It's okay. Sen. Brown was just being a (naked) man.

Massachusetts voters elected Republican State Senator Scott Brown to fill the seat of longtime statesman Edward M. Kennedy, who died in August 2009.
By Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 20, 2010

There are nearly naked pictures of would-be senator Martha Coakley of Massachusetts floating around on the Internet.

No, there aren't. We made that up to shock you. (Were you shocked?)

Because there are nearly naked pictures of Scott Brown, who defeated her in Tuesday's special election to fill the seat left by the late Edward M. Kennedy.

The morning after the election, a student of gender politics might ask: How different would the story have looked if the shoe -- Lack of shoes? Lack of clothes? -- actually had been on the female body?

The pictorial in question is a much-circulated 1982 centerfold from Cosmopolitan magazine, in which Brown was declared "America's Sexiest Man." In a two-page slice of beefcake, the then-22-year-old reclines on a blanket with nothing but a serendipitously-placed wrist covering his manly bits. Nice smile, nice abs. Also: Was everyone that hairy in 1982?

The general reaction from the media over the past few months can be described as ranging from "Meh," to "Oh, Sen. Brown!"

"Joe Six-Pack with a law degree," one article jauntily said in describing him.

"In what will no doubt sew up the women's vote," began another, before sharing the history of the photos (Brown was a student; he modeled to pay for tuition).

Cosmo offered a new campaign slogan: "Vote for Brown. He Has One Hell of a Stimulus Package."

Coakley had been favored to win the seat, but in recent weeks Brown unexpectedly had a last-minute surge in polls.

One editorial pitied Coakley, lamenting that she "came of age at a time when posing nude, and living to tell about it politically, wasn't an option for women."

And by "at a time," they must mean "now." If Brown had breasts, the media and public response might have been more virulent.

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