10 Actresses Too Goddamn Classy for Bullsh*t, Reductive 'Come Hither' Photoshoots
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10 Actresses Too Goddamn Classy for Bullsh*t, Reductive 'Come Hither' Photoshoots

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | March 15, 2013 | Comments ()


I enjoy glossy magazine spreads because I am human. I completely understand that they are not real; that they create unfair expectations for both women and men, and that they are somehow a rotting tooth on the mouth of pop culture. But they're also pretty. Plus, of course, there's artistry in photography, even if it's of a mere celebrity posing on a magazine cover. More often than not, it's main purpose is that of eye candy, but the best photographers can create captivating, provocative, fascinating and drop-dead sexy photographs, often with integrity and sophistication.

But there are certain kinds of celebrity photographs that unnerve me, and that's the more tasteless "come and get me, boys" come-hither photoshoot that is typically the domain of young starlets whose primary appeal is sexual in nature. It's the cheerleader pose photoshoot, and while I expect it from the likes of the cast of "Glee," actresses on CW sitcoms, and Kat Dennings, when a classy actress does it, it drives me insane. The above photo of Jessica Chastain -- an Oscar nominated actress -- is the perfect example, and GQ and Complex magazines are typically the two magazines that do this most frequently because apparently their audiences are under the misconception that men only find women attractive if they're in a vulnerable, infantilized state beckoning men into their beds (I do, however, appreciate that Aubrey Plaza remained true to herself while posing for Complex).

It doesn't have to be this way. You can create sexually provocative, steamy photographs with without turning your subjects into nubile teenagers. Rachel Weisz is the perfect example.


That is not only perfection, but there's elegance in that photo. Weisz is owning her sexuality, empowering it. She's allowing us to be witness to it, but she's not inviting you into her college dorm room with her eyes. She's not the only one who can pull this off masterfully: Charlize Theron, Cate Blanchett, Carey Mulligan, Marion Cottilard, Kate Winslet, Sandra Bullock, Alison Williams, Carla Gugino, and even Anne Hathaway are striking subjects who don't budge when it comes to respectful, empowering photos, even when they're practically nude.

I'm not a photographer, nor do I have the language to talk about the subject on a intellectually high level, so it's a hard concept to explain. Maybe these contrasting photos between Amy Adams and Isla Fisher provide a suitable example of what I'm talking about.

Amy Adams for W magazine (may 2009) photo shoot by Craig McDean 007.jpg

Isla Fisher.jpg

They're both beautiful women obviously, but to me, Amy Adams is controlling her sexuality in her photo while Isla Fisher is giving it up. One's an artistic photograph, and the other is a pin-up, and it irks me especially when classy, well-respected actresses with considerable talent allow themselves to be reduced to Co-Ed Magazine pin-up girls.

By way of example, here are 10 classy actresses who have done it, although I will say that in the case of all ten, it is rare, which is what makes these 10 photos seem so distasteful. Usually the actress in question poses for the more reductive photos only when they're younger and less well known (the Connie Britton photo, for example, is a strange aberration in a long career of photoshoots), or they've allowed themselves to be the subject of GQ, which still thinks that French maid outfits are sexy.

Michelle Monaghan


Rachel McAdams


Michelle Williams


Amanda Peet

Emily Blunt


Connie Britton


Emma Stone

Emma Stone 6.jpg

Jessica Chastain

1-Jessica-Chastain (1).jpg

Naomi Watts


Paula Patton

Thumbnail image for paula-patton-gq1.jpg

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Kate at June

    Am I the only one who sees very little difference between most of these pictures? Because I see very little difference. The only ones that jump out are those of Jessica Chastin because eeewwww Terry Richardson (if they aren't his, they are certainly inspired by his work) and the ones with the creepy costumes. Emma Stone, Emily Blunt.

    Perhaps I'm just too dense to differentiate between a photo of a half naked woman owning her sexuality and a half naked woman being used by it....I'm not sure there is one.

  • scaldinggrey

    "Amy Adams is controlling her sexuality in her photo while Isla Fisher is giving it up"
    No, sorry. I hate it that a woman "controlling her sexuality" always ends up meaning "performing the same pornographic stereotypes that men like." Why is it that female sexuality has come to mean lying back passively, wearing uncomfortable clothing (i.e high heels, corsets, etc), and having one's mouth hang open like a dazed idiot?
    All of these photos amount to the same thing: actresses taking on the role of benign fuck object, be it riding a bike that little girls do (how sick is that; infantilizing a woman in such a way?) or laying with legs spread in a black and white "classy" shot.
    I don't blame the actresses for these shoots; I blame the men for creating entire sexist system in the first place.

  • The media sexualizes all attractive celebrities, both men and women. This is nothing new so I have no idea what the point of this post is other than an excuse to post pics of attractive actresses. I'm not really complaining though because that Naomi Watts picture makes it all worthwhile. Wow.

  • Guest

    This is an unbelievably creepy, ill-considered post, parading as a treatise on female sexual empowerment. You might as well re-title this "Which female celebrities are asking for it in these photos". I find it difficult to believe anyone with sense could get through writing, editing and posting this without stopping to wonder if this is offensive and gross. There's a huge difference between discussing how female celebrities are sexualised, and arbitrarily deciding when this is ok, and when it's not. So according to this post, it's less distasteful when a photo is "less classy" if the celebrity in question is also "less classy"? Then there's the weird semi-apologetic comment on behalf of the "classy" ladies for having a distastefully "unclassy" photo. It would have been more interesting and far less yuck to have discussed the knee-jerk reaction to these photos, than whatever this post was attempting to achieve.

  • Uriah_Creep

    Maybe Dustin just wanted a lot of page hits on a slow Friday. I'm going to start calling him Dustin Trolls.

  • Kind of mis-read your audience for this one here, didn't you bub? Also, shoehorning in references to your other posts in order to shill them is lame.

  • ScrimmySCrim

    Dustin, I get what you are trying to say, but your examples don't completely work for me. You say these women are above the "come hither" shots. You also stated that other women have mastered the art of being sexy in photos. How do you know that the empowered ladies don't have a million "come hither" photos, as well?

    They probably do. You just didn't see them. Even so, who do you blame?

    The models aren't taking the photos.

    You blame the photographer for taking the shot. Even a little bit of an angle can change the feel of a photo. The photographer might find the "come hither" look appealing. Maybe the shoot was going long and the photographer fell back on that pose because it's easy and they wanted to get the hell out of there.

    Another thing: The models rarely get to decide which photos are used.

    The editors choose the photos. So many brilliant images never see the light of day because the "come hither" cheap ones fit what the editor wanted. The classy "owning their sexuality" may not have sold as much ad space in that particular issue.

    I get sick of the "in your face LOOK AT ME" sexy shots, too. There are so many women who would knock you dead by dialing it down a notch. It's sad when you see someone look like they are trying too hard when they don't have to.

    I also know that, 9 times out of 10, the model has the least say when it comes to the creative direction of the photos.

  • So much bullhockey in this post, where to start?

    1 - Define what you will objectively identify as being a classy actress and explain why Kat Dennings is not a classy actress because anyone of us can point to a photoshoot featuring said actress being 'classy.'

    2- Aesthetically, there's no difference between Jessica Chastain's photo and Rachel Weiss' photo. In fact, I would venture to say that Chastain's is the more sensual, not sexual, photo. After all, Chastain is fully clothed in a bubbly bath while Weiss is writhing around on a mattress in her shirt and panties.

    3- None of this post has anything to do with photography as art beyond what magazine editors and the photographers themselves deem worthy of appearing in these respective mags.

    4- It seems as though YOU have a problem with a woman owning her sexuality, as your one reason of deeming these photos as being too sexy, or w/e (what the eff are you even talking about really?) , is eye contact. Do you have an issue when a sexy woman in lingerie dares to look at you in your eyes and not away like some coquettish minx? If so, you're the problem, not her.

    5) Your post is trying way too hard. Are you a freshman taking your first film crit. class or something?

  • K. Y. Jellington

    Isn't Dustin a man's name? There's no way in the world a man wrote this. At least not any man with a working penis.

  • Clancys_Daddy

    Some of those photos have been floating around the internet for years. When they were taken the actress was the new "young" thing. To claim they are too classy for photos taken a decade ago is a false argument. Toss in to the pot that every one of them is an adult with a functional brain they can decide if they want to have their pictures taken the way the did or not it's called being an adult.

  • Codge

    It looks to me like the Emma Stone one is mocking the genre...

  • junierizzle

    Women don't want to be seen as sexual objects but they do want to be seen as sexy. The line is very blurry.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I'm not sure why Rachel Weisz's photo is considered "perfection" since it's basically the same exact sexy lingerie pose as all the others unless you think that she looks classier because she's not looking directly at the camera. That's just goofy.

  • Pheagan

    I have no idea what you're talking about but you seem to be saying there's a right way to be sexual and a wrong way to be sexual, and I simply can't agree with that.

  • e jerry powell


    Betty Grable. 1943.

    And this wasn't a magazine, it was a studio-produced publicity photo. This is what they've been selling since movies started, no? The "Come Get It, Boys?"

    Nature of the Beast. I ain't mad.

  • Slash

    Eh, whatever. I think they're all pretty cheesy, in the sense that nobody sits/lays like that naturally. They're all posing and projecting sexy. Which is fine. But I don't know how empowering it is. They're probably the better examples of what performers have to do (usually). Kinda like how lawyers have to wear a suit to court. You wouldn't normally wear a suit, but it's required as part of your job.

    And Jessica Chastain probably doesn't normally lounge naked (except for the shoes, because of course, gotta throw a bone [heh heh] to the shoe fetish people) in her bed while talking on the phone but she figured, "Hey, I just did a movie where I look kinda tired and raggedy-ass for 2 and half hours, I'll do some T&A so people will remember I'm a chick with a slammin' bod." I'm OK with that, I guess.

  • Artemis

    I appreciate the attempt to call out the seeming-requirement that actresses do sexy photoshoots (and to blame magazines, not the actresses in question, for it). But you're better than this, Dustin, or at least I thought you were. This article is every bit as patronizing and sexist as the photos it includes, and I honestly feel a little ill having read it expecting--from this site, and especially from you--something entirely different.

    You're conflating a couple of different ideas here in a way that's super-fucked up. One is the inherent grossness of photo shoots that try to make grown women look like sexy teenage (or younger) girls. That's the primary issue with the Emma Stone picture, and possibly with the ruffly little bathing suit on Isla Fisher. I think that's spot-on, but it's not really the main point you're making in this piece, and you refer to it in confusing and misleading ways whenever you find that you can't actually describe the issue that's bothering you.

    Because the actual premises you're relying on are really problematic. Like that there's a divide between "classy" actresses vs. non-classy actresses that appears to solely come down to "actresses Dustin thinks are good at acting and should be respected for that talent" vs. "actresses I don't respect for their acting skills and/or projects they choose." Because on the whole, the cast of Glee, most CW shows--and you do remember that's a group that at one time included Kristen Bell, right?--and Kat Denning do not get falling down drunk, flash people, leak their own sex tapes, or do anything else that would make them "non-classy." Nina Dobrev has been dating her co-star for several years, looks impeccable and suitably-covered-up at every red carpet event, does some charity work, and never appears in tabloid stories. Lea Michelle has been dating her co-star for years and occasionally makes bad fashion decisions on red carpets but similarly has never done anything to embarass herself. I don't think I've ever heard a bad word against any of the supporting actresses on either of their shows, or on any CW show outside of 90210. The idea that Anne Hathaway is classy because she turned out a great performance in Les Mis even though she (accidentally, to be fair) flashed both her vag and her nipples on the red carpet this year, but Amber Riley and Katie Cassidy are not because you don't respect the shows they appear on? And then going on to say that it's worse when the more respected actress does sexy photos, but it's just kind of expected from the less respected actress? Massive fucking sexist fail, right there.

    And then there's the big giant double standard that you're applying to the sexy photos themselves, which again seems to come back to ideas you've projected on to the actresses without any actual basis in fact, ideas about who is allowed to be sexual and in what ways. Rachel Weisz has been branded as a strong *and* strongly sexual type (see also: Monica Belluci), so when she's lying half-naked on a bed, gently tugging at her shirt, looking up at (presumably) a man with her mouth open--all of which, in the abstract, indicate the opposite of power or agency--she's owning her sexuality. But when Michelle Williams and Amanda Peet do the same thing (in Peet's case, with her mouth closed) in similar states of undress, it's somehow exploitive and gross--because they have been branded as quiet and vulnerable (Williams) or strong but not particularly sexual (Peet).

    In other words, how exploitive these pictures appear to you has SO MUCH MORE to do with how you view each of these women than with some objective difference in each of their photographs. Michelle Monaghan is sprawled on a couch and smiling at the camera a bit, but there's zero hint of "inviting you into her college dorm room with her eyes." If she was wearing pants, that would look like a completely normal picture of a woman relaxing at home. That she's not wearing pants--that in too many pictures, actresses are expected not to wear them--is the ACTUAL problem with the sexy-photo phenomenon. But for some reason *that* picture, which is certainly no more vulnerable than Weisz's, made you think "ugh, it's so gross that they made her pose like that," and I bet it had a lot to do with her good-girl image.

    And finally, your selection of pictures is itself an issue. Because if you google Rachel Weisz, you come up with a ton of photos of her that easily make her look more vulnerable or younger than half of what you have in this piece. Here's Rachel Weisz looking incredibly young and biting her nail nervously on a bed: http://www.whitegadget.com/att.... Here she is mostly undressed with her hands cuffed above her head: http://images.fanpop.com/image.... Maybe you'd agree those are exactly the kind of problematic pictures you wanted to talk about here -- but even so, I bet they don't horrify you the way they would have if they had featured best-known-for-playing-a-happily-married-mom Connie Britton (whose picture, of all those you showed above, is by far the best--she's wearing more clothing than most, she's in an active stance, she's not making any kind of come-hither eyes at the camera). You wanted to make a point about Amy Adams and Isla Fisher--two women who look kind of similar and are often compared to each other--but look at the difference in the pictures you chose to illustrate it. Amy Adams, who is by far the more respected actress, is fully clothed and sitting in a public place. Isla Fisher is mostly undressed and on a bed. OF COURSE the first one looks like she's more in control of her sexuality. But that's an issue with the amount of clothing they put on each woman, and the fact that the Amy Adams picture is not supposed to be overtly sexual. It has nothing to do with some actresses not "budg[ing] when it comes to respectful, empowering photos, even when they're practically nude"--since, again, Amy Adams is fully clothed and not in a sexual situation.

    In short: you have no idea whether Rachel Weisz or Connie Britton is more sexual, or more in control of her sexuality. But based on how they've been branded, you've decided that it's empowering when the first one is photographed mostly naked on a bed with a come-hither look but gross and sad when the second is photographed wearing more clothing and looking less like she's about to have sex. You have no reason at all to think that Nina Dobrev or Diana Agron are less "classy" than Carey Mulligan or Carla Gugino, but based solely on how much you like the projects they work on, you would be sad to see the latter two in a sexually exploitive shoot and would just kind of expect it from the first two. Seriously, take a moment and think about both of those things. And then take a break before you decide to try to take a stand for women again. We don't need this kind of help.

  • *applauds*. You said everything I was thinking and then some. Well said.

  • Ziver

    Have you ever seen the documentary Killing us softly? If not I think you might enjoy watching it. Basically it's about women's images in print media.

    One of the things she discusses is how women are always shown slightly angled away from the camera because it gives the impression of submissiveness. You'll find that true of all of the pictures you posted, each of the women looks submissive because their body language is indicating it. Men are posed square to the camera, face on. We find that to be dominant body language wise. If you look back at the pictures you view as "classy" you will find that it's largely because they are posed more squarely to the camera.. therefore more dominant and in charge of the image.

    If you saw a picture of any one of these women naked it wouldn't be the actresses "personality" that made it slutty it would be the body language that the photographer asked for. That same actress posed face on naked would give you an impression of power and confidence.

  • SnowMan

    I think it bears pointing out that the Rachel McAdams picture is from "Glamour," a magazine whose target demographic is women, not men.

  • Steph

    I agree with the general sentiment of this article, but I think the contempt behind it could be better directed towards the men behind the camera, rather than the models, feels a bit like slut shaming. Also, it's hard to draw the line between what's creepy and what's acceptable, I think it's a combination of how well shot the actual photo is, and the facial expression of the model. Most of these seem exploitative and make me feel vaguely uncomfortable looking at them.
    Here's a test I have devised: If you get a (hypothetical) boner, and it feels like the model is judging you, it's probably OK.

  • Sars

    I'm a woman. I'm a Feminist. And I WISH someone could shoot me like that/ make me look that hot- especially the Jessica Chastain ones...

    These women are power players. They AGREED to do this, and own their own sexuality. I agree that models, especially the underaged ones are sometimes exploited by the likes of Terry Richardson. These women however, do have the power to say no. If they said yes, they probably wanted to.

    Who are YOU, or any of us, to tell THEM, they are "too classy" to do this? Their body, Their decision.


  • pumpkin

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with being sexy or being photographed mostly or totally nude and doing so doesn't make one unclassy.

    What we have to consider, thought, is that everything we know about Hollywood tells us that many actresses don't feel like they have a choice if they want to have a career. So, it's their body and they say "yes," but maybe some of them would prefer not to have to thrust out their breasts and stick their asses in the air to get their next job.

  • alwaysanswerb

    I agree with your overall thesis 100%, but trying to break down the 'good' vs 'bad' photos in this set does strike me as very subjective. For me, without fail, the grossest ones are the low-budget Terry Richardson style ones that are some combination of overexposed (lighting-wise, though certainly the actress is too) and Instagram-looking. I don't, however, see a huge difference between the one of Weisz and, for example, Michelle Monaghan, or between Amy Adams and Isla Fischer.

  • Kballs

    Seems Jessica is a bit of mouth-breather. Close your mouth for one goddamned minute, woman!!!

  • Chris

    Ah yes, the old nude versus naked debate. John Berger certainly discusses that. It seems to me that you are interpreting eye contact as making the woman naked and therefore giving her sexuality to the viewer, but I think things are a bit more complicated than that. Ways of Seeing is a great start, but nudity/naked dichotomy is ultimately a dichotomy and therefore reductionist.

  • dilwazr

    Yeah, I think I see what you mean here--the "distasteful" photographs don't have a narrative; the women in them don't appear to be people (or characters, I guess). They just seem to be objects. I'm not sure I agree about the Rachel Weisz photo demonstrating much agency, though. That might just be a credit to the poise and self-possession of Rachel Weisz, rather than the shoot producer/photographer.

  • JenVegas


  • Skirts would be okay, too.

  • While I completely agree with the article and the points made therein, Dustin, the moment I reached the point where I could see the top of the Michelle Monaghan photo my id and man-parts immediately took over and I started growling and pawing at my monitor.

    I regret nothing.

  • Could you point me to the photo shoots for CW actresses that are similar to the ones you object to "classy" actresses doing? Because after searching for the past 30 minutes, I can't seem to find them for Nina Dobrev, Kat Graham, Katy Stoll, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexandra French, Kristin Kreuk, Katie Cassidy, or even Maggie Q (who always looks like she might kill you, even in sexy clothes). Is there some special site where you find these?

    Now, if you're referring to Leighton Meester, then sure, there are plenty of sexy and sometimes borderline infantalizing photos of her, and Blake Lively, too. In which case, single out Gossip Girl actresses and leave the others out of it.

    I know you like to crack on the CW, I'm guessing because you hate its demographic, but I'm not sure why you think being on long running, successful shows that have strong females in leading and/or support roles makes those actresses less classy or more inclined to do photo shoots you disapprove of. Most of them aren't famous enough to get the invite for those, but I'm sure their agents and publicists would be thrilled if they did.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    What *is* their demographic? I'm a 55 year old female and I watch several CW shows... Arrow, Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries for example. And I'm sure I'm not the only old fart that watches them either. Surely Dustin isn't being ageist. /sarc

  • Ah, I meant to say *target* demographic, which is 18-24, I would guess, mostly female, with a healthy dose of geeks. If I'd had the CW when it started, I likely would have watched Vampire Diaries, too. I'm on board with Arrow, and own all the Supernatural seasons. Their mythological research is, for the most part, surprisingly good.

  • Artemis

    SERIOUSLY. Nina Dobrev is the star of the biggest show on the CW--for several years now--and a google image search reveals exactly ZERO pictures of her in anything more revealing than a pair of shorts or a bikini with a tank top over it. Ditto Candice Accola and Kat Graham.

  • tangocharlie

    All I have to say is that I COVET Chastain's hair! It's the perfect red.

  • sardonical@aol.com

    Jesus Christ dude, they're just pictures. And your subjective judgement about what is "owning" one's sexuality, versus being a photo whore is just that... subjective judgement. Trying to mask your judgement of these actresses behind a veneer of "this is for your own good, ladies" is more misogynistic and annoying to me than an actress showing a little leg in a photo spread. It's not porn. It's just a picture. How is it any different than every attractive male actor posing shirtless in low-cut jeans?

  • Uriah_Creep

    I have deleted my comment and instead refer you to the one made by Artemis. I could not say it better.

  • Here's the thing: You're never going to see an actor posing spread-eagled in his underwear while sucking on a lollipop.

    You can say all you want about Empowerment and free choice and classy photos, blah blah, but the simple fact is that men in Hollywood aren't asked to prove that they're Sexy as well as Good Actors. That's the simple, depressing as shit truth of the matter. And while I'm sure a lot of the actresses are happy to do the sexy photo shoots, don't think for a second that they don't feel pressured to do them.

    I feel like I made this same argument yesterday with the Selena Gomez thing. Bleh. It's depressing as hell.

  • ScrimmySCrim

    The pressure to do these shoots is criminal. I agree with that completely.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    I see your actress posing spread-eagled in her underwear while sucking on a lollipop and raise you a Burt Reynolds.

  • And here I thought I would grow old and die without ever seeing Burt Reynolds public hair.

  • e jerry powell

    Except that I think that's exactly what Helen Gurley Brown was getting at when she published that shoot with Reynolds.

  • L.O.V.E.

    I'll call your Burt Reynolds, and raise you Nick Offerman.

  • Also, Jeebus that's a lot of hair.

  • We don't have enough of those photoshoots nowadays.

  • Cazadora

    Wow, that brings back some memories.

  • Like when male actors were allowed to have body hair instead of being waxed and shined?

  • e jerry powell

    That was a definite plus.

    Of course, being right after Deliverance, Reynolds thinks it cost the entire cast opportunities for winning Oscars.

    It was a simpler time.

  • chanohack

    Imagining a man in a similar position and outfit as most of these photos is what makes them truly ridiculous to me. (It's also why, forgive me, but I'm pretty okay with the Connie picture. She's not doing anything crazy, she's just hanging out in her underwear. People do that in real life.)

  • Steph

    Men do have to do these, the difference is their pictures are all more like that Rachel Weisz one up there; there's connotation of power and it never feels like they're degrading themselves.

  • Shut Up Already

    Bradley Cooper was interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR a while back and they talked a little about doing some embarrassing shit for shoots. If I remember correctly, he mentioned a couple where he just felt ridiculous, but eventually he got to a point where he had enough clout to say, "Look, no, I'm not doing that." (The whole interview is great, too.)

    Although I think his "no I'm not doing that" was just something stupid with a trampoline, which is a far cry from some of ^^^ that stuff…

  • Dudes have to take sexy photos too (I love Joe Manganiello and you almost never see a photo of him with his shirt on, which is exactly why I love him so). Man sexy is different from woman sexy. I would rather NOT see Daniel Craig in his underpants eating candy. So I'm not sure that men are spared the obligatory sexy photo shoot, it's just different sexy.

    I'm not opposed to artful and interesting sexy shots (see Rachel Weisz), I think it just blows to see gorgeous, smart, talented women reduced to "mostly naked bouncing on trampoline" girls.

  • oilybohunk7

    I was thinking of the first picture of Fassbender. I like to think of it often. http://cdn03.cdnwp.thefrisky.c...

  • John G.

    Isn't Joanna on the "look at these sexy people" beat here at Pajiba? Why is this one written by Dustin?

  • knifeyspoony

    so that he can be paternalistic and wag his finger at the women who aren't acting up to his standards. duh.

  • L.O.V.E.

    "Amy Adams is controlling her sexuality in her photo while Isla Fisher is giving it up."


    In trying to be Mr. Feminism you are being belittling and dismissive.

    You want to know which of those two pictures is more realistic? I promise you men will go another 50 years without walking into a diner and seeing a woman dressed like that in that pose. Its "artistic", but its bullshit. Its basically from a Guess catalog. Assuming its intended, the picture of Isla Fisher, beauty superimposed over vulnerability, is a better picture. I have seen that woman in real life. She is pretty, but she isnt used to dressing that way, and she fears that her cellulite is sticking out, and her man won't find it sexy...

    Or, she really regrets doing this photo shoot. We don't really know what is going on in the photographer's head or the subjects'. But I'm not going to argue they should be "above" these shoots.

  • Kate at June

    I find the sexualization of a woman in an inherently non sexual situation a bit weirder than a sexualized woman in bed in lingerie.

    Let me just strap on my stilettos and lay down in this booth and spread my legs.


  • HarrionKarstark

    If you go to a diner late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, you will see women dressed in their "Saturday Night Fever" trying to lessen hangover effects with greasy food.

  • whirligig7

    Agreed. That Isla Fisher picture was a terrible example. I think she looks gorgeous, artsy, and vulnerable... not "come hither" at all.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Come on, Emma! You can't pedal a bicycle in those boots!

  • Sars

    Sadly, living downtown Toronto, I've seen, and KNOW people that do...my own sister being one of them

  • toblerone

    That Emily Blunt photo is truly awful.

    What about these two?

    Side Note: Amy Adams is the most under appreciated actress in Hollywood Pajibaland.

  • senecafalls

    Er, doesn't Amy have like 3 Oscar nominations already?

  • alwaysanswerb

    "These are the worst, and I have never once been able to look at them without being slightly uncomfortable, and if I never had to see them again I wouldn't shed nary a single tear," said my internal monologue, while externally I remained silent as they were used as yet another header photo

  • pumpkin

    I totally agree and I like both women as actresses. This photo says they can't just be funny and beautiful. They also have to strip down to their lingerie and spank each other.

  • Tinkerville

    That's what I find a little hypocritical about this post. Those pictures have been used countless times as header photos on Pajiba, probably because they feature Pajiba favorite actresses, and probably because it helps get hits on those articles.

    So "distasteful" photos are okay as long as they're Pajiba-approved?

  • logan

    Exactly. I've been saying the same thing for awhile. I like this site but all celebs are divided into Pajiba approved and not Pajiba approved and that's it. There is not crossover, there is no change. We see the same header photos or same people in header photos all the time.

  • Lee

    I find that the most irritating thing about this site.

  • madamemeisha

    I don't think she's really underappreciated; she's been nominated for four Oscars. She's really great.

    These pictures are so irritating, but I feel like I've seen them posted here on Pajiba numerous times. Is it that these actresses aren't "classy" enough and therefore these reductive come hither poses are acceptable?

  • toblerone

    Yes, " I should rephrase that to "Pajiba's most under appreciated actress".

  • That one will never not piss me off.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin


  • chanohack

    I hate hate hate that picture of Emma Stone. And Jessica Chastain is so incredibly sexy and beautiful and good for her, but come on girlfriend. Opening your mouth under the tub tap? You're better than this.

  • Semilitterate

    Emma Stone photo strikes me as nothing more than a Norman Rockwell image, cute expression on her face, the bicycle denotes innocence and oh yeah, kinda flirty. I thought it was the best pic of the bunch

  • chanohack

    Are you fucking serious? Norman Rockwell images should not be blended with sexual images. Yes, it's cute and innocent and oh yeah, it makes her look like A CHILD. We should not want to FLIRT with that cute innocent CHILD, nor should she be flirting with us. The fact that her undies are visible and she has that scared/surprised look on her face is sick. It's like she's saying, "Whoops, AHHH! Don't look at my panties! I'm only twelve!" And we're supposed to think, what, "Oh how cute, she doesn't yet realize that her body is for us! How innocent of her! I'm horny." GROSS. GROSS.

    Even if that photo shoot was supposed to ironically show how gross photo shoots are, the fact that some people completely miss the point and think it's fine is so fucking telling.

  • pumpkin

    I agree about Emma Stone.

    Let's see...she's riding home from middle school wearing inappropriate shoes and,oopsie, she hits a rock. Gross.

  • Bobbs3k

    Maybe Jessica just wanted a drink of water. She figures I'm already in the tub no sense in dripping water all over the place to get a glass from the kitchen so she turns on the faucet and takes a drink. Simple as that. All the rest is your mind playing tricks on you.

  • chanohack

    Maybe so. Maybe she figured that she'd already ruined her dress by getting in the sexy tub and didn't want to ruin the rug by dripping soapy water all over it as well. Also, how to stand up? She's in a really awkward position and doesn't seem to have a lot of room to move around, so yeah, maybe she's just totally thirsty! Maybe that's why she got in the tub with her clothes and shoes on, because she's dying of thirst! Maybe the photographer yelled, "Give me thirsty. YES. YOU'RE SO THIRSTY." The more I think about it, the more normal this whole scenario seems.

  • Kate at June

    I do that all the time though usually the warm water is a bit of a let down.

  • Bobbs3k

    Glad we can agree. Pajiba bringing people together since um whenever the heck it was founded.

  • Jezzer

    I'm sorry, but the Connie Britton photo looks like we've just walked in on Mom and Dad shooting a sex tape.

  • Brown

    Can I be the Dad?

  • This whole article just seems... odd to me. Weird. Like, Kat Dennings choosing to do a "come-hither" look automatically means she's not a "classy" actress?

  • Pentadactyl

    For me, the direct gaze ones seem to be less exploitative. Even the blatantly whatever ones like Stone's or Blunt's. That they're staring down the camera makes all the difference and makes me feel like they're owning their sexuality, as the author put it. The Chastain ones are the most off putting to me b/c the way they're framed, the lack of direct gaze, the overexposed quality, kind of gives off the feeling that she isn't even aware of the camera.

  • BendinIntheWind

    I think there is one key component you may have overlooked in regards to how these women have a "power" over their sexuality: though they're obviously being objectified and are presenting themselves purely as sexual objects, they are still completely unattainable. They are safe in the confines of a photograph, where you can't have them, and they know it.

    I don't disagree that there is an extremely high prevalence of distasteful borderline-predatory glossy shoots these days (and I have nothing but bile to spew at Terry Richardson, the main offender in my opinion), but if I had the goods, I'd show them off, too. With the exception of Emma Stone, who is the youngest of the bunch and whose photo is easily the grossest on this list, all of these women seem to have an air of "yes I'm hot, and yes I know it, but no, you will never ever have me".

  • mograph

    Look at the face. In the successful shots, we are focused more on the woman's personality, her agency. She looks as if she could initiate the promised sexual congress, or at least act as an interesting, exciting partner. Yes, we see the terrific body, but she in in control of our access to it, and that's great. It makes her more valuable. She can talk, too! She definitely has something to offer, and it's energetic. Also, the scenarios are exciting: how did this come about? What time of day is this? Did we just do it, or are we going to do it? What are we saying to each other? Those shots make me want to extend the pre-congress tension because it just looks sooooo good.

    However, in the unsuccessful shots, she presents her body, but that is all. It's laid out there for us to examine and consume with no involvement from her. If you just want a place to stick it, or if you want to dominate someone (who isn't offering much resistance), there you go.

  • Artemis

    If that was it, the pictures of Connie Britton and Paula Patton would have been at the top of the good list instead of being presented as examples of exploitation. They're in by far the least passive poses--in fact, other than the french maid and little girl on a bicycle, they're the only ones not lying down (Britton's is definitely better than Patton's on the active-pose front, but they both beat everyone else). And both are looking directly at the camera and smiling, like they have agency and would initiate things.

    So why didn't they get praise? Because we think of Connie Britton as a mom-figure who can only be sexy in a buttoned-up way, and her picture looks kind of awkward--which may be a reason it's not hot, but isn't at all a reason it's exploitive. And because Patton's picture reminds us of "unclassy" girls: the orange underwear doesn't look as expensive as Rachel Weisz's outfit, Patton herself is less well known, and I'm sure race plays a big role. Replace Patton with Monica Belluci in something lace-trimmed, and that picture would be at the top of the post with a description that likened her to a stalking cat.

  • Anna von Beav



    I'ma do it every single time, man. I can't even help it.

  • Afferbeck

    I only know a few of them. The only one that's truly bad is the Emma Stone one. Oh god why.

  • pumpkin

    The problem with that photo is that if they're not actually mocking it. She's there, in pigtails, on a middle schooler's bike, with her underwear showing and her mouth wide open, to the delight of any heterosexual males that might read GQ.

  • SnowMan

    If I remember correctly, that photo is from an issue of GQ dedicated to comedy, with Ms. Stone "starring" as the magazine's pick for funniest actress. In context, that photo (and the couple of others included with the article) served to mock the "sexy starlet" photo shoots that we're talking about here. It was obvious that the photos (and the situations therein) were designed to be corny and over-the-top.
    (Is it ironic that GQ can both perpetrate these photographic crimes, and then feature a photo spread demonstrating just how absurd these types of pictures can be? Absolutely).

  • PaddyDog

    Thanks for this piece. Anyone whose ever read my posts knows that this is one of those subjects that automatically makes me rant and rave. Why, ladies, why?

  • TSF

    Chastain gave me a guilty boner. Sorry.

  • kushiro -

    Look, people can go on and on about critical acclaim and awards and whatever, but I can't truly know if someone is a good actress until I've seen what she would look like getting ready for some doggystyle on a sofa.

    It's just science.

  • Zzzzz

    These pictures make it clear that they're NOT CLASSY ladies. Even A-Listers have a level of famewhore in them.

  • Artemis

    1) Part of the job of being an actress is to stay famous so that you stay profitable so that you keep getting hired for things. That's not famewhoring.

    2) When was the last time you accused an actor of being a famewhore because he did a photoshoot for a magazine, partially undressed or not?

    3) How classy you are has nothing to do with whether you have posed for pictures less than fully clothed.

    4) Fuck you.

  • Jakesalterego

    Yeah! Those sluts!

  • MauraFoley

    I was ready to hate this because of the headline, but I kind of see your point.

  • AJ

    The Chastain is seriously hot in that picture

  • ERM

    Michele Williams was doing the press rounds for the Marilyn Monroe movie when that photo was taken, so I think she gets a pass.

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