Three pictures of the U.S. Women’s Water Polo team

Being bisexual, a classical liberal, and anti-Marxist, I am neither a prude nor a Puritan. Nevertheless, I am not happy about this ESPN nude pic of the U.S. Womens’ Water Polo team. Not that it is nude, but it is simply not very good. The pose is contrived, but not well constructed, and almost everyone looks uncomfortable as hell. Now, wild fantasizing about lesbian sex in the locker room to one side (take a moment to clear your mind, I’ll wait), most of these women are straight. A bunch are likely leery of intramural relationships as well, so, straight or gay, they probably are not into the close contact. Not only is it not a good picture, but we’re also pulled out by empathizing with their discomfort when we should be celebrating with them.

We now move on to this nude pic of the team, though it may not be all the same people. The comfort level is up a lot; they aren’t all bunched together. Also, it is both more and less revealing than the other picture: some of the women are in the background, some are surrounded by bubbles. The dappled underwater light also distorts and hides. This picture is far superior.

Finally, we move onto the last team picture. I was about to call this one fully-clothed, if only in comparison to the last two, but of course they are wearing standard womens’ one-piece bathing suits; they are hardly union suits with a strategically placed hole. But the confidence here is at an all-time high. These are proud, happy people working together: a team. We get to really see faces and body language here; we see individuals. Attractive, athletic individuals, yes, but consider: not many people can project personality over their own nudity. It just doesn’t happen; it’s why Madonna was often far sexier covered up than completely nude.

(I would also like to note it bunches my favorites in the second row; they must be the linebackers in water polo, phwaaaaa! And second from left, second row... sigh.)

Finally, I would like to denounce the nude pictures… but not for nudism, or not directly. The nude pics were undoubtedly money-makers for the team; again, I have no problem with that, per se. But where money and nudity meet is a place filled with moral compromise and other hazards. I would recommend care to all involved.