Friday, July 7, 2017

body issue

Okay. I am not a prude, by any stretch of the definition.  My feeling about sex and the discourse related to intimacy is that we, in America, are in the very dark ages.  And that is for those who believe and adhere to their beliefs about intimacy.  Others are hypocrites; spewing the values of abstinence and perils of intimacy while engaging in practices that people of their ilk, outwardly, condemn as sinful. The ubiquitous chatter about the evils of the flesh are at odds with the overwhelming evidence that the pornography business is beyond lucrative.

Not only do I think we are in the dark ages about sex, but we are worse off for it.  Sexual repression has got to be no good for you.  Think of how you felt the last time you engaged blissfully in consensual intimacy.  Now imagine not being able to purge whatever had been purged. It has to go someplace.

So,  with that background, this rant may seem peculiar--but the two paragraphs above actually are foundational to the following argument.

The SI swimsuit issue is, without question, the fattest issue that SI puts out all year. This is not because they are taking a lot of pictures that require pages. It is because advertisers want to advertise in the issue thus expanding the size.  The reason advertisers want to advertise is that many people purchase the swimsuit issue.

As anyone who has perused that issue knows, the lure for the consumers is not the particular garb that the models use when they go to the beach. It is because the models pose with not a whole lot of garb, sometimes no garb, and the pictures are less of the "check out this great bathing suit" variety and more like "come hither and imagine what I look like if my suit is removed."

My problem with the swimsuit issue is that given the size of the audience, there must be a whole lot of people who squawk about the perils of intimacy, but nevertheless check out the photos.

However, the swimsuit issue, has been topped.  ESPN-the magazine has published in the last few weeks what they call their body issue.  Essentially they have said, "we don't need no stinking swimsuits."  Naked athletes, men and women, in softball, hockey, basketball, football, tennis, rugby--and other sports are posing naked. Every single one is in the buff. There is no frontal nudity, but you want to see what Julian Edelman's ass looks like, or anybody else's, you are in business.  Six women from the 2014 silver medal hockey team stand, backs to the camera, with nothing on but their skates. Each looks back at the camera, but my hunch is that the gazing is at regions further south.

When I was a kid, the Body Issue would be something that would be found behind the counter. There was a sign at the candystore near my house that read, "Ask for Playboy."  You'd have had to ask for the Body Issue in 1964.

Does the Body Issue bother me?  In some ways yes, (a) because ESPN-the magazine is trying to claim that what they are showing off are the athletes' physiques; what you have to do in training to be a winner--and that is baloney--they are peddling sex and (b) because so many of the full of baloney people will scream about how we are all going to hell, yet will check out the images on line a gazillion times fueling some creative daydreaming.

We as a society would be a whole lot better off, if people got off a whole lot more. and there was no stigma surrounding consensual intimacy.

My beef with the swimsuit issue and the body issue is that they do not really puncture the prevailing bogus morality, but rather create a vehicle for indulgence while maintaining the status quo.

In high school we had to read a play called Miss Julie.  Completely lost on me in high school.  I read it again last night as I am on a kick now of reading plays.  In it, Julie, an aristocrat, does the slow dance with one of her servants.  Afterwards, she does not know what to do. She has been disgraced. She wants to move away with the lover, who has little sympathy calling her a whore, and acting toward her, as if she is forever stained.  The play was written in 1883.  Yes attitudes have changed some, but not enough.  And despite what might seem to be the case, the Body Issue and Swimsuit Issue do not help the cause.

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