After reading this, I’m not sure that I’ll be joking next time I mention that prospect to my kids. Does anyone not see the problem here?
[Founding Boink editor Alecia] Oleyourryk said that for her and her peers, the question is not why pose nude, but why not? After all, they grew up watching Madonna (“All she was was naked all the time”), parsing the finer points of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and flipping through Calvin Klein ads: sexual imagery was the very wallpaper of their lives, undergirded by a new frankness about how to protect oneself from pregnancy and disease. “Condoms. They’ve been rammed down our throats ... since we were old enough to start contemplating training bras,” wrote a Boink contributor in an essay called “Fall Fornication Must-Haves,” which apparently included crotchless bikinis and a Swarovski-crystal-encrusted dildo called the Minx.
Of course, posing naked for a sex magazine is not exactly like making Phi Beta Kappa or playing the lead in the school play. For one thing, it’s generally not something you write home about, though Oleyourryk insists that her parents have been supportive of her venture. (“As much as they could be,” she said. “I was raised very Catholic, but they live in today’s world.”)
Meanwhile, over at Harvard, the sex magazine has a faculty sponsor, Marc Hauser, who "would like to see the magazine take a more belletristic bent, reviewing controversial books, perhaps — ’You think of Lolita,’ he said — and examining what might be called sexistential questions. ’Nowadays, what constitutes porn?’ Hauser mused. ’What does a 21-year-old think porn is? I, as a parent of an 18-year-old, would like to hear that view.’” It turns out that what Harvard undergrads have to say about sex (at least for publication) is quite banal, perhaps because they’ve been immersed in sexual imagery nearly forever.
And then there are the social networking websites:
[Harvard H Bomb editor Ming] Vandenberg described a social landscape changed irrevocably by the rise of networking Web sites. After meeting someone, it’s now de rigueur to check out his or her profile — a collage of pictures (often risqué) and preferences — on MySpace or Facebook.com. “I have a BlackBerry — so immediately,” Vandenberg said. “You might run into someone at a party, and then you Facebook them: what are their interests? Are they crazy-religious, is their favorite quote from the Bible? Everyone takes great pains over presenting themselves. It’s like an embodiment of your personality.” Except for the die-hard holdouts who refuse to participate in these networks — “They’re treated like pariahs, people will just harass them until they join,” Vandenberg said — to attend college now means to participate in a culture of constant two-dimensional preening, for males and females alike. In this context, posing for a sex magazine can seem like just another, more formalized level of display.
Note the apparent disqualifiers: someone who’s "crazy-religious," or, worse yet, someone who’s not a virtual exhibitionist.
I wonder what this old guy thinks of all this?