Is posing in Playboy feminist?

Posted at 10:35 AM Nov 04, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

I don't know if posing in Playboy magazine is a feminist act. But I know that telling women what they should and shouldn't do or believe is definitely not feminist. And therefore I am skeptical of Joanna Krupa, who is on some television show or some shit and recently posed for the aforementioned men's magazine. She says that "self-important, so-called feminists" have no business "discriminating a photo shoot."

Photo shoots! I hate when people discriminate them. Especially self-important, so-called feminists, who are always discriminating photo shoots with their ignorant concerns about the male gaze and sexual objectification and the implicit and explicit controlling of female sexuality in terms of male needs.

"I think they suffer from lack of knowledge and tunnel vision. How many of those self-important, so-called 'feminists' have been on the set when a celebrity shot a Playboy spread? There you go. What is feminist about discriminating a photo shoot just because it involves female (partial) nudity that happens to give men pleasure? Pathetic," Krupa told Tarts in an exclusive interview.
I don't know what "Tarts" is, but I hope she was talking to a pastry.

Honestly, this is just one of those times when the jokes, they write themselves:
"Our society is used to judging content by its package and label. The word 'Playboy' alone doesn't exactly give most women a warm, fuzzy feeling, yet many of the Playboy photos end up in the most praised photo and art magazines and in critically acclaimed photo exhibitions," Krupa said.
Our society does judge content by its package and label. Partly because entities like Playboy have so over-branded and over-marketed a pornified version of human sexuality that we can't conceive of anything outside the box. (Pardon the usage.) But really, Krupa, why worry about that? After all, being in Playboy is basically like posing for Degas.

Of course, getting worked up about Playboy is an exercise in futility. The magazine is declining on its own, and Hugh Hefner's continued dedication to embarrassing himself is more sad than anything else. I think pornography can be feminist, but I wonder if it's actually possible for anything close to patriarchy-challenging, female-empowering content to come out of the brand. There are a number of women who work in high-ranking positions at Playboy, but I think the whole Playboy empire is fairly blind to its own overall male-oriented shittiness.

And so I would ask Krupa: do you mainly find your photographs sexy and empowering because they are and feel sexy and empowering to you, as a woman, on your own terms? Or mainly because they make you feel attractive to men, or because you think they will make men attracted to you? I would suspect, given Krupa's snarky dismissal of feminism, that she has not spent a lot of time thinking critically about what she's doing.

Of course everyone wants to feel attractive to the people they're attracted to, and I'm hardly saying that we need to all go around with bags on our heads if we're going to be good feminists--but the modern concept of sexuality is so couched in male needs, it's hard to separate a distinct, female sexuality (which could very well include something Playboy-like, but from a female perspective or impetus) from the tits-and-ass schlock of mainstream porn.


Susan said:

Annie Leibowitz always makes me hot and bothered. I would totally buy an issue of Playboy that she art-directed.

Trenton said:

A dude who made her sign a contract probably told her that playboy is in art exhibitions and what-not. That's just stupid.

Everybody's got their price.

B said:

Both her and Terrell Owens were easily the most annoying contestents on The Superstars.

Lavode said:

"I don't know what 'Tarts' is, but I hope she was talking to a pastry."

Thanks for making me laugh instead of having an apoplexy.

e.b. said:

There is a lot of beautiful nude photography out there of both men and women. I don't think it's inherently anti-feminism to pose nude. I do think that Playboy photos are awful though just like most over processed photography is awful to me. You can make nude art and you can pose naked without being exploited but it seems like you would do it with a different photographer in a different magazine if you wanted it to be art. Playboy is not high art it was created to be wank material and that continues to be it's main purpose. Do people wank to arty nudes? yes but that is not their intent.

dloll said:

@ e.b.: i agree with alot of what you're saying, but also, i think you're alluding to the fact that there's a difference between nude photography and pornography, even though, like you stated, some people will use nude photography or nude art as pornography.

as a side note, i feel like both pornography and nude art, like any other kind of art, can be Either feminist or anti-feminist, or neither, if the maker so desires. art can really make any stand or statement or none at all, which is one of its greatest qualities.

Anonymous said:


Anonymous said:

omg wanna fck tht 1

jennie said:

I don't consider Playboy Magazine as porn. I have never seen any of the models play with themselves, kiss or touch other women or men, spread their legs, pose in sexual positions or even talk about sex in their interviews. They are asked about their ambitions, likes, dislikes etc. Plus if you get to know the women, most of them are decent. Not all of them are Crystal Harris.

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