In a perfect world, sex wouldn't be used for marketing. At least that would be my assumption. But, is there anything wrong with sex? Is there anything wrong with a sexy woman or man on a magazine cover in a swimsuit? Is there anything wrong with recognizing someone as "sexy", or "hot"?
If you say no to all of these questions, then you potentially draw the ire of people concerned from both a religious perspective (sin) as well as a feminist perspective (exploitation).
Isn't there a part of both views that are right?
Yet, I still say "no" myself in answering those questions. A further explanation is needed.
I prefer to not say sexy or hot, and instead prefer to use the term beauty or beautiful. I think beautiful has more meaning! In fact, I wonder if part of out problem in understanding beauty is due to the English language. I remember learning for example that love in other languages has like 20 to 30 different words for it's different types and meanings. We, English speaking people are just stuck with love. C.S. Lewis tried to help us by identifying these "four loves".
- Eros - romantic love
- Philia - friendship love
- Storge - affection
- Agape - other oriented, self-sacrificial, choice-based love
Maybe its the same with beauty? Maybe we need definitions so that we are all sure what we are talking about, when we are talking about beauty.
I see the problem as that sexiness or hotness is just too small of a part of the picture. You see, if I look at pictures whether it be in magazines, or online, wherever and just see the immediate beauty, I am seeing a rather myopic view of beauty.
It is like looking at this:
When we would be better off looking at this:
Again, when we just look at skin, we are just not seeing the whole picture.
But what is beautiful and how should this be expressed?, displayed?, viewed?
At dictionary.com the first definition of beauty is "the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest)."
I am fortunate. I am blessed with many beautiful women in my life. My wife, my mom, my coworker nurses on the intensive care units. And when I say beautiful, I mean they fit every part of the definition above.
But, I think that there is another important part of beauty that is not in the definition. Beauty is also sharing yourself, sharing a uniqueness that you (as a woman in this case) enrich the world with when you share your skills, talents, insights, joy and your pain. I believe that this is what God intends for all of us.
Maybe Triathlete Magazine and Inside Triathlon would be more accurate (I am not going to use the word appropriate)if with any cover model and a highly revealing picture, that they also reveal a lot more of the woman of whom the picture is. Share their uniqueness, skills, talents, joy and pain.
And you know what I found? Some of the time, they do a pretty good job of it. The supposed "sex issue" of Inside Triathlon, seemed to be more about relationships than actual sex! I suppose "relationship issue" doesn't sell.:-)
But there is a little more,
Maybe I should get to know more about the uniqueness, insights, joy and pain of my coworkers?
And remember when I talked about Iron Wil and letters that have been written to her? Take a look at what she writes on her blog. She is the very definition of beautiful! Maybe I should tell her?
My wife; I feel that I tell her that she is beautiful all the time. Perhaps she only feels that I say it when I'm, um, horny? Either way, I need to do better.
If I do this, then I think my kids will see a pretty good example of what to think of an attractive woman in a bathing suit. And then I wouldn't have to avoid placing my magazines on my non-existent coffee table.