Tag Archives: Playboy

Shame Day: Sexual Standards

asdfasdI’m double-posting today, so this week’s Shame Day is a little late [I try to update the blog before noon] but is brought to you by a topic I haven’t addressed much as of late: the wonderful world of comics.

Yesterday it was announced by various comic book news outlets that the newest title out of the Marvel NOW! line of books would be X-Men, written by Brian Wood and illustrated by Olivier Coipel. An X-Men title is certainly nothing new, but it is when the entire cast of said title is female.

Wood was interviewed in an article by USA Today, and had the following things today about the characters he’s writing:

Wood also promises to bring a lot of relationships, love and sex into the book, “in the classic X-men way — the way it used to be.”

He wants to challenge the double standards that have been in superhero books for years, where Wolverine can sleep with anybody but if a female character does it twice, she’s promiscuous, which Wood sees constantly online.

“To everybody’s credit, these people are often shot down immediately for being sexist and unfair, but that is a very common thing,” Wood says.

“We’re just going to do it. We’re not going to worry about that. If Kitty or Rogue has basic human bodily urges, tough luck (to those opposed). To me, that’s as much of the X-Men as anything else.”

It is certainly not news that this double standard exists, and I’d been thinking about this for a while due to my having watched most of Season 4 of How I Met Your Mother this past Thursday. It didn’t take more than a few minutes of watching Barney Stinson before it occurred to me that:

Barney Stinson is pretty widely known to be both a prolific and successful womanizer. He sleeps with women the way most people go to work: five times a week, maybe six to get in some overtime. He’s admittedly a painfully funny character, but also one that is congratulated for his sexual prowess.

Now take a female character and put her in Barney’s shoes. Thankfully, times are certainly a’ changin’, and I can actually point to one half of the roommates in Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23, Chloe. She is a person who treats her sexual partners with just about as much respect [if not less] than Barney Stinson, and the show has for the most part done a great part not demonizing her for it.

The fact of the matter is that in most cases Chloe would be dubbed a slut. Is there a male equivalent for the term in the English language? An article I found on The Independent explores this very question, and ends up admitting that words like “roué” or “swordsman” or “playboy” all work as far as describing what I’ve mentioned, but don’t really “convey much sense of moral contempt and several of which are tinged with admiration.”

What I’m pointing an accusatory finger at this Shame Day is the fact that we hold as a culture a sickeningly obvious double standard. I’m not one who particularly praises rampant sexual promiscuity, but I certainly hope that I if I did I would be able to hold both with an equal amount of esteem.

This post is to shame those who give the Chloes of this world the finger with one hand while high-fiving the Barneys with the other. It’s also to give the bit of credit where it’s due to Brian Wood and to all others who realize how it is we view men and women, and who go out of their way to work against that.

As a parting note, it’s nice to know that even the characters within the comics have noticed this:

Dakota Fanning Being Sexy on Magazine Covers

Dakota Fanning will be posing for Playboy Magazine.

Now that I’ve got your attention, let me be the first to say that this definitely isn’t true. The article I found it on, DAKOTA FANNING POSES FOR PLAYBOY was hosted by Weekly World News, a “news” site that features categories like “ALIENS” and “MUTANTS.” It’s unfortunate that at least one person out there failed to question its validity, but that’s just the internet for you.

While I was initially taken aback by the news, a perfunctory Google search revealed it for what it was, while also calling attention to something that actually happened. 17-year-old Dakota Fanning appeared in this month’s issue of Cosmopolitan, and people got fairly upset about it.

A bit of context: Fanning turns 18 on the 23rd of this month. That being said, many were outraged that a minor would appear on a cover with such headlines as “His Best Sex Ever” and “Too Naughty To Say Here!” According to The Daily Mail twitter users were particularly vocal, with one user tweeting: “Dakota Fanning is 17 years old and on the cover of Cosmo. Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?”

On the other side of things we have self-described former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan and mother of a 21-year-old daughter, Bonnie Fuller. She takes the stance that since the media [primarily shows like Gossip GirlKeeping Up With The Kardashians, etc] has, and continues to depict sex “pretty explicitly,” this is nothing to get upset about. Add to that the fact that Fanning has already taken on many “very adult” roles and what we’re looking at was more to be expected than anything else.

There’s a certain legitimacy in both viewpoints. On one hand, there’s something that should be at least mildly disturbing about a teenager surrounded by sex headlines. On the other, culture as a whole is doing little to hide the fact that teenagers have sex and we know and are okay with it. Where Fuller gets a little shaky is leaving the specific context of Dakota Fanning on the cover of Cosmo. Would her viewpoints change if it were a different 17-year-old? How young an actress does one have to be to raise her hackles? She cites both Miley Cyrus’ scandalous photo shoot and Kendall Jenner as crossing the line, so clearly she’s bothered by some cases.

In general, Cosmopolitan is a magazine that has not shied away from its sexual content, using catchy headlines like “YOUR ORGASM GUARANTEED.” As “the lifestylist for millions of fun fearless females who want to be the best they can in every area of their lives” the publication is a force that affects women and the way they view themselves and each other. How exactly they choose to do this remains entirely up to them.