Friday, November 12, 2010

When You're NOT the Sexiest Woman Alive

In the previous post I admitted that the newest inductee into Esquire's pantheon of sexiest women was someone I didn't recognize. One might think that accepting that title may reek of desperation for attention, and maybe so, maybe not. However, another magazine on the stands at the moment is an issue of GQ that really showcases desperation.

It features three members of the Glee cast on the cover. It's two of the young women (Lea Michele and Dianna Agron), and and one of the young men (Cory Monteith). The shot has the guy between the ladies, with his arms around their waists and his hand grasping their behinds.

However, to see the real desperation one needs to check out the photos in the spread inside.
Monteith is in a vest and tie, sitting behind a drum kit. Okay. Agron is in a cheerleader outfit, sitting on her knees in something of a classic pinup pose. Okay.

And then there's Lea Michelle, who is the female lead on the show, is the one who gets the most airtime… you get the idea. She's straddling a locker room bench, legs wide, wearing a crop top and panties (and leaving little to the imagination).

Um, yeah. But the thing is: It ain't sexy.

It's certainly possible that there could have been a genuinely sexy shot out of those elements, but this wasn't it. Perhaps it's unfortunate editorial decisions (as presumably the photographer took many more than just that one) but with the "spread" shot that was included just reeked of a desperate attempt to seem like she could be… I dare not even use the term "sexpot" as this denigrates even the notion of that.

Now, if you think I'm feigning some fuddy-duddy persona about this, I assure that's not it. Let's get one thing clear: I enjoy a well-done photo of an attractive woman as much as the average guy, and would say with my wife standing next to me; the picture of Ms. Michele and her legs akimbo simply ain't such a photo.

Esquire's sexiest women series has captured many genuinely sexy shots, even if they're now past famous women.

However, these actors do fall into the category of people of whom I've at least heard. I will give GQ that much. They may not hire talented photographers who can draw a great photo out of the subject, but they get subjects I can readily identify at a glance. Even if some of the celebrities involved cannot be satisfied with being the lead (even though she's far from the best singer) and have to try way too hard to grab all of the attention.


Apparently those GQ photos created some controversy, in that conservative group the Parents Television Council found the notion of adults who are actually in their mid-to-late 20's but who portray high schoolers (on a show that's about high school in the same way Law & Order was about filing legal papers) being shown in that way.

Which undoubtedly just sells more copies of that issue.

To object to twenty-somethings posing for provocative photos on the basis of them portraying high schoolers on a TV show would be all good and well were the show on Disney Channel or geared for a young audience. Glee is not such a show, as anyone who has ever seen it should be able to attest. Fox schedules it at 8:00 not so much because it's well suited for that time slot but because it's a strong lead-in. Regardless, it has never even pretended to convey conservative values.

If you're going to protest something, you should have some familiarity with it so you understand why you're protesting. But that would be too much effort. Heck, if you were to actually watch an episode or two you might find yourself intermittently entertained and thus spoil your sanctimony. You certainly would not wish to risk that.

And, as noted, GQ is happy to get the publicity and sell more copies. It's almost as though the editorial staff grasps how to manipulate the situation for that purpose.

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