Remember this picture from yesterday?
2.) It’s actually part of a much bigger story.
The Pirelli calendar is, as far as I can tell, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition for Italian tire companies. For the past 40 years, they’ve been putting out calendars with artsy, tasteful nudes of super models. Which is cool. As long as everyone is a consenting adult, it’s no one’s business which naked bodies people want to look at. But, and this is a surprising thing to write, pictures of traditionally beautiful, naked women might be played out. Which is why Pirelli has decided this year to feature women whose looks are only one of the things they bring to the table.
Instead of supermodels, the calendar features brilliant, talented women whose defining feature is their success instead of their appearance. Actress Yao Chen, philanthropist, actress and, yes, model Natalia Vodianova, film producer Kathleen Kennedy, philanthropist and activist Agnes Gund, Serena Williams, Dreamworks Chairman Mellody Hobson, author Fran Leibovitz, Ava DuVernay, writer and blogger Tavi Gevinson, artist Shirin Neshat, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith and Amy Schumer.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think pictures of beautiful, naked supermodels aren’t still sought after or won’t continue to be taken and published. I’m only arguing that there are only so many “new” things you can do when presenting traditionally beautiful women. It’s actually one of the self- inflicted downsides of having such rigorous standards of beauty. If your requirement is that only “beautiful” women can pose in your magazine and “beautiful” is defined as only as fitting a very specific standard in appearance, then you have to reject any talented, hilarious, visionary woman who doesn’t fit that mold. No Amy Schumer, no Ava DuVernay, no Yoko Ono.
It’s also one of the few “fuck yous” that average women get to say to the beauty industry. “You want to judge us only on our looks? And the measuring rod is your impossible standards? Well fuck you then. You don’t get to have any of this awesome shit that we’re bringing to the party.” Society all too often judges a woman’s value solely on her looks. We’re all learning pretty quickly that the person most negatively affected by that is us.