125 Shaftesbury Avenue
RE: The front page of uk.yahoo.com
To whom it may concern,
I object to the inclusion on the front page of Yahoo! UK a gallery of “bikini babes”. A look at 3 randomly chosen images in the gallery confirmed that, while the pictures themselves were carefully kept below the threshold of pornography, their intent was nothing other than pornographic.
The offence caused by pornography does not stem from the actual sex or nudity shown – pictures of fully nude women can be far less offensive than your gallery. It is not even necessarily sexist or offensive for women to be portrayed as objects of desire. However, the specific combination of several factors found in your gallery must be described as unhealthy and immoral. Those factors are:
the gallery is specifically for the presentation of photos of women in bikinis.
only attractive young women are chosen
the women have all modified their bodies to conform to the same beauty stereotype
the posed photos are clearly alluring poses
they are described as “babes”.
None of these factors on its own need necessarily mean that there is anything wrong but together they create a very familiar scene and one which contributes to poor relations between men and women. It presents beautiful women as sexual beings to be desired and contributes to a belief that it is the norm to leer at scantily clad women. It also, significantly, omits to present plain, old, fat or ugly women as sexual beings, reinforcing the notion in both men and women that only beautiful women are desirable. In fact, the experience of people shows that people of all ages and body shapes enjoy fulfilling sex lives and that physical attraction is only one of the many factors involved in choosing a sexual partner. Unfortunately, the pervasiveness of the beauty stereotype is causing ill-health and unhappiness for millions of women and damaging the relationships of many men and women.
So the problem is not that the photos are there at all but that they are removed from their healthy context and so form part of a damaging influence on our culture. They appeal to a natural desire inherent in most men but they serve no beneficial purpose and worse they consistently link that desire to an unnecessarily and unhealthily specific image. Can you justify such an obviously frivolous page on your site, given the seriousness of the effects it is contributing to?