Recently, I saw a poll in a coin forum on the question of "Who should be the model for a new Lady Liberty coin?"
The poll choices were taken from online lists of richest/most famous models and consisted of mostly white women from the 1980's - present. (Kathy Ireland, Gisele Bundchen, Cindy Crawford, Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Kate Upton, Paulina Porizkova, Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley, and Elle MacPherson.) The most popular choice in this poll is currently Kate Upton...
Here are my thoughts on this poll (for the most part, as typed in the forum post.)
I just don't get all the hype around Kate Upton. I mean, I understand why (it's plain to see what the focus of her pictures is.) Maybe I'm desensitized from being around beautiful dancers all day, every day...
Poor, poor me. (Cue the violins.)
Let's talk seriously about the actual question...
I would think a model for Lady Liberty should be "face-oriented." I'm not saying Ms. Upton does not have an attractive face; I am saying that the majority of her publicity is focused a bit further down her frame, and while nudity on coins is not unheard of, I sincerely doubt that the US Mint (and American public, at least in words) are ready for her body type on a coin. Maybe the Franklin Mint would do it. Maybe Victoria's Secret or Sports Illustrated should do a series of bullion rounds or bars...I'm sure they would sell.
Knowing the American fascination with Roman symbolism, I'm guessing the new Lady Liberty should be a non-celebrity of Italian, Greek or generally Mediterranean descent. Maybe an updated Lady Liberty should reflect more of a multi-ethnic combination than perhaps a rather plain blonde American woman can represent...
(FWIW - I think my favorite Lady Liberty has always been the Peace design)
Of course, how is this question to turn the tables on this thread: Why is Liberty female? What would a male version of Liberty look like? I can already sense how uncomfortable some might get for my even posing the question in the first place. I doubt anyone would vote on a poll were it posted.
Allegorical Lady Liberty should embody the ideals our country was founded on. I'll refrain from posting my political/personal views on whether or not we embrace those ideals any more, but the symbol of Lady Liberty should represent the virtues of equality, democracy, freedom, strength, compassion, respect, patience, intelligence, etc. She shouldn't be someone you just want to see naked. It's sad that commercialism has reduced the value of women (and, maybe, our country's ideals) to sex appeal. While some may enjoy being reduced to one valued aspect of themselves, I might think a great majority of women are uncomfortable with this treatment. I am reminded of the story of Allison Stokke (a pole vaulter at Cal who was the reluctant recipient of the full weight of online "stalkerism" just because someone posted a photo of her saying she was hot) or Alyssa Milano, who thankfully had the means, status, and courage to actually change the laws of how images of her were displayed on the Internet.
Of course, I realized as I typed this response that I am avoiding the true intention of the poll...which should really be stated, "Who from this list do you think is the hottest"...but I dunno. Something just kind of irks me about this stuff.
On a side note, I'd like to see a series of Civil Rights leaders honored on coins...maybe after the Kennedy half runs its course...we should celebrate and remember Americans who have actually contributed to the welfare of our citizens.
On another side note, I've been considering the idea of putting together a set of Susan B Anthony dollars for quite some time. I think typing this has officially made up my mind on the subject.
On a final side note, I am not saying anything derogatory about Ms. Upton or women of a similar body type. Beauty is an aesthetic preference, and as such I will have my opinions and others will have theirs. I just find it discouraging to only celebrate women for their physical attractiveness.
So, who do I think will be the next Lady Liberty? Honestly? It will be an unknown friend of a gifted sculptor/engraver/designer.