THE BLOG

Newsflash: Survey of Respondents Shows Males & Females Equal in Naked Body Shots in MSM

04/14/2009 11:11 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

This just in: I am changing the title of this article because it is only getting comments from people who think that I am a prude and that a stepford society is good. I would summarize the response thush far to be: males and females are equally represented in media and Internet pictures when naked. Most people are ectomorphs and mesomorphs and it is possible for any person to exercise and eat their way from being an endomporh into the aforementioned body types. Society is best served by a media dominated by images of airbrushed female nudes. Youngsters who regularly view this kind of "art" will be the ones with the highest self-esteem, regard for both genders, and success in personal and professional relationships. Ok. That is too long, so I'll use the one above. ###

After reading Scarlett Johansson's article, "The Skinny," with 274 comments, I was astounded to see that the nude Allure pictures post had 353,000 page views and 530 comments. The irony is that the Allure pics, Allure magazine, and the distribution of the pictures, are promoting exactly what Johansson is concerned about.

The selling of the "perfect" female body obviously has an enormous market value, but it also has a huge cultural cost. For children, adolescents and adults of both genders, this fake portrayal of the female body is damaging. Unrealistic expectations, a focus on only the external person instead of the whole person can crush self esteem and relationships.

The first amendment is not going anywhere, nor should it (!) But it places responsibility on citizens to engage in a dialogue about the ramifications of pornography on the Internet and other media, and it's effect on mental, physical and societal health.

Johansson notes that "as many as 10 million females and 1 million males living in the US are fighting a life and death battle with anorexia or bulimia." Those are high numbers, and don't even include the relational and personal toll of objectifying the body, male or female.

Just last week, Sean Hannity and the fashion police picked First Lady Michelle Obama's outifts apart. She was too casual, too fancy, too off the rack, too haute, too drab, too hot. Her figure was all right, and all wrong. In many ways, it's not the First Lady people were responding to. People were also reflecting their own views on the significance of female appearance and what role it plays. Also at play were their views of the role of women and men in society, and at this particular time in our country's growth.

My message is this: millions of young people are watching. They are forming their personal and professional identities, based in part on what they see around them. The images they see now have lasting effects on their self-image, their views of how they should behave in relationships and in their work. So what should we tell them about those things?