Sunday, April 01, 2007

Let's get naked

Wouldn't it be awesome if this were true? If some techie magazine had an article about being "Naked" or transparent in business practices, and in the article featured a bunch of men, and used a naked photo of one of *them* on the cover? Or a whole office full of cubicles with naked people? Since the article is all about guys anyway, and since it's a tech magazine not Cosmo, and since there seems to be a dearth of women on its covers in general... WHY go this route?

How can a woman get featured in a tech magazine? Be eye candy.

Even better... be a naked secretary.

How annoying!

I've been watching many of my female colleagues get mad about this for weeks. Reasons for *not* getting mad (or for not showing it to male colleagues even if you do get mad) include, as usual, "If you show them that it hurts you, they'll do it more." All very well to say when dealing with anonymous trolls, but over time, this is not a productive strategy. It is also not effective when dealing with institutions or organizations more powerful than you are. If it annoys you or you think it's not funny... say so!

And to guys who ask their female colleagues (or their girlfriends) for confirmation that they're not sexist... Do you really think you're going to hear it from them if you are? They already put up with you. They're not going to be the ones to let you know. They might even have a heavily vested interest in letting you think that you're not offensive. If they called you on your behavior, you might dismiss them as one of those crazy feminists...

People really aren't getting the point that it's about context, and objectification, and exploiting women's bodies while devaluing their experience, knowledge, and contributions to the field -- it's not about prudery or censorship.

Arrrgh! Why not just throw in a Math is Hard Barbie and some B-list porn stars pretending to install Linux while you're at it?

Stephanie Quilao puts it really well:

Okay, I get that corporate transparency is an important trend, but why do you have to put a naked woman on the cover to make your point? Why not put one of The Office guys naked on the cover? Oh that's right! {hit myself on the noggin} It's because no one wants to see a naked guy on the cover of a business magazine. Naked guys on covers isn't showy. No it's gross. But naked chicks, weeell that's a different pad of sticky notes.

Frankly, I think you were not being creative at all in this cover. It's familiar boy's club crap. Yeah, just sex up the receptionist. Why didn't you throw in the pot of coffee while you were at it? Naked women on business magazines is just wrooooong, and that's why it's never been done before by anyone with class. For crying out loud, how can you be so progressive and backwards at the same time? It's ridiculous Wired people! This just has sexist bad taste written all over it. This is definitely showy but it is by all means NOT smart. I want to unplug you now.

And commenter Bianca Reagan adds in response to one of those standard defenses,
The fact that you don't have a problem with the historical objectification of women says a lot more about you and your complacency than it does about my desire to be seen as a human being with equal rights.

Right on Bianca!

If you'd like to sound off about the cover and have something to say about objectification.... Let the editor of Wired know.

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