Friday, May 11, 2007

Amanda Beard to Pose in Playboy

That is a quick hit generating headline, but it is true that Olympic Gold Medal winning swimmer Amanda Beard is going to appear, sans her Speedo, in Playboy. Can't wait to see that edition.

It is not that I a particular fetish about Beard, who is stunningly attractive, or swimmers. But I like to look at naked women. I am a man and I can appreciate beauty. Furthermore, Amanda Beard, whose genetics make her beautiful and hard work makes her a world-class swimmer has earned the right to do what she wants. Cashing in on her hard work and beauty is not selling out as some people might suggest.

A fair number of women have appeared in Playboy soley on the way they look and the body they have been granted by God and genetics. Amanda Beard, under other circimstances, might not necessarily make the cut for Playboy, for one thing she is not nearly as curvy as other models. But her fame as an Olympic swimmer makes it possible and why shouldn't she pose with a body that she has honed with hours upon hours in the pool.

Of course, there will come inevitable questions about whether Beard's decision will hurt women's sports. The whole world was shocked when Brandi Chastain ripped off her jersey in celebration of winning the Women's World Cup in 1999. Of course women athletes, including Beard, have appeared in other magazines geared toward men, such as FHM and Stuff and few people complain (Chastain herself once appeared in Gear Magazine wearing nothing but cleats and a well positioned soccer ball). Often these athelets are not wearing much, just enough for the magazine to not be shelved with other "adult" magazines. Likewise, we don't complain when women athletes appear in Esquire or other fashion magazine geared toward men or women. So if Amanda Beard appeared in Esquire, we probably wouldn't be talking about this, but if she agrees to pose in Playboy it is big news.

But why? Why can't a woman be both athletic and sexy at the same time? Why can't a woman be athletic, sexy and smart at the same time? Michael Rosenberg, writing for notes:
This is why the notion that Beard is "hurting" women's sports falls flat. She has posed previously in FHM, nearly naked. She has appeared in SI's swimsuit issue (and not in her competition Speedo). Beard is not exchanging her athletic fame for the fame of a model — her athletic fame is the fame of a model.
So Amanda Beard will be famous for swimming and being beautiful. How does that hurt the sport of swimming or beautiful women?

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