The other night I ran across a rather provocative picture, courtesy of the idiots at PETA (which should stand for 'People Eating Tasty Animals'). One of their diatribes agains fur, it featured a shapely twenty-something woman, devoid of clothes but covering just enough of her parts to apparently pass muster in popular culture, with the tagline "Fur? I'd rather go naked."
This woman had her hair all mussed up, so, being clever, I juxtaposed it with a picture of a [clothed] Cincinnati Bengals football player with an out-of-control 'do, and captioned it "PETA or NFL?" and posted it.
A couple of hours later, I had misgivings. While the picture was not intrinsically pornographic (it's apparently displayed publicly at bus stops and the like), it was emblematic of the wider desensitization of public nudity. On the same day, the internet was abuzz with not unsimilar images of Jennifer Aniston in a nude layout for a magazine. Not to mention about every other headline on AOL news breathlessly talking about this or that celebrity's wardrobe malfunction.
As John Stossel says, "Give me a break!"
Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of the female form. But I have to ask myself, do I want my daughter thinking she should display herself in this way? If I were married, would I want my wife thinking I value such images of [airbrushed] female beauty over hers? Do I want my adolescent sons believing that physical beauty is the most important attribute a woman can have?
I removed the post. The world wouldn't have ended if I'd left it up, and it won't be a magical place for taking it down. But I feel better for my decision.