Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Natural immodesty

Realizing I needed to create a Robert Rodriguez tag led me to my earlier thoughts on Sin City and Nancy Callahan's boobs.

Before I get into the essential question here, let me make a note that while, in my post Sin City Deluxe, I understood the logic of not having Bruce Willis expose Little Bruno to the harsh lights of a motion picture camera, because, they believed it would be distracting there in center of frame over a long scene, I don't agree with their solution of having it never appear in frame rather than having it swing in and out of shadow, as it logically could have, would have and should have.

But the thing I started considering was the nudity and non-nudity of most recent young attractive actresses. I'm fascinated by this subject, and not as much for prurient reasons as one might assume, although I'm hardly trying to defend myself against the notion that I have a significant interest in female nudity from that perspective. I'm not, for the most part, overly attracted to recent waves of young actresses, though, although there are, of course, notable exceptions.

There is an unnatural quality about the current trend of their modesty and immodesty, however, that I find fascinating.

I've known quite a number of women in my day. That's not a big brag, I'm counting my mom, my aunts, cousins, co-workers, etc. Just people of the opposite gender from my own that I've literally known.

I've known women who dress very modestly and wouldn't be at all likely to expose any part of their private areas. I've known women who occasionally wear things that expose a small amount of cleavage, but never more. I've known women who will wear low cleavage regularly, but would never actually expose more. And I've know a few, not nearly enough, who are incredibly casual about their bodies and what gets exposed on any given occasion.

I've never known anyone who is naturally like this recent wave of actresses, who are photographed in magazines and movies exposing every centimeter of flesh aside from five square inches of flesh. I'm frankly unsure they exist.

I can't say I'd be at all comfortable being photographed naked, but I can't imagine if I was being photographed from every angle, capturing everything but my penis, some of which seem oddly more intimate, that I wouldn't eventually throw up my hands and be like, "Just take a picture of my wiener, whatever!"

And I can't imagine that everyone isn't about the same by nature.

So, this is something these women are not doing by staying true to thei natural level of modesty/immodesty, but something that's plotted out by them or their "people". "I should expose this much flesh in order to be seen as a sexy young star, but not that much or else..."

There's the question, though. Or else what?

I wrote the following comment in Babe Ruth's Gay Brother by Marty McKee, "I can't even figure out where this impression that it's more respectable to not get naked comes from. Only about a quarter of the last 20 Best Actress winners haven't done a solid nude scene, and at least half of those at least once in some lightweight movie."

So, if we remove modesty and respectability from the list of logical reasons for doing this amount of nudity, but not that amount, what are we left with?

UPDATE: Just as a matter of note. Jessica Alba, pictured above is, in fact, not one of the current young actresses that I'm particularly attracted to. She does work well in things such as Idle Hands, in which she's the cute girl next door, but she always fails to raise a spark for me when she's supposed to be hot, especially now that she has blonde hair. That picture, however, in which her face looks extraordinarily un-pretty for a glamorous shot, but seems to perfectly capture the goofy and frankly disturbing "everything but naked" attitude going on right now. It really seems to me that in the modern era, it's more expected than ever that these young women should have to do these intimate mostly naked photo shoots, but expected to completely avoid "actual nudity" in nearly any circumstance. Let's all admit it's terribly creepy.

The answer to the basically rhetorical question that ends the original post, it becomes clearer as I type, is that their "people" and, to some extent, "the industry" need to control these women and their bodies and dole them out as a commodity. They aren't being treated as people or artists, and that is why it's so goddamn creepy!

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