22 April 2006

An Open Letter to Tom About Myspace Advertisements

Dear Tom,

I must say that I'm very thankful for Myspace. You've created a great service that has allowed me to meet many new friends, be encouraged in numerous ways, and enjoy some great music. For these things, and many others, I have nothing but the most heartfelt thanks for all of your hard work. And the fact that you offer all of this free is almost beyond ability to express in words. I hope that Myspace continues to be successful for you. But I have one concern. I question some of the advertising with which you've chosen to associate Myspace. I know that Myspace cannot remain free without advertising, so I do not question advertising as a whole. I only question whether or not we must be forced to see scantily clad females in some of the advertisements in order to log in, view our profiles, or proceed to some of our friends' pages. There are many reasons why this form of advertisement is harmful.

1. Instead of seeking to divert sexual desire, these images join sex industries which rouse feelings and emotions which are already burning to be released.

2. The picture becomes a source of endless degradation on which men feed all day long, keeping them from setting their minds on more noble and better things.

3. These ads present relationships with nothing more than having sex. The women are not to be prized because of the companionship that they might offer emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually but only as means of sexual fulfillment. It bottles up a large male population that have no healthy expression in marriage, and threatens the community by not treating the problem of a group building up more and more sexual frustration.

4. By equating the service with sex, the ads are asking for the men to mentally unclothe the women.

5. Should we think that this is what the woman in the ad wants us to think about her when she is out in publicthat she is nothing more than a sexual object to be unclothed at the whim of any male who passes by?

6. These advertisements are just another way in which women are stereotypically degraded as nothing more than sexual toys for the enjoyment of men who want women with no personal thoughts, individual feelings, and moral convictions.

7. These ads reveal that the chain of reasoning is not too far-fetched to see how men can move from viewing women in God's image to merely sexual objects. After sexual objects, they become bodies to buy. And after bodies to buy, they are just means of sexual gratification which (in their minds) make it permissible to force a woman to please men.

8. No matter how productive the ads are for attracting consumers, each picture is a misuse of the woman's body which does harm both to the woman and the person viewing her.

9. Therefore, think of the many women who must feel uncomfortable coming to Myspace because of the pictures to which they must compares themselves. What might be a very fruitful experience (making friends, catching up with lost friends, etc.) becomes an experience that multiplies insecurities and pain.

10. Not to mention, what of the thousands of women who are forced to measure their worth and attractiveness by a standard made available merely through extensive computer editing, plastic surgery, or makeup? This ultimately, if only subconsciously, leads women to dwell in a unhealthy manner on their looks, and to find no worth in themselves when their outward beauty does not measure up in their minds.

11. These pictures do not just cause frustration in females, but also cause life-threatening eating disorders and depression.

12. By removing the bounds of offences against good taste, such advertising helps to bring the demise of all that should be treasured in what is already a fragile issue in personal identities and relationships.

13. The ad also brings multiple heartaches, abuses, and criticisms to marriages where husbands fix unrealistic outward demands on wives who do not measure up to how men think a wife should look. Such problems lead to the breakdown of marriages, the destruction of families, and the ghosts of self-criticism that stay for decades and generations.

14. Have you considered the implication that such ads have on children and youth who will and are coming to Myspace? Should we not be laboring to teach our children to be respectful and wholesome young men and women? But these ads create an environment for sordid thoughts, foul language, condescending criticism, and abusive behaviors. Nothing good comes through such advertisements.

15. Parents are already struggling with children who have an unhealthy obsession with nudity. We must seek to help the parents who are struggling to have their children see that sexuality can be a healthy, God-given joy in marriage. But these ads strip sexuality of its beauty, purity, and joy.

So I ask you to consider if there is not a better, more noble, way to advertise. Myspace is not filled with 63 million single males. By considering these other groups, I'm sure Myspace will grow larger and more popular. I also acknowledge not all the advertisements are like this. Some, I'm sure, are innocent and harmless. Could we not have more family-oriented advertisements? Would it be possible to set preferences for advertisements under our individual accounts? And I do not question the right to post whatever one would like on his or her "Myspace." If I am visiting another's site, I have no right to limit his or her content. All I ask is that my own space not be filled with these images. Nor do I want to be forced to see the images when I am trying to visit my friends. Tom, think about the big picture. You have a wonderful thing before you. Consider the good that can be done for future generations, not just the money that can be gained through the exploitation of females.

Elijah Layfield


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