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September 09 2006

Mercedes McNab will pose nude for Playboy in the November issue. The actress who played Harmony in BTVS and ATS will be interviewed and pose for the magazine in front of her new movie/slasher pic Hatchet. Not safe for work (links to the Playboy site).

Her movie Hatchet does not have a release date as of yet, but it does have American distribution and a website to support it here.

OK, that's two down. Alyson? Juliet? Julie?

And my wife is waiting patiently for James Marsters' nude scene, in anything.
All right! Giggity giggty!
Is it good or bad that the first thing I noticed was the incredibly bad pun?

Mercedes McNab in the Buffy

As a connoisseur of bad puns, I approve.

(Also, Julie has done a nude scene.)
So has Alexa Davalos. BTW, this Hatchet movie has been getting excellent online reviews, especially for a horror pic.
Apparently there's a lot of humor with the scares, similar to Slither. It was invited to screen at, I believe, the Tribeca film festival (or another one in New York), and was so popular they added a second screening the next night.

And yes, I admit it, I will make a point of seeing these pictures.
The starlet... plays coquette in a decadent beaux arts pictorial.


A very fancy way to say that she poses in her underwear.
"Coquette"?

Isn't that something with a mallet and hoops? :)
No, malcolm, I reckon that's combat basketball you're thinking of ;).

Good for her, hope she's getting a stack of cash and it raises her profile (in the good way). Playboy's sets are usually very tasteful (Charisma Carpenter's photos were nicely done - as well as having like, boobs, and stuff ;), it's kind of the nudie mag you can take home to Mum and Dad. Or so i'm told. Ahem.
My bad.

The nudie mag you can take home to Mum and Dad


That's their new slogan right there.

I agree Saje, I hope it works out for her. But in terms of promoting who she is, the article is more the important piece. But who buys Playboy for the articles? :/
By the way, I realise that this is slightly off-topic, but should this site have a "nude" tag?

Discuss.
Playboy is the Lawrence Welk Show of nudie magazines. :)
Many of their pictures are so heavily airbrushed, retouched and otherwise manipulated that the women look a little bit like Barbie without any pants.
Does posing in Playboy raise someone's profile higher than Maxim or Stuff? Do nipples do that?
Don't fall into the the nipple trap betwixt...Never under estimate the nipple.
It's going to be Legendary!
can we get this discussion back to naked Spike please?
Excellent! I'm excited for her. I'll bet the pictures will be gorgeous, just like Charisma's were. I too hope it raises her profile somewhat.

Hey! It happens! Seriously though, I'm pretty sure I'd pose, if I was semi-famous with a hot bod. If only to be able to look back in my granny years and go "Wasn't I a dish?" :)
For once, can't this just be about nekkid Harmony. Please? :-)
nekkid Harmony. Please?


My nightly prayer has finally been answered.
Everybody missed naked Spike back when James Marsters was unknown and in that um, "artistic" version of Shakespeare's "Tempest" back in Chicago and you already know that! I actually live in Chicago and even remember that particular production when it ran because I regularly walked past the Goodman Theater every day during it and even remember hearing about the nudity but never went to see it and so my pain in knowing all this now is greater!

Frankly, the first thing I thought of when I saw this headline was the storyline Mercedes had when she guest-starred on an episode of "Boston Public." Her character was a student at the high school who had just turned 18 and who wanted to become an actress, and so, believing it to be a big stepping stone to fame, she agreed to appear in a nude pictorial in some fictional variant of those "barely legal" magazines. The magazine wanted permission to shoot the pictures at the school--!

[ edited by Valsadie to correct grammar on 2006-09-09 19:23 ]

[ edited by Valsadie on 2006-09-09 19:23 ]
Why does every post have to turn into a Spike thread?
But who buys Playboy for the articles?

More and more, yes. CGI-created women now look more like real women than Playboyn models do.
C.A. Bridges, I think you're right. I believe they have a rule against showing real breasts, unless they belong to a celebrity who hasn't gone that route yet.
I already have Mercedes in my dreams. No need to advertise, that young woman makes quite an impression. Wait?? Where was I?
Wohoo! Who's next - Julie Benz? Eliza Dushku? The girl who played Electro-Gal on Angel?
I was brushing my teeth when I saw this post and nearly swallowed some Colgate. But possible toothpaste poisoning aside, the promise of some nekkid Harmony is pretty sweet. I wonder if she'll get the cover?
Go Mercedes! I echo Willowy, all the way! Oh and "You can take home to Mum and Dad"... best. slogan. evah.
Hmmm... I guess its horribly first wave of me, but I still haven't heard a convincing argument as to how pornography isn't a.) exploitation and objectification of the individual to an extreme degree and b.) contributing overall to the commodification of the body in general (and also to a culture which views women as, as cliched as it is to say, sex objects)
I hope you all won't mind if I don't join in on the cheerleading then.
Nope, not at all. I'd never tell anyone they were "wrong" in their opinions concerning pornography, because I don't think you can be.

I'd be happy to discuss the differences (to me) between the celebration of human beauty vs pornography -- which is of limited use since it's a very subjective thing -- but there's no sense derailing this thread.

[ edited by C. A. Bridges on 2006-09-10 00:38 ]
Nothing can defeat the penis!
Harmalicious and Willowy, perhaps the mods could set up a Whedonesque burlesque site so you and any other interested ladies could ensure you have some pics to look back on proudly in your granny years? After all, you're both famous to us! I don't get the hot rod reference, though. Oh, it says hot bod.
I hope you all won't mind if I don't join in on the cheerleading then.


If I thought about it, I might be bothered that a fandom based on a feminist show would have some (perhaps many) fans getting off on Mercedes' pics. I'm not utterly convinced we've come a long way since the days of 60s and 70s feminism and judging by the proliferation of lads' mags in the UK, we've seem to have taken several steps back.

But then most fandoms are over sexualised these days so it's a moot point. Maybe one day it will change but who knows? I won't be holding my breath.
Well its not like this is the first time her fans will have seen her naked.
ajay42: "...contributing overall to the commodification of the body in general (and also to a culture which views women as, as cliched as it is to say, sex objects) I hope you all won't mind if I don't join in on the cheerleading then..."


Yeah, gotta go with you on this, ajay42, no judgment at all on the model(s) & the enjoyers, but hafta say Playboy isn't contributing particularly to the world I wanna see. Popular culture, as we know, affects us deeply, and I've never found anything particularly celebratory about Playboy. Most of this thread makes me feel the way I feel when I go by mistake to certain comic book sites/threads that go on about breasts in female superhero costumes -- kinda yuucky. It isn't sex I mind at all -- au contraire.

It just feels like y'all are talking about a shiny product and not a person.

" 'If I made 'Buffy the Lesbian Separatist,' a series of lectures on PBS on why there should be feminism, no one would be coming to the party, and it would be boring. The idea of changing culture is important to me, and it can only be done in a popular medium.'' " -- Joss Whedon, in Emily Nussbaum’s "Must-See Metaphysics," NYTimes, 09/22/02 (again
I dont know, I dont think nude pictures in a magazine do anything other than show off the beauty of the human form. In an age where sex is looked upon as a dirty act, I think we benifit from showing sex as the beautiful thing it is, and not hiding from the idea that some may objectify the picture. This is really tied into what CA Bridges said about the subjectivity of beauty vs art, but I just cannot think that in a show about feminism we would somehow believe that its not feminist to pose for playboy. If feminism is about choice, if its about the equality of the sexes, then I see no problem in allowing both men and women to pose nude and giving women that choice.

Essentially, I think we have come a long way, and we havent done so by maintaining that women should not pose nude, we have done so by giving women that choice and not objectifying them when they choose to do so. But more than that, I dont think sex or nudity is something to be looked down upon, I think its something we should shine a light upon because then we can truly reach a point where it doesnt matter whether you have a penis or a vagina. All that matters is that you are beautiful. Idealistic? Sure, but that doesnt mean it isnt right.

ETA: In a way, I think we do objectify women, its something that is not right but it does happen. But I dont think we solve that problem by hiding from that problem or allowing the objectifier to determine what is dirty or shouldnt be done. We should show these pictures, and then we should teach, educate, enlighten, and reveal that the proper thing isnt to objectify but to appreciate. I think that truly solves the problem, and I think there can be nothing more feminist than revealing and educating people on the problem of objectification. Do it more, I say...

[ edited by jerryst3161 on 2006-09-10 03:30 ]
jerryst3161: "...if its about the equality of the sexes, then I see no problem in allowing both men and women to pose nude and giving women that choice."

I'm not aware of anyone's discussing "not allowing" folks to pose nude, and naturally we don't have to "give women that choice" -- they have it, they exercise it, it's their right, end of story.

Context is everything, jerryst3161 -- you have to consider what Playboy is. I'm not looking down on nudity or sex, I'm looking down on Playboy, and that's personally for me, not as a matter of public policy or somesuch. "Playboy's Playmate of the Month," Hef's mansion, grotto & bunnies, Playboy Forum, cheesy soft & hardcore porn channels, bunny silhouettes on trucker mudflaps, etc., etc., -- I don't find anything particularly embiggening for the human spirit in any of that.

I know they've done work towards freedom of speech, and countless other kinds of admirable efforts, and yay! them -- but they are also a contributing factor in this culture's commodification of the female body. I don't think that sex or nudity is something to look down on, I just am tired of it being something that's sold and in such a cheesy form.

Here's this from Hef's mission statement from the first issue: "If you're a man between the ages of 18 and 80, PLAYBOY is meant for you. If you like your entertainment served up with humor, sophistication and spice, PLAYBOY will become a very special favorite. We want to make it clear from the very start, we aren't a ‘family magazine’... Within the pages of PLAYBOY you will find articles, fiction, picture stories, cartoons, humor and special features culled from many sources, past and present, to form a pleasure-primer styled to the masculine taste…We believe too, that we are filling a publishing need only slightly less important than the one just taken care of by the Kinsey Report. The magazines now being produced for the city-bred male (there are two -- count 'em -- two of them) have, of late, placed so much emphasis on fashion, travel and ‘how-to-do-it’ features… that entertainment has been all but pushed from their pages. PLAYBOY will emphasize entertainment."

I'm not exactly sure I believe that there is something that could be accurately described as the "masculine taste," but I sure as hell know this magazine's not aimed at me, and it doesn't care about my taste, values and sensitivities (Christie Hefner not withstanding...) -- and I happen to like pictures of nude men and women separately and together.

ET: fix grammatical error.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2006-09-10 05:36 ]
Simon said:

"If I thought about it, I might be bothered that a fandom based on a feminist show would have some (perhaps many) fans getting off on Mercedes' pics. I'm not utterly convinced we've come a long way since the days of 60s and 70s feminism and judging by the proliferation of lads' mags in the UK, we've seem to have taken several steps back.

But then most fandoms are over sexualised these days so it's a moot point. Maybe one day it will change but who knows? I won't be holding my breath."

Simon, weren't you ever a horny teenager? 'Cause otherwise I can't really see where you're coming from. There are magazines aimed at women that show off the male form and there're tons of men's magazines that're aimed at a gay/bi market. So men are getting objectified just as much. If the point is simply to show off the beauty of the human form and give folks some wank material, what's the big deal?
I think the argument against softcore pornography (the objectification of women) holds little water these days. Perhaps going back even further, but at least for the last 10 years, sex and nudity (even partial) has been infused into all walks of life. The cynical objectification of women and men has become commonplace.

Example: Music.

It's been years since I saw a music video on television, but one of the reasons I stopped was because they were becoming increasingly pornographic. Look at the way young female singers are portrayed. If you make a comparison between a random music video and a softcore porno movie, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference. The similarities are obvious: Beautiful, young people having sex and showing their semi-naked bodies while pulsating to the beat of lame-ass music. <-- What am I really describing here; the porno movie or the music video? The only real difference is that small bump at the tip of a woman's breast.

And it's not just women! Men are as naked and objectified as women in these music videos.

The point I'm desperately trying to make, is that although pornography objectifies men and women, so does many, MANY other facets of life. This assumed fact does not nullify the argument that objectification of people are bad, it just makes it all the more impossible to combat. Plus, if we're going to making a big stink about the objectification of men and women in the realm of softcore pornography, then we need to realise that this domain is but a small tip of an increasingly gigantemous iceberg. Finally, if we choose to focus on this rather narrow form of entertainment which caters to a relatively limited audience (compared to e.g. music videos, which have mass appeal for both sexes), then we're fooling ourselves if we think we can accomplish anything.
Believe me, [wcip]Angel, whenever those many other widespread objectifying facets of life come up here in "WHEDONesque: The blog," I'll be all over it. We can only respond to what's posted on the front page, and the "narrow focus" happens because we're limited to the Whedon'verse -- and thank god for it.

But I'm not gonna fail to respond to something I have an opinion about, just 'cause there's far worse or stronger or better examples elsewhere -- that's one of the arguments that makes people be quiet about things that upset them -- that there's something more important that should be discussed or objected to, and it's not time for this small thing.

After all, many of us protested the cancellation of Firefly as significant, though there were no doubt arguably more pressing cultural, social & political issues at the time. One chooses one's own battles, and there's always something else someone can point to as being worse or mattering more. I'm not sure I'm accomplishing anything -- but remaining silent sometimes just seems wrong.
Shit, I had this whole long post about freedom of choice and the way men and women's bodies are both exploited as commodities (professional athletics got a mention) and then you go and be all reasonable QuoterGal ;).

For what it's worth though I stand by my statement that Playboy sets are quite tastefully done I do find the whole 'bunny' thing kind of embarrassing at a species level as well as exploitative and damaging (one of the reasons I don't subscribe - i'm also cheap ;) - though no offence to anyone who does) and agree that the world could lose Playboy or more particularly the Playboy 'attitude' (and Playgirl ? Is that along the same lines ? Are there male bunnies ?) and probably actually accrue a net gain.

Non-exploitative porn on the other hand, I think the world would miss a great deal (and I don't mean 'erotica' or 'porn with a message' I mean good old-fashioned straightforward pornography wherein the only message is 'the naked human form, of all shapes and sizes, is sexy and amazing').

[wcip] Angel, not sure I agree that objectification is 'impossible to combat' though you're absolutely right about the objectification of men being every bit as rife (now) as for women (adverts are a prime example of this, at least on UK TV) and I think the rise in the incidence of male body-image illnesses is very likely related to that.

I also agree that mainstream treatments of women are far more damaging than most pornography but i'm not so much talking about images as ideas e.g. the dumb blonde, the helpless female victim etc. To me, exploitative objectiveicative (it's a word !) porn is just another symptom of the general attitude that women are inferior to men, need coddling (or someone else to decide when and why they should be allowed to get naked ;), are 'emotional', are only valid as male accessories, are only complete with a man in their life etc. etc. All that stuff is changeable but not easily, i'll freely admit.
Saje, you had me at "Shit..."
Mercedes is very beautiful and talented, and she probably doesn't need this, but I wish her luck.
To add my 2 cents to this rather important discussion, I think that we should be supportive of Mercedes' choice of posing, just as I hope we were when Charisma posed (wasn't a member then). She's a beautiful woman and she definitely can act (cuz I don't think crap actors get hired to work semi-regular, regular or major characters on a Joss Whedon program), so if she and Playboy think this a good thing, then all power to her:)

On the issue of exploitation, I have to say this up front: I have been reading Playboy for a few years now and honestly? If it wasn't for the pictorials and centerfolds, I would have a hard time distinguishing it from men's magazines like Esquire or GQ. It's certainly the least hardcore or blatantly pornographic of the "nudie mags" when one compares it to Penthouse, Hustler or other, more graphic publications. And with Playboy's shift in policy away from full frontal nude shots (any complete nudity is not directly shown in pictures), I think that pictorials are returning to their earlier, titilating but not flaunting esthetic.

Now...before I get jumped over, I will admit that Western society has become quite obsessed with sex and the ideal physical form for both sexes. As a guy who ain't sculpted like Michaelangelo's David or Adonis, it is troubling to see pictures of guys with chiseled muscles representing the average guy. Just as it must be for the average woman who isn't a size 2, has Barbie doll proportions or looks like she spends hours in a salon or spa for beauty treatments.

But let us be honest with ourselves and admit that no major female character on Buffy, Angel or Firefly looks like they were beaten with an ugly stick. They're not model material, but they are mighty attractive people, just as the guys are no dobut attractive to their admirers. Joss didn't cast them for looks, not in the way Hollywood and society do. Their beauty is a factor that is manipulated for the greater good of conveying a message.

Oh...and just to make the argument interesting, I am pretty sure I still have issues of "lad mags" (to borrow the British colloquialism) with pictorials by the ladies of the Buffyverse, including an issue of Stuff Magazine where the major female castmembers (excluding SMG) posed. Now, as a purviewer of said bastions of male hormones and culture, I can say that that I would have to vote for Playboy over magazines like Maxim and Stuff for overall material quality. Does that make these models of strong, empowered women less worthy, since they kept their clothes on...but the pictorials were a lot more exploitative than Playboy usually does?
BlueEyedBrigadier: "I think that we should be supportive of Mercedes' choice of posing, just as I hope we were when Charisma posed..."

??? Why-ever would we be? If we've just said what we believe, why would/should we hop on that train? She doesn't need that type of groupthink, and many of us don't work like that. I know I don't.

"But let us be honest with ourselves and admit that no major female character on Buffy, Angel or Firefly looks like they were beaten with an ugly stick..."

Okay, um, "ugly stick," allrighty then, but I would never have been tempted to deny that lead male and female characters in the Whedon'verse are generally quite attractive. That is a reality of TV and Hollywood, which I accept, as it is currently a part of mainstream popular culture that's fairly immovable. Much as I can enjoy looking at the people who bring the pretty, I think Hollywood overdoes it in a big way, and I much prefer the wider range of human-types that the Brits employ (although less and less as the years go by). Most of Whedon's leads are not cookie-cutter "boob-and-ass-job" pretty (thank Joss) but that's not the point.

The context is completely different. You mentioned "beauty manipulated for a greater good" and that's not particularly my construct here, but if I was even prepared to accept that line of reasoning, that inevitably leads us to compare the "greater good" of, say, Buffy vs. Playboy. I think I've already said what I think Playboy is contributing to the greater good, but I'll say it again: "Playboy Silhouette Mudflaps" and "Playmate of the Month" -- for me, it's a kind of anti-"greater good." Not relevant to a discussion of pretty people in Joss's work.

So, is it the same or analagous -- having beautiful people in Whedon-roles and Playboy spreads of naked and nearly naked women? No. I don't think so. (And I don't think Joss would think so, either.) Yes, I want my heroes bigger-than-damn-life and that may frequently but not always include attractive physical traits. But the end result is completely different -- Buffy and Firefly, and to a somewhat lesser extent, Angel, left me feeling stronger, "empowered," identified with the beautiful characters, recognizing the hero in myself and more able to recognize and overcome the struggles of ordinary life. The shallowness of Playboy spreads reinforce to me that my value & worth in this society greatly depend on how much I look like the women in those pictures, and can leave me feeling alienated, reduced and at odds with a large portion of my own culture -- because I know that I am much more than how I look.

Context is everything.

"Does that make these models of strong, empowered women less worthy, since they kept their clothes on...but the pictorials were a lot more exploitative than Playboy usually does?"

This issue, for me, is not about nudity, it's not about sexuality and it's also not, emphatically not about what's "worthy" + "empowering" to everyone else on the planet, including Ms. McNab, Charisma Carpenter and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. It's also not about which fanmag, lad mag, softcore, hardcore, or otherwise is more or less exploitive and commodifying of either sex. I don't care. I don't read any of them anymore, including People which I think can be considered high up on the obscene scale. If someone else wants to have that discussion, feel free.

It was simply about what I prefer and what I get all woo-hoo about, and my reaction to what I perceive as a "take your shirt off" tone that crept into this thread. It was also about my opinion about the cultural value of yet another beautiful and talented, funny woman taking her clothes off for the edification of Playboy readers.

Please, dear god, no, not to be compared with the intelligent, empowering, moving and kickass TV and film of Joss Whedon.

(You'll all be glad to know that I am so done with this. I think.)
Buffy and Firefly, and to a somewhat lesser extent, Angel, left me feeling stronger, "empowered," identified with the beautiful characters, recognizing the hero in myself and more able to recognize and overcome the struggles of ordinary life. The shallowness of Playboy spreads reinforce to me that my value & worth in this society greatly depend on how much I look like the women in those pictures, and can leave me feeling alienated, reduced and at odds with a large portion of my own culture -- because I know that I am much more than how I look.

Damn, QuoterGal, you go! This is a great statement, and I agree with it. It bothers me that women are often told by society's implied preferences they need to look like busty, leggy supermodels to be "desirable." I am greatly judged by how I look, which is complicated by whether people feel comfortable around us folks with a disability. In fact, it's crappy but true that some of my good-lookin' (hell, I think they're smokin' hot!) homeys have heard people cluck and whisper, more or less, "It's really too bad that such an attractive person is handicapped." Gee, I guess ugly people might as well be disabled, since they're not attractive in the first place! (Overweight people hear this same crap -- "Gee, such a pretty face, too bad he/she's so fat" -- oh, please grow a soul, would you, judgmental people!) /disability rights rant

I guess what bothers me most when we discuss things like Playboy is that it seems like the acceptability of nudity, or the expectation that someone will "inevitably" appear nude, still leads more often to women's bodies being shown than men's (at least in the U.S.). IMO, it still seems that women who want to have a successful acting career sooner or later "have to" be photographed nude, either in movies or magazines, to advance their fame or get a wider audience. And it's still the case in movies (at least in the U.S.) that if there is a sex scene, which is just fine (I don't object to sex in films at all), the actress is usually seen naked, either totally or at least from the waist up, but the actor often is not seen naked. I much prefer sex scenes where both people are seen naked; it seems more natural, more like, as Saje put it, the "sexy and amazing" nature of people enjoying making love. There are certainly actors like Ewan McGregor and our own Nathan Fillion who seem willing to "even up the score" by appearing nude on screen, which is a good thing IMO, but I still think there are far more females seen naked in movies/TV than males. And that commodification of women, as QuoterGal so well phrased it, seems exploitive, IMO.

I also agree with the sage Saje that women still are subjected to ideas that are more negative than just pictures without no clothes on, as he mentioned -- the Pamela Anderson/Britney Spears/Jessica Simpson dumb blonde, to name a few "dumb but sexy" media figures; the woman as "accessory" to the man like in movies where there's a girlfriend or wife character whose only job seems to be to make love to the hero, get kidnapped and used as leverage against him *cough24cough*, or to tell him "I don't even know you anymore!" when he gets too involved in his job as an undercover cop or whatever; nagging wives or girlfriends in sitcoms; strippers in the background of scenes where men are having a meeting in a stripclub (that's my pet peeve -- here are a bunch of actresses who are almost completely nude and they are just a background decoration! -- I hate that! -- this is totally different than Natalie Portman's amazing performance as a stripper in Closer, where she had a complex character who engaged in a psychologically and sexually complicated scene with the {fully dressed} Clive Owen in the setting of the stripclub where she worked) etc. As Saje sagely said, "All that stuff is changeable but not easily, I'll freely admit." Word, dude, word.
"Context is everything, jerryst3161 -- you have to consider what Playboy is. I'm not looking down on nudity or sex, I'm looking down on Playboy, and that's personally for me, not as a matter of public policy or somesuch. "Playboy's Playmate of the Month," Hef's mansion, grotto & bunnies, Playboy Forum, cheesy soft & hardcore porn channels, bunny silhouettes on trucker mudflaps, etc., etc., -- I don't find anything particularly embiggening for the human spirit in any of that."

Oh no Quotergal, I wasnt arguing against you, I was just arguing that I believe that posing nude is not, in any way, degrading or less feminist. It was more in response to ajay42. I do love your use of the word embiggening, I think that is a perfectly cromulent word.

I agree that media representations of females are, at times, harmful to women in general. But I also see things like BTVS (like you quotergal), and in that sense, I dont think the problem of objectification is one we should hide from. As you said, Playboy may reinforce the negative stereotype that women must look like the models who pose, context may be whats most important, but the best thing we can do with playboy centerfolds is to show men that women are not objects of sex and that they certainly deserve much better than being objectified. Can you imagine a world where we see Playboy ceneterfolds as pictorials that do not create objectification and are seen as more than just an undercut of the morale of women? I think thats how you overcome it, pornography is the unavoidable by-product of free speech, like racism or hate speech, and the same applies to Playboy (whether you think its pornography or not). I think we are better off if we can still maintain these pictures in magazines, AND get to a point where you dont feel the way you do Quotergal, and to me, that would be progress.

[ edited by jerryst3161 on 2006-09-10 10:31 ]
billz: "I also agree with the sage Saje that women still are subjected to ideas that are more negative than just pictures without no clothes on, as he mentioned -- the Pamela Anderson/Britney Spears/Jessica Simpson dumb blonde, to name a few "dumb but sexy" media figures; the woman as "accessory" to the man like in movies where there's a girlfriend or wife character whose only job seems to be to make love to the hero, get kidnapped and used as leverage against him ..."

billz, dude, I am tired, but not too tired to come back on here & tell you oh, hell, yeah, brother, testify and "I second and third that" & "Amen!" to all you just wrote. And please, if I for one moment gave the impression that I didn't object to all these non-nekkid shallow and degrading stereotypes, that was only because I didn't get to it. (And yay Saje, too, for earlier. And Simon and [wcip]Angel, in a slightly different vein.)

I've been saying what I wrote earlier for over 30 years now, in many, many contexts and situations and it gets so bloody tiresome to feel like you're starting all over again -- that so little changes, so slowly. It's very gratifying to be not only heard, but supported & added to (crappy sentence ending...)

(I had a long story to add about when I was younger and crap random advances and being a sex object, but I'm tired and I'm sure that would take us considerably farther off-topic than I've already done. Suffice to say many thanks to y'all for an edifying thread, and good-night.)
Well, I'm actually fairly first-wavey myself in my feminism, and I just wanted to point out that, while it is a matter of degree, BTVS itself does not escape the criticism of using female sexuality in an exploitative way. Buffy (and Willow, and Faith, and etc...) IS sexually desirable (and, in Buffy's case, thin at the expense of believability), and the male female relations depicted in the show are far from straightforwardly empowering. (I'm not suggesting that they should be just empowering, but it's worth remembering that they weren't.)

Heck, Harmony is a good (albeit rare in the Buffy-verse) example of a character that was essentially a (sexist) caricature who did not really move much beyond that caricature (unlike, say, Cordelia or Wesley as a British caricature, who did).
That's interesting Septimus because this discussion made me think about Harmony and why she never moved beyond her selfish 'blonde' stereotype.

She had the chance to do so towards the end of Angel but the writers wouldn't let her and it seemed to come down to the whole soul thing again (i.e. because she couldn't freely choose to do the right thing with Hamilton it seemed to be OK for Angel to basically write her off in a way he never would with an ensouled being). At the time I thought it was pretty brave to show that not everyone's story ended in some sort of redemptive arc, that 'enlightenment' if you like has to be earned and that the path has to be chosen and can't be forced on to anyone (even Angel himself had the choice to end things rather than face what he'd done).

Just seemed apropos that choice played a large part in Harmony's character and seems so important to the present discussion about what Ms McNab chooses to do with her own body.

Of course, we could talk until the cows come home about whether nude shoots are a truly uncoerced choice for today's actors and actresses but I think at some point we'd have to accept that assuming no-one in Hollywood has any control over whether they appear nude in a film (or magazine) smacks slightly of externally imposed victimhood.

(related sidenote: i've just watched the season 2 premiere of 'Bones' with some slight dismay, even though I enjoyed it a lot, since I always thought it was kinda cool that Brennan was obviously gorgeous while still being a normal shape and size especially given that as a character - i.e. a well travelled anthropologist - she'd understand the advantages of personal health and fitness but also, crucially, the culturally imposed absurdity of everyone striving to be the same size and shape. Now, however, lo and behold Emily Deschanel has lost a significant amount of weight and looks closer to the Hollywood stereotype of a leading lady. Bit of a shame, IMO - if she didn't do it for her own personal reasons, of course)
So anyway.........about this site.

I agree that context is everything and so would personally much prefer the nude work that any of our actors and actresses have done is seen in the context of their wider output.

I'm fine with the link to her Playboy shoot appearing under a "Mercedes McNab" tag, but I start to get concerned about having a "nude" tag or a "playboy" tag available. It's all a bit "I don't care if they can act; show me the skin!"

This site is about a promoting a body of work, not simply bodies.
Well now...I guess I didn't convey myself in the best possible light, and for that I am sorry. Writing what I thought was an impassioned rant about respecting Ms. McNab's personal choice to pose for Playboy and how sadly the ladies of the Buffyverse had to take a counter-productive act like posing for a men's magazine to further their recognition in the public eye in order to get people to watch and be educated about the topics and themes Joss & co. wrote about came out more like I supported exploitation of women through the objectification of their appearance. I honestly don't. Didn't help that I wrote it half-stoned from exhaustion:(

The brutal and honest truth is that I am someone who is caught between what society has been subconsciously implanting in my psyche about how to view women, how to treat them and what kind of respect I am supposed to show them, and what my mother (a strong early generation feminist) has taught me about how the world should work concering gender rights and equality. One moment, I might be objectifying a woman by analyzing her attributes and another I might be trying to prevent someone from doing the same. The Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde mentality is probably part of the reason why the overarching issue of female empowerment is such a difficult issue to deal with: because one generation influences the next, and not enough individuals who think like Joss, yourself and other champions for equality are getting their voices heard enough to influene the next so they may do so to the generation that follows them.

Basically, I am trying to convey my feelings that Mercedes has made a personal choice by posing for Playboy, one that I will respect as I would with anyone's decision to take an action they see as correct. Do I agree with that decision personally? Really can't say, to be frank. Not really my business to debate the merits of other peoples' choices unless they have brought about horrific destruction or great prosperity (I'm a university history major, BTW). Much as I wish that any woman didn't have to use their appearance and sexual presence to sell themselves to others or obtain an objective for a greater good, it's still happening. Banning it certainly would be a solution...but one that only stirs up more problems from opponents to the measure or underground publishers and promoters who would take up the slack.

The right to free speech and the freedom of the press are two vastly important items a democratic nation can grant its peoples. However, I think those same rights and freedoms are double-edged Swords of Damascus (to mix metaphors), as they don't care who they cut when the string breaks. As it has been mentioned above, Playboy is a byproduct of free speech. Countless women have expressed themselves through posing. Doesn't mean that right wasn't used in an exploitative manner, but it also doesn't mean the First Amendment (I am not an American, so please give me some leeway when discussing your Constitution and Bill of Rights...even though I was made to learn about it;D) should be constricted with limitations that would prevent future expressions of free speech from happening in the same way.

I really don't want to add to the degradation of this thread and argument about Mercedes' choice, in all due honesty (though I fear I have). This issue is one that leaves me conflicted about how I feel, and that opens up a larger can of worms for intense study. Truly, all I wanted to convey was that I respect Mercedes as a person and as an actress, and I support her right to express herself through posing for Playboy. Whether or not she needed to do that is a topic I don't feel I am qualified to argue. I am not her nor am I someone with complete piety or moral certitude. That may seem a cop out, but I am admitting that I don't know why she chose to do it and that I am constantly strive to be someone who judges someone not on looks but on the entire union of disparate characteristics...though it's a long battle. Like QuoterGal, I too just want to take up my hat, bid my goodbyes and mosey off into the sunset when it comes to this thread. Cuz I know I am just gonna cause more upset when I didn't intend to.
It would feel like censorship to me to exclude/avoid tags like "nude" or "playboy". They are simply the right tags for this link, no more, no less. If it's good enough for the front page, no need to sweep it under the rug.
Loved reading all the well thought out posts, but I guess with me it all boils down to....yep, would totally still do it.
No it's not censorship, the links are there, after all. I'd just like people to see the link to Playboy in the context of everything that has or will be posted about Mercedes, or Charisma - or even Joss (that VikingPrincess thing is a slow-burn you mark my words)
What are you suggesting malcolm something like a simple 'Not Safe for Work' tag instead ? I think 'nude' is more descriptive and allows people who might be offended to avoid the link (NSFW might mean swearing which might offend different people for instance) but that's just MO.

You may already have mosied BlueEyedBrigadier but I think you make some good points (and, FWIW, you certainly didn't upset me ;). If it's not clear i'm also of the 'respect her choice' or rather, her right to choose, persuasion even if I may not agree with it (as it happens, I don't have a problem with it so long as it's freely made, the problem being figuring out if it is but that's pretty much impossible for anyone - even Ms McNab - to do and certainly is for us).

I'm also of the in-between generation, a product of a society and a time thankfully, in some meaningful ways, different to the way things are now. I can't help the fact that I find certain things attractive, all I can do is try to examine my assumptions and decide an appropriate response. Hopefully, that baby step will make it easier for the next generation to take the next baby step until they all add up to a giant leap and the objectification of women (and men) is something that just doesn't happen, symptomatic of an attitude it simply doesn't occur to anyone to have.

And then women (and men) can freely choose to appear nude if they want (or not, and still prosper) and so long as it's non-exploitative we can all enjoy guilt-free nakedness, truly a future worth fighting for ;).
Saje, I like your phrase "enjoy guilt-free nakedness" because we all have to admit that we enjoy seeing the beauty of a naked body, that is the whole point, isn't it? Mercedes has her own reasons for doing this; some actresses like to show off the fact that they may be over thirty but they look amazing, others (remembering the wonderful nude photos of Marilyn Monroe) feel that they will enjoy looking back at these when they are old and gray. None of us want to see our beloved BDHs (any of the FOJW) exploited, and I assume that Mercedes is proud of her photos, and I certainly hope that Nathan Fillion didn't feel exploited in 'Trash' (because personally I loved that).
Amen, roll on "guilt-free nakedness".

But in the meantime there's all the usual inequalities and imbalances which are there and we can't and shouldn't hide from them.

I appreciate that this tags thing is probably coming across as a meely-mouthed technical nicety. After all, if you can link to Playboy, does it really matter if you do it in two clicks via "Mercedes" or two clicks via "nude"? My personal opinion is that the first option is more Whedonesque - in that there are different ways that men and women can and should look at each other. Sure Mercedes is hot. Of course, you can use this site to link to her Playboy shoot. But while your here, please feel free to look at the rest of these links which talk about some of the other projects she's been involved with and why we love her.

A nude tag would link everyone's nude photoshoots together on one page with nothing else. Titilating? Certainly. Convenient? Absolutely. But in doing that we are effectively saying, "Yeah, that Joss guy may bang on about equality now, but that doesn't affect us. Sure these women have done other things, but we're happy to let you cut to the chase! Bazoombas! Bazoombas!"

Is this trying to educate people for their own good? Yeah. Another word for it is role model. Buffy's a role model. I don't have a problem with that either.

Saje, your point about a nude tag acting as a warning for the easily offended is valid, although it would be surprising if the Main link title didn't flag it up anyway - so I don't think the nude tag would really add anything, unless the link title was full of - "coquette in a decadent beaux arts pictorial" :)
We use tags as it makes it easier for people to search for specific things onsite (and offsite as well i.e. at Del.icio.us or Technorati).

I suggest people read the relevant entry at Wikipedia to find out more as I get the impression that some people might think they are being used for something completely different.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tags
Coming in late, but just wanted to say that there are so many things coming into play here that it is easy to get lost. I don't like Playboy's basic premise but for a female actress it is an easy way to get...I cannot come up with a word that is not a bad pun, so to hell with it...exposure. Actresses and actors are in a different situation from most of the rest of humanity so I look at things like posing in Playboy differently than I would for a woman who might pose to give herself a feeling of self-worth.

I have heard that given as a good and understandable reason and have shuddered that it is considered a good reason and that that is what it takes to make a woman have self-worth. Actresses, like any other women who pose for that reason make me sad. However many actresses and actors have very different reasons to pose for publications like Playboy. They understand the fact that in the end they are a commodity. Although they want to be hired and appreciated for their talents, they need to make the general public aware of their existence. Add to that that having something concrete on their resume that says they are considered beautiful and sexually attractive by some highly thought of institution can be helpful.

Now I can hear the protests that all anyone has to do is look at Mercedes McNab to see that she is beautiful, but that is not always as simple as it seems. Tastes are different. People who are not personally attracted to a certain type may need to hire a version of that type. If a woman has been Miss Alabama or appeared in Playboy, casting people will probably accept on faith that this woman is exceptionally beautiful and desirable no matter what their own senses tell them.

As far as men or women thinking that they will somehow get over enjoying looking at a pretty body when they fully incorporate feminist ideals...I do not think anyone should hold their breath. The reason Playgirl came out is so that women could enjoy being as shallow as men get to be, though I do not think that was the way the mission statement was worded. Quotergirl might be able to help me on that one. ;-)

One of the reasons that JM and Spike comes up in these kinds of threads so frequently is because he spent so much time with skin showing. JM has also been vocal in his negative feelings about being sexually objectified and spending soooo much time in his skivvies, or less. At the same time, he realized that some of that is part of the show business game and definitely plays to that audience with in the limits that he has set. I would assume/hope Mercedes McNab has also made her decisions based on what she sees as the needs of her career but within her own limits.

(Is this off the first page yet?)
Just checking in with this thread one more time, now that it's off the front page. Thanks, QuoterGal, for your kind support of my testifying! And thanks, all Whedonesquers, as usual, for your measured and well thought-out discussions of a topic that anywhere else would have led to flaming, roughhousing and tears. ;-)

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