I don't want to dwell on this Amanda Beard posing for Playboy thing but I just read an editorial by a former male swimmer which, although not that well-written, raises some interesting points. Most of the male writers and commenters I have come across wholeheartedly embrace Beard's "right to choose" to display her "healthy body." This writer, however, questions whether her posing actually diminishes the view of swimming most average Americans hold. Writer/former swimmer bemoans the lack of attention and respect he and his fellow swimmers received for the amount of work they put into their sport.
But he backtracks a bit saying that maybe Beard has brought some otherwise uninterested spectators to swimming. (Probably not if you consider the results of Mary Jo Kane's study.)
What I found interesting though was that the author thought that men and women would have diametrically opposed views on this issue and wondering why more women "have not expressed more outrage." Well, first, some of us have, and second, the author clearly has no grasp of the power of patriarchy. Has he not seen or heard about Girls Gone Wild and other such spectacles? Women collude in this oppression. Though, I don't let men off the hook as easily as the author does when he writes that "no man held a gun to Beard's head and said you must strip for us." In the end he puts the blame squarely back on Beard's naked shoulders--and those of other naked posing athletes and says they deserve whatever mistreatment comes their way afterwards. He takes no responsibility himself as part of the media--the sports media specifically--for not giving these athletes any attention until they take off their clothes.