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Friday Eye Candy: Humorless Feminist Confronts Vanity Fair Edition

Vfapatownudes Nothing forces a bored and over-educated pop culture addict into more of an over-analytical death-spin than images in fashion and entertainment magazines. Especially images that reference or exploit the sexualized human form. Especially images that reference or exploit  the sexualized female form.

But then you go and throw Paul Rudd into the mix - Paul Rudd referencing a hyper-sexual Tom Ford into the mix - and it all kind of unravels, because who can hold a consistent thread of critical feminist commentary concerning the exploitation of women (or mockery of the exploitation of women) (blah blah blah) when Paul Rudd is right there, daring you to exploit him and despoil that copy of Vanity Fair that you're holding in your sweaty hands?

I still think - alongside writers at Salon and Jezebel and elsewhere - that the Vanity Fair image I discussed the other day is problematic. I also think that Paul Rudd looks awesome in that picture, and wish that he were naked. It's complicated.

So why not take this opportunity to review Vanity Fair's history of complicated and sometimes uncomfortably Eye-Candylicious magazine covers?

Fecvfbeckham_2

I don't care what you think of David Beckham: this image is hot. (HELLLLOOO? Could you drag your eyes away from his treasure trail for a moment and listen to me? Kthx.) Nothing problematic here, really - it's a rare instance of the male form being celebrated in (semi) nude form on the cover of a magazine that regularly disrobes its cover women but almost never does so with its cover men. If I tried, I could make something up (the hoodie invokes superhero symbolism, and this is inherently masculine?) but what's the point? ABS.

Fecvanity_fair_cover

Bruce Willis is hot. He just is. I mean, seriously. Manliness squared. Which VF has gone all out to exploit here - dirty man on motorbike, throbbing machine between his legs, vroom, vroom. Note that he's fully clothed. Would the image be more awesome if he were draped, nude, over that motorbike? Maybe. Would he be draped, nude, over that motorbike, if he were a woman? Almost certainly.

Fecvfsopranos

Like this.

(Why does the Sopranos cast need a naked woman draped over them? Mightn't we ask, WHY WOULDN'T THEY?)

(Seriously - *adjusts professor hat* - naked women juxtaposed against suited men signifies a power imbalance. It just does. Always. Doesn't matter whether those men are fictional mobsters or gay fashion designers - the significance is the same. Just noting that, for the record.)

Fecvfcindycrawford

Ah, but what about half-naked women draped over suited lesbians? Holding razor blades at the throats of suited lesbians? Does this image subvert or reinforce the power-imbalance signifier? Aren't both Cindy Crawford and kd lang HOT? Isn't HOT good - or is it necessarily exploitative? Is your brain melting yet?

(I know. Why do I spoil all our fun by asking hard questions? Because how else am I going to put all of my professor-training to use? That shit cost money, y'all. Not mine, but still.)

(I know that none of you are reading this. You're back at Beckham's treasure trail, or Cindy Crawford's cleavage. That's fine. I understand. I stopped reading this back at the second paragraph, when I was suddenly inspired to Google 'Paul Rudd Naked.')

Fecpaulruddnakedsheetsthumb

(Class dismissed.)







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Comments

jacki

Thank. You.
Paul Rudd...mmmmmmmmm.....

um...I need to go. Kthxbai!

BlackEyedGurl

Oh dear lord, that last picture is something I would be happy to wake up to every day for the rest of my days. Oh Paul Rudd, why are you not my husband? Wait, why is no one my husband? WTF is wrong with me?

Also along the lines of Vanity Fair art work I found these to be just amazing: http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/20148385.html

Somedayphd

Since I'm in the process of professorial training I have to agree with you. Images problematic....Paul Rudd yummy.

ali

mmmm...paul rudd...

Sweetney

[passes out]

[regains consciousness]

[passes out again]

HALP!

Diane

Maybe it's time we oust Bale and make things all nice and official and go steady with Paul Rudd.

tvaddict

Paul Rudd definitely should oust Bale!!! I need a cold shower. Phew...

Accidental Housewife

Paul Rudd for MamaPop Mascot! Also, if you want to go with the idea that sexualizing people, men or women, by the media is bad... Does that mean no more FEC?!?! Say it ain't so! I guess we could say that FEC is just evening the odds, but, um 1. two wrongs don't make a right and 2. women are often featured... I'm flawed. I like pretty people. I like to look at pretty people and drool. I admit it. You?

Her Bad Mother

Accidental Housewife - I think that the answer to that should be obvious, no? ;)

(And, just to underscore the point - I don't think that appreciating hotness is bad, far from it. I just prefer that it be equal-opportunity... or something like that.)

Elizabeth

I seriously love when you turn on the professor-training! That photo of David Beckham, holy god is that hot. Vanity Fair definitely has been guilty of the double-standard on their covers. George Clooney is posed with a woman in a backless dress, smirking at the camera as if to say look at what I get for being a big star.

On the other hand, Oscar winner Hilary Swank's cover has her in a BIKINI, back arched, big smile on her face. And the image confuses me- am I supposed to think oh, she's just another pretty face in Hollywood? Or am I supposed to think that even though she's a serious actress, she also has a hot bod? And why does that matter?

(Paul Rudd. DAMN)

Colleen

Holy Jesus Mother of Comedy, where has that picture of Paul Rudd been all of my life? Who knew the dorky heartthrob from Clueless would one day fulfill all of my dorky, comedic, and sexy fantasies?

Sigh...time for bed! :)

Alex

Another excellent FEC, Catherine! I love the balance of the professory-think with the OMG-drool.

Meshealle

I think Paul Rudd was showing an impressive grasp of flexibility there. Mmmm...

And wow. David Beckham. I still hold the whole married-to-Posh-Spice thing against him, but whatever. He's hot.

Objectifying Men Day is fun!




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