Interviewing the very wonderful Elizabeth Raab for Benzina #6, I started out by saying I didn't want to go over the feminism/sexist/exploitation angle other interviewers were seemingly convinced was the elephant in the room (Elizabeth's work is astonishingly erotic in a way that bears comparison with Bob Carlos Clarke): I was slightly nervous about this gambit, but luckily Elizabeth felt the same: we're all grown ups, everyone's being fairly remunerated, and no laws were broken. Move on, and let's not trawl over old ground.
Sure, ads like this 70s AGV number are troubling because the girl's made to seem a bit dim because she's interested in looks and money alone. Hmm. Next week I'm lucky enough to have been married to Dr Girlie Nice-Smile for 20 years, but was it her medical degree or understanding of the human condition that made me notice her standing in the neighbour's garden? Hell no, and I'd be disappointed she was first attracted to me by my insight into the evils of cementitious pointing. These things might have kept us interested in each other since 1989, but they were never the spark.
Anyway, the prudes who insist that finding the mere sight of the opposite sex attractive is wrong seem to be "Don't-do-as-we-did" come-lately prudes: Germaine Greer spoke at our local school about "Fun with feminism" and it was just one long grumble about how a very rich woman's life could have been even better. Ditto the insufferable Joanna Lumley's recent grumbles about "kids today": how can someone who played Patsy in Ab Fab whine about role models? We can't all be Ghurkhas. No wonder Lenny Henry left her. (It was her, wasn't it? Must buy Hello occasionally...)
So Benzina will keep printing pics of ladies we find attractive, with a very simple rubric: if Dr Girlie Nice-Smile and our daughter don't find the images demeaning or offensive, and they add something to a story, in they go.