Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Horrifying Serena Williams Thread


This Friday Serena Williams will appear on newsstands naked. She's posing for the cover of ESPN's body issue. Although I'm generally a little squeamish about the commodification of women's bodies that comes with the naked woman on the cover (magazines often use it to boost newsstand sales). But I couldn't help but feel a little happy that for once the naked woman was a beautiful, curvy, dark-skinned woman. All too often the women that pose naked on magazine covers all look the same: bronzed white women that look freakishly thin. But on Just Jared goes ahead and askes the problematic question, "Hot or Not?"

Some of the answers are wonderful. They mention how empowering it is for women to see a healthy black woman on the cover of a magazine.

Many comments pointed out that the cover was probably Photoshopped. Well, duh. Every commercial image we see has gone through Photoshop. France is even considering a law requiring that advertisements that are Photoshopped carry a "health warning."

But there are some comments that are pretty horrifying:

Cross posted.


FilthyGrandeur said...

those comments truly are disgusting. apparently there's something inherently threatening in a beautiful WOC posing nude, that her body suddenly comes under racist scrutiny.

Renee said...

I wish I could say that I am surprised. So much the post racial world.

Lanni said...

it's racist AND sexist. body image affects all women- having all women of all colors "suppose" to fit into one mold. i'm also sad that female athletes always end up posing nude. We don't expect this from male athletes. i'm 100% for changing body images in the media (needs to happen!) but i'm skeptical of a highly respected athlete and woman taking her clothes off for ESPN (FHM/Playboy) magazines. let's question more why women must always be defined by their sexuality as well as being disgusted by such horrid and ignorant posts to it. :)

PunditMom said...

Just another horrifying example of how far we have NOT come in this country when it comes to how men talk about and respond to powerful and accomplished women, whether they are athletes, politicians or in almost any profession.

Angelos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angelos said...

Just want to say that I have this issue, and there are at least as many men in it, in just as little clothing (or none). It's about the athletic body, of all types.

Also, there is very good piece about the very topic of the trouble that ensues when women athletes pose.

If Adrian Petersen goes beefcake for the cover a magazine, sports or otherwise, no one talks about it, other than "Jesus that dude's a monster!" Women get accused of selling out, or criticized for using their sexuality and thus overshadowing their athletic achievements.

Now, I'm not saying that there aren't larger issues about objectification, etc., but this issue of this magazine isn't part of that problem.

Abby said...

I don't think you can dump all of those comments off on men. There are plenty of women out there who would say the same thing--just look at anything on the internet that accepts comments! Which is another thing: I wouldn't use a couple of internet comments to gauge how our country is doing in regards to sexism and racism. These comments should be isolated and used as an educational tool (which they have been) but try not to act so scandalized. No matter how far we come, we're never going to get rid of all the crazies with laptops and too much time.

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