Posted on: June 23, 2008 6:35 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2008 7:56 pm

Blog Cabin: Ashley Harkleroad poses for Playboy

In the news...

With the start of Wimbledon, I’ve been hearing a lot about Ashley Harkleroad, and her decision to pose in Playboy. I remember when the story came out, but it definitely didn’t register in my mind as a story that would remain on the international radar.

I guess I was wrong.

The commentators during Harkleroad’s first-round, straight-set loss spent half the match talking about the 23-year-old’s decision to pose naked for Hugh Hefner’s money. One of the old, crotchety-sounding woman commentators even said the move “wasn’t classy” and that she should “take some heat”.

Seriously? What’s the big deal? What do you care?

Harkleroad isn’t exactly a household name, and it’s not like she’s going to be winning majors any time soon... or any tournament for that matter. Unfortunately for her, she’s on the downside of a mediocre career.

That being the case, I don’t blame her one bit for posing in Playboy. I’ll stop short of calling it a “classy” move, but let’s be honest; it’s really not that bad. If the pictures were in black and white and taken by a guy in a beret, then we would all be calling them art. I mean, people have been carving and painting nude bodies since the beginning of time.

Why is it OK for a bunch of snooty aristocrats to sip wine while remarking about nudes in a gallery showing, meanwhile it’s considered dirty if someone decides to use a little color and puts the picture in a magazine full of politics and news?

I would never say that all adult magazines are the equivalent of art, but Playboy is probably about one step more risqué then a swimsuit calendar... and it is meant for adults, after all.

There’s a definite double standard here.

After taking some criticism, Harkleroad echoed a similar sentiment. “I really didn't think it was that big of a deal,” she said. “I'm proud of my body. I stay in shape and try to stay fit. I'm just trying to represent a female athlete and her body.”

Good for her. And, if she can pull in a few hundred thousand to do it, then why not? It’s a good business move for someone in her position.

I think Ana Ivanovic or Maria Sharapova would make the same move in they were a bit worse with the racket... and I’m sure they both have standing, multi-million dollar offers to do so.

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