It's a photograph Tasha Wall will look back on when she's 37, 47, 57 and every year that ends in seven for the rest of her life and think "wow, I looked amazing."
And she does.
The 27-year-old personal trainer from Prince George is featured in the "girls next door" section of the current edition of UMM, Canada's version of the popular lad mag Maxim.
To argue that Wall's photograph is the latest exhibit in the social objectification of women, seen through a patriarchal lens where women's sole value are as the playthings of leering men, is not only ridiculous, it's unfair to the beautiful woman staring out from the photograph.
For starters, the picture of Wall is sexy and flattering but loaded with self-respect. It's completely the opposite of some demeaning portrayal of a wanna-be sex kitten. There's plenty here for both men and women.
In other words, it's the perfect post-feminist cheesecake photo.
From the earliest days of modern feminism to current late-night university dorm debates, the nagging question hanging over gender politics has been how can women express themselves in a visually sexual manner without selling out to the man.
For many women, being seen as both intelligent, talented, and funny (in other words, as fully formed adults), while also being able to show off their femininity is the Holy Grail. It's the classic having-the-cake-and-eating-it-too scenario.
Is Wall's photograph, and the magazine it's featured in, there for the entertainment of the male viewer?
Let's not be naive. The answer is an unequivocal yes.
But part of the allure of the photograph is how Wall is clearly in control. Who holds power lies at the philosophical core of feminism and there's no doubt Wall holds the levers in the way she is depicted.
She is shown in profile, with more of her back to the camera. There is a tanalizing stretch of skin separating the bottom of her white muscle shirt from her underwear but it is merely suggestive, not crude.
With the slight glimpse of the underwear and virtually all of her rear cropped out of the picture, this is cheesecake photography that even mom and dad can be proud of. Clearly this is a woman raised to have a healthy respect for herself while still acutely aware of the provocative power her body has.
But it's hard on dad, who probably last saw his daughter in her panties long before she ever needed to wear a bra.
"My dad was like "I don't want anyone to see this,'" Wall said.
Not only do all but the monstrous dads not want to see their daughters as sexual creatures, they certainly don't want anyone else to see their little girl that way, either.
It's part of the job description.
Still, Wall's father can still be proud on a more abstract level, knowing that his daughter has not only portrayed herself in a national magazine in a healthy and positive light, she is the embodiment of a confident, secure young woman.
In the short accompanying writeup, Wall is clearly identified as a personal trainer accustomed to accomplishing the goals she sets for herself, along with a quirky comment about not liking the squeaky noise her teeth make when she eats pickles. The words are as flattering and respectful, yet playful and breezy, as the photograph itself.
Wall is certainly not the first woman to find this balance and then gleefully show it off to the whole world. Top female athletes producing nude and semi-nude calendars of themselves to generate revenue to further their training have become so common, they are already old news. In a thumb-in-the-eye to Sports Illustrated and its dirty-old-man swimsuit issue, ESPN annually publishes revealing and flattering photographs of top athletes. Remember the hubbub from last year's nude photo of Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks?
The ESPN pictorals and Wall's photograph redefine sexy for a modern age, by showing successful adults in excellent physical shape, emphasizing their bodies but focusing on their overall strength and form, rather than just the naughty bits.
-- Managing editor Neil Godbout