Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ditching The Swimsuit.

You may recognize the woman on your right as Olympic gold medalist Amanda Beard (winner of seven Olympic medals total). According to the last page in the current issue of Playboy (another year, another bleach-blonde Playmate of the Year, guh), she'll have a pictorial in the next month's issue, and is probably the most likely cover subject. You never can tell, though -- somewhere along the line, the mag decided not to put the Playmate of the Year on the cover, and the trend continues, with some blonde Trump fired off the Apprentice on a season I haven't watched on it instead on the issue I got in the mail yesterday. Of course, there are the usual objectors to Beard's posing nude, based on whether posing nude is objectification or not:

What upsets some people like Dr. Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota, as she told the New York Daily News, is that “It used to be that female athletes were portrayed as wholesome, All-American girls. Now you get female athletes in GQ, Playboy and the Swimsuit issue. The result of it is coverage that is very damaging—that trivializes and marginalizes women athletes because it does not give them the respect they deserve as competent athletes.”
I'm not sure when and if female athletes were ever really portrayed as wholesome and all-American by the culture at large -- I think the old stereotype we could apply there is either "tomboy" or "butch" as far as female athletes in a lot of sports went, so I'm not quite hanging with Dr. Kane's point there. Weren't athletics, and certain sports in particular, seen as not particularly feminine? This is kind of a perverse validation of the all-American value of women in sports -- realizing that they are feminine enough in appearance to be "the girl next door" that Playboy aims for, despite the inevitable airbrushing (plus, let's not forget that Beard is a model; this isn't exactly a stretch for her, and she's not exactly outside the beauty norms.)

The question over whether Beard ought to pose nude is irrelevant: her body, let her do what she wants with it. It's not like she'll lack for control over how it's presented (I do believe celeb subjects get a good amount of say on the photos). The amount of caring I could do is negligible -- attractive as Amanda Beard is, somewhere along the line, Playboy has kind of been the dropping off point; notable women come to pose nude on the tail end of careers. It'll be nice to look at once and forget about. I never thought I'd say it with any sort of conviction, but I think I subscribe to the magazine more for the articles now.

Amanda Beard to Appear In Playboy [Timed Finals]
Amanda Beard Is Gettin' Naked [With Leather]


Sanchez said...

You know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see some ex-sports chick come staright out and say 'I'm gonna go in for a scene on anal sluts 73'.

Now that shit would raise some eyebrows wouldn't it?

Back on the real world though, I think you're right about the 'tomboy'/'butch' thing and rightly or wrongly, I don't remember that ever really changing for most female athletes.

Zach Landres-Schnur said...

i'd rather see Pavano's wife (wife?) do playboy. beard needs a boob job in a bad way.

Signal to Noise said...

Pavano's ex-GF did Maxim.

Beard's fine the way she is. Most swimmers don't come busty.

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