Globe and Mail apology over Kaetlyn Osmond photo is inappropriate

A bunch of delicate flowers are outraged—OUTRAGED!—that the Globe and Mail put a photo of 17-year-old figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond on its cover this weekend.

The photo in question is of the skater performing one of her routines; the Globe describes the 2013 Canadian Figure Skating Champion as "skating a joyous gala routine on Sunday and kicking her leg up high while wearing a typical brief skating skirt over skin-coloured tights."

Despite short skirts being the norm in figure skating, the pearl-clutchers mobilized with indignity over the "revealing" photo and the Globe offered an apology.

But, an apology for what? Having readers who are so terrified/preoccupied with sex that they interpret an image of an athlete as one of titillation?

I think that says way more about its readers than anything else.

Whether you like it or not, figure skating is a sport wherein women are expected to dress in revealing clothing, yet when you publish a photo of a woman performing in said costume, it's somehow inappropriate.

Let's put aside the discussion of the skimpy nature of female athletic uniforms for a second, and examine what's going on with the public backlash to the photo.

Whether or not it makes athletic sense—and I would strenuously argue that it doesn't—the uniforms in many women's sports tend show a lot of skin.

Most people I know aren't watching women's beach volleyball to see athletic prowess. They're watching it to see attractive women in booty shorts.

Now, if you accept that as a cultural given, it is then completely stupid to be upset over photos of women in said outfits. If you have a serious problem with a photo of a championship figure skater, maybe you should bring your outrage up with the international skating community.

The Globe's apology says, "you should ask yourself if you would want yourself pictured this way."

Well, how about we ask the woman in question whether or not she wants to be pictured this way?

Oh, someone did.

And that's where the discussion should end.

Comments (27) Add New Comment
This is a tell-tale sign of who is running this country. Marci McDonald was right.
Rating: +14
The Olympic Committee has regulated the size of Women's Beach Outfits (read as close to a Jiggle Porn show Western Sensibilities will allow) to insure Maximum EH.... Viewership.

Meanwhile, the Italians want their favorite lunchtime game show made into an Olympic Sport.

This is the game show where a Good Looking Young Woman, takes off one item of clothing every time a call in viewer answers a skill testing question correctly.

I have it on Good Authority that, this Skill Testing Game Show, will be brought into the Olympics and part of a broader Educational Programming decision.
Rating: -2
The Globe should apologize to Kaetlyn Osmond for their stupid apology. Are they saying there is something obscene with this young woman? The Globe would do better to also apologize for supporting the Cons prior to the last election; but I digress.
Rating: +50
Xian Qi
And what does it say about the Straight that not even you guys will show us the photo? It's misleading to suggest that the photo you put at the top of this story is the one used in the Globe.

The problem with the Globe photo is that below the fold it's basically a faceless close-up of a bareley-covered anus, which is all you see when the paper is placed top-fold down. My question for Miranda Nelson is, how comfortable would you be with your scantily covered crotch on the front page of the Straight? And would the editors use it? I'm not personally offended by the photo, but the tame covers the Straight uses (in addition to the photo used in this story) would pass muster with every pearl-clutcher in the West Side, so obviously you guys have editorial standards, too.
Rating: -23
Well, showing minors in their underwear is a bit disgusting. Why we accept it either in the news or on TV is beyond my comprehension.
Rating: +3
Travis Lupick
@Xian Qi, The photograph in question belongs to the Globe and Mail. It's copyright means that it cannot be reprinted without that outlet's permission.
Rating: +27
Rating: +12
Grabbed a copy of the Glob today to read over lunch. Not what I would call obscene by any stretch but certainly tasteless and a poor choice of what I'm sure was one of many possible images to celebrate her success. My first thought when I opened it up was "Really? A crotch shot? Why?"
Rating: +6
Pissed off mama
It should have been pointed out right upfront that the photo used here is NOT the one in the Globe and Mail! That's just deceitful. Shame on you Georgia Straight.
Rating: -10
Ian Jefferson
Thank you Miranda Nelson! This is the most cogent and well reasoned article on this topic that I've read.
This whole "controversy" shines light on the hypocrisy of Western society. Sex sells and everyone's buying until someone points it out, and then we're shocked, SHOCKED that figure skaters raise their legs in the air while wearing skimpy outfits.
Gimmie a break.
What it this, freaking Iran?
Rating: +9
Louis Cyphre
You have to be particularly stupid to be offended by skin-coloured tights.
Rating: +11
@Xian Qi - MAR 18, 2013 at 9:24 PM

I think the person who used the photo above may be indicating that it is more offensive than the Globe photo. Could be wrong.
Rating: -10
Miranda Nelson
You are wrong. I used the photo above simply because it was available to use. I did not post the Globe's photo since it was under copyright.

I assumed people would read the caption of the photo that clearly says it's from a 2012 competition and/or the description I included of the Globe's photo and put those things together.

Obviously I assumed too much of some of our readership.
Rating: +8
Xian Qi
Travis Lupick an Miranda Nelson: My understanding of fair use is that you could take a photograph of the front page of any newspaper and use that photo (as other blogs have done) if it's relevant to the story you're reporting. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Overall I agree with your piece, Miranda. Where I have an issue is where one publication with editorial standards criticizes the standards of another publication. I'm willing to bet that if the Straight had done a story on Kaetlyn Osmond and had a variety of photos to pick from, they would have deferred to another photo for the same reasons that the Globe's public editor stated. Just speculation of course, but judging by the covers the Straight uses, it seems you guys err towards playing it safe, too.
Rating: +4
Rating: -11
Correction, Ian: you said that sex sells. Women's bodies are what sell.
Rating: +4
Well a woman on the news last night was "appalled" and "shocked" at some scrimshaw at Maritime Museum that showed some salty content..."How dare they they expose her kids to such filth"....Who gets worked up about such nonsense?
Rating: -1
Miranda Nelson
Highly repressed people? Bored people? People who just love to be upset? It's pretty ridiculous if you ask me!
Rating: +13
"Women's bodies are what sell."

Yeah, but in this case it's a 17 year old kid...
Rating: +1
Thank goodness Ms. Osmond wasn't wearing LuluLemon underwear.
(News item: LuluLemon pants not reliably opaque.)
Rating: +4


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