Oh, Boy!

By: Douglas Hardman

A new controversy has come about and, surprisingly, it doesn’t involve nudity.
Playboy Magazine, the number one pornographic magazine in the world, is doing what many call unthinkable: they are no longer publishing nude photographs of women. Everyone gasp in unison.
For decades, this empire has dominated the pornographic magazine world with classy (not always trashy) nude photographs of beautiful women across the world. It’s spawned unrealistic expectations for women, an increase in divorce rates of socks, and a culture of beautiful, ditsy women all vying for that centerfold glory.
While we all remember this wonderful dynasty and quickly stash away all our prized magazines for the upcoming drought, let’s talk about why this is actually a good thing. I said it, you’re not going blind from lack of boobs in your face.
For years, women have been over-sexualized and slut-shamed. Everything about them is sexy and controversial. Female celebrity nudes leak? Instant controversy. Nip slip? Front page news. We live in a culture where a male’s ass and nipples qualify for a PG-13 rating, but a woman’s nipple is strictly R-rated and anything beyond is NC-17 for sure. We are constantly offended, shocked and appalled by our own anatomy.
We constantly attack women for their nudity, but then we celebrate them for posing nude in publications. How does that follow? What a contradiction to think about. We tell women to be modest and “keep their bodies mysteries,” yet we will pay for women to pose nude for a men’s magazine. “Don’t send nudes if you don’t want them leaked” actually equals “Don’t take nudes unless you’re getting paid for it.” This is not a pimp service, America. Can you get your life, please?
Playboy Magazine is taking a step towards gender equality. The abolishment of women’s nudes in public magazines could help motivate the movement toward the cessation of sexualizing women. We might be able to treat them as equal human beings and not just use them for their bodies. Women have been fighting for the right to control their own bodies for years. Maybe, yes, women agree to pose nudes to say, “You’re only getting this because I’m allowing you to get this,” and that’s perfectly okay. But it’s become a business; it’s no longer about freedom and independence.
Women just want control of their bodies. If they take nude pictures and privately send them to a loved one because that’s what they want to do, that does not present a chance for us to humiliate them by leaking them to the public. Isn’t this directly related to rape culture? “Women shouldn’t wear sexy things if they don’t want to be raped” sounds a lot like, “Women shouldn’t send nude pictures to a loved one if they don’t want them leaked to the public.” The resounding message seems to be that women shouldn’t do anything if they don’t want their actions exploited. Men can walk around topless and expose their nipple flesh for the world to see, but women can’t? Stop sexualizing boobs, they are lumps of fat.
Just like breast cancer awareness, this is an issue about the woman, not her anatomy. We view women as objects of sexual desire and not as equals. The moment we can let women be free with their bodies and their lives is the moment we can give equality a better shot at becoming a reality. Free the nipples, ladies, but on your own terms.