To the editors:
Re "In Defense of Hooters and the St. Pauli Girl" (Column, March 13): What Noah Oppenheim fails to realize is that when a young woman is constantly presented with idealized images of beauty, she is being sent a message about the kinds of appearances that are pleasing to the male eye. While the "sexual objectification" of women might not distort the male "perception of all women," it can certainly have damaging effects on female's perceptions of themselves. When women begin to compare themselves to media images, they are subscribing themselves to a certain image of beauty which for most, is completely unattainable.
Furthermore, Oppenheim's argument that "normal, sane men are not confused by their experiences with poster girls, seedy restaurants or gentleman's magazines" is problematic. While many men can distinguish between the "mass market, two-dimensional" image of women that they enjoy purely for aesthetic reasons and the world of "three-dimensional women," I am not convinced that everyone is adept at distinguishing the media image of women from the real image of women. The tendency to view members of a particular gender as objects in the imagined world can easily filter into the "real world" causing a situation where those objectified by the media are viewed solely as ornamental objects.
While it is fine if the "sight of a big-busted blonde tickles [Oppenheim's] fancy," it is necessary that he recognize that by subscribing to an idea of beauty, he is sending a message to females that to be accepted, to be recipients of the male gaze, they must conform to the images that hang on his wall. JENNIFER C. NASH '01 March 15, 1998
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