Ms Woods and her merry gang of boycotters surely put
a new twist on the usual rationalizations: by displaying (and talking
about) nudity and eroticism, all roads henceforth leads to sexual violence
and uncontrolled mayhem against defenceless women. The Lieutenant-Governor
further wrote on her web site (oh, yes, she went international with this
diatribe): ‘A&F is glamorizing indiscriminate
sexual behaviour that unsophisticated teenagers are not possibly equipped
to weigh against the dangers of date rape, unplanned pregnancies and sexually
transmitted disease(s).’ If that is the case, why then isn’t she going
after Procter & Gamble (maker of many well-known consumer brands)
for glamorizing sex to sell their products? Why not Ford Motor Company?
They were particularly upset with the ‘proliferation’
of homoerotic imagery, evidence by her repeated references to boys lying
bare-naked on the beach and same-sex kissing. As Neva Chonin of the
San Francisco Gate, cynicism firmly in place, wrote, ‘This pretense
of concern over unprotected sex is transparent—would the same groups boycotting
the A&F Quarterly be any less outraged if it depicted young
people donning condoms?’ That is a good question indeed.
‘Apparently some people believe that a catalogue that
promotes male beauty and embraces a wide range of sexualities is a kind
of a time bomb.’ She continues in her extremely insightful article, ‘[A
bomb] just waiting to go off in the hands of some unsuspecting young buck,
altering his orientation in a single blinding flash of depravity.’
As Americans, we live in a time when teenagers tell
pollsters they don’t consider oral sex to be any form of sex at all. This
generation knows more about sex and other aspects of modern life than
we will ever know in our lifetime as adults. Their curiosity for knowledge
outweighs any and all fear they may have that such knowledge can be hurtful
or change their lives in a negative manner. And they are stronger than
we give them credit for being. Never mind the fact that their bullshit
meter is carefully calibrated to strain out anything they view as phoney,
overtly deceptive or self-serving. Any sane and intelligent person already
knows (especially from their own life experiences) that since the dawn
of time, teenagers have been projecting sexual ideals onto each other.
It is part of the growing up process. And that won’t stop because Lt Gov
Woods and co. say that it should.
ignores the tamer images that appear in the Quarterlywhich
in many ways is no racier than established fashion titles or other companies
that glamorize sex in the name of commerce. Above and below
left: Back to School 2000. Below right: Summer 1999.