A controversial issue is being debated in England regarding topless women modeling for tabloids like The Sun. Many are undecided as to whether this is appropriate, but I think that topless women should not be published in a newspaper that is for the public.
A public newspaper’s function is to inform society, and topless women do not do this. It is not serving the general public if people are opposed to it. It only serves people who like to see topless women for their obvious aesthetic appeal. It does not educate or edify anyone.
This is not what Benjamin Franklin envisioned when he used newspapers as a means of standing up to the British government. He did not say, “Newspapers will inform the people, stop tyrannical governments and spread the understanding of women’s beauty by showing them topless.” Sure, England is not going to love Benjamin Franklin, but they should still stick to objective standards required for newspapers or they will lose credibility. A newspaper is not a nudist paper.
Children are probably seeing these women as well, and parents who wish to keep their children from such things may not be able to if they are in daily newspapers. Even adults who want to read objective stories about the news or sports have to take the extra precaution not to open this page or leave it around for children to see. Many also have a moral objection to this. Some religions consider topless women indecent.
Think about the potential business lost by keeping them in — if these people decide to stop buying and reading the paper because of this, sales are going to go down.
We should all be concerned about the role of professionalism in journalism. If England is able to get off scot-free, then the United States or other countries may try to do the same thing. Objectifying women like this could give people the idea that one can do whatever one wants with them, regardless of the woman’s feelings in the matter.
Would you want your mother, sister or wife exposed in this way? Topless women belong to the private, not the public domain. A public newspaper severs society when it fosters moral indecency. England, put your blouse back on.
John Forsee is a junior in journalism and mass communications. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.