The New York Times issued a particularly spicy editor’s note on Wednesday for a story titled “The Selfie That Dares to Go There,” written by Laren Stover. The Styles section article is about how it’s not just men who are photographing their private parts, but women as well: the vagina selfie is the new dick pic. But there was just one small problem with the story.
An editor’s note dated July 11 listed at the bottom of the article reads:
An earlier version of this article included an anecdote about a married man who received an intimate selfie from a woman who was not his wife; the article also included comments from others about the selfie.
Editors were not aware until after publication that the married man was the writer’s husband. If editors had realized the connection, the incident would not have been included, or would have been described differently. That material has now been removed from the article.
Going back to a cached version of the article (which ran July 7), it includes this passage now removed from the final piece up at the NYT:
A tale of cyber-infidelity is what inspired my research into the selfie erogenous zone after a group of us at Bosie Tea Salon in Greenwich Village glimpsed one that a married man received by direct message from a Twitter fan in California: a 48-year-old Turkish-Armenian housewife, mother of two and “lover of fine art” called Vivien (not her real name). It was captioned, without irony, “snap.”
From the awkward angle, purpled hue and identifying features, we realized Vivien had missed the advice on lighting and how to take the perfect anonymous shot (it’s all out there on Google) and included not only the beauty mark under her right breast but also a pierced heart necklace.
An attendee of the gathering named Shiran, 26, who recently received a degree in sustainability from Harvard’s extension school, said he didn’t get intimate iPhone selfies, only booty pics, but would be “pumped” if he did. He looked disappointed when he saw the shot and deemed Vivien’s “not well curated.”
It turns out “Vivien” was mentioned a few more times in the article as well, as it appears Stover showed another source, Mieka Dovey, this woman’s photo, though if she had Vivien’s consent to do so is unclear in the piece. The original, unedited version read:
Mieka Dovey, 28 a musical theater actress born in Denmark, said she and her friends take artistically styled and composed shots but don’t send them to married people. “Being in a long-distance relationship, that’s kind of the only way you can be intimate,” she said. “I only want my significant other to see my pictures.” Ms. Dovey was not impressed by Vivien’s “snap.”
“The robe is godawful,” she said. “If you got a little pudge, you got to work around it and find an angle that’s flattering.”
But the new version, edited as of July 11, reads:
Mieka Dovey, 28 a musical theater actress born in Denmark, said she and her friends take artistically styled and composed shots. “Being in a long-distance relationship, that’s kind of the only way you can be intimate,” she said. “I only want my significant other to see my pictures.”
Ms. Dovey doesn’t believe in letting it all hang out. “If you got a little pudge, you got to work around it and find an angle that’s flattering,” she said.
And one sentence from the original version that read this way:
From the assorted reactions to her “snap,” Vivien had clearly been oblivious not only to filters but also to the compositional mastery of Gustav Courbet’s famously explicit lush vulva painting, “L’Origine du Monde,” a close-up view of a supine woman’s genitals, thighs and abdomen.
Now reads this way in the current, edited version of the story, with the Vivien dig removed:
Gustav Courbet’s famously explicit lush vulva painting, “L’Origine du Monde” contains a close-up view of a supine woman’s genitals, thighs and abdomen.
If you’re counting, thats a total of three people who saw Vivien’s nude photo in addition to the writer’s husband, who it was first sent to, after which it was critiqued as being “not well curated” by someone with a “a degree in sustainability from Harvard’s extension school” (why we need to know that, I have no idea), having “a little pudge,” and not being more like a Courbet painting.
What a completely chill and noninvasive way to report on this cool new trend!