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Playboy morality judgments unnecessary

By April Kelley
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 14, 1999

To the Editor,

After reading Nick Zeckets article "American Beauties," I was upset and surprised. How could he make such morality judgments on women he never met and present an argument with no factual basis?

Zeckets states that classical artists who sculpted and painted nudes viewed the female form as a graceful form to be admired and implies that no sexual connotations were involved. He also states that magazines such as Playboy do not present women in such a light. How do we know that artists of old did not view these presentations of women as sensual - sexual even?

Artists were known to paint and sculpt their lovers - both male and female. How do we know that the purchasers and admirers of these works of art were not aroused when they viewed them? Many men today view the female form in Playboy as a graceful form to be admired. We cannot assume that because the medium has changed the meaning and purpose has changed also. After all, the Venetian portrait painters did not have the medium of photography.

The author also states that many artists' nudes were inspired by the Roman Catholic church. This is incorrect. The majority of the paintings commissioned by the church were done so for two reasons; to educate the public on certain ideologies of the religion as most people of the day were illiterate and to present the great piousness of the Pope who commissioned it.

Some Vatican officials even commissioned work to secure political standing. The main purpose of this art was not to glorify the female form. In fact many of the more recent pre - Raphaelite "inspired" nudes directly challenged the religious and sexual norms of the day. This does not concur with Zeckets' statements.

The author also states that these women who posed had low moral character and low self-esteem. How can he judge their moral character when he does not know them? These women may be in monogamous relationships or have strict standards on their sexuality. How can he say women who do not pose have high morals? I know many women who would not dream of posing for Playboy. Yet I would never hold them up as a model for morality to my daughter.

Mr. Zeckets has made a poor argument for his point of view and has degraded, insulted, and judged these women far more than Playboy.

April Kelley

English literature and composition

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