By Dennis D. Tucker
By now everyone has heard of Vanessa Williams. For a number of days she was the source of national news and controversy. Her name has been on the front page of numerous newspapers and magazines. In fact, it was a magazine and some photographs that started the whole uproar. It appears that Miss Williams posed nude in some very lewd pictures for a certain photographer a few years back. She was paid to pose nude, and she willingly accepted the money after she had done so.
Eventually the pictures wound up in the August issue of Penthouse magazine, a so-called adult magazine, meaning that it shows pictures of individuals in sexual positions and acting out sexual encounters. It is worth noting that several magazines turned down the rights to the pictures of Miss Williams, realizing that such publicity would harm her career and harm the Miss America Pageant. Those magazines turned down a good sized profit; Penthouse has to be pleased with their August sales.
Once the pictures of the naked Miss Williams hit the newsstands, everybody reacted with horror. Miss Williams was stunned that the photographer would have the gall to sell those pictures and that any magazine would print them. Organizers of the Miss America Pageant were shocked and angered by the photographs. They stated that the contestants of the pageant. sign a contract with a morality clause. This clause allows the organizers to relieve the winner of her duties if she acts in any immoral way or brings reproach upon the pageant. They stressed that this was the first time that they had to actually use this clause and wanted to stress the cleanliness and decency of the Miss America pageant.
Publishers of Penthouse responded by calling the organizers of the Miss America Pageant a bunch of hypocrites. Penthouse did not claim that the pictures were wholesome or innocent; they recognized the pictures for what they were, photographs designed to stimulate a sexual response. They challenged the pageant to be honest with itself and admit that they have the same goal, that is to show off flesh.
The whole pageant. is designed to show off bodies of some pretty young girls. No matter how hard pageant officials try to present a wholesome pageant, they fail. If the pageant’s very purpose is wrong, if its goals are wrong, its results will be wrong. Young ladies are shown wearing bikinis, one piece bathing suits, and evening gowns. These articles of clothing are designed to show off the bodies of these women. Pageant officials have tried to keep a certain level of respectability; however, it is impossible to have a wholesome event if its purpose is not wholesome. Talent and ability play very little part in selecting the winner. There is a question for the five finalists to answer, but the nature of this question does not require a great deal of knowledge. For the most part, the winner is chosen on the criterion of looks.
Many of the sponsors of the pageant use the young ladies to model their fashions and makeup. They will use these ladies and other models in their advertisements. Such advertisements are often aimed at stimulating sexual response or at showing other women how to be provocative. They will do this by showing women posing skimpily dressed, wearing their product or with their product, so as to catch the eyes of men. The same thing happens during the pageant; women are skimpily dressed, and people watch to drool over these young ladies.
Penthouse made a good point; their pictures of Miss Williams are the natural conclusion. People who are immodest enough to stand in front of a national audience barely dressed will have little trouble appearing naked in front of a photographer. Miss Williams should not have been shocked; after all, she posed for the pictures. The photographer was in the business of selling pictures. The fact that he would eventually sell her pictures is the natural conclusion. Organizers of the pageant should not have been shocked. If somebody is immodest enough to try to show off her body, it will not matter how under-dressed she is. People with immodest attitudes will do immodest things. Persons with modest attitudes will dress and act modestly (1 Tim. 2:9).
It would shock most individuals to sometimes see the natural conclusion of their attitudes. Those individuals who could see nothing wrong with “church supported orphan homes” or “church supported colleges” twenty years ago, should not be shocked by the church businesses we have today. It is the natural conclusion. People who start missing worship services and eventually fall away should not be shocked. It is the natural conclusion. Individuals who advocate social drinking or immodest dress have no right to be shocked by alcoholism or adultery. It is the natural conclusion. Penthouse was honest enough to see and admit the natural conclusion. How about you?
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 18, p. 550
September 20, 1984