Overblown uproar

The reaction to the Globe and Mail’s cover photo on March 18 was overblown and prudish.

The photo, which shows 17 year-old figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond, posing with one leg lifted in the air during a routine, alarmed many readers.

What most people seem to be uncomfortable with is the supposedly sexual nature of the photo. Her pose shows her crotch area, which many readers found too revealing and too sexual to have on the cover of a national newspaper, especially given her age.

It’s true that with the cropping of the photo, it’s natural for the eye to be drawn to her crotch area. Exposure to that area of a body is still taboo in our society — it’s not something we discuss or display openly.

This can explain peoples’ initial discomfort with the image. But discomfort is separate from blatant disapproval.

The degree of uproar is baffling and unwarranted.

Osmond was doing nothing unusual, given her sport. Her attire, which included opaque tights and full coverage of her bottom half, was standard for figure skating. Her routine was neither provocative nor unorthodox — she was simply taking part in a regular figure skating competition.

The uproar surrounding the photo indicates an oversensitivity that’s unfortunately still inherent in our culture. It implies an underlying discomfort with the female body — we still condemn those who expose what is considered ‘too much’ skin.

If the viewer sees something sexual in the image, that’s not the Globe and Mail’s fault nor is it Osmond’s.

Most importantly, the skater herself approves of and likes the photo. While she may not be an adult, the publication of the photo shouldn’t put her in a compromising position — she was merely doing what she does every day as a figure skater.

It’s time to reevaluate what our society finds inappropriate or, more importantly, overtly sexual. The uproar for this photo was ultimately unwarranted and undeserved.

— Journal Editorial Board


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