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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Page Three Comes to Page One

Generally speaking--or, heck, specifically speaking--I have no objection to female nudity.  A day that includes unexpected glimpses of naked women can never be considered an entirely wasted day.  Nevertheless, I was shocked--shocked!--today when I surfed over to The New York Times website and found--on the front page--a breast!  A breast adorned with the Star of David, no less!  Had the Times decided to amp up circulation by, ahem, amping up its readers' circulation?

Well, no.  Or probably not.  The story behind the breast reported on Israeli efforts to encourage more women to undergo screening for a gene that greatly increases the risk of contracting breast cancer.  One could argue, therefore, that the picture was meant simply to illustrate and not to titillate.  But is that the case?  Here's the picture:

On the one hand, it's an arresting image, what with the Mogen David and the surgical scar; indeed, I assume the scar is what captured the photographer's fancy.  On the other hand, the picture also features prominently--provocatively--a nipple.  A nipple!  And thus crosses one of the red lines of "indecency" with which we're all familiar (just ask Janet Jackson).  It was clearly intentional, too; otherwise, the photographer could simply have asked the model to pull her shirt up another half inch, right?

Why female nipples are considered such hot buttons (ahem) remains a mystery to me, but there it is.  And so when the editors chose this image for the front page, they obviously knew they were choosing a picture that some people would consider--on some level--"indecent."  Maybe not Page Three of the Daily Sun "indecent," but "indecent" nonetheless.

Does this image herald a new, bustier age in mainstream journalism?  One can only hope.

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