Today's Evil Beet Gossip

Rashida Jones Writes Essay On “The Pornification of Everything”


Rashida Jones seemed to be wagging (a big foam finger?) at Miley when she tweeted during the VMA fallout,

This week’s celeb news takeaway: she who comes closest to showing the actual inside of her vagina is most popular. #stopactinglikewhores

She got a lot of flack for that tweet, particularly the part about “whores.” She tried to explain that she was not slut-shaming in follow-up tweets, but that wasn’t enough for her because she’s written an essay for Glamour magazineWhy Is Everyone Getting Naked? Rashida Jones on the Pornification of Everything.

It’s a looong essay, so I’m only going to pluck a few choice bits from it and leave it up to you to read the rest.

On the backlash from her tweets:

I’m not gonna lie. The fact that I was accused of “slut-shaming,” being anti-woman, and judging women’s sex lives crushed me. I consider myself a feminist. I would never point a finger at a woman for her actual sexual behavior, and I think all women have the right to express their desires. But I will look at women with influence—millionaire women who use their “sexiness” to make money—and ask some questions. There is a difference, a key one, between “shaming” and “holding someone accountable.”

On what she meant by her hashtag:

So back to the word whore. 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. (Also, let’s be real. Every woman’s sexuality is different. Can all of us really be into stripper moves? The truth is, for every woman who loves the pole, there’s another who likes her feet rubbed. But in pop culture there’s just one way to be. And so much of it feels staged for men, not for our own pleasure.)

Her message to record executives:

When you market young pop stars, can you please try to apply some of your own personal moral parameters? (I’m just going to assume you don’t take off your suit midmeeting and do a selfie with a whipped-cream bra.)

Her message to women:

Let’s at least try to discuss the larger implications of female sexuality on pop culture without shaming each other. There’s more than one way to be a good feminist. Personally, I loved the Lily Allen “Hard Out Here” video—a controversial send-up of tits-and-ass culture. She helped start a conversation. Let’s continue it.

Her message to men:

WHERE ARE YOU??? Please talk to us about how all this makes you feel. You are 49 percent of the population; don’t sit around and let women beat one another up while you intermittently and guiltily enjoy the show. Speak up! We care what you think!

Her message to pop stars:

Please stop saying you don’t want to be role models. Because, guess what: You are. You want to sell millions of albums? You want to sell out a tour? You depend on the millions of people who adore you. So maybe just consider some sort of moral exchange program, in the same way that carbon credits make people feel better about driving an SUV. Go ahead and make videos in which your ass cheeks slap water around in slow motion; go ahead and tweet pictures of your undercarriage. But perhaps every eleventh song or video, do something with some more clothes on? Maybe even a song that empowers women to feel good about some other great quality we have? Like, I don’t know…our empathy, or childbearing skills, or ability to forgive one another for mean tweets?

I’m going to leave it there. I think she’s a smart woman with excellent points, but I still don’t think she gets why people were so miffed by her “#stopactinglikewhores” tweet.

What do you guys think?

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24 CommentsLeave a comment

  • She’s spot on! The slut shaming is a pretense, a distraction, to avoid actually thinking about the many good points she is making.

    It’s the quickest and lamest way to abort the conversation about hyper-sexualization.

    • Slut-shaming is not a distraction. It’s a serious form of bigotry that implies that a woman’s human worth, respectability, self-respect, and status as good or bad people are determined not by their spirit and the way they treat and view those around them, but instead by their ‘sexual purity’ and modest dress. Rashida does have some valid points, but that still doesn’t make the slut-shaming in both her initial comment and her essay fine and dandy.

      • To clarify: not saying that slut shaming is ok or trivial. I’m not trying to pass judgement either way. My point was that focusing only on that aspect of what she said distracts from the rest of her message-which I think is more than valid.

      • How are we to be expected to respect women who don’t even respect themselves? If we can’t slut-shame, what’s this world coming to? A whore: don’t act like one. Ok. I get that.
        Whenever I hear the word, it makes me think of the Dave Chappelle stand-up, “well, you’re wearing a whore’s uniform…”
        I’m getting so tired of the buzz-word feminism. No one who is going around proclaiming their status as a feminist nowadays actually qualifies IMO. Miley is no Gloria Steinem.

      • @Jacqueline: Whether or not you’re a liberal atheist or a religious conservative, you have been influenced by the world’s patriarchal religious myth that a woman’s self-respect and respectability as a human being are not determined by who she is as a person, but by her sexual modesty, because revealing clothes, nudity, and sexual dance moves are ‘bad’. When in reality, a person of either sex can enjoy nudity, overt sexuality, and sexual openness and still have self-respect and be a good person.

        That’s what’s wrong with slut-shaming. It’s an attack on bodily and sexual autonomy, and it teaches that a woman’s real or perceived ‘sexual purity’ determines her overall worth. This attitude is responsible for bullying and suicide among teenage girls, victim-blaming, and a lot of the sexual purity-related violence that young women and girls all over the world have been facing for thousands of years.

  • Rashida has a valid point. I don’t see feminism in the actions of Miley or Lady Gaga when they strip down to near (and complete in Gaga’s case) nudity, and working with Terry Richardson who is a disturbing individual to me. A woman can be sexy and empowering and still keep her clothes on. Stripping down to me is more about men and the male gaze. These women are conforming to a male idea of female empowerment, which is strip down (or off completely) and do things for men in order to benefit in a monetary way. Gaga began taking off her clothes the more her record began to tank. Miley has admitted to her antics as something for attention.

    call me old fashion but I keep thinking of Dusty Springfield, though her personal life was a disaster at times, she was strong in her professional work. She was often called a bitch because she knew what she wanted from her music and directed the male musicians. She kept her clothes on and let her voice do the work. She had genuine talent that was all she needed to rely on.

    I also think of Debbie Harry who was 30 when Blondie took off. She had talent and beauty, she may have skirted the line with wearing a shirt and undies or a short dress onstage but she carried it with a bit of class and dignity. She along worth Chris Stein led Blondie, she wasn’t a pawn and she wasn’t going to do anything for cheap attention.

    And lastly Madonna, well she sort of launched this type of thing, yet with Madonna I have to say it did feel more of someone in charge than a pawn. There was a cold distance in her nudity and almost dare at least back in the day. When she flashed her bottom and breasts more recently when she was on tour that felt contrived and a bit desperate. She should be above that, Madonna has earned her place through hard work and talent, no need to fall back into cheap gimmicks.

    There is sexual and empowering and owning one’s sexuality on their own terms, but the way it is happening now, it doesn’t feel like empowering women, it feels as if they are still ultimately behind the men because that who will truly benefit from this new concept of feminism. Men don’t have to take their clothes off and they sell 700,000 plus records, a female singer takes her clothes off and sells 200,000 plus. I’m not sure how much someone like Adele sells off hand, or I’d note it. It’s still very very imbalanced which is what true feminism is supposed to be about, balancing and equality.

    Ladies, put out stellar work, take pride in the music and polish that. Make sure you are bullet proof with what you should be; your talent as a singer and musician. If you are beautiful and sexy that will come through anyway no need to force it. Don’t focus on stunts, and gimmicks to top one another. because in the end you are losing the race to male musicians and singers who work harder on their music than image. It’s a sad reality.

    • But you’re forgetting that nudity and even overt sexuality are not bad things, or even things that just men enjoy. Nudity and open sexuality are not always slavery to the male gaze.

      I’m not saying that the male gaze and desire for attention aren’t factors in a lot of the skin-baring and overt sexuality that we see today. But there are other motives that can have for nudity and overt sexuality that don’t fall under these categories. One of these can be pure enjoyment and pleasure, since sexuality and the baring and viewing of the human body are natural human pleasures, and to a lot of us (myself included) the human body and sexuality are both forms of living art. Another motivation is to rebel a culture that tells us that we have to be sexually modest in order to be good, valuable human beings and keep ourselves safe.

      • “Another motivation is to rebel a culture that tells us that we have to be sexually modest in order to be good, valuable human beings and keep ourselves safe.”

        Or maybe, because controlling and censoring our own impulses makes us humans, and shoving naked butt in people faces makes us baboon in heat? While in proper situation it’s fascinating and arousing, in front of people of all kinds it’s annoying, like dog, who wont stop humping your chair, or very loud neibourghs. Unsexy. In fact sometimes it gets so boring, that my libido goes to sleep.

  • Having nice and satisfying sexual life and flashing everyone in public with your private parts (PRIVATE parts in PUBLIC) is quite different. I really don’t mind if woman is having fun, but i feel violated when someone if forcing me to see said parts or copulate on scene on MTV gala, which i may find interresting for some other reasons.

    Calling this feminism though, it is absurd. To use classic feministic terms it’s complete sexual objefication. It’s sexist. It’s degrading. Woman can be sexual being without acting like a whore.

    I’d like to see male celebrity dangling his genitals on red carpet. He would be arrested for public indecency. Girls are not – why? I thought men and women deserves equal rights.

    • Calling a woman a whore as an insult for dressing and dancing however she pleases (as she has the right to), and implying that a person who has a vagina lowers her human self in value by doing so is far more degrading to women as a group than revealing clothes ever could be. Also, I’ve never seen a person of either sex bare their genitalia on the red carpet.

      • Jamie Alexander, dear, if you want someone you may recognize, though in my country there’s a lot of this recently. Dressing an dancing, you say? Perfectly alright. Not undressing and copulating, unless in private. That may be fun.

        Why only person with vagina? If boys were doing such thing it would be exactly as sad. And yes, degrading, degrading to anyone doing this. i’m feeilling both offended and sorry for the poor girl, who believes that she will be the greatest feminist in the world if she keeps exposing all of her sexuality, earning money for her pimps, the ones who told her so. One would think that century of fighting for women’s rights will change that, but it seems that exploitation starts to use new, more deceitful methods.

        And whats so wrong with a word whore? Whore in this context means a number of traits respective to this profession. Like wearing a hard hat is for build worker. And i will insist on this term, because prostitute is too unspecific, there are many kinds of sex workers, and some of them lacks in skimpy outfit department and general vulgarness.

  • She’s missing the point entirely. The problem is using the word “whore” as a judgemental term at ALL, because some woman ARE whores. Like actually prostitute themselves. Sexually. For a living. And they get treated terribly. They get raped and abused. And the same people enforcing the laws against them are also Johns, and abusers. Some of them are forced into the job, and some do it by choice. But as long as her argument is , “I’m not saying you ARE a whore, I’m just saying stop ACTING like a whore…” then she is part of the problem affecting these women, who will NEVER be shamed into non existence, because there will always be a demand for them. It’s token feminism if you’re excluding millions of women from your feminism.

  • I agree with Rashida. I think its hard to say something along the lines of stop acting like “whatever action is frowned upon” (in this case like a “whore”) without getting the backlash of you saying that means YOU’RE not a feminist either! women can do what they want!!

    well yes, yes they can. Humans in general can do whatever they want. men AND women. But being sexually promiscuous or enjoying your body is not the same thing as wearing underwear and gyrating on a pole in public purely for shock value.

    If you feel more comfortable walking around in bikinis or what have you all day then all the more to you. If you want to have sex with everyone you meet, have at it. But maybe just don’t simulate sex in “public” ALL the time? shock value is just that and i think its okay for people to be told that (keyword) Sometimes its inappropriate.

    When the MIley VMA scandal shit happened, I laughed at it! At 20, before it was called “twerking”, I used to dance the exact same way at clubs with my friends. its fun and i dont care and didnt care then what people thought about it. I was just having a good time. But If i was at a birthday party where kids were around, I have enough restraint to not dance that particular way around impressional minds so as to set an example and I think thats the point. There is a time and a place. And Sure maybe the MTV is one performance and just a show, but the same “show” is the only version of Miley thats being protrayed right now and thats the only thing these kids see.

    Gyrate with your friends, take off your clothes at a bar. But maybe leave a little more to the imagination when you know a certain audience is going to be around? Maybe not everytime but at least every once in awhile?

    And to me, Rashida basically said that. She said have your tits and ass out sure, but every once in awhile (maybe your 11th video) make a video, make a STATEMENT that says women are worth more than taking their clothes off and simulating sexual acts. Women have more depth and sides to them.

    We as women have layers and different facets to our personalities. We can be sexy, smart, funny, shy, aggressive, loyal,..etc. etc. When you are in the public eye constantly and the majority of the other women in the public eye are all doing the same shock naked/gyrating sexual things to get ahead people get the impression that thats what women are/ thats what they (we) do. Thats how you succeed. you use your body. You use sex.

    Rashida, in my view, is saying Okay be sexy. But also be responsible recognize your being watched and be a good example every once in awhile. You don’t have to always have on this “naked” persona to be successful. Show people there is more to a woman then her body. And I agree with that. Coming from a woman who loves dancing sexy and having fun. dressing “slutty” every once in awhile. But also a woman who loves putting on a suit and going to work and making a difference in this world. Life is a balance and for young impressionable minds its important that can see all aspects.

    Own your body and sexual Prowess and Own your brain and personality. Don’t let one over power the other. That’s what I got out of it.

  • So what kind of message are these women sending out to a whole generation of other young women who think that being “empowered” or a “feminist” (Miley Cyrus’s words) means dressing and acting like a hooker? By clutching their crotches and gyrating like cheap strippers? By twerking Santa Claus and grabbing a dwarf’s boob? By thinking that this illustrates artistic and moral freedom?

    I have to shake my head in utter disbelief that this is what young girls would aspire to – to buy into the media hype that power comes from ultimately debasing oneself to the sluttish wet dreams of powerful men in the music industry who have no interest or appreciation of a woman’s talent, intelligence or integrity. She just needs to be f*ckable.

    These young women could do so much with their millions to influence other young women. How about to promote education, freedom from male tyranny and enforced prostitution, grinding poverty and sweat shop jobs, female circumcision and lack of birth control…well no, they flash their boobs and grab their crotches and sing their mindlessly sexual lyrics to hoards of impressionable teenagers who think this is what girl power is all about.

    In the days of Josephine Baker her stage shows, while provocative, were truly emancipating, and along with her work during WWII and the civil rights movement, she made a huge impact on race relations. Maybe even Madonna’s early years had a positive impact on how young women saw themselves, but Madonna is now nothing more than a self-obsessed, money-making machine and a tired, somewhat sad caricature of herself, straining to maintain relevance.

    It seems that women take some steps forward, only to be dragged back not by our peers but by a younger generation hooked on looks, money and sex as the only measures of worth.

    And I thought all that ended decades ago…guess I was wrong. I’m with Rashida all the way.

      • Not sure who you think you are but the biggest douche bag on this site . You really need to get a life beside trolling the net to put people down so you feel good about your pathetic life .

      • It’s pretty creepy how sick your mind is . My heart goes out to your kids . I’m hoping their just in your mind and you actually probably live in your parents basement and troll the net all day . Maybe you should talk to your therapist about increasing your meds .

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