Monday, August 08, 2016

Are National Parks An Appropriate Backdrop For Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue?

By Kurt Repanshek

For many young adolescent boys growing up in the 1960s, the cold winds, ice, and snows of winter met a thaw in February, when a softer, not quite so lusty version of Playboy showed up in mailboxes across the country: Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Issue.
...In 2002, a representative for the National Organization for Women said the issue, "promotes the harmful and dehumanizing concept that women are a product for male consumption."

...Until recently, national parks have been left out of the Swimsuit Issue, and generally have been promoted by media as wonderful family destinations. But in 2014 the sports magazine requested, and received permission, to shoot in Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Bryce Canyon national parks for its 2015 Swimsuit Issue.

An outtake from the Yellowstone shoot (above) was used by National Geographic this year in its May issue, which was dedicated to Yellowstone.

Now, as the Park Service is confronting an issue of sexual harassment and misconduct within its workforce, a watchdog group is questioning whether the agency's decision to permit the pictorials doesn't "undermine" its commitment to root out an institutional "culture of tolerance for sexual harassment." In addition, the Park Service's approval of the photo shoots illuminates the gray area in interpreting the agency's management guidelines and recalls a magazine shoot four decades ago that a former park ranger deemed "extremely offensive."

Back in August 1977 Grand Canyon National Park made a splash in Playboy in a river trip pictorial that raised more than a few eyes, as Roderick Nash noted in Wilderness and the American Mind while discussing the issue of river trip permit allocations:

The Grand Canyon allocation controversy raised the deeper question of what kind of use is most appropriate in a federal managed wilderness. One point of view regarded the large, motorized commercial trips as little more than outdoor parties. Beach volleyball and cold beer highlighted these trips. The customers neither expected nor wanted a wilderness experience. The whitewater rapids might as well have been located in an urban amusement park. The highly publicizied and much photographed river trip that Playboy staged came to represent the problem in many minds. The fact that this kind of Grand Canyon trip used part of the limited visitor quota, and in effect kept wilderness enthusiasts off the river, rubbed salt in the already tender wounds of noncommercial boaters.

It used to be that a conservative was defined as someone who was concerned that someone, somewhere, was having a good time. It now appears that liberals have taken over that mantle. This is without a doubt one of the more attractive uses of our National Parks. 

1 comment:

LC Sons of Liberty said...

William Shatner is my hero!