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September 27 2008

One Deadly Summer. Summer Glau looking sinuously slinky in a short stint for GQ magazine. Comes with "hot" photos and a "sexy" video.

Post-River, this objectification of Summer has a stink to it. But didn't stop me from posting this!

Two photos, and a video that hasn't loaded despite waiting for 10 minutes. The "Article" is pitiful:

"In 2002, Joss Whedon (the Buffy guy) handpicked this 27-year-old Texan to appear in his much hyped space Western, Firefly. Though that show was short-lived (despite a tear-stained-letter-writing campaign from loyal nerds), Summer is back, playing an ass-kicking cyborg in Fox’s Terminator retread..."

-Yeah, this was obviously written by a Fan. *rolls eyes*
What really bothers me is the video. Summer looks like she is not enjoying it at all. That is not "sexy".

Wonder if she's had to do a lot of things she's uncomfortable with to promote TSCC.
Hardly seams worth it, unless she got paid mega-bucks - still seams so out of place and too little.

The writer certainly knows how to pick a fight LOL!!
I couldn't tell if she was enjoying it or uncomfortable because the video only ever showed her while she was posing for the shoot (presumably they were going for more "smoldering sexuality" rather than "fun, bubbly raunchiness"). She was certainly professional and, as you'd expect from a dancer, clearly had a close awareness of where all her parts were - when the photographer (presumably) asked her to minutely adjust her pose or where her hand was or whatever she did it with some precision.

And isn't this to promote herself ? I doubt Fox can make her do a risqué shoot for a men's magazine as promotion. Anyone in "the biz" know if that's the case ?

But yeah, the blurb was yer typical under-informed laddish piffle. Two steps above the sort of "Phwoar, what a pair !" you get in the 'Daily Sport' or 'The Sun' and par for the course with these types of mags in my experience.
I think what's vaguely off-putting about the photos, or at least the first one, is that the decor and the color tones make it look like a crappy 70s porn shoot. (It also doesn't help that they've backed a video with a song that includes the lyrics "everything she feels is hopeless".)
That second picture looks so awkward...I can't even begin.
But yeah, the blurb was yer typical under-informed laddish piffle


And sadly GQ is one of the more upmarket men's magazines. I do await a time when tv shows don't need to be promoted by having their female stars parade around in their scanties.
Yeah, Maxim's write-up would be even worse.
I do tend to feel torn between liking to look at such things and the simple fact many of the actresses don't enjoy doing them. I tend to lean towards the latter. And not just because Amber wasn't happy about posing for Stuff and I'ma fan of hers.
(Charisma and later Mercedes posing for Playboy is a separate matter; neither was featured on any show at the time so it was "personal" publicity, and money. Whether or not they should have is a legitimate topic but it's still a different one.)
As a general rule, I cringe seeing actresses I like pose for bedroom/lingerie/"f*** me" shots which are almost indistingishable from those featured in Playboy. And my reaction to these ones was no different. While people like to rationalize them by saying that it's a necessary rite of passage for a breakout star that network execs are trying to promote, how would people react to seeing Nathan Fillion now doing a half-naked beefcake spread in bed to be featured in Cosmopolitan to help promote Castle? I know that this sort of crap is likely imposed more on actresses, but it still sucks.
I doubt Fox can make her do a risqué shoot for a men's magazine as promotion. Anyone in "the biz" know if that's the case ?

I think the studios/network (and possibly some managers) certainly "encourage" these shoots, and may even threaten dire consequences if they don't, but I don't think these are in the usual "Must do promotion" contract fine print.
These shots don't include bikinis, see through stuff or more skin showing than many women chose to wear in their own lives so I don't think this comes under exploitation.
(It also doesn't help that they've backed a video with a song that includes the lyrics "everything she feels is hopeless".)

It also includes this little snippet:

"Tis' the season's witching hour.
As the summer loses power.
"

I'm sure that's just a coincidence (and it's the summer i.e. clearly the season) but it's still a bit unfortunate in this context (using a song called 'Red Tide' over anything featuring women could also have unfortunate connotations - could be somebody didn't think that through).

And I think you'd have to assume the 70s style set is deliberate what with all the brown and the mirrored wall. Maybe the intention is to evoke the idea of being out of time (like a Terminator) ? That said, maybe i'm being condescending but I have doubts they think these things through that much.

Anything like this is complicated - I don't hold with either the view that every single woman that does a shoot like this is somehow forced into it OR the view that they're all there entirely voluntarily (for certain types of actor good looks and sex appeal are essential tools of their trade so there's always going to be a pressure to promote that aspect of yourself).

I've read interviews with actresses that said it made them feel proud of their bodies, like they more completely owned their own sexuality or people saying they wanted to preserve a sexy image of themselves at what they considered their peak WRT looks. But there're also people (usually women) that regret it or feel coerced. I do think that assuming she didn't want to do it casts all women in the role of victim and basically says they aren't able to make their own choices (which is surely pretty patronising).

(re: men doing it BTW, it didn't seem to do Burt Reynolds' career much harm ;)
I don't find the photo shoots themselves inherently exploitative. I find the particular vibe, tone, and look they chose for these to be pretty obviously meant to echo shoots that are actually exploitative. And that's almost more creepy. Why would anyone want to pretend exploitation?
These shots don't include bikinis, see through stuff or more skin showing than many women chose to wear in their own lives so I don't think this comes under exploitation.

So posing in a bedroom with arms open and legs spread wearing nothing but a little bit of silk between the viewer and the subject's lady-parts doesn't count as "exploitation" in your book? Hhhhmmmmm. Food for thought.
Not everything sexual is exploitation.
Yeah I don't think exploitation is really about the pose, the clothes or the set, it's more a vibe (largely to do with whether the subject seems OK with being there). It's actually the first photo where she's kind of pulling her nighty down that bothers me more in that regard - it has a feel of her not being comfortable in the situation that doesn't sit right.

But Charisma Carpenter is stark naked in her Playboy shoot and yet she doesn't look like she's being exploited to me, she looks like she's pretty comfortable in her own skin, they have a sort of "free" feel to them. Mercedes McNab had more clothes on but looked less comfortable and that one bugged me more.
Every get the feeling we're caught in a vicious circle here?
Not everything sexual is exploitation.


I agree.

But I also agree with the points that this sort of fare always seems reserved for the female actresses of a show or film and not the men. The men may do sexy shoots, but they are usually wearing clothes.

It would be nice if they were just a bit more creative.
Maybe this is good for her career & maybe she feels she needs the exposure, but I like butt-kicking, ballet-dancing, I-can-kill-you-with-my-mind or make-you-laugh-hysterically-with-my-deadpan-delivery Summer much better than the girl on the bed.
These pictures are...unsettling. I'm not the type to be offended by risque photo shoots, but this one just feels all wrong. I of course have no idea what Summer thinks about it, but I agree with those who said that she doesn't look like she wants to be there at all. Yeesh.
Every get the feeling we're caught in a vicious circle here?

Ha! Yes.

As for fewer men doing shoots like this (Burt Reynolds notwithstanding) that's just about what sells, methinks. Obviously there are people who like looking at photos of scantily clad men, but for a host of reasons, there are far fewer of them than there are people who like looking at photos of scantily clad women. My own take, if anybody cares, is that there is nothing inherently wrong with either sexy photos or enjoying them, but that our culture is totally messed up about sex and that messed-up-ness inevitably spills over into how sexuality gets depicted and marketed. Hence the discomfort that a lot of people are mentioning, perhaps? I do think it's impossible to tell from a carefully posed shoot, however, whether or not somebody "enjoyed" it.

In other words, maybe I agree with DaniVampsForJoss (ha ha, that was a fun name to type) that more creativity / individuality would be nice, as opposed to these generic predictable shots. Eesh, it's such complicated terrain, though.
Doesn't really bother me one way or the other. I doubt she'd do it if she felt it was exploitative, so that's that as far as I'm concerned. There are two definitions of 'exploit' in the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

1: to make productive use of : utilize [exploiting your talents] [exploit your opponent's weakness]
2: to make use of meanly or unfairly for one's own advantage [exploiting migrant farm workers]


If I were to see this as any form of exploitation (and I don't), it would be the first if only for the fact that I don't think she'd do it if it were the latter. She seems smarter than that.

Also, great post catherine.
catherine, I like your term,"Messed-up-ness." Fits the bill to the tee, mind if I steal it?
All yours, Madhatter :)

ETA: I dunno, Dan Corson, that just seems like a wee bit of an oversimplification to me. I don't know if "exploitative" is the right word, necessarily, to use about a shoot like this. But regardless of the comfort level of the actress / model, it is still part of a larger construction of sexiness and sexuality that I don't think is terribly healthy. Nothing wrong with the general idea of taking / posing for / enjoying sexy photos, but big-picture-wise, I think there are problems associated with the pressures and the images and the ... dominant aesthetic (?) at work in the beauty biz nowadays.

But my own thinking about this stuff is very muddled and conflicted.

[ edited by catherine on 2008-09-27 19:43 ]
random thoughts

Did anyone else find the closing pullback through a window a tad bit too peeping tomish?

For me, if the subject doesn't look comfortable, the image can't be sexy - regardless of pose and clothes.
bix said:

Not everything sexual is exploitation.


I don't recall saying that here or anywhere else. I am an unabashed feminist, but I'm also a feminist who advocates for women's ownership of their own sexuality, even to the point of defending women who consciously choose to engage in sex work for whatever reason they deem worthwhile, whether it be as an expression of their own sexual liberation or just the plain and simple need to pay for food and shelter. I've know several women who have worked as exotic dancers/strippers and posed for Playboy and it's their thoughts and experiences with that work that color my views that our society's treatment of women's sexuality is a lot more complex than you would give me credit for.

danregal said:

What really bothers me is the video. Summer looks like she is not enjoying it at all. That is not "sexy".


That's exactly what I didn't like about it. In stark contrast to Dita von Teese, who makes a good living comfortably capitalizing on her sexuality, or even Summer's vampy cheesecake shots in Vanity Fair, nothing in these pics or the video of the photoshoot gave me the sense that Summer was enjoying it. But who knows? Not being a psychic, I'm hardly in a position to vouch for what she was feeling at the time.

And I want to stress that any judgment on my part is of the culture in which we live that seems to require this sort of thing of women trying to establish themselves in their chosen profession and by no means am I judging Summer herself. As a woman who is also trying to make it in a man's industry, I can sympathize with any other woman who also has to occasionally eat a little sh** to get ahead, whether that woman is an actress trying to build a career, a young student trying to pay for college, or an up & coming politician trying to establish her credibility on an international stage. To the extent that one wants to get in the game and win it, sometimes you just have to go along and play the game even when the rules suck.
It's just a bit perturbing to me after all this time of watching Summer in that one episode of Angel, then Firefly and Serenity, and most recently T: TSCC, to now see her on display like this; i.e., I can't recall she's done a semi-nude photo shoot before. And not even has her beauty been used to the extent it could have to illuminate fashion (GQ, right?) or show off her dancing skills, spoofing her River role in a fighting pose perhaps, or something indeed memorable. It's more like a toss-off of, "Oh here everyone, here's one of the hot young actresses in town and we're going to make a half-assed attempt at titillating you with some bare skin."

Oh well, opportunity lost.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2008-09-27 20:19 ]
Wow, she's so beautiful! I swoon.

Ever been to a photo shoot? Yeah, well, me too. It was long, arduous, and a total pain. Point is we get tired and bored during these things. If you made a film of some of my photo shoots...I'll just say it's not all about laughter and Twinkies. I was told to walk there, look here, turn around, face that way, do this, do that, not that - and all for a photo. I had trouble getting the "mood" right and the director gave crappy directions and was...terse. But in the end we got it, I channeled the look, and my driver's license was complete. Maybe Summer was following her director's direction, as I did mine. I cannot tell from the video whether Summer is enjoying herself or not.
Exactly. As I said, the entire video seems to be of her being photographed. It might look like a behind-the-scenes "candid" video wherein you might expect a bit of banter or joking around between "takes" but it's actually a video of her working i.e. she's posing for photos all through it - IMO she's very professionally trying to maintain the mood and pose they're after (more sultry than fun).

Which isn't to say she's necessarily having a good time, it's just to say she's not necessarily having a bad one either.
Thanks for the laugh RhaegarTargaryen, and congrats on your driver's license ;).

I think everyone here agrees that none of us know if she felt pressured to do this or happy about it or whatever. (I highly doubt it was "fun," photo shoots don't sound fun at all, but that's not really the point, it's a job). Of course we don't / can't know, some people are just saying it's not sexy because she looks glum (whether she is or not).

As to how we judge these things (or if we do at all)... I get the whole "if she's OK with it, I'm OK with it" thing, but I don't think that's the end of the story.

ETA also "what TonyaJ said.

[ edited by catherine on 2008-09-27 21:25 ]
Fair enough catherine, i'm just not sure how you can look like you're enjoying being sultry or smoldering (cos not smiling kinda comes with that particular sickle ;).
Oh, I agree. That whole side of the discussion seems like just a taste thing... some people would prefer a jolly photo, I guess. I don't think this particular shoot is well done at all, and I have a tangled mess of qualms about the nature of these things in general, but her unsmilingness isn't a problem for me, that was pretty clearly just the look the director was going for. (Do they call the person in charge of a photo shoot the director?)
I think "Head Perv" is the correct title in these situations ;).

Yeah it's a tangled web and a can of worms. There may even be mines scattered about. Free choice to do it would be my first instinct. But is it a free choice ? I mean, it's clearly (almost always) uncoerced but the pressures surely mean it's not totally free. But then, we're all pressured in a variety of ways from a variety of sources (have you seen the cover of "Men's Health" ? How the hell am I meant to look like that without quitting work and moving into the nearest gym full-time ? ;) so does anyone make an unpressured choice about anything ?

Here's an interesting one of Summer BTW (just to show that she's well aware of the complicated nature of these things and certainly not an unwitting victim - not that anyone here's claiming she is). Part of a series the photographer called 'The Dirty Side of Glamour'. It's kind of 'Dollhouse': The Photo in a lot of ways. Unsettling.
It makes me sad to see our Summer objectified like that. I couldn't bear to look at anything past the first page with its inane articlette.

Not saying everyone has to feel this way, just that I do.
(have you seen the cover of "Men's Health" ? How the hell am I meant to look like that without quitting work and moving into the nearest gym full-time ? ;)

Ha, yeah. Then again, you could watch a whole bunch of movies and TV shows that would reassure you that men who don't look like supermodels can find love (with supermodels) and be wildly successful and all of that, whereas there aren't so many equivalent story-lines for the women.

If I didn't have to get dinner started I might actually bore you all to death by trying to tackle this in a really in-depth way. But leaving aside the kinds of pressures that actresses face... one aspect of GQ or FHM style shoots (or, ya know, most porn) that invokes worms and webs (and mines? eek!) for me is in the very narrow, posed performance of "sexy" (which, in this perv's humble opinion, is not very sexy). I like pictures of people a lot, both interesting pictures of interesting people and gorgeous pictures of gorgeous people, and even naked pictures of naked people, but I wish we saw more individuality and more creativity and more variety of type and style, and yeah, of course, less airbrushing and all that. I feel about this kind of thing a little the way I feel about really trite, trashy books, for example. They can be fun, and writing / publishing / reading them doesn't hurt anybody a bit, as long as there are other kinds of books out there too. As far as most magazines with models in them go, I feel like we're reading the same crappy story over and over and... over again.

Talk about opinionitis, though, hey? I don't really give a shit :).
Am I the only one freaking out about her claim to have been the second choice for the Pink Ranger? She would have been twelve when that show came on! What the hell?
I think she means she was almost the pink ranger in one of the later seasons. They change the cast every couple of years and the show is still running today.
Then again, you could watch a whole bunch of movies and TV shows that would reassure you that men who don't look like supermodels can find love (with supermodels) and be wildly successful and all of that, whereas there aren't so many equivalent story-lines for the women.

True but it's changing (for the worst). And i'd also say that in most of those shows/films there's usually an element of "WTF is he doing with her ?". Take "Knocked-Up" for instance - the whole point of that was that Katherine Heigl was way out of Seth Rogen's league.

But yeah, i'm not in any way claiming men have it as bad as women in that regard, i'm just saying we should probably add a "Yet" to that statement.

(and I agree about the shoots too, by and large. Not only are the scenarios often uninspired but the photos are then processed so much that the end products - deliberate use of that word BTW - really do look like they've got plastic skin, like a doll. The whole gist seems geared towards removing any element of individuality from the subjects whereas I always thought capturing uniqueness was one of the raison d'etres of photography)
Photography is for communication (though this has a stateminty air, not refreshing, it's not intended to be all like, woah, that's behind door number three? Never knew.). The question is will this photo communicate what was intended, for the audience it is intended for?

Given the comments thus far...and if I take a moment to align with them, then I'm lured to wonder which gender is more slighted, females for what is communicated* or males for what is taken to be the message they want communicated to them?

*It's not "is communicated" because communication across audiences isn't an "is" - as what "is communicated" probably varies by audience. So the 'is' probably should be a 'was' (and a parenthetical added: for this audience).**

**Why don't I use the my edit feature, then, and simply change is to was...well, that's an interesting story and it all began with a sneeze and a hanky....

[ edited by RhaegarTargaryen on 2008-09-28 10:18 ]

[ edited by RhaegarTargaryen on 2008-09-28 10:21 ]
I think art in general is about communication. What singles out photography IMO is that it captures instants i.e. unique moments. As others have said, this isn't a unique moment because it's become interchangeable with many other models in similar situations and the more you "smooth off" people's individuality by air-brushing (or just lack of inspiration) the less unique the moment captured becomes.

... or males for what is taken to be the message they want communicated to them?

Well, no-one makes us buy the magazines. If the message wasn't one we're interested in hearing they'd presumably go out of business. Or are you saying that men are brought up to be expected to like that sort of thing in exactly the same way women are brought up to be expected to produce it ? I'd agree with that to some extent (even if no-one really has to tell us to like sex, how we like it - i.e. what floats our boats ;) - is surely partly cultural).
"Well, no-one makes us buy the magazines." I think that's my point, there isn't an "us" buying them. I'm not buying it. Most of us aren't buying it. The degree to which a single picture, or a slew of them, can enslave a whole gender...also enslaves the other gender in stereotype.

Of course, I'd rather not be nor belong to a group so enslaved. And I don't, so wee for me. And by direct consequence, wee for them. And collectively, wee for us.

Edit: Story idea - take Jungian collective unconscious, enslave a whole gender in one complete, all encompassing 'stereotype' that, because of said completeness has a very real effect on the other gender. Now create a person, that lone, sole, single person that manages to break free of the 'stereotype' and by doing so causes the whole universality of the collective unconscious to break, setting free a whole gender. This would be an interesting superhero.

[ edited by RhaegarTargaryen on 2008-09-28 13:45 ]
For a one-off story that's quite an interesting premise (once you've done it once though it seems like your hero's work there is kind of done ;). That idea of heroes entering the collective unconscious (usually in the form of the stories we tell ourselves) is quite in vogue right now, especially in comics - Paul Cornell has heroes interacting with "England's dreaming", a sort of stand-in for the English national identity, as well as a Fantastic Four mini-series where they travel into (I think) a Jane Austen novel. I quite like it in moderation (that sort of post-modern navel gazing is best in small doses though IMO).

The degree to which a single picture, or a slew of them, can enslave a whole gender...also enslaves the other gender in stereotype.

True and well put. But it seems like this sort of thing is a symptom of a pervasive attitude. Or rather, an attitude that was pervasive and which those of us living in what you could call the "transitional period" between are tarred with.

And some of that tarring is justified I reckon. I like to think i'm not consciously (or actively) particularly sexist but i'd be willing to bet that in a thousand sub-conscious ways, ways that I don't even think about, I probably am. Just as a woman may know, intellectually, that she's daft to worry constantly about how big her bum is and yet, she still does. We're all products of our culture and by its nature culture has inertia, you don't totally change it over-night.
Oy. Saje and RT, That filosufy stuff so early on a Sunday morning makes my pre-coffee brain hurt.
well she could be ice fishing, and I would still think she was sexy... wait... having eskimo willow flashbacks... yep definitely sexy.
Me too with the pre-coffee brain! As for the Knocked Up premise, Saje, that was one of the examples I was thinking of... yeah, there's a humorous awareness that she's hotter and more pulled together and all that but what I mean is, you'd never see those roles reversed in a movie. Of course, a hotness discrepancy in a relationship is the most natural thing in the world (!) I just mean that you don't see so much the stunning successful guy falling for the kind of dopey chubby loser girl. NOT that I'm trying to provoke a pissing contest over whose gender gets a worse rap in the movies ;)... or am I? (Do the ellipses make it look like my winky emoticon is drooling?)

Anyhoo, as I think RhaegerTargaryen may have said (ya kind of lost me there with the hankies and the enslavement and the "wee for us" which had me giggling away for ages, is that really a thing people say? ;)), I think that the "ideal" woman thing in movies or in magazines is "bad" for guys as well, we're all flailing about in the same web, and I certainly won't deny that men face appalling pressures of their own re. what is considered "masculine," I just think it's... different. (Did I mention... pre-coffee brain?... I kind of want to get into this, but I feel crushed by how complicated it is and how I don't really know what I think about it all).
Oh yeah, in Europe we wee all over the place, it's very liberating ;-).

We're well past the coffee cut-off over here and I still think it's uber complex, one of those ones where i'm sort of working it out as I go. I think the sticking point is, the male role that we've been forced into hasn't, traditionally, been that bad a deal for men (on the surface) and it's largely seen as men doing the forcing (older, established men though, it's always the younger generation that suffers from "cultural molding") so it's (rightly) hard to sympathise with.

... yeah, there's a humorous awareness that she's hotter and more pulled together and all that but what I mean is, you'd never see those roles reversed in a movie.

I dunno. Basically, both ideas are wish-fulfillment fantasies but what's the clichéd "ugly duckling turns into a beautiful princess" storyline, if not that (it's just our own particular gender stereotypes that fit each mold - Seth Rogen isn't eligible because he's unsuccessful and irresponsible, in ugly duckling stories the woman isn't successful because she's deemed not to be good-looking. Different pressures most definitely but still pressures) ? And I really think that most romantic movies usually feature people that are similarly hot. So you have George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr etc. (not sure where Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt fall in the spectrum, that depends on what you think of a slightly long-in-the-tooth Jack ;).

(but yeah, I freely admit, plenty of films show us men that are maybe not Adonisisis ... es ... i ... but are perceived to be attractive because of some other quality, maybe worldly success. Or, more often than for women, just for who they are)
Well, yes, that's the only definition of "wee" that I know, so I was having a hard time deciphering that expression! :)

Anyway I have had some coffee now, and I feel much better. Of course, you're right that most movie stars, male or female, are jaw-droppingly gorgeous (and most of us like to look at really pretty people on the screen, so that's as it should be...mostly), but if we're going to see a hotness discrepancy it will be in the guy's favor. But then... I think that's sort of true to life, as well, and it's hard to say what the root of it all is, or if it's a "bad" thing. And since you brought up Jack Nicholson, that's a similar sort of thing--it's not particularly uncommon to see a huge age difference between romantic leads, and it's always the woman who is younger. No doubt Hollywood's youth fetish is sexist, but again, this is something that's also "true to life" and where does it all begin?

(But yes, I agree basically, re. "wish-fulfillment fantasies.")

I think the sticking point is, the male role that we've been forced into hasn't, traditionally, been that bad a deal for men (on the surface) and it's largely seen as men doing the forcing (older, established men though, it's always the younger generation that suffers from "cultural molding") so it's (rightly) hard to sympathise with.


"On the surface" being key, perhaps, and I would say that in modern-day North America and Western Europe, women participate very actively in the kinds of cultural molding that leave us all... well, somewhat molded. But there are certain ways in which I think "Being A Guy" is probably emotionally more strenuous and stressful. Point being... oh, oops. Well, we're a messed up bunch, and we're not likely to ever become a not-messed-up bunch, I guess, though in some regards, in our fortunate corners of the world, some things are moving along in positive directions. While other things (the world of modeling, what a sexy photograph is supposed to look like, porn) are stalled in a kind of depressing place.

Wow. The coffee didn't help at all. I think I'm becoming less coherent and pointful (?) with each post. *sighs* I do love that picture of Summer you linked to where she's a "doll." Only a ballerina could pull off that pose, hey?
Oftentimes, young up and coming actresses feel the need to do cheesecake pics because it helps them to promote themselves to larger audiences. I remember Amber Benson doing her pics, and later talking about how much she really did not enjoy doing it, though the initial shots seem innocent enough and she does weigh in on eating well. And same for Alyson Hannigan. Both of them did it, it's done, and they never have to do it again. With Terminator failing, Summer is going to once again need to find work. She went with GQ, which is always safe and relatively chaste, so now it's done and she can get on with getting on. Though since I like the show, I hope it is in the confines of the show.
Yeah, but if it's a matter of "they have to do it at some point to further their careers, like it or not" then it is, as Brewbunny said way above more articulately, pretty shitty. I have yet to see a magazine photo-shoot (be it GQ or FHM or Playboy or whatever) of any of our Whedon-alums that is interesting, exciting, captures their flair and unique beauty. This just my opinion of course, but I think jcs nailed it above, comparing the Summer we know and love from the screen to "the girl on the bed." The pressures out there for actresses to fit a certain body type and to pose in a certain way for magazines suck, and for those that are into it, the utter lack of creativity or variety sucks.

Hm. My husband (having a psychic moment over on the sofa?) just read me a line from some Buddhist text: "Once you open your mouth, you've made a mistake." That's kind of how I feel on this topic ;).
I have that same feeling--just thinking about this topic is like falling into a pit of spiderwebs. But, that said, there are some conversations that recur on Whedonesque that make me sigh and say, "Oh no, not again." But this isn't one of them. There's a lot to explore in that gap between "I like sexy pictures" and "I don't like exploitation." I think it's worth the effort. [So, Go Team! because I have nothing of substance to add :)] I think both the points about the images themselves (not creative, not celebrating the individual) and the power structure (the game young women have to play to get ahead) are good ones.

As for the movies and the "men are attracted to beauty/women are attracted to power" thing, which, as catherine points out, wasn't invented in Hollywood--the problems there do seem to have a lot to do with execution, don't they? I mean, the "hot young woman + ancient-but-fascinating man" stereotype is replaced with "cougar + cabana boy" stereotype & we haven't really progressed. Maybe the whole problem is just an inability to tell nuanced stories.
Summer is beautiful, but the problem with the pics, and the video in particular, is that it reduces Summer the person into a collection of body parts served up for male gratification. The video basically focuses in turn on her face, her shoulders, her legs, and near the end, lingers on her butt and then her boobs. And then fades out. The intent was not to promote Summer Glau the actress/dancer/cool person, but to put another young hottie in a sexual context out there for male pleasure. It may not be exploitation in that she agreed to do it and knew what she was getting into, but I don't think it's innocuous either.
So nicely put, both of you, just as I was dwindling into total incoherence.

There's a lot to explore in that gap between "I like sexy pictures" and "I don't like exploitation." I think it's worth the effort.

Oh yes. And liking sexy pictures and not liking exploitation should be reconcilable, too ;). I've stayed out of this topic every time it's popped up here before, even though it's a conversation I'd like to have. I guess I don't know where to start, so I'm just tap-dancing around it, looking for a way in.

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