November 30, 2005

COMMENTARY: Goals Gone Wild!

I'm learning that sometimes journalists become the story.
This week local and national media have begun focusing on the current issue of The Ledger.

The controversy can't be of the photo of two healthy young women lifting their shirts to reveal their sports bras, items many women wear without shirts during warmer weather. It's a good photo showing something other than blurry soccer player's backsides.
When Brani Chastain ripped off her soccer jersey exposing her sports bra on world wide television, it was "girl power." Professional male athletes regularly pose nude for calendars and magazines.
Our photographer didn't trick the women into posing. The soccer coach urged them to display their newly decorated sports bras for a photo. The editor even gave them copies of the picture. They merely commented that they didn't want to look fat in the picture.

I believe the controversy stems from the text.
I offered the headline "Goals Gone Wild" to replace "Rackin' 'em up," which would have made the campus go nuts. I wish we hadn't run the subhead saying "four good reasons..." However, I've written some stuff about being gay that surpassed the suggestive nature of that headline and no one said anything. Perhaps because as a society we tolerate and expect gay men to "ram it down our throat" so to speak.
This year as in previous years, The Ledger has published pictures of shirtless male athletes in skimpy shorts. No one said they were offended. The college's "dance team" certainly doesn't mind striking stripper-like poses in their skimpy costumes that look as if they came from Fredrick's of Hollywood, nor does anyone voice concern that student tuition pays for them to jiggle in front of parents, strangers, and sweaty male athletes, some of whom are B-l-a-c-k.
Two years ago as EIC, I chose not to publish pictures of a murdered student's funeral. I thought that was sensationalism. The staff did not agree but it was my call.
This was Josh's.
Would I have run the photo? Yes, but not on the cover and without the subhead.