Talking about pictures of naked girls in a newspaper

Dear all,

OK, full disclosure: in contrast to other “Talking” posts, this conversation hasn’t happened yet, but I think it will one day.


Daddy, there sure are a lot of pictures in this newspaper, and the writing is so big!

Yeah, that’s what they call it Bild-Zeitung. Picture-Newspaper. Lots of pictures, not much writing. I guess they figure people are too busy to read much these days.

How come they always have a picture of a naked girl on the front page?

Ummm… I think it’s because they tried it once, and found that it started to sell more newspapers. Look through it and you’ll probably find another one or two as well.

But how can a picture of a naked girl sell newspapers? I thought there was supposed to be news in a newspaper, not pictures of naked girls.

Well, you’re right. But since there isn’t a law that says you can’t put a picture of a naked girl in a newspaper, someone figured they would try it out, and it worked. They sell more newspapers than any other paper in Europe. Eleven million people read it every day. All that for a paper with such a lousy reputation, a lot of us call it Blöd-Zeitung (Stupid paper).

But if that’s what people buy the paper for, why don’t they just buy a paper that has got lots and lots of pictures like that?

I can’t figure that out, either. The first time we came here, it was after living in Hong Kong, and there it’s really, really strict what you can show in a paper. The people are more conservative, and don’t think it’s right to show pictures like that all over the place. It’s the same in Canada and in the States. But here, it’s different. It’s more open. I was kind of surprised, though, that they would put those pictures on the front page.

Do the girls get money for doing that?

Yes, they do. I’m not sure how much, but they do. I guess they figure that if everyone sees them in a newspaper like that, then they will be better known and it will be easier for them to get work like modelling or something. I don’t think it’s a good idea, though.

Yeah, their moms and dads might see them!

Well, yeah, but it’s more than that, eh? Did you ever wonder what those people look like in real life?

What do you mean?

I bet if you saw one of those women on the street after seeing her photo in the paper, you wouldn’t recognise her. They do all sorts of things to make them look what everybody thinks a woman should look like. They put on all the right make-up, they get the lighting all perfect, they take hundreds of pictures, and then after choosing the one they want to print, they fix it up in the computer so that she looks as perfect as possible. They do that for advertisements, too. What you see in the picture isn’t real.

Sure it’s real. It’s a naked lady!

Well, yeah, but very, very few women actually look like that. And the problem with that is, people forget that and think that’s what a woman should look like. So women start to feel unhappy with themselves because they might be a bit overweight, or because they think they’re too short, or getting old, or their nose is crooked, or their bum is too wide, or their breasts aren’t big enough, or too flat, or too pointed, or too saggy, or whatever. They pay specialist doctors thousands and thousands of dollars to change themselves on the outside, just to make themselves feel better about themselves on the inside. Who told them there was something wrong that needed to be fixed in the first place?

All for now,


PS: I was going to put in a link to the newspaper showing a picture of a naked lady, but I don’t think there’s really a need…

PPS: The newspaper article behind the link is (gasp!) old, but it’s a good backgrounder.

PPPS: An award-winning blog keeps a watchful eye on Bild, helped by people like you. Even the venerable Economist had this to say in its praise.

© 2007 lettershometoyou

9 Responses to “Talking about pictures of naked girls in a newspaper”

  1. March 5, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Europeans are usually as puzzled by the anglo-saxon pruderie, when it comes to nudity. The Bild photos are kitsch, to be sure. But it’s refreshing to be around people who don’t get so hyper about nudity.

  2. March 5, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    Having just spent three hours in a German sauna – something I enjoy immensely – you can believe I am not a prude when it comes to nudity, nor am I trying to bring up my girl that way. Nor does it bother me to hear people speak real German on the tube, without having the occasional “Scheiße” bleeped out by some twit concerned someone might take offense.
    It’s not the nudity in the paper, it’s the message it sends about how we view ourselves. I find advertising in Germany to be too “kitschy” – if you will – in this way as well.

  3. March 22, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    I read the Bild when I first moved to Germany – it was the only newspaper left lying loose on the train from Bonn-Koeln (those with Die Zeit carefully packed up every square of the paper and put it back in their suitcase). Boy did my German vocabulary expand. Those naked ladies sure do have a lot of good words for talking about their breasts!

  4. 4 kabababrubarta
    March 27, 2007 at 12:02 am

    Nice design! kabababrubarta

  5. March 27, 2007 at 6:21 am

    Courtney – yes, a throwaway paper it is indeed. Have you retained any of that newfound vocabulary?

    kabababrubarta – thanks!

  6. 6 ann
    November 9, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    My only problem with the Bild is that no one else (in the train) gets to choose whether they want to start their morning with naked women or not. That’s the difference between magazines and newspapers. With tram seating, at some point, those page(s) are going to be mere inches from my face, and I am going to have to crank my neck to some bizarre angle if I want to avoid miss 6. oktober 2008. Not being a guy (or appreciating that kind of woman that way), I’d just be happier if I were only confronted with their silly “news” stories.

  7. 7 robin
    October 24, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    okay very interesting plus suggesting too
    could u send me a picture of those nacked which u hav talked above.

  8. 9 idiotic spammer
    April 19, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Hi, I just thought I’d try to get my spam published on your blog. Hello? Is anyone there? I’m offering you a poke in the eye. How about a blow on the head? Alright, alright, I’ll stop with the Monty Python. But really, I sit here in this stuffy cubicle in Armpitzhou, China and get paid 0.3 Yuan for every spam comment I leave on wordpress blogs. I put the Chinese into Google Translate and re-translate it via Urdu and Swahili into English, so it comes out sounding like the gibberish it usually is. Hello? Won’t you please help me? If someone actually clicks on the URL that I leave, I get a bonus of 2.1 Yuan. Thankyouverymuch

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