When Wired magazine‘s November 2010 cover bared it (almost) all, tongues started wagging. But plenty of critics said the ideas and innovation authority potentially got a little too much off its, ahem, chest.
At the heart of the debate? How Wired portrayed the cover feature titled “All Natural: Why Breasts Are the Key to the Future of Regenerative Medicine” with a nearly down-to-there shot of the female form.
Such a move, though, isn’t outside of what the magazine is supposed to do, defended Wired’s editor-in-chief Adam Rogers in response to one blogger’s criticisms. “Got lucky in that a subject that famously sells magazines also, in this case, happens to be a brilliant science article,” he writes.
And it’s true. The article explores the possibilities of using the human body to naturally regenerate and repair itself. Specifically, using fatty deposits from a liposuction-like procedure is possible to “grow” natural breasts for women undergoing post-mastectomy reconstruction who prefer the non-silicone route.
But, according to research, such a procedure also holds promise for patients with chronic heart disease, those who’ve suffered heart attacks and kidney injury caused by cancer treatments. Generally in these instances, using the reconfigured fatty cells can improve organ function and breathe new life into dying tissue.
The possibilities are fascinating, provocative even. But did Wired magazine undermine the article’s ability to stand on its own? Or did they go the “easy” route and simply choose a cover that would sell? That’s at least one perspective.
Here’s another. Will the cover, though panned for being salacious, potentially draw in more readers than it would have with something more modest? It’s possible.
But the real travesty of this “controversy” is that the buzz isn’t sparking much debate over the substance of the article, and instead is hung up on what the cover image “says”–about objectifying women, about further establishing science as a “boy’s club,” about pretty much anything other than what the advances in the article could mean, not just for women, but for the field of medicine.
In short, not only could the research save what many are quick to espouse on bumper stickers, shirts and Facebook–and that’s the ta-tas–but a whole lot more.
Which maybe begs this more fundamental question: Does the Wired magazine cover image even draw you in to read the article to find that out?