I’ll freely admit that I could be a ”better feminist”; I follow everdaysexism on Twitter and a lot of the time I read their many, many stories of sexismin and I think ”Lighten up!”. In terms of feminism I’m very liberal: stripping, prostitution, porn etc are fine by me as long as a woman is doing it out of her own free will and isn’t being harmed or exploited, because not all women want to be a Doctor. If a woman wants to strip off for a national publication to earn some dollar then fair enough, it’s her choice and she’s not harming anyone, and this extends to pop stars doing naked photoshoots. I don’t buy into this idea of ”Ohh, blah blah blah is a bad role model for young girls because she’s getting her kit off” because as far as I’m concerned, the influence of the home life should have a stronger effect on a young girl than whatever the latest pop darling is doing.
However, when Lana Del Rey appeared on the cover of GQ wearing nothing but an expensive necklace, I actually took issue with it, and the reason I took issue with it was because Del Rey was GQ’s woman of the year and did a naked photoshoot, but GQ’s men of the year (Tinie Tempah, James Corden, Robbie Williams and John Slatterly) looked suave and sophisticated in their suits and black ties. So why did Lana Del Rey have to be naked as a new born? I know some of you will point out that GQ’s target audience is predominantly male, but when Glamour magazine crowned Tom Hiddleston their man of the year, he didn’t do a photoshoot where he only had his hands to cover his modesty. I read an article which described GQ’s photoshoots as ”internalised sexism” and I completely agree; why should the men be portrayed as powerful in their expensive suits whilst the woman has to take her clothes off? Do you have to get naked to be a woman of the year these days?
It’s not only the double standards that I dislike about this particular photoshoot, it’s the fact I don’t think Del Ray looks particularly comfortable in the photos. I don’t know too much about her, but I’ve seen some of her videos and she’s a woman who is reminiscent of a 1950s screen siren, and I don’t think the photoshoot is particularly representative of her or her music. I’m not saying she was forced to do the photoshoot, but I do think that she’d have looked a million times sexier and more comfortable if they’d decked her out in a disgustingly beautiful dress rather than nude or in a short jumper where she uses her hand to cover her vagina. There are some pop stars (Katy Perry, Rihanna etc) who get naked in photoshoots, and it works because it’s part of their image, and at a risk of sounding elitist: they’ve already made it. Rihanna and co may be known for taking their clothes off, but I bet you can easily name five of their songs; with a relatively new artist like Del Rey, I think it’s an ill advised move to start doing naked photoshoots when you only have a handful of singles (and I can only name one of them).
Ultimately, whilst I may be a liberal feminist who believes women should have a choice regarding how they act, whether they want to be a brain surgeon or a stripper. I also feel we have a responsibility to make the choice that is closest to who we are; not who we feel we are meant to be. Which in Del Rey’s case appears to be ignoring the double standards just to get that coveted award of ”woman of the year”.