Sunday, December 14, 2008

Who goes nude to promote a PG movie?

I don’t get it. Why did Jennifer Aniston take off all her clothes to promote a movie that is rated PG? I’m sitting here scratching my head and wondering at the insanity of this woman’s decision-making. This is a PG-rated movie about a dog. And as part of promoting this movie, she took off all her clothes and appeared on the cover of GQ.

She didn’t shed her clothes when she was promoting the R-rated “Derailed”, a movie in which she did sexy things with Clive Owen. She didn’t take her clothes off when promoting the headache-inducing “Break-Up”, a movie in which she strips naked and cavorts in front of Vince Vaughn. But she gets stark nake
d to promote her latest, a PG-rated movie about a dog?

Am I missing something here or does this woman seriously have a screw loose?

I didn’t want to seeMarley and Me” before she took her clothes off and I certainly don’t intend to see it now. But this is not really about the movie per se, but about the messages implied in the approach taken to market it. Are we really still stuck in a time when women are so disempowered that the best we can do to get what we want is to take our clothes off? Honestly, I thought that the women’s movement had pushed us past that.

Then again, I’ve written before about this new brand of feminism that advocates a woman’s embracing her inner slut. In this new re-working, Ms. Aniston would have bared all not because she’s a desperate talentless hack who happened to marry lucky and clearly isn’t over it, but because she is an empowered woman and her nudity is a statement of her power.


I continue to be offended by this debasement of women’s historical struggles. It really irks me that the women’s movement in some respect has been reduced to a woman’s right to be a slut. Or to act or look like one. In the same week that Ms. Aniston elected to bare all to sell her movie, so too did another of Kardashian sisters – the one that looks like Yeti. Or a little bit like Jennifer Aniston, now that I think about it. These are the women that take their clothes off – the talentless ones who lucked out and attracted some paparazzi attention, and then go nude to exploit this. There is nothing feminist about their base manipulations. But these are the role models to which impressionable young women are constantly being exposed.


The actresses whom I admire and whose movies I never miss, never seem to believe that they have to strip naked to promote their craft. I’m talking about actresses like Cate Blanchett, Catherine Keener, and Frances McDormand. From another era, Vanessa Redgrave never disappointed. Natalie Portman and Marion Cotillard take risks in some of the roles they accept that few others would dare. But none of them have posed naked on the cover of a men’s magazine as part of promoting a movie, even an R-rated one.

And of course, the goddess of them all is Meryl Streep, who has throughout her career, focused on improving her craft. When she is in a movie, you know that there is a solid chance that it’s going to be excellent. And while excellent actresses like Susan Sarandon and Toni Collette have not been shy about portraying sexuality on screen or stage, neither of them has allowed themselves to be photographed spread-eagled on the cover of a men’s magazine in order to promote an upcoming product.


One can only wonder what went into the decision-making by the 39-year-old Aniston. Was she under the influence of pot when she took this decision? Is she so frightened about turning 40 that she wants to pretend that youthfulness and sex appeal are still within her grasp? But is it really youthfulness when it requires massive amounts of airbrushing in order to maintain the illusion? Is Ms. Aniston really such a non-person that she would rather live with an illusion than face her own reality?

The interview that accompanied the photographs was also quite disturbing. Ms. Aniston did of course talk about the movie. The one about the dog. The one that is rated PG. But she also continued to ruminate about her ex-husband and at one point made a disturbing joke about spending vacations in the Hamptons with her ex, his new lover, and their children. She joked about carrying Zahara on one hip and Knox on the other. Can we spell stalker anyone? Things that make you go ewww.

Ms. Aniston has since claimed that by posing nude, she was not making a statement. Oh, OK. What was she doing then? Getting a tan? In the middle of winter? Is this woman stupid or just insane? It certainly takes a tremendous amount of shallow narcissism for her to not be able to contemplate the inappropriateness of this choice. Or maybe it’s just a desperate attempt to compete with her ex-spouse and his younger lover, both of whom have enjoyed significantly more personal and career success.

Perhaps Ms. Aniston has come to realize that she can only remain relevant by keeping the non-existent “love triangle” alive. Nothing else explains why she is still harping on it four years later. Whatever the heck is going on, one thing is crystal clear – this is no feminist role model.

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miko said...
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