Editor, The Gauntlet,
Re: "Streets of Bangkok," Oct. 14,2004
It was with no small amount of irony that I read the article entitled "Streets of Bangkok", situated on pg. 10 of your October 14 edition.
It was not the article itself that I found ironic, quite the opposite in fact. It was a poignant and educated essay by McConnell, someone who obviously understands and emphasizes with the plight of so many unfortunate women caught up in the sex trade of South-East Asia. Instead, it was the poorly placed advertisement taking up the bottom half of this same page 10, featuring what basically amounts to soft-core pornography in promoting a local nightclub.
Perhaps your layout editor, has a strange sense of humour. I, however, found the joke to be slightly more disgusting than amusing. On the same piece of paper you have a biting portrayal on the darkness of sexual exploitation and a picture of a woman just as caught up in that cycle as the Thai prostitutes themselves. Now, one might argue that they are completely different: the woman is simply a model, not a prostitute. The only difference I find is the level of degradation involved. Sure, the model chose to do that advertisement and devalue herself for the enjoyment of others, but I truly question whether the forces at work in coercing Thai women to become objects of gratification for sex-starved men are not somewhat mirrored on our side of the Pacific. Sexual exploitation is not confined to prostitution, nor to the seedy streets of Bangkok.
I fully realize that your publication needs advertisements in order to remain in existence, and that advertisers will continue to exploit the unfortunate truth that "sex sells." However, in the future I personally would appreciate a little more tact.