Going Topless For The Ladies
5:30 pm, March 6th | by Meredith Lepore
When women are naked in magazines or just very scantily clad it is usually in publications in the Playboy/Maxim genre. But New York Magazine writer Kat Stoefel pointed out that in recent years there has been an uptick in women getting naked or wearing very little in women’s magazines like Allure and Glamour (Kate Hudson is currently topless but covering her breasts on the cover of Glamour this month). The readership for these magazines is predominantly female and the choice is usually pitched as “Women celebrating their bodies” or “Women being brave and showing their bodies.” In women’s magazines, nudity is really a representation of female empowerment. So we have to ask, is going topless in public a new feminist act?
“It’s not just women who sleep with women. With the Female Chauvinist Pigs–era boob jobs on the decline, a new breed of topless women is making having one’s totally average tits out seem aspirational. I didn’t envy Pamela Anderson’s nude boating trip with Tommy Lee (much), but I would like to be Kate Middleton, obviously, topless at my husband’s friend’s château in the south of France. I’d love to have the swagger to walk around Soho in a sheer bra on a hot day, à la Rihanna. I’d also like to wear the latest Marc Jacobs shorts, which have no matching top. I admire the insistently topless Lena Dunham, whose breasts (as Hannah Horvath on Girls) I think I’ve seen more than anyone’s except my own. Thanks to trolls telling her to cover up, Dunham’s made it clear that you can go shirtless and look awesome without the express purpose of attracting men or selling magazines.”
Now, I don’t think it is exactly empowering when a stunning woman like Kate Hudson goes topless on a cover. First of all, her body is amazing and she absolutely knows it because she devotes a lot of her time to it. And I don’t think the women featured in Allure’s Naked Truth series are necessarily that brave either. But maybe for someone like Lauren Conrad, who was featured sorta-topless on Glamour in May, who isn’t an actress or a musician and is usually more buttoned up, you could look at it as a sign of bravery (even though she also too has a conventionally attractive body).
And it is a little bit bad ass that these women, even though they look awesome in clothes, are choosing to cover up less because they’re proud of their bodies. Of course, most women don’t have Patrick Demarchlier shooting them and the magic of airbrushing to help them out. We’ll call it “feminism + Photoshop.”