"I was shocked by the responses. Yes, I know, I used the word whore; more on that in a minute. But while some of the Twitterverse was supportive, most reacted like this:
Stop policing how women dress #slutshaming
I used to look up to you for being a highly educated actress but now I think you’re a bit of a misogynist.
And this nice one: RU a whore? (The answer to this would have been an overwhelming YES if you were referring to me from 2007 to mid-2011. Liberating sex run!)
I’m not gonna lie. The fact that I was accused of “slut-shaming,” being anti-woman, and judging women’s sex lives crushed me. I consider myself a feminist. I would never point a finger at a woman for her actual sexual behavior, and I think all women have the right to express their desires. But I will look at women with influence—millionaire women who use their “sexiness” to make money—and ask some questions. There is a difference, a key one, between “shaming” and “holding someone accountable.”
So back to the word whore. My hashtag was “stopactinglikewhores.” Key word, acting. Like I said, I’m not criticizing anyone’s real sex life; as George Michael tells us, “Sex is natural, sex is fun.” But the poles, the pasties, the gyrating: This isn’t showing female sexuality; this is showing what it looks like when women sell sex. (Also, let’s be real. Every woman’s sexuality is different. Can all of us really be into stripper moves? The truth is, for every woman who loves the pole, there’s another who likes her feet rubbed. But in pop culture there’s just one way to be. And so much of it feels staged for men, not for our own pleasure.)
I understand that owning and expressing our sexuality is a huge step forward for women. But, in my opinion, we are at a point of oversaturation. It’s like when TV network censors evaluate a show’s content. Instead of doing a detailed report of dirty jokes or offensive words, they will simply say, “It’s a tonnage issue.” One or two swear words might be fine; 10 is too many. Three sexual innuendos is OK; eight is overkill. When it comes to porn imagery and pop culture, we have a tonnage issue.
And then there’s this: What else ties these pop stars together besides, perhaps, their entangled G-strings? Their millions of teen-girl fans. Even if adult Miley and Nicki have ownership of their bodies, do the girls imitating them have the same agency? Where do we draw the line between teaching them freedom of sexual expression and pride in who they are on the inside? Are we even allowed to draw a line?
Some people think not. Sinéad O’Connor got blowback after writing an open letter to Miley Cyrus, warning her of the dangers of her constant sexual imagery: “The music business…will prostitute you for all you are worth…and when you wind up in rehab… ‘they’ will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body, and you will find yourself very alone.” Miley responded by basically calling her crazy.
It’s all enough to make you want to take a monastic vow and swear off Wi-Fi forever. But I’m an optimistic woman. So as we say goodbye to 2013 and wish for a slightly more clothed, more original 2014, I have a few requests:
Record execs: When you market young pop stars, can you please try to apply some of your own personal moral parameters? (I’m just going to assume you don’t take off your suit midmeeting and do a selfie with a whipped-cream bra.)
Women: Let’s at least try to discuss the larger implications of female sexuality on pop culture without shaming each other. There’s more than one way to be a good feminist. Personally, I loved the Lily Allen “Hard Out Here” video—a controversial send-up of tits-and-ass culture. She helped start a conversation. Let’s continue it.
Men: WHERE ARE YOU??? Please talk to us about how all this makes you feel. You are 49 percent of the population; don’t sit around and let women beat one another up while you intermittently and guiltily enjoy the show. Speak up! We care what you think!
And finally, pop stars: Please stop saying you don’t want to be role models. Because, guess what: You are. You want to sell millions of albums? You want to sell out a tour? You depend on the millions of people who adore you. So maybe just consider some sort of moral exchange program, in the same way that carbon credits make people feel better about driving an SUV. Go ahead and make videos in which your ass cheeks slap water around in slow motion; go ahead and tweet pictures of your undercarriage. But perhaps every eleventh song or video, do something with some more clothes on? Maybe even a song that empowers women to feel good about some other great quality we have? Like, I don’t know…our empathy, or childbearing skills, or ability to forgive one another for mean tweets?
I know some people will wonder what gives me the authority to tell people to do anything. The answer is: nothing at all. But I feel this way—and I’m guessing other women might too. Besides, let me get to the point of this, which is that I’m dropping my new single this year! And if everything continues in this direction, my single will be literally dropping out of my butt. Live at the Video Music Awards. See you there.”
Great article by the ever, beautiful-brained Rashida Jones. I bolded my favorite bit about how Miley & Nicki appear to have ownership of their bodies but the girls imitating them often do so for the wrong reasons. Perhaps Miley & Nicki are flaunting their bodies from a place of security and empowerment but it’s likely that many of the gals imitating them are doing so from a place of insecurity and lack of self-awareness. It’s definitely a bummer but I have total faith in our generation and always think there’s way more “good”, ethical, self-aware peeps than not. I know I’m SO cheesy but that’s what it’s what I really think sooooo. Also, this kind of shit is never so black & white and a lot of times articles like this overstate a problem.
Regardless, Good > Bad. DUH!
My beautiful stepmom is the coolest lady alive!!! Vaunte just did a profile on her and are selling some of her old clothes! They also did a Q&A (below) with her which was so funny to read—I could have guessed about ehhh 60% of her answers correctly but the rest totally surprised me…like, what, discussing the Bible with the LEGEND that is Sinatra…? She is the most incredible, honorable, brilliant, powerful, creative, chic, humble, and hardworking woman I know. I am always SOOOO inspired by her and would have never known this even existed if it wasn’t for my sly, proud dad emailing me it! Check it out here!
Miami Beach, Florida
I love the photos of Elizabeth Taylor wearing her own jewelry and Cher wearing her own clothes to the Oscar’s. As outrageous as those Cher/Bob Mackie collaborations were, you know they were a true reflection of who Cher is and how she wanted to project herself; the dress she won the Oscar in is being imitated all over the place today…only with a nude lining. And you know those jewels were Elizabeth. Now, most famous people are dressed by professionals, so the faux pas’ are the most interesting parts.
Handbags! I consider them body jewelry.
NEVER PART WITH
I love alligator handbags - when I was a little girl, my dad bought my mom a light whiskey colored alligator handbag that matched a mink coat he had given her. I found that bag in my mother’s things when she passed away and now I have it displayed on a shelf in my dressing room. Every time I look at it, I remember my mom all dressed up as a beautiful young woman and my dad as a handsome young man.
Oscar de la Renta
FAVORITE UP-AND-COMER DESIGNER
I love Esteban Cortázar – he’s a former Miami guy with super style. I have a silver chainmail shirt that I bought from him just before he went to Ungaro (he’s no longer there), and it is one of the most amazing pieces I own. I love it over a white cotton shirt with skinny white pants; it’s very unexpected and very knight in shining armor. Esteban has always been ahead of his time.
Oscar de la Renta
Currently a whiskey colored alligator Tod’s that doubles as an attaché
I’m really traditional - I love Judith Leiber bags in satin or skins with minimal crystals; I even have a vintage one made of a single shell
I love unusual belts - I have a Paco Rabanne silver metal belt that’s reminiscent of an ammunition belt, and a copper metal Dior with dangling balls and chains; they make the simplest, most conservative outfit cool
A gold men’s Rolex Daytona
All jewelry is statement jewelry – it says so much about a person. I’m definitely more into the artistry of jewelry. To me there’s nothing like Van Cleef & Arpels’ invisible set rubies of the 1940’s, Cartier in the 1920’s and Jean Schlumberger’s Bird on a Rock. I also love when famous artists and sculptors do jewelry, like Salvadore Dali; that’s something my husband turned me onto a few years ago at Art Basel.
Chanel No. 5 - I love the remix
Diorshow’s Black Out or YSL’s Volume Effet Faux Cils
SkinMedica’s TNS Recovery Complex and I use La Mer around the eyes - I put a drop of moisturizer on the back of my left hand and then apply it to my face from there…if after a couple of weeks, I notice my left hand looking better than my right, it’s a keeper
None - I make a point of covering up and staying in the shade
NAIL POLISH COLOR
Anything in a light grey on my fingers and fuchsia on my toes
I have a big family, and we ski a lot and fly commercial, so we buy the lightest, least conspicuous bags we can find that won’t weigh a hundred pounds when overstuffed and won’t get broken into. I have the Tumi hard shell and my kids have some ultra-light hard shells my husband found at Costco. For carry-on, I borrow my son’s 2-wheel Kipling they don’t make anymore; it’s the only bag that fits the collapsible 3 shelf insert you can find in airline magazines – THAT, I can’t travel without.
COFFEE OR TEA
Eight O’Clock’s Hazelnut coffee with heavy cream – never half and half
Peonies - my grandmother used to have bushes of them in every color lining her backyard; I love the smell
Pink, Lorde, Imagine Dragons and Bruno Mars
Anywhere my family and friends are
Cipriani, Mr Chow, Prime One Twelve and Joe’s Stone Crab
White wine, but not Chardonnay
Coffee with heavv cream
The Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program! We have hundreds of the most amazing, highly accomplished professional women mentoring thousands of at-risk girls in our public high schools; it’s a life changing experience for everyone. womenoftomorrow.org
Personalized individual-use guest soaps from LineaLuxe.com - they are little 1” bars of soap to be used only once, each with a label that can say whatever you want; I like to put the hostess’ name on one side and a meaningful phrase on the other. Everyone loves them.
"I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban" by Malala Yousafzai
The best compliment I can give is that someone is an honorable person; it implies so much – integrity, honesty and sense of service to others rather than to yourself
I’m working on nothing, but of course it’s not true
FUNNIEST THING YOU’VE EVER TRIED ON, THINKING THAT IT COULD WORK
I think I’ve blocked it out
MOST CRINGE-WORTHY BUT LAUGHABLE STYLE MOMENT
Going to a Halloween party with a bunch of fellow news people in Los Angeles in the 1990’s; we were all supposed to go as a news event - everyone was dressed in super hip, black, sleek outfits and I showed up in a blonde wig with this flouncy “Good Witch of the North” dress on as some obscure reference to a recent story. No one got it and I looked completely out of place.
ALWAYS UNWIND WITH
A hug from my husband and kids, and a glass of wine
Pizza, pasta, salad, wine and chocolate mousse
Any one I am living happily and healthy with my family and friends in it
I had a fabulous hairdresser many years ago, Michael Huddle, who used to come to the TV station in New York and do my hair. Michael did a lot of celebrities and always said “What’s on the inside always comes out eventually. The most beautiful person when they’re young, will only look as good as their intentions when their old.” and I believe that.
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT
Frank Sinatra - I met him at his 75th birthday party and he was without a doubt the coolest man ever with a wicked sense of humor. One night, his wife went to bed and my boyfriend fell asleep on the couch, and Frank and I stayed up into the wee hours drinking Cognac and discussing the Bible; he was an amazing man of depth and character, along with his incredible talents.