“Crotchgate?” Or much ado about nothing?

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Today’s front page of Toronto’s The Globe And Mail (above) featured a photograph of 17-year-old Canadian figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond. The photograph immediately drew criticism from some readers who felt it was inappropriate to, in the words of Charles Apple of the Orange County Register, “highlight the crotch of a young woman.” To some, it was particularly problematic because Osmond is an underage young woman. Other readers didn’t seem to have a problem with it. After all, as Apple writes, “That’s just a high kick. Skaters do that all the time. As do gymnasts. As do cheerleaders.” Still, Apple termed the case “Crotchgate 2013.”

Morally, if The Globe And Mail had intended to exploit Osmond sexually, that would have clearly been a problem. But it’s hard to imagine that that was their intent. On the other hand, one would think that the newspaper had other photographs of Osmond to choose from for the front page. So here’s the question: What, if anything, is unethical about this photograph?

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