Many claim that this is empowering for women, that they are expressing their sexuality. I'm doubtful. In a recent book, Female Chauvinist Pigs, journalist Ariel Levy, proclaims that there is something profoundly un-liberating about this phenomenon.
Her central thesis is that today's "raunch culture" is not an encouragement of personal sexual expression and healthy sexual appetite, but a highly commercialized and mass produced "commodity" that strips us and our sex lives of all particularity and fulfillment.
There is some video of Levy discussing this claim.
Here is Levy on the "Girls Gone Wild" phenomena:
and here she is on Playboy:
I think she raises some fascinating questions. And I wonder, when is it healthy sexual expression and empowerment, and when is it exploitation? How can we establish a clear criteria? Can we? Should we?