Naked Beth Ditto: Good or Bad?

NME has got a naked photo of Beth Ditto in its cover. Is this good or bad? The case for ‘good’: She looks great, and a naked photo of a great-looking woman with a bit of flesh helps to fight narrow conceptions of how women should look. The case against: Complex. As Ann at Feministing notes, female musicians shouldn’t have to strip off for music magazines. She also notes that with a more conventional choice of naked woman cover photo they would have been criticised as turning into a lad mag. This point is examined in more detail here. It certainly seems right that with a more typical skinny, big-breasted naked woman we’d easily see the cover as objectifying, rather than empowering. I wonder, though, whether it can be seen as both– as a positive, possibly empowering form of objectification. (I’m really not sure about this.) Positive objectification is interestingly explored in Nussbaum’s “Objectification”, and in Green’s “Pornographies”. The most relevant idea for our purposes here is that seeing someone as primarily a sex object or a body can sometimes be a good thing. (But that this has to be done in such a way as to be compatible with respecting them as people, makers of their own ends, rational agents, etc– obviously lots of difficult issues here.)