When 18-year-old Sydney Spies was denied being able to submit her photo in her high school’s yearbook for being too sexual, it started quite a controversy. The Colorado student then submitted a different photo which was also rejected. Yesterday, Spies appeared on the Today show to defend her right to express herself, calling these photos “artistic”. And, we have to admit, she has some good points. We also have to wonder: Would we be having this same discussion over a guy wanting to submit a “sexy” photo?
While the yearbook staff at the Durango High School called the photos “unprofessional” and “innappropriate”, Spies–who is an aspiring model– simply sees this as being an issue of censorship, saying the photos best reflect her personality and that she didn’t want to submit a “boring” photo for her senior portrait.
As a concession, the yearbook staff told Spies that they will run her photos if she is willing to buy ad space in the back of the yearbook for $300. But she doesn’t see that as a win and is not agreeing to that proposal.
On her Facebook page, some people called her a “disgrace” and said the photos were too “racy” for a school yearbook, others offered their support for her standing up for what she believes in and calling the photos “awesome” and “beautiful”.
Spies also defends her right to self-expression on Facebook, saying:
I want people to know that freedom of expression is essential and censoring yearbooks and people is wrong. I am a fun, loving, determined, outgoing, caring, tenacious person that is willing to go through whatever it takes to make a point. The controversy over my yearbook photograph has become quite the scandal and I believe that we have the right to express ourselves in any form. Love it or hate it, this is who I am.
There are certainly valid arguments on both sides here. What would be really interesting though would be seeing a guy in the same situation. If a male submitted a photo in a tight t-shirt and a pair of shorts while in a sexy pose, would we be having the same conversation? I don’t think so. Men would be more likely to get away with something like this and have it viewed as fun and not controversial. It just seems like all of this attention is simply because it’s a female showing off her body, right or wrong.
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