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Attack of the man boobs October 29, 2009

Posted by Andreas in Life, Society, South Africa.
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I wrote this for the Health24 ManZone recently:

Attack of the man boobs

What’s worse, a woman with fake boobs or a man with real ones?

Personally, I’d always go with the natural look, even if it sometimes falls short of what the media and society at large consider to be perfection. When it comes to the human body, the natural and real are just so much more interesting to me than the manufactured and artificial.

That’s not to say that I’m not concerned about the state of my chest, of course. Like most men, I find the prospect of developing man boobs quite disconcerting. So I regularly find myself checking out the situation when I’m in the shower and although it’s fair to say that I’m some way from growing proper moobs, it’s equally apparent that my pecs have seen better days.

If I was made of more free-spirited stuff I’d show you a picture of what my torso looks like today, but I’ll spare you the abuse. Suffice it to say that things have changed somewhat for the worse.

If you have a more exhibitionistic streak, though, don’t let me stop you. If you are particularly proud of your upper body, bloke-knockers or not, send us a photo (ManZone@health24.co.za) and we’ll put together a gallery for ManZone readers to look at. We’re especially interested in hearing from anyone who has managed to get rid of their flesh pillows and before-and-after photos are most welcome.

Abnormally enlarged male breasts – the medical term is gynecomastia – are a serious problem for a surprisingly large number of boys and men that can lead to considerable embarrassment and emotional distress. Being a notoriously uncommunicative lot when it comes to important issues that affect us directly, most men have developed elaborate mechanisms to avoid talking about the issue. We’d rather discuss the minutiae of Formula 1.

Did you know that while man boobs can be a by-product of being overweight, in many cases they are the result of a medical condition most likely related to hormonal imbalances? Do you have enlarged breasts yourself, but have no idea what to do about them? It seems to me that an open and honest conversation about the issues involved would go some way towards making this less of a headache for so many of us.

One guy who doesn’t beat about the bush when it comes to mantits is Anton Marshall, front man for the Cape Town band Three More White Guys. He actually sings about them!

Marshall: “Our song Mantits is really about the pressure all large people – or out-of-shape people – feel. Most people don’t realise that in modern times guys are under as much pressure as women to have a flat stomach and chiselled chest. Take a look at a magazine and you’ll see all the images being thrown at us about what we’re supposed to look like. I was looking at one of those celebrity gossip rags and I remember thinking: ‘Man, that crap you’re saying about Jack Nicholson’s boobs is such bullshit. The guy’s 70! He’s my granddad!'”

ManZone: Do you think moobs are a big personal issue for many guys?

Marshall: “Yeah I think there’s a ton of ways people get ostracised and being differently shaped or overweight are just two of them. In my experience, men seem to do one of two things with the mantits issue: they either wear it like a badge or they completely retreat within it. There just doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. Ultimately, wellbeing is about more than just mantits though. It’s about feeling good about who you are.”

ManZone: Any advice for dudes with man boobs? Do we embrace them, take them to gym or to the plastic surgeon?

Marshall: “All and none of the above. It won’t do you any good to do anything without first deciding that there’s something wrong or right with it. I’ve personally come to accept that I’ll always have the potential to be overweight and out of shape. So I deal with that danger my way. I personally wouldn’t consider surgery right now. Or gym, to be honest. But I do feel I’m in control of my body at the moment and I’m just fine with that.”

More info:

Man boobs demystified
Exercise can get rid of your man boobs
Man boobs are more common than you think!
Men with boobs
UK men seeking smaller moobs

Poison on the Platter October 19, 2009

Posted by Andreas in Environment, Film screening, genetic engineering, South Africa, Sustainable Living.
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Free screenings of a powerful new documentary about genetically modified food

Poison on the Platter, a short documentary film about the detrimental effects of genetically modified crops in India, which will be screened at the Labia on Orange cinema on Tuesday 27 October at 6.15pm and on Wednesday 28 October at 6.15pm.

Entrance to both screenings is free of charge, but since only a limited number of seats are available, you are strongly encouraged to reserve tickets by calling the Labia at 021 424 5927.

While the European Union has decisively rejected the use of genetically modified food crops, powerful multinational biotech companies like Monsanto, Syngenta and DuPont are aggressively marketing these crops in developing countries such as South Africa, India and Brazil.

Poison on the Platter is a short (26 min), but powerful documentary film by well-known Bollywood director Ajay Kanchan that critically examines this process with special reference to India. The film stresses the numerous detrimental effects genetically modified crops have on the environment, human health, sustainable agriculture and people’s right to safe food.

Devinder Sharma

Devinder Sharma

The Indian experience is of great relevance to South Africa, where the widespread introduction of commercial genetically modified crops including cotton, soy and maize has been actively promoted by the government and the biotech industry without significant public participation or awareness.

Poison on the Platter is an eye-opener for anyone who is concerned about the proliferation of genetically modified food crops in South Africa.

The screenings will be followed by an open discussion with Devinder Sharma, a prominent Indian food policy analyst, author and chair of the Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security in India, who was instrumental in the production of the film.

This event is presented by the Labia, Biowatch, Surplus People Project, Agroecology and Family Farming (AS-PTA) from Brazil, Chetna Organic Farmers Association from India, the African Centre for Biosafety, SAFeAGE, Woman on Farms Project and Workers World Media Productions and While You Were Sleeping, a Cape Town-based non-profit film collective committed to bringing progressive, non-mainstream documentaries with important social and environmental messages to South African audiences.


The Labia:
021 424 5927

Michelle Pressend
082 564 1581

Surplus People Project:
Tennille Rode
021 448 5605

While You Were Sleeping:
Andreas Späth
084 772 1056