Ethics Quiz: Sydney’s Expressive Yearbook Photo

My high school was never like this.

The photo above, believe it or not, was submitted to the Durango (Colorado) High School Yearbook as the senior photo of one Sydney Spies. The yearbook staff rejected it as inappropriate, and young Sydney is crying foul, saying that her First Amendment rights have been violated. Opinions differ on what message her photo was intended to convey. Suffice it to say that “Well, it’s late! I think I’ll go finish my algebra homework, read the Wall Street Journal and turn in!” is not one of the popular options.

Your Question in this week’s Ethics Quiz: Which party is in the wrong here?

Is it Sydney, for trying to turn her class’s yearbook into Maxim, or the yearbook staff, for imposing its prudish standards on an innocent All-American girl’s legitimate attempt at self-expression?

Ethics involves thinking and caring about people other than yourself, and respecting their concerns, interests and well-being. The fact that high school yearbook pictures have come a long way from the stiff, stilted, formal head shots of generations past is progress indeed, but taste and reasonable decorum are still legitimate editorial objectives. Sydney’s an attractive girl, you betcha, but it isn’t necessary for her to draw excessive attention to herself, and it isn’t modest, respectful or considerate either. In addition, her hooker-in-training pose, flashing come-hither eyes while arching her back and starting up the stairway to heaven, undermines the  dignity of the class and the school, and provokes the obvious question. “What the heck were they teaching in that school?” Sydney apparently wants to be remembered as the class slut…okay! Somehow I doubt that she needs to turn everyone’s yearbook into a personal advertisement for her services in order to accomplish that objective. They’ll remember, Sydney. Trust me.

I wouldn’t bet against the Sydneys of future classes to get their way, and for sexy poses, thong photos, and Weiner-esque chest shots to become the high school yearbook norm in some future U.S. hell, but we’ll become that crude and narcissistic soon enough—we’re well on our way. For the time being, the Durango High editors are being fair and responsible to insist on maintaining some standards of taste.

Sorry, Sydney.

But Maxim is waiting for your call.

88 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: Sydney’s Expressive Yearbook Photo

  1. Dear Jack: That “Maxim” analogy was the first thing that popped into my head upon seeing the picture. If Sydney is of legal age and can find some publication willing to aid her apparent endeavor to make a public tramp out of herself, so be it. There’s no dearth of those! But I think I’m correct in assuming that, 1) Sydney’s still a minor and, 2) that the funding of the school’s yearbook derives from taxpaying parents. Her so-called right of self-expression begins where the parents’ dime ends.

  2. Definitely inappropriate for a high school yearbook. I agree.

    I must say though, it felt way creepy clicking in and reading a bunch of men discussing a very suggestive photo of a minor and using terms like class slut, hooker-in-training, public tramp…..

    No need to comment back, I won’t see it. I am definitely clicking out of this one.

    • What’s creepier are those civil libertarians who would not only support the “right” of wayward kid to desecrate herself (and her classmates by extension) in a high school yearbook, but likely encourage it as well. And worse are the pornmongers who are looking for just this sort of “young talent”. Unforgiveable, however, are the adults who DON’T take a stand against underage sexualization.

    • Whether you see it or not, Danielle, I have to ask: What’s “creepy” about the discussion? Res ipsa loquitur. The essence of political correctness is declaring that stating the obvious is inappropriate for some observers and not for others. If you were going to try to explain to a clueless Sydney what exactly was wrong with the image she projected in said photo (“Gee, I think I look pretty!”), how would you do it?

      How I love it when members of one group claim that they have leave to discuss issues openly and frankly while another group may not. That’s offensive.

  3. That school probably doesn’t spend much time alerting students to the concept of unintended consequences. As my ?? high school reunion draws near I am reminded that its standard procedure to use those yearbook photos to adorn the name tags so we will recognize one another, as most of us by this time look more like our grandparents. I’m sure she will be proud to wear her senior photo a half century from now.

    • I was thinking along those lines, Mike. However, kids at that age don’t think that far ahead. That’s what teachers and parents are supposed to do for them… while attempting to instill in them a little awareness that the present isn’t forever and that a little restraint now will save them a lot of grief later. Unfortunately, they have to fight the influences of a perverse popular culture every step of the way.

    • That’s the logical first question in any instance of minor sexualization; whether conceived by the minor or by adult exploiters. And, as always, the answer has to be that the parents must take the ultimate responsibility. It can be no other way. Unfortunately, parenting skills and a sense of parental responsibility seems to be at a premium these days, It ain’t just Hollywood! Hollywood is merely the instigator.

      • I think it is obvious that this is an example of twisted narcissistic parenting/spoiling. There is obvious devoted intent on the mom’s behalf, albeit Benet Ramsey creepy type stuff. The girl has been groomed for sexy likely since she was 12 (btw she is 18 which I thought kind of old for HS),. Another observation..I have not seen any sign of a father.
        For the guy that had to bring in ACLU bashing. Do your homework on what civil liberty groups cover. There would only be a case if there were contradictions in code enforcement. She can consult w/ a lawyer all she wants. The yearbook in question has specific guidelines in which they are entitled. (abdomen covered). Bars/Clubs/City/Gov buildings have dress codes- for ex-no shorts/shoes no service…dont see ACLU comin to their rescue..
        I say the following having raised two beautiful girls that are both in college, so I speak from experience.
        Though my youngest was being encouraged to
        try out and become C.L. because of her beauty, charm, dance skills- I told her I did not want her with that group. ie I discouraged the sexualization that she was being sucked into. Years later she told me about what happened with some of her friends in that scene, and thanked me- not pretty. This brings me to the point…
        Someone did have an interesting point about cheerleaders… …It is a paradox. I agree w/the comment about the sexualization in schools- competition to be sexiest, Cheerleaders are a prime example. But this has been around for a while. The great American Paradox with Sex.
        So this would present and interesting argument:

        Given the dress code- are there semi close up shots of certain cheerleaders w/abdomen showing in the YB? If so, would there there be merit for a complaint on the Sydney brats behalf? Those that defend the whole cheerleading thing, are likely the same ones that bash public schools.
        Hmmm most private schools do not have cheerleading…

        If you are going to stand for something it is empty if you make exceptions

  4. In that I’m an old-fogie-in-training (and nearing the end of that training, dammit) I agree that the photo is inappropriate. Even so, I think we’re missing some context here – specifically, the context of other recent images accepted by the yearbook staff.

    If no other lassies have been published in suggestive poses, then she has no beef. If they have, then shame on the yearbook staff and faculty advisers (did it take an extreme example to get them to smarten up?) and I can see the girl’s point. Not agree with it, but can see it.

    • She has no beef no matter what…not if we’re talking ethics.

      Oh, she has a legal argument to be sure. Perhaps lawyers are combing past yearbooks right now for almost equally inappropriate photos–less attractive girls, or no pose going up the stairs, or without the seductive gaze, maybe without the bare midriff, or perhaps a photo of a cheerleader in a sexy pose, or a comely actress in a harem girl costume in Kismet. The slippery slope approach is very effective in killing standards. We know that.That doesn’t make it responsible or fair to others students in the school, and that, and not whether she had a plausible argument, is what the post was about.

      Yes, you can intentionally make reasonable standards of decorum, as with civility, obsolete by incremental incursions. That’s why Americans appear in public as slobs, and why Academy award winners now say “fuck” on live TV. That is why members of Congress now use gutter language, and why the internet is a cesspool, and why civil discourse in this country is almost impossible. As I suggested in the post, self-centered exhibitionists like this girl may well turn future yearbooks into junior Playboys. It’s not healthy or fair to students who are mousy, modest, immature, over-weight, poor, and tasteful. It corrupts the culture and undermines values; it plays into the hands of child porn aficionados and porn peddlers generally, it undermines respect for women. Sure, she has a case…but its an unethical case.

        • Disagree with you both. Again, it is a question of context, and while I fully agree with Jack’s read on the coarsening of culture, 18 year olds make their decisions based upon highly limited experience. IF the yearbook had made a practice of publishing slightly-less provocative photos, no one should be surprised – or cluck their tongues – if this vapid little bimbo sought to up the ante just a tad.

          Again, I’m advancing a hypothetical. But if there IS a history, then the ethical lapse lies with previous yearbook staff and especially with the faculty advisers thereto.

          • It’s that continual “upping the ante” formula that’s gotten the culture to its present low ebb. That’s why a firm moral code (which once existed in this country in regard to children) is so vitally necessary. I’d also say that a high school yearbook should never be allowed to be reduced to an amateur clone of Vanity Fair. Its best days will be in the good memories it provides in later life. As an active member of my own high school’s alumni association, I can attest to this. I can also attest that it brings an inspiration to current students who talk with us, see us in our youth via the yearbooks and through this come to appreciate the traditions they’ve inherited and their own imminent future as adults. Yearbooks are important and must always be kept to the highest of standards.

            • To which moral code do you refer that existed in our schools? The one’s that allowed kids to beat up “n word”s if they dare stepped on their white “Christian” school property? The ones that did not allow Indians an education until some of those damn progressives stepped in and did eventually make it “liberty and justice for all”? How about just 100 yrs ago if you were a new…say Irish immigrant- you worked in the meat market, a good education was for only certain classes, and colors.
              I’m Catholic and I’m a white boy- but looking back on the US as an Ozzy and Harry heaven- you must have been very sheltered. Were you old enough to have been around during Jim Crow (pre ’64)? Have you ever even had a formal class in Ethics in the classical sense? If you did, and read a bit about the history of this nation you will find, as with any nation, along with the amazing hopeful, land of opportunity – there was also the land of an oppressed people. A land of genocide. So when you refer “strong moral code w/regard to children” I suppose you are referring to that which was only available to a certain group…. Ethics encourages curiosity, scratching below the surface, looking at the historical context of things. Even though I agree with you about this punk kid, your moral references elude me. Greed is in history as well as in the present. The same amoral sleeze young finance kids that found loopholes and made millions in derivatives, leveraging, and bankrupted our nation with the help of those in power- yup that model has always been around in one form or another.

              • Ridiculous and intellectually slovenly comment. So because there are unethical standards that have been norms in the past, all standards are suspect and disposable? Balderdash. Genocide–and I dispute that this is a fair statement of what was intended, if not the result—does not change what the values were or invalidate them, it just means that they were not met. How you get from a girl trying to make her yearbook a sex market to derivatives is beyond me.

      • If you are talking about Ethics- then A. in ME (I lived in Bidderford Arthur).
        I did not read his comment prior to writing mine. He does bring up a good point. If one is going to comment on Ethics, one has to try his best not to be influenced by institutional “what is acceptable” thinking. If we followed that line of thought, then we would still might have White and Colored drinking fountains.

        • I must say, I don’t understand this comment at all. What is institutional “what is acceptable” thinking? We’re talking about civility, respect and decorum. Society determines standards. She can’t appear nude either, What’s your point?

  5. I’m willing to grant that this girl probably *IS* 18.

    Anyone this stupid has probably failed a grade or two and is thus a year or two older than the majority of her fellow seniors.

    –Dwayne

  6. I would just like to caution and exhort everyone against using the 4-letter s-word, except in the rarest circumstances, no matter how little or much you know a female whom you talk about.

    • Why?
      A word is a word, and communicates thoughts and images. I said the girl who wants to pose in a grossly sexually provocative pose in her class yearbook wants to be remembered as the class slut. That is accurate, and is my opinion. I have no idea what she is, but I do know what the image is she has chosen to convey.

      I object to word censorship, which is an effort to limit communication and thought. If a word is necessary to convey am idea, then use it. There are no banned words, in my book, or on this blog.

      • Okay, a word communicates thoughts and images, like an image does. This case is about a potential regression down a slippery slope stemming from tolerance of a particular image, is it not? Isn’t the notion, that tolerance of the image Sydney wants published is destructive (not only on a personal level but on a societal level), part of what is at issue here?

        The flip side of the “word censorship” coin is the disciplined effort required to enable effective communication and constructive thought, for the better interests of one and all. Isn’t it actually more fair or just, then, to expect individual and societal discipline similar to that which it appears all of us are in agreement on with respect to high school memory book imagery, in choices of predicate adjectives that are applied to persons? Despite what all the rest of us may think of the racy photo, unless I have missed something and Sydney has said something explicit about her motives and intentions for her photo, I am going to give Sydney the benefit of doubt and not jump to a conclusion that she wants to be remembered as [that kind of woman].

        • !!!!
          What “doubt”?
          The photo intentionally exploits every technique of erotic photos! You think that’s a coincidence?
          If someone dresses in a duck suit and walks around quacking, it is fair to assume that they want to be seen as a duck. What, may I ask, other than a sex object, could a girl possibly think such a photo would portray her as? A diplomat? Mother Theresa? Xena? Mary Poppins?

          • An attractive young woman, no more, no less. Sydney could merely be wanting her photo to go only that far in portraying her. No matter what us guys from another era might think she wants, or wants guys to want.

            I totally agree: not an appropriate photo for the yearbook; Sydney is in the wrong to expect to be allowed to have herself on display in a yearbook in that image, never mind claiming that such portrayal there is her “right.” I am just taking a more cautious approach to her motives.

            Here is a loaded question (I think): Have you noticed how many young females dress like Sydney appears in that photo? (I take the Fifth on answering my own question.)

            • Answer: A lot, especially on TV. But the outfit is less than 50% of the matter. The pose, the setting, the body language, the eyes…I’m hyper-sensitive to this stuff as a stage director, but this is communication, and what is being communicated is X-rated.

              • But would you agree that it’s at least possible that Sydney wants simply to be “thought of well” (!!!!) and not remembered for promiscuity?

                • It’s possible. I appreciate and admire your dedication to thinking the best of her, though it borders on denial. To me, that photo screams narcissism and self-absorption without concern for what anyone else thinks.

                  • My neighbor’s daughter once complained to him that the people at the mall always stared at her and her friends as they walked though (for several hours a day several days a week). He told her that she was the one who decided to dress like a freak. She had no right to complain that they were staring at her when she (and her friends) went to great lengths to look strange enough to make people stare. If she didn’t want them staring, she should stop dressing to make them stare.

                    I suspect that this is the same thing. She (and her mother) made this picture inappropriate on purpose. They wanted people to complain and raise a stink so they could be the center of attention an possibly to feel morally superior as the standard bearers for (misapplied) freedom of expression. As a high school senior, she may not realize that she has done this on purpose (as my friend’s daughter hadn’t), but her mother surely should.

                    • I was thinking sort of along the lines Michael alludes to. I mean, I truly do not know well enough what is going on in Sydney’s head. I absolutely cannot dismiss belief that she intends to strike an erotic pose, hence my agreement that the photo is inappropriate for a yearbook.

                      This speculation keeps nagging me: She wants to be as desirable as possible to as many viewers as possible, so that to satisfy her own desires she can be as choosy as she may wish to be in choosing a partner who (she wants as much assurance as possible that s/he) desires her. So, she may not ever be the “loose woman” her pose suggests.

                    • I’m with Proam. The picture is clearly engineered to make her look sexually desirable, but looking sexually desirable is not the same as being a slut. While the term mysogeny gets overused, this is one spot that I think it applies. It’s culturally allowed to call such women sluts, but that just means the mysogeny is part of the culture.

                    • Let’s remember she is probably still a minor in which case she has no business looking sexually desirable. Who is she trying to look sexually desirable to? Every single male who happens to see her. She may not be a slut but she is dressing and acting the part.

                    • she is probably still a minor in which case she has no business looking sexually desirable.Who is she trying to look sexually desirable to?

                      Her peers? I can’t think of time in history when 17 years olds didn’t want to look desirable to other 17 year olds. I’m sure the Catholic school girls of the 50s that rolled up their skirts had no business doing that either.

                      Every single male who happens to see her. She may not be a slut but she is dressing and acting the part.

                      …and if she wore a nice plain sweater and long skirt without makeup and a demure expression, she’d be an ugly prude, right? Maybe just dressing and acting the part.

                      She’s dressing and acting like a young woman that wants to be sexually desirable. Slut is your pejorative for that. Mysogeny is not restricted to men.

                    • Slut is not misogynist; it is descriptive: I said, by the way, that she wants to be remembered as a slut, not that she is one.

                      You have to be kidding that she is just trying to look “desirable.” If that’s true, someone needs to give her a talking to, because she doesn’t understand the signals she’s sending. Would you say the same if she posed naked? She knows she’s desirable…she wants to advertise herself a teen-aged sex object, “an individual who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous” which is the definition of slut. That’s the image she has chosen. If she dressed in an eyepatch, pegleg and with a parrot on her shoulder, would you say it was unfair to say she wanted to be seen as a pirate?

                    • @Karla,

                      So you dressed and acted like a slut because you wanted to be seen as a slut by everyone, and you had no business doing such? Got it. Why are you assuming she’s just like you?

                    • Actually I dressed not unlike her,without the provocative pose because I was young and stupid once. And I think that having been there I would know more about what she’s thinking than you do,tgt. What do you think she’d trying to portray? She’s giving a “come hither” look,a sex invite.Dress and body language does tell something. In case you missed my post,she’s a kid and shouldn’t be dressing like this. If she was a woman it would be different.

                    • I don’t consider a Senior in High School a “kid”. At what point does she change from kid to woman? Thinking that teenagers shouldn’t like sex (or show they like sex) is like thinking that 5 year olds shouldn’t like dinosaurs.

                      I’m also again going to note that dressing/looking in the way you feel gains the most attention from the people you’re attracted to does not mean you sleep around.

              • The outfit is no more revealing then a a lot of cheerleaders outfits. It’s the pose that causes all the problems. You could take that picture, slap some made up porn movie title on it , put on a DVD case and people would think that it was real.

                  • I accidently saw some on the internet. 🙂

                    I just did a little more reading up on this. At first they approved her phot but then changed their minds, They have since rejected her second phot BUT if she pays them $300.00 she can have it as a full page advertisment size page in the back of the yearbook. I dont see how them getting $300.00 makes it all right all of a sudden.

                    • Inappropriate for a class photo does not mean inappropriate for the yearbook in general.

                      It’s not the money that makes it alright, it’s the placement of it.

                    • Re: tgt’s response: It’s inappropriate for students to be advetrising sex in a yearbook, and that’;s exactly what she’s doing. All that’s missing is “For a good time, call Sidney at (555)-HOTDATE.

                    • @Jack

                      When was the last time you looked at a yearbook? There are things you’d probably call “advertisements for sex” all over mine (form the ’90s)…just not in the senior pictures.

                      I absolutely agree the picture was inappropriate as a senior picture (assuming the traditional requirements of senior pictures), but without seeing the rest of the yearbook, I am loathe to say it is inappropriate full stop.

  7. Read an online interview about this- mom is on board and wants that photo in the yearbook. The editors offered to let it be her senior ad, w/ more appropriate senior pic. She said nope and is mad at admin- who are all supporting the student editors. Her fellow students said no- not admin. Woof- she’s not doing herself any favors being national news if she ever wants to be taken seriously. Ever.

  8. This is in response to a comment that got too deep to reply to easily.

    Slut is not misogynist; it is descriptive:

    Actually, it’s both, though normally it’s used solely to attack a female who isn’t properly sexually repressed… like here.

    When was the last time you referred to a male as a slut? How about for looking desirable? That’s normally called debonair or something equally positive.

    I said, by the way, that she wants to be remembered as a slut, not that she is one.

    What you really mean is that she looks like a slut to you.

    You have to be kidding that she is just trying to look “desirable.” If that’s true, someone needs to give her a talking to, because she doesn’t understand the signals she’s sending.

    There isn’t much space between this argument and saying “Women who wear crop tops are asking to be raped.” She’s sending the signal that she’s hot. That you take that to mean she’s slutty is exactly what I’m saying is culturally common, but wrong.

    Would you say the same if she posed naked?

    Yup.

    She knows she’s desirable…she wants to advertise herself a teen-aged sex object, “an individual who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous” which is the definition of slut.

    Um… and I, who posed in a tux with a smokey stare clearly knew I was desirable and wanted to advertise myself a teen-aged sex object, “an individual who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous.

    You’re projecting your feelings onto her.

    That’s the image she has chosen. If she dressed in an eyepatch, pegleg and with a parrot on her shoulder, would you say it was unfair to say she wanted to be seen as a pirate?

    No, but if you said she wanted to be seen as a floozy who had group sex (as pirate lasses are considered to have done by our culture), I’d call you out just the same.

    • This is in response to a comment that got too deep to reply to easily.

      Slut is not misogynist; it is descriptive:

      Actually, it’s both, though normally it’s used solely to attack a female who isn’t properly sexually repressed… like here.

      It’s both. “Not properly sexually repressed”??

      When was the last time you referred to a male as a slut? How about for looking desirable? That’s normally called debonair or something equally positive.

      Nah. I think slut is unisex now. See “Big Bang Theory” or any Chuck Lorre show.

      What you really mean is that she looks like a slut to you.

      Oh, pshaw, touche, and baloney. Res ipsa loquitur.

      There isn’t much space between this argument and saying “Women who wear crop tops are asking to be raped.” She’s sending the signal that she’s hot. That you take that to mean she’s slutty is exactly what I’m saying is culturally common, but wrong.

      No, she IS hot; she’s sending the signal that she’s inviting action. There is isn’t about clothing, as we’ve already established, and nobody is saying she deserves to be harmed—just that she’s ignoring the school the publication and everyone else by turning this into a peep show.

      “Would you say the same if she posed naked?”

      Yup.

      You get integrity points. But that’s nuts, you know.

      Um… and I, who posed in a tux with a smokey stare clearly knew I was desirable and wanted to advertise myself a teen-aged sex object, “an individual who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous.

      You’re projecting your feelings onto her.

      What? You’re guilty of attempted sluttiness, but not the act itself. The reactions she evokes are exactly what she intends to evoke.

      No, but if you said she wanted to be seen as a floozy who had group sex (as pirate lasses are considered to have done by our culture), I’d call you out just the same.

      What, with the parrot? That would be reading an awful lot into a peg leg!

      • It’s both. “Not properly sexually repressed”??

        You admit to the phrase’s misogyny. Good.

        You then question something that I think is pretty obvious. My point was that, since she’s in your face with her sexuality, you consider her a slut. You’d prefer her to keep herself prim and proper.

        Nah. I think slut is unisex now. See “Big Bang Theory” or any Chuck Lorre show.

        It’s clearly getting more play both ways amongst the relative youth, but people in your generation? Speaker is taken into account when words are used. Anyway, you demonstrate my point for me later in your comment. I’ll get to that.

        Oh, pshaw, touche, and baloney. Res ipsa loquitur.

        I’m not assuming anymore about you then you are about her. I’d say your statements are clear on the matter.

        No, she IS hot; she’s sending the signal that she’s inviting action. There is isn’t about clothing, as we’ve already established, and nobody is saying she deserves to be harmed—just that she’s ignoring the school the publication and everyone else by turning this into a peep show.

        What? You’re saying she’s a slut (or desires to be remembered as a slut). I’m not sure where the school, the publication, and everyone else comes into play here. If a guy wanted a picture with a rubber chicken, was turned down but told he could buy an ad with that picture, would he be ignoring everyone and turning this into a magic act?

        I still don’t see how looking sexy in a picture means you’re inviting action. Saying that she might be interested in being approached is different from saying she’s a slut.

        You get integrity points. But that’s nuts, you know.

        You’ve never seen a tasteful nude? Do you think the masters of the renaissance only painted sluts?

        What? You’re guilty of attempted sluttiness, but not the act itself. The reactions she evokes are exactly what she intends to evoke.

        Men can be guilty of attempted sluttiness. Women are guilty of being sluts. Got it. Here is where you clearly show your sluttiness double standard.

        Anyway, the reactions I tried to evoke were people thinking I looked good, not thinking I was a slut. I can’t see the leap of logic that leads you towards the latter. Now, had she or I posed with 1/2 dozen half naked people of the sex we are individually attracted to? Then your conclusion would be justified.

        What, with the parrot? That would be reading an awful lot into a peg leg!

        I think the film built of a Disney ride is enough evidence for my position. They worked to show the pirate lass secondary character was not just another floozy…and she had been captain of a ship!

        • Now, that cheating…I agreed that the term was negative; that doesn’t make it misogynist. Saying all women are sluts is misogynist. Saying that a women who goes out of her way to take a picture that portrays herself as a slut is choosing to look like a slut is just accurate reporting.

          You have to go back and start again.

          • Replay:

            Jack: Slut is not misogynist; it is descriptive:
            Me: It’s both.
            Jack: It’s both.
            Me: You admit to the phrase’s misogyny. Good.
            Jack: Now, that cheating…I agreed that the term was negative; that doesn’t make it misogynist.

            I fail to see where I cheated. Did I misinterpret what you said. I thought your statement was clear.

            Saying that a women who goes out of her way to take a picture that portrays herself as a slut is choosing to look like a slut is just accurate reporting.

            Can you not see both the begging the question AND circular reasoning here?

            The picture portrays her as desirable. You beg the question to say that means slut. That’s EXACTLY what I’m talking about. A women who looks desirable is considered a slut. A man isn’t.

              • I disagree, but it’s irrelevant in this case because slut is not descriptive. You don’t have any evidence that she sleeps around.

                  • Right. My mistake. And I keep saying that she was trying to look desirable, and you saying that your misogynistic thoughts about what she looks like imply that she must have been trying to make you think that. You inferred something (inappropriately, but culturally expected) and you think that means she implied it.

  9. For God’s sake, Tiggy. Let’s not go wandering all over the vocabulary with this and that. The girl posed provacatively in a photo and wanted it in the yearbook. This is entirely inappropiate. Even if this girl has passed the age of 18, the bulk of the others in the student body have not. This is high school, not a casting photo for Full Moon Films! The central themes for a yearbook are young students and their friends and activities that year WITHIN the framework of scholarship and citizenship. The youth culture is coarse enough. We don’t need to accentuate this by turning yearbooks into “girlie rags”. I’m just glad that the educators at this school had enough decency to put their foot down on this one.

    • Funny, I believe the educators did the correct thing as well. It’s the unjustified and misogynistic name calling that I have a problem.

      • Let me put your misguided argument to bed here, tgt. There is nothing misogynist or unjustified (or even name-calling) about characterizing Sydney’s photo.

        In nature, females of many species show their readiness for coitus by exposing their genitals to the male in “public.” Humans in civilized society, for many practical and good reasons, regard such conduct as inappropriate, rude, gross, and obscene. Thus women have developed other ways of signalling the desire to mate, both to the make population in general and to specific, chosen men. The message that a woman welcomes all comers, the equivalent of the naked genital display, is what generates the description of “slut”—a woman seeking wanton and promiscuous sex. Promiscuous sex has many social drawbacks, and societal/cultural disapproval of it is healthy within limits. You earlier comment that I agree with those who say that a provocatively dressed rape victim was “asking for it” would be true with a chimp, but not with a human being—that is a despicable and deceitful defense by alleged rapists, and always has been. Why? Because even the woman advertising to the world that she wants to have sex is not consenting to have sex with anyone, against her will.So “she wanted it”…that doesn’t justify a man taking it when she says “no.” But is advertising that she “wants it” blatantly and openly risky, foolish, ungenteel and worthy of societal disapproval? Yes…not the least of which is the known danger of men who think and act like chimps.

        You argue that saying that Spears is posing “like a slut” is misogynistic assumes that this is a criticism of all women, but it is not. It is a criticism of one woman who is intentionally flaunting social norms, and valid ones. But your attitude shows exactly WHY her photo is wrong—her attitude is ascribed—by people like you—to all women. They all want it; Sydney is just being honest about it by creating a photo that says, “I want sex, and NOW” in a high school year book, a message that will be associated with every woman in the book. It is no different than if she had a photo spread-eagaled nude with a “I want sex!” sign over her head. She knows the signals, just like the female chimp.

        Saying that a woman who brings blatant mating signals intended for teh dating bar, the strip stage or the bedroom into the social publication of a school is behaving grossly and promiscuously–that is, “like a slut”—is no more a denigration of women than declaring that a construction worker who makes kissing noises and yells “hey chickeechickeechickee…hot mama! That’s the way to shake it! Come here, sweet cheeks, and meet a real man!” is acting like a pig.

        • In nature, females of many species show their readiness for coitus by exposing their genitals to the male in “public.” Humans in civilized society, for many practical and good reasons, regard such conduct as inappropriate, rude, gross, and obscene. Thus women have developed other ways of signalling the desire to mate, both to the make population in general and to specific, chosen men.

          Whoa, whoa, whoa. Women sometimes, you know, date people before they sleep with them. They aren’t just animals that rut in the streets you know.

          The message that a woman welcomes all comers, the equivalent of the naked genital display, is what generates the description of “slut”—a woman seeking wanton and promiscuous sex.

          You assume that someone who looks alluring and sexy is welcoming all comers and seeking wanton and pomiscuous sex.

          And at this point, I’m not going to torture myself reading the rest of your attempt to “put [my] argument to bed.”

          If you can’t see the misogyny here, that says something about you. Step back and look at what you wrote.

            • Giving a negative characterization to a behavior by females that does not draw the same characterization when males do it IS misogyny.

              • tgt: I gave you the equivalent male conduct, and you ignored the question: Pig=misbehaving male, just as Slut=misbehaving female Or are those harassing construction workers just doing what guys do???

                • As noted, I hadn’t read your full argument as the beginning showed just how out of touch you are.

                  Now that I see it and this comment, I have more evidence that I was right.

                  Your “misbehaving male” is someone harrassing women.
                  Your “misbehaving female” is someone who has consensual sex.

                  Do you really think those are parallel situations?

                  • You are good at intentionally misrepresenting arguments. A misbehaving male is one who engages in gross and inappropriate male courtship conduct. A misbehaving female is one who engages in gross and inappropriate female courtship conduct.

                    They are exactly parallel.

                    • You are creating two different standards of behavior. Males should do Y and Females should do X. If females do Y, they’re sluts. If Males do Z, they’re pigs.

                      I don’t see what’s inappropriate about the female behavior. You, again, are begging the question.

                    • Note that you just said that is it gross and inappropriate for females to have more consexual sex than you would like them to. If that’s not misogyny, I don’t know what is.

                • I believe I’ve been having two discussions: the misogyny directed toward this girl and the appropriateness of her picture.

                  I find the former to be a much more important argument, but we can discuss the latter. I don’t see a major issue with a high school senior (most likely a 17 year old, but about a 1/6 chance of being an 18 year old – lots of schools have September 30th cutoff dates now) posing like this. Would I want my own fictional daughter to do it? Hell no, but it’s not way beyond the pale to me.

                  I would like to know at what age you think posing like that would become appropriate. I think it’s very much context dependent, but 16 or 17 could be okay for some people, while for others it may not be appropriate even when they’re perfectly legal 22 year olds. Without actually knowing this girl, I’m going to err on the side of caution in criticizing her.

                  • You did agree in a prior post that the photo was inappropriate for her senior picture which was what the article was about in the first place.Kind of got off the beaten path. True,some of us mature to adulthood more quickly than others but we have to draw the line somewhere. Some 16 year olds are very mature for their age but most,I would guess,aren’t. Is that unfair to the “adult” 16 year olds? Probably. Legally,you’re an adult at 18 but you can’t be responsible to drink until you’re 21.If you aren’t responsible enough to drink are you an adult? I don’t know,Teeg. Ask a scientist at what age our brains show us to be adults in general.

                    • You did agree in a prior post that the photo was inappropriate for her senior picture which was what the article was about in the first place.

                      Inappropriate for a senior picture? Yes. Inappropriate for the yearbook in general? Most likely not.

                      True,some of us mature to adulthood more quickly than others but we have to draw the line somewhere.

                      I disagree. The tiered system of age of consent laws seems to me eminently more sane than drawing a single line. I understand the need for hard lines for pornography, but a hard age line for whether a nonpornographic picture is appropriate? That I can’t abide by.

                    • Teeg,explain to me why it’s inappropriate for a senior pic but not for a yearbook.
                      “The tiered system of age of consent laws seems to me eminently more sane than drawing a single line. I understand the need for hard lines for pornography, but a hard age line for whether a nonpornographic picture is appropriate? That I can’t abide by.”
                      Could you rephrase that? How is the system of age of consent different than drawing a line? Eighteen is adult by law. Twenty one is drinking age. I was speaking generally about adulthood,not just about pornography. But what is appropriate or at least tolerated by an adult isn’t necessarily for a minor. Are you saying that the age 18 cut off line is too high?

                    • Teeg,explain to me why it’s inappropriate for a senior pic but not for a yearbook.

                      In my understanding of the traditional Senior pictures, there are some accepted standards. Formal clothing. Facing forward looking into the camera. Basically, looking your best…assuming you were going to a fancy wedding or gala. The rest of the yearbook? Everything from sitting in a hallway making posters to crowds at sporting events to crab feasts to fashion shows.

                      Could you rephrase that? How is the system of age of consent different than drawing a line?

                      Age of consent tends to apply to sex laws. In Maryland, for example, there is a tiered system of when an individual can legally consent. If a party is less than 12, no consent can be given. If a party is less than 14, there can be no more than a 2 year age difference for consent. If a party is less than 16, there can be no more than a 4 year age difference for consent. If all parties are at least 16, there is no max age range.

                      I’m not saying that these ages make sense, or that everything can work this way, but this seems much more reasonable than saying 90&18 = okay, but 18 and 17(+364 days) is illegal.

                      The idea I was trying to express is that for behavior like looking sexual (what we are directly talking about), drawing a line in the sand doesn’t make much sense. Instead, phasing in what’s morally acceptable and allowing for age error margins (kind of like age range of partners) is better overall system.

  10. I don’t apply such words to kids, either. I DO apply harsh terms to adults who lead children to act this way and exploit it for their own agendas. One of the problems is the number of educators who WOULD have allowed this. Another is unworthy parents who either condone this in their children or simply don’t care.

  11. tgt,why is it ok for you to assume that those of us who find this inappropriate for a minor,def.under the legal age of full RESPONSIBILITY,are mysogenic? That’s a huge assumption. Maybe a little prudish but woman haters? Okay,I grant you,saying she is acting slutish may be over the top,now that I’ve thought about it. And it is tame compared to other stuff out there for sure. But this isn’t for a young lady whose mind isn’t fully matured even though her body has appeared to. We all know that many teens act irresponsibly and even dangerously. They still need guidance. Like I said,now that I’ve had a chance to reflect,her look isn’t slutish. Since I don’t know her I don’t know what she’s thinking. Still,she is not considered an adult and science backs up the difference between the maturity of the teen brain and the adult brain.

    • I agree that finding it inappropriate based on age is not misogyny. I don’t know where I implied that, but if I did, I fully retract.

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