entertainment

This actress tells her celeb pals to 'stop acting like whores'.

Actress Rashida Jones

Actress Rashida Jones wants her celebrity contemporaries to ‘stop acting like whores’.

It’s not every day that an actress, or singer, or somebody who is actually part of the entertainment industry, calls out the commodification of female sexuality in the music biz. (Although there was something of an Open Letter writing shitstorm after  Sinead O’Connor’s Open Letter to Miley Cyrus.)

But The Parks and Recreation actress is over it. She’s over the prevalence of raunch culture. Over the near-nudity. And over sex selling, well, everything. It’s a sentiment evidenced by a series of tweets Jones sent back in October. First she posted this:

And then these tweets:

Cue accusations of slut shaming, anti-sex sentiment, whorephobia, and general prudishness.

The backlash was not entirely unexpected (just in case you missed it, that hashtag was #stopactinglikewhores), but Jones seemed genuinely surprised at the time when she was accused of being ‘anti-feminist’.

So surprised, that she has now written a piece for the American magazine Glamour, titled ‘Why Is Everyone Getting Naked? Rashida Jones on the Pornification of Everything’, in which she has tried to defend her original tweets and elaborate on her original points. She starts by saying:

I don’t know when the pornification of pop stars became so extreme, but as Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” video played in the background—naked fantasy women bouncing around and licking things—I realized that the lines were not really blurry at all. They were clear. A new era had arrived.

If 1994 was the Year of O.J.’s White Bronco, 2013 was the Year of the Very Visible Vagina.

There have been a number of songstresses, actresses and slashies this year who do not rely upon the visibility of their vagina to sell records or gets roles (Lorde, Lana Del Ray, Adele and Taylor Swift, just to name a few). And there have always been pop stars and entertainers whose sex appeal was inextricably linked to their stardom. But Miley Cyrus might be evidence enough that the ‘sex sells’ element of the entertainment industry is becoming more extreme.

Jones is quick to argue that she’s not a prude, and doesn’t have a problem with pop stars and the portrayal of female sexuality in general.

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Instead, she criticies how “homogenous” pop stars seem today, all tied together by their “entangled G-strings”.

Let me say up front: I am not a prude. I love sex; I am comfortable with my sexuality. Hell, I’ve even posed in my underwear. I also grew up on a healthy balance of sexuality in pop stars…

Twenty years later, all the images seem homogenous. Every star interprets “sexy” the same way: lots of skin, lots of licking of teeth, lots of bending over. I find this oddly…boring. Can’t I just like a song without having to take an ultrasound tour of some pop star’s privates?

But the part of Jones’ article which has sparked the most controversy, is her defence of using the word ‘whore’. The #stopactinglikewhores hashtag was what she copped the most criticism over when she sent the original tweets – but in her Glamour article, she defends her decision to use that word.

Jones writes that while she wouldn’t criticise anyone for their actual activity, she thinks the way that women in the entertainment sell sex is… well… whoreish.

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…

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.

Ultimately, Jones wants the music industry to start taking more responsibility for the messages they are pushing out into the world – and into the minds of young people. She asks record executives to try to “apply some of your own personal moral parameters” when constructing the images of young female pop stars.

To the pop stars themselves – to the Mileys, and the Rhiannas, and the Britney Spears and the Nicki Minajs  – she says, “Please stop saying you don’t want to be role models. Because, guess what: You are.”

But is Jones’ genuine desire for wanting a more diverse representation of female sexuality in the entertainment industry – and, you know, sometimes female sexuality not being a part of the entertainment industry at all – best expressed by calling other women whores? (Or, if you are splitting hairs, saying they are acting like whores.)

Perhaps the message be targeted towards the industry – not individuals.

Society – not single people.

Do you think that Rashida Jones should have been so flippant with her use of the word ‘whores’? Do you think the commodification of female sexuality in pop music is a problem? 

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