Sexy Covers and Slut Shaming

Sometimes I cringe at the word “feminist” because of the connotation it’s developed over the years, but I have been referred to as an “extreme feminist”. Feminism is often confused — by both men and women — to describe someone who believes women are superior to men, someone who is distinctly anti-male. This is wrong. Feminism is about gender equality. Always has been, and needs to be again.

Now that you have some idea about my perspective on the situation I’ll cut to the chase…

Last week we ran a cover that some found… objectionable. The complaints were surprisingly not from those who objected saying it was too risque, as I had anticipated. Those who had reservations had them regarding the woman on the cover being too pretty, too perfect. This cover was my design and I take full responsibility for it. But I’m not apologizing for it either.

It’s difficult to be a modern woman; to maintain your self respect and esteem while objectifying images infect you from everywhere. We are drowning in a sea of media messages telling us how to look, what to eat and the eternal message, “You’re not good enough.” It makes us furious and indeed we have every right to be. The way the media portrays women is overly simplistic, degrading, and totally out of touch with what women need. However, there is another plague in this country just as insidious and degrading — slut shaming. Slut shaming is disapproval or shaming of women for their sexuality, i.e. looking sexy, having multiple sex partners or enjoying their own sexuality. So there is a tug-of-war here. Is this woman being sexy objectifying? Where do I draw the line between being objectifying and disproving of a woman’s sexuality? You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t. But I tend to rage against slut shaming more in my own life.

I’m was not offended by this picture because I don’t think I need to look like her to be loved or valued. And neither should anyone else. That being said she is still a woman who has every right to be sexy. Even if she’s hotter than me. If this image offended you, I have this to say: you are beautiful.

Sincerely,
Magdalen O’Reilly
Editor

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