Thursday, March 10, 2011

double standards of Essence

Making good on my promise... though tonight's post will be shorter than I anticipated.* I'm working on a presentation for tomorrow that I got more into than I thought I would. I've been sitting here for a couple of hours working on it. I have the tendency to get lost in projects when I get in the zone.

So, today: I was at work, scrolling through some websites, wasting time, when I stumbled upon Essence Online's photo album of "Naked Celebrities." (Seeing as how I just saw the Chris Brown penis pic this past weekend, I figured it couldn't hurt to find out what other naked celebrities there are out there.) Some parts of the photo album actually showed the naked photos in question (like Amare Stoudemire's HUGE frame jumping into a pool with one hand over his region**), whereas some just gave pictures of the celebrities in more typical fashion... you know, with clothes on.

Regardless, each picture came with a caption. I don't know what I was expecting, but when I gave the captions a second read-over I was disturbed by the messages behind the captions.

For instance, pretty much all the male pictures (which, by the way, were included in the photo album in all their almost-but-really-naked glory, whereas mostly all of the women were shown fully clothed) were lauded or treated like they weren't naked pictures. Don't believe me? Amare Stoudemire's lengthy nakedness? They said women across the nation got the magazine for the first time just to study his body, following all that up by saying "Damn." And not in the way you say "damn" when you forget your keys, either.

Jamie Foxx? Well they said he was a "gangsta" for leaking his own pictures onto the internet. (a. I didn't know he had pictures, and b. I think that kind of makes him a lame.)

Chad Ochocinco? (Whom, someone rightfully pointed out***, can't even get his made up name right. 85 in Spanish is not ochocinco, but, ochenta y cinco.) Well, they barely batted an eye at his picture, which involved him being booty, butt ass naked with just a football covering his manhood.

But Rihanna? They went "tsk tsk" at her for having naked pictures leaked on the internet. Cassie? They said hers were "very explicit!". Ummm, okay.

But then, they said nothing about Halle Berry, nothing about Garcelle Beauvais, and they even said that Naomi Campbell "gets a pass" because her body is a "work of art." Ummm... excuse me, but I think Rihanna's body is more attractive on any day than Naomi Campbell's.

And, why is Naomi Campbell's body a work of art, but not other women's bodies? And why do men's bodies seem to be considered okay to be portrayed naked (at least, for purposes of this list), but not women's? So, do we not bat an eye at men standing naked with a hand or strategically placed football blocking his penis because the juxtaposition of the photos with the commentary is an example of some writer's penis envy? (If I am to assert that the writer behind all of the commentary blurbs is the same person, and that said writer is a woman.)

Do we not bat an eye because it's one of those "it's okay if men do it" things? Is it because we still operate under the belief that women are supposed to be coy and chaste?

And why, operating under the unspoken and thus unknown restrictions on this list, why does nakedness seem to be allowable for models and actresses, but not for singers? Does this speak of how society views the hierarchy of "artistry"?

Questions seek answers. Go.

*--looking back, this ish wasn't short at all. Go 'head girl.
**--ummm... either his fingers are really big, or his shit is rather small. Just saying.
***--I wish I could remember who dropped this on me. I really hadn't even thought about the fact that this negro actually means for his name to be "Chad eighty-five" rather than "Chad eight five."

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