When ESPN decided to run a bunch of nude covers including one of Serena Williams, I really thought that this would become the immediate topic of rampant conversation. After all, it’s not everyday that you see Serena strategically positioned to hide all her female parts while wearing not a stitch of clothing.
But to my surprise, as a topic of conversation, the 'Body Issue' seems to have sunk like a heavy stone to the bottom of a river. Nobody gives a crap.
Part of the problem may be the timing. It is kind of unfortunate to tell the truth. Right about now, people are at best, a tad ambivalent about Serena Williams. The WTA is still pondering what additional punishment she should face for her outburst in New York. Some fans are debating whether she deserves their support. Her publishers are probably fretting over whether her ill-timed book will sell.
In the middle of this messy debacle, Serena once again became the number one tennis player in the world. Except nobody seems to care. I don’t see anyone partying anywhere. I haven’t seen any pictures of her being invited to ring the bell for NASDAQ. She hasn’t been seen sitting on Letterman’s couch or chatting with Regis and Kelly. A number one who seems to be a persona non grata. Ouch.
But this is because the incident in New York was just too ugly, her loss of control too unforgivable for most fans. So Serena poses nude and becomes the number one player in the world, back to back, and it’s like ho hum, whatever, next.
And then came word that Marge Simpson will be appearing nude on the cover of Playboy. And everyone goes berserk. It’s the lead story on all network channels. Entertainment Tonight gives this more coverage than the Gosselins. Huffington Post runs Marge’s coy Playboy cover as a feature story. Even Reuters gives the story primary attention. Not to be outdone, dlisted.com runs links to a website that has porny cartoons of Marge doing the nasty with several of the townsmen and one woman, including Moe the barman and Ned Flanders who amusingly prays while getting off.
You’d swear Marge was real.
I don’t get it. In the same week I’ve already had to digest the ascendance of a fictional male character to the top tier of masculine influence, apparently deemed even more noteworthy than Roger Federer and Usain Bolt. Now I have to wrap my mind around the idea that a cartoon figure who should logically be in her 50’s (given that she was already thirty-something when she was created in 1987), is apparently perceived as more sexually appealing than Serena Williams.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the Simpsons. I love every character and cannot think of a single episode that I did not enjoy. But Marge as a sexpot? Hello?
In the meantime, copies of the ESPN magazine with a nude Serena on the cover will probably end up lining bird cages. Sigh.
Or maybe they won’t. Maybe the pictures will be thoroughly enjoyed by those men who fantasize about what Serena looks like in the buff. And by those women who appreciate having a role model who doesn’t look like she survives on lettuce and black coffee. But apparently neither group will bother to admit it.