I was watching an episode of the Nomad Chef on Quest this week, in which the chef, Jock Zonfrillo, visited a tribe of people on the edge of the Amazon to learn about their cuisine. Throughout the programme it was plain to see that semi-nudity and bare breasts/chests were the norm for the tribe. There was no embarrassment expressed, or any hint that the filming might be an intrusion into anyone’s privacy. Even so, the programme makers were obsessed with preventing any image of a nipple or other intimate part of the tribe people’s bodies to appear in the programme. It was verging on comical to watch areas of pixellation appear and disappear on the TV screen.
Why is the portrayal of nudity in the popular media so taboo? Surely, it is a good thing for nudity to be properly represented in the media. Factual programmes covering topics like medicine, natural history or human relationships should be free to use the nude form to educate and inform. It really doesn’t matter whether very young children see such imagery; it is of no consequence whatsoever.
When I was a boy, I led a very sheltered existence. I never saw my parents naked, and I never saw any pictures/photographs of the naked form. My experience of such things was limited to glimpses of my similarly aged, brother and sister when in the bath or changing for bed. The adult naked form was a complete mystery to me. I clearly remember my surprise, when, during puberty, my class in school shared changing rooms with older boys and I got my first glimpse of pubic hair.
Nowadays, internet porn is easily accessible. Any parent of a teenager who thinks they are fully protecting their offspring from exposure to such material is deluding themselves. Whatever they do to protect their children in the home, there will always be some children at school who are able to access and then share pornographic material with their schoolfriends. Most of the material is not representative of normal, wholesome, sexual relationships, and it idealises the male/female forms. Teenage children can’t help comparing their own bodies with these false ideals and they are inevitably left wanting. This leads to body image problems that can last into adulthood.
All of these problems are made worse when the media suppresses images of the naked form. Such images show how varied people’s bodies are, and that people are individuals. They play an important role in portraying normality and ease the transition through puberty for developing young people.
Media attitudes which treat nudity as something to be hidden away have been blamed for an appalling incident which happened earlier this year, in the UK town of Rugely. Someone took it upon themselves to photograph a mother sitting on a step in the street breast feeding her baby. They then posted the picture on Facebook with the caption:
“I know the sun is out n all that but theres no need to let your kid feast on your nipple in town? Tramp.”
Badobadop believes that such behaviour is offensive and unacceptable. It marks the perpetrators out as prudish chav scum. What comes first? The needs of a baby, or the outdated, Victorian sensibilities of a socially inadequate onlooker?
Badobadop says to the world’s media and those who regulate them:
“You are like a bunch of giggling little children in a sex ed. class. Grow up and deal with nudity openly, responsibly and in the best interests of those you serve.”
Prepare the chicken by removing the legs, breasts and wings. Separate the thighs from the drumsticks and cut the breasts in half to obtain 8 pieces in total (see the picture below).
Skin the chicken pieces (don’t worry about skinning the wings, it is too much trouble).
Chop the leftover carcass into pieces and put into a saucepan along with the carrots onion and celery. Add about 600 ml ( 2½ cups) of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for about an hour. Sieve 400 ml (1¾ cups) of the liquor into a measuring jug. If the mixture has reduced to less than 400 ml, make up the difference with a little water.
Put two tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron, ovenproof dish and place on a hob set to high. Add the chicken pieces and cook until they begin to brown.
Add the bacon, button mushrooms, shallots and garlic and continue to cook for a couple of minutes more.
Add the chicken stock, red wine and bouquet garnis. Season with 2 tsp salt and ¼ tsp finely ground black pepper.
Bring to the boil on the hob, then cover and place in a preheated oven at 180 C (350 f) for 45 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and set it down on the hob. Remove the lid and allow to cool for a few minutes (this step is important, or the sauce will be lumpy).
Put the flour in a mug and add a small amount of water. Stir vigorously to make a stiff, smooth paste. Continue to add small amounts of water until the mug is about half full and the flour is evenly distributed.
Add the the flour/water mix to the dish, stir, replace the lid and put back in the oven for a further 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
Serve with mashed potatoes and your favourite vegetables. If you want to keep it simple, boiled rice is a good alternative. The recipe is sufficient for four people.
1 medium chicken
2 carrots (cut into chunks)
1 onion (quartered)
1 stick celery (cut into chunks)
2 tbs olive oil
200 g (7 oz) button mushrooms
100 g (3½ oz) shallots
2 rashers smoked, streaky bacon (cut into strips)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
500 ml (2 cups) red wine (cabernet sauvignon)
2 bouquet garnis sachets
Salt and ground black pepper
40 g (1½ oz) plain flour