrated? It’s tragic that 18-24 year-olds are living these kinds of meaningless lives and in these kinds of self-loathing relationships – the last thing they need is to spend time absorbing more of the same on their TV screens.

If these shows actually asked any meaningful questions about this type of behavior, or even thoughtfully depicted consequences, one might argue that the programs provided some benefit to viewers or society at large. But they don’t, and they’re not particularly creative, and they’re not exactly art either. And it’s an embarrassment that we reward this material with Emmys.

I’m not going to say that we should take shows like this off the air, but I am going to say that all of us as individuals should be able to recognize that not everything that’s out there is worthwhile, or a good use of our time. I picked on Girls and Shameless, but they’re just two examples among many.

As for me, I think I may switch my viewing habits to programming that has at least some redeeming value. I’d rather watch something that features thoughtful and engaging storylines and that respects the human dignity of the characters, as well as my dignity as a viewer (Downton Abbey anyone?), than shows that leave me feeling like I’ve contracted an STD just from watching.

Or maybe I’ll go for a long bike ride.

Fix Contributor Emily Schrader graduated from the University of Southern California in 2011. She currently attends graduate school at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

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Recent studies suggest that young girls are entering puberty earlier than ever. Medical researches are divided about the causes and implications of this trend:

In August 2010, the conflict seemed to resolve. Well-respected researchers at three big institutions — Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Kaiser Permanente of Northern California and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York — published another study in Pediatrics, finding that by age 7, 10 percent of white girls, 23 percent of black girls, 15 percent of Hispanic girls and 2 percent of Asian girls had started developing breasts.

Read more in the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

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