By Bernie on 09 Dec 2008
A Virginia Beach retailer was arrested
because his store displayed this ad
for Abercrombie & Fitch.
Photo Courtesy of Abercrombie & Fitch
A reader commented that the photo in my previous post Photo of Naked Girl is not Child Pornography is indeed pornographic:
I gotta say that, in this example, you are wrong.
The album cover is pornographic in that it is designed to illicit a sexual response from the audience. The title itself, begins the response by framing the subject of the picture as a "virgin"...a clear sexual reference. The girl (age unknown but probably much younger than 18?) is clearly in a bondage-style pose, and naked. Caution is certainly warranted in this case.
I for one, do not believe that a nude picture is all that it takes to make something pornograhic [sic]. But this is an album cover designed to illicit sexual interest. It does so using a VERY young (possibly underage) girl in a sexual pose, with a sexually-graphic title.
It is NOT Michelangelo's "David", or anything like it.
I responded to my reader's comment thus:
Will, I am sure there are people who get their jollies masturbating over photos of open clams [see below], which you will agree suggest inviting vaginae, however the legal requirement for obscenity is not what the photo might suggest in the minds of the overly imaginative, the courts require that the image show sexual activity or a "lewd display" of genitals.
A display of genitals per se is not lewd, the girl would have to be inserting penis-shaped objects or fingers into her vagina to be lewd.
There is no sexual activity. What the photo is designed to do has nothing to do with obscenity. I could look at two grapefruits in a supermarket and see a pair of boobs; should the grocer remove them to keep those images from entering my eyeballs because I see porn everywhere?
Actually, even Michelangelo's "David" was once considered obscene and required his jewels to be covered with a plaster fig leaf. Of course in the 140 years since then we have progressed enough as a culture to allow us to view the entire naked body of a man with a penis without shame. I have no doubt that 140 years from now, someone reading the comment from my reader above that merely mentioning virginity stirs up sexual feelings, would laugh at our silly, primitive, prudish, and absurd notions of sexuality.
Certainly, I know that almost all of the young girls in the 5th grade are virgins and yet the thought of that does not illicit in me any sexual interest. But hey, that's just me.
As for the statue of David, as lewd as it might have seemed a century ago, my only response to the statue is wonder why Michaelangelo gave him an uncircumcised penis. What no Jewish models in Italy then?
Ironically, while the naked virgin photo in my previous post was deemed indecent by the UK's Internet Watch Foundation, an Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly magazine which was removed in 2002 in America after four US states threatened legal action over its display of semi-nude young men is now available in London. Seems semi-naked young boys are indecent in America but not indecent in the UK. Very confusing for retailers to say the least.
Abercrombie & Fitch tried again earlier this year with an ad (see photo above) of semi-naked young males in Virginia Beach:
Washington Blade, 8 Feb 2008, Va. officials drop charges against A&F store manager
The city attorney for Virginia Beach and local police have dropped charges of indecency against the manager of a local Abercrombie and Fitch store for displaying posters of scantily clad models, according to Virginia Beach police.
Virginia Beach police on Feb. 2 confiscated from the local Abercrombie and Fitch two displays, claiming that that the photographs violated local laws. City officials decided to drop the charges Feb. 4, according to Deputy City Attorney Mark Stiles.
One photo features the backsides of three shirtless male models. One of the models is wearing low-hanging jeans partially exposing his buttocks.
Stiles said the photos might technically violate the nudity portion of the city code, but added that they may not be against other standards of the law. The displays would have to appeal to lustful interests,...
Police removed the photos after several people complained about them.
Abercrombie spokesperson Tom Lennox said his company planned to pursue its legal right to display the photos.
"The marketing images in question show less skin than you see any summer day at the beach," he said.
Lennox called the confiscation "an incredible overreaction by city officials" and said it would be comical if it did not carry potentially serious legal implications.
The Clam Vagina:
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