Written in Ink
Written in Ink
Illustration for article titled Bored of Nudity? A Jezebel Article and its discontents

I actually liked this comment:

So when Carly Rae Jepsen and Zooey Deschanel dress kinda demurely, they're infantilizing themselves and therefore Part Of The Problem, but when Miley and Rihanna get nearly-naked, they're objectifying themselves and also Part Of The Problem.

I think I speak for a lot of women when I ask WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE ALLOWED TO WEAR, THEN?!



That was my first response to be honest. Not in love with thongs but at the same time, it's problematic to see the type of contradictory criticism that seems to emulate mainstream attitudes towards women without much real reflection. And of course, certain women were held up as examples of the right type of female pop star, not like these empty headed sluts (the tone of the comments, not my belief). That kind of pitting women against each other made me sad. It seems to be a very popular sentiment and it's not healthy when you consider the ways that women are given such a narrow berth in our culture around acceptable womanhood.

There is something about Dodai's comments and the commenters in this thread that doesn't sit well with me. It's weirdly shamey. I don't like to see women objectified. But at the same time, what happens with some female pop stars is not just simple exploitation. I think the lack of ambiguity, the assuredness and the dismissiveness seems all too easy and seems as if they aren't willing to even grant these women any agency or if they have agency, any real understanding of how or why they are controlling their image. They also don't seem to realize that we all said this about Madonna in the 80s. Sorry. There were people seeing her as quite serious—sure, but not the majority. Many found her shocking and then boring and then shockingly boring.

This final comment of Dodai's:

And let's be honest: This is all for shock value. There are no statements being made about female sexual power, it's not a commentary on culture or art, it doesn't raise questions about How We Live Now. Attention for the sake of attention is pointless. When you're in command and have millions listening, you ought to have something to say. Neither Miley, Rihanna, Ke$ha nor Gaga are using their chart-topping positions and rabid fan bases to draw attention to issues that plague today's woman — the wage gap, having it all, FOMO, yogurt mania. The problem with all these half-naked pop stars is that they fail, even as they succeed, because they are "artists" turning themselves into objects. Objects have no agency. Objects are disposable. Objects have no feelings. And although there is value in shock value — power in startling, provoking — the truth is, while the nightly news anchors may feign mild consternation, though talking heads may raise their brows, no one, no one is really surprised.

What would be shocking: If Miley (or Rihanna! or Ke$ha!) enrolled in a university and learned how to make a point using the Socratic method. Jaws would drop.


I don't know.—it just seems judgmental and self righteous against women in a very flat way, conflating everything about Rihanna, Ke$ha and Gaga and Miley into one pop star whose inspiration and response all stem from the same source. I think the comments are often not particularly insightful—just a bunch of piling on of women pop stars without a lot of analysis.

It seems to go against their ethos. I don't like it. I don't like it at all. It makes me uneasy given how much women are shamed for either being too sexy, either by being too mature or not mature enough.


I think we've engaged in so much reflexive outrage in the gawkerverse that it is hard to step back and look at people as having complex motives and ambiguous effects on society.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter