Why do men in America feel entitled to women? A gallery of reasons

On the Santa Barbara massacre, the Atlantic reports:

Suffice it to say that the killer was a misogynist, and that lots of women have reacted to his rampage by reflecting on how women are denied full personhood.


PolyMic reports:

Rather than seeing Elliot Rodger as a product of society, the media has depicted him as a bloodthirsty madman, a mere glitch in the system.


New Statesman reports:

The ideology behind these attacks – and there is ideology – is simple. Women owe men. Women, as a class, as a sex, owe men sex, love, attention, “adoration”

I’m reposting a blog I wrote after seeing Jimmy Fallon’s Vanity Fair cover. Look at these images. When will women in America be recognized as human beings equal to men?

Vanity Fair’s sexist Jimmy Fallon profile erases his wife, highlights Victoria Secret models

I’m a huge Jimmy Fallon fan. This is why I bought the new Vanity Fair where he’s on the cover even though it annoyed me that Fallon is shown in a suit while he’s flanked by two nameless women in bathing suits.


There are more pics of Fallon and naked women inside the magazine. Reading the caption, I learned that the women are Victoria’s Secret models.

There is a third picture of Fallon and the women at what looks like New York’s Natural History museum. Once again, the women are in skimpy bikinis and we get a full view of ass. Fallon is once again pictured in a suit.

Showing important, powerful men fully clothed while women appear as naked accessories underscores the idea that men valued for what they do and think while women are valued for how they appear. Vanity Fair repetitively resorts to this sexism. There’s a famous photo featuring naked Scarlett Johanssen, Keira Knightly, and Tom Ford. When Rachel McAdams refused to undress, she was asked to leave.


Of course, Vanity Fair is hardly alone in promoting this sexist imagery. Here are five GQ covers that came out simultaneously: four men are shown in suits, one woman is shown naked.


What about Rolling Stone?



There’s Justin Timberlake’s “Tunnel Vision” video where he is clothed and the women are naked.

Many claimed Timberlake was copying Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” video where he is clothed and the women are naked, a pairing repeated in the infamous Miley Cyrus performance (where Miley was blamed for being a slut.)

“Alternative” musicians resort to the same cliche. Did you see Nick Cave’s latest album cover?


The truth is, we’ve been dealing with the clothed man-naked woman pairing for a long time. Here’s a famous painting by Edouard Manet in the Musee D’Orsay in Paris that would make a perfect Vanity Fair cover.


But here’s what really pissed me off about the Jimmy Fallon article. As I wrote, I’m a fan of the comedian, but part of the reason I bought the magazine is because I wanted to know more about his wife, Nancy Juvonen. She’s a film producer and a business partner of Drew Barrymore. Both Barrymore and Juvonen are interested in making movies where cool women get to have adventures. I wanted to hear the whole story about how Juvonen and Fallon met and fell in love, just the kind of thing you’d expect to find in a Vanity Fair profile right? They recently had a daughter, Winnie, so I assumed Fallon would be asked about being a new father. I’m an avid reader of Us Weekly and People and I often see pictures of their family. Fallon is always cuddling his baby, playing with her, smiling at her, and I was curious about his thoughts on raising a girl in the world. Another thing I wanted to hear about: Fallon is 39 while Juvonen is 46, a rare gap in Hollywood where a woman’s age is measured closer to dog years than man years. Do you see my point here? Fallon married a successful career woman who is 7 years older than him, and this, besides his talent, is part of the reason I admire the guy. But here’s the weird thing: Nancy Juvonen is missing from Fallon’s profile.

Juvonen isn’t mentioned at all until 5 pages into the piece. After writing that Fallon always watched “SNL” alone, the text reads:

His one concession to adulthood is that he now watches the program with his wife, the film producer Nancy Juvonen, and if she is awake his baby daughter, Winnie, born last July.

Can you imagine Vanity Fair doing a profile on a famous woman and not mentioning her big time producer husband or her new baby until page 5? The piece goes on for two more pages and there are just two more brief references to Juvonen. Here’s all the magazine has to say on how they met and why they married.

Though the Fever Pitch experience had a saving grace–it was through the film that he met Juvonen, one of its producers who he would marry in 2007– he considers his LA years kind of a lost period.

Here’s the final reference to Juvonen, about persuading Fallon to become the “Tonight Show” host.

It was Fallon’s wife who persuaded him to go with Michael’s instinct. “Nancy was like, ‘You’ve got to try it. You’ll be one of three human beings who have done it– Letterman, Conan, and you. You have to do it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work,’” Fallon said.

That’s it. WTF? All Fallon’s wife gets in a profile is a few sentences in passing coupled with a cover and three photos where he’s shown with naked women? That’s not the Jimmy Fallon I love or wanted to read about.

93 thoughts on “Why do men in America feel entitled to women? A gallery of reasons

  1. There’s nothing wrong with being naked. Lol you’re probably hideous and in some huge weird resistance to being feminine.Men in suits never showed power to me, but lana del Rey looks amazing so

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  3. If a woman owes a man sex, love, whatever, it’s because she voluntarily consented, much like any other debt.
    Example: Jack signed a note to me for $200. If he doesn’t pay, I can’t take a gun with me and force him on pain of death to pay me. I have to sue him in small claims court.
    All a man can legally do if a woman promised to have sex with him and then welshes, is to refuse to take her out again. If she came on the date in his car, he’d better not dump her without seeing that she has a safe way to get home (that’s a crime, not a civil matter).
    G.G., I wouldn’t want to have sex with a woman who felt coerced. Even if she obviously really didn’t wanna but was willing, I don’t think so. Even when you’re married and are morally obligated to accommodate one another’s sexual desires, it isn’t what I or most really want.

    • Let me see! Entitled? Gee, I get to take her out on a date ( I will be graded on my wardrobe, choice of venue,etc.), I get to pay for it (I am SO entitled!) and she might agree to see me again and she might not. Wow! This sounds so wonderful to be so ENTITLED! Gee,where do I sign up?

  4. American men feel entitled to women… and will strongly deny women face any mistreatment with objectification and try to dismiss things, as I can see by the comments. I’m sorry tou have to deal with this sh*tty type of men, ladies.

  5. Okay, here’s an example to consider about men feeling entitled to women: how about when in public place,(club, bus, cafe, park etc.) a random guy sees a female he finds attractive, and he tries to get her attention with whatever remark or opening line, and let’s say the woman is uninterested, so she blows him off with “Don’t speak to me” or “I have a boyfriend” or some phrase that conveys ‘Take a Hike’ …..
    And what happens next? The dude calls her names and guilt-shames her with something like “Oh she’s too good for me” or “You could at least say hi” or some line that is supposed to guilt her into paying attention and giving the guy sone play.
    What’s up with that? She doesn’t owe the guy any attention….especially some random stranger! Yet he feels entitled to have her give him kind polite words and eye contact? What for? You’re going to call her a bitch anyway, and there’s no law in that says she has to speak back or be civil!
    Sometimes the thing to do is back off and quit the aggressive demands.

  6. You’re an “avid reader of Us Weekly and People”? I’m all for your view points but purchasing said magazines just adds fuel to the fire, put ’em down read some Beuvoir.

    • Hi ME,

      I do read Beauvior. Right now, I’m actually re-reading Luce Irigaray who is my favorite French feminist philosopher. I’m also reading Middlemarch for the first time and loving it. I’m fascinated by the places where reality meets fantasy, and the tabloids are one of those intriguing places, where real life becomes confused with the imaginary and vice versa. Generally, I don’t subscribe to the highbrow/ lowbrow split of academia vs culture for the “less educated.” There can be just as much to offend me or make me think in a chapter of Faulkner as in an issue of Us Weekly.


      • Thank you!! Loved your response. You can reference a “gossip rag” and “high brow” literature…BOTH without reserve or shame. Lit snobs always resort to cliche digs when they feel intimidated. Its annoying and transparent. Good for you for correcting this snobby stereotyping!!

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  9. Hey everyone, let’s try and remember what is important here; love, compassion, empathy. Love your fellow human as if they were part of your family, regardless of sex, color, creed. By opening your heart this way and living in service of others we make the world a better place. It starts with each one of us.

    By arguing and debating over this we reveal our own ignorance and bias. Defensiveness is never an effective means of communication, and fails to appeal, or prove a point.

    In my perspective culture does cater towards selling products through appearances, as humans are extremely visual creatures. We live in a capitalist society, where money is held above all else, even human rights. Men wear suits and expensive watches to sell suits and expensive watches. They are selling a lifestyle to fuel consumerism. We can nit pick the details all day but it wont get us anywhere.

    As a man, I love seeing a woman’s body. She doesn’t have to be a fashion model either. I would be sad if something so beautiful was spun in a negative way. Not to underplay your point, but I believe most things in the media are tailored and hyped to begin with. I don’t even bother to watch tv, or listen to corporate owned radio stations, or pick up a magazine I see in the supermarket. Pop culture is cheap thing, that is glitter on the surface to distract people from the real issues that exist, like war, poverty, and child hunger. It’s our choice to acknowledge these things.

    Elliot Rodger may have killed a few people, and I was saddened to hear about it, but compared to the wars we wage to take resources from developing countries at the expense of their populations and the environment it’s a blip on the radar screen. Just my thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

    • Interesting thoughts. My thought is that as women who inhabit the entire Earth, it is a battle at a time. Perhaps this is a blip on your radar screen, but my thoughts are that the author was pointing out a systemic problem with a very specific example. Sometimes specific examples with big names attached are the only thing that will grab the attention of the masses who do succumb to mainstream media, magazine stands and whatever the celeb gossip of the week is.

      War is a horrific and unfathomable thing. As such it is popular to dismiss other slightly less horrific and slightly less unfathomable things. I have never experienced a battlefield, living in a war torn country, and have never even laid hands on any type of gun. Having said that however, it does not in any way diminish the battle that is waged on women every single day in every curve and corner of the globe.

      I would in a million years never attempt to speak for all women, or most women or even a hundred women. I can only speak to my own experience, and to the experience of the women who I know, who I love, and who I read about. My life has been a miracle in many ways, but it has not been without heart rending pain, terror, suspicion and constant imposed anxiety. And I consider myself to be “lucky” because at least I do not have it as terrifyingly bad as X, Y, and Z.

      That is a trap in which I no longer wish to fall. It is okay for me to be in one moment enraged, in the next grateful, in the next fearful and in the next hopeful. I have been told since I was old enough to remember that I should think of another before me, that I should be thankful for what I have, and that no matter how bad it gets, someone always has it worse. Probably as a result, I have spent most of my adult life in some form of social work. I can not for one more second stand to be told that my lived experience does not matter because of the lived experience of someone else.

      It is a lie that myself and my female peers have swallowed for much to long because the nature and culture of femininity is to be quiet, to succumb, and to cater to. It is a lie promoted around the world, in some cultures and societies more strongly than others, but in most societies and cultures of which I am aware.

      The post above may seem simplistic or shallow or whatever frame of shame that someone wants to put it into. However, it bears witness through visual representation of what the culture and society of the United States at the very least has allowed to occur for as long as the flag of this country has flown. I am way beyond over it.

      I will still continue to lend my voice to the issues that have always mattered to me, including all human rights, the rights and awareness of the mentally ill, the rights of those living in poverty, the rights of everyone under the LGBTQ umbrella, and on and on. But at the same time, I can and will begin to speak up for MY rights, for the rights of all women young and old living everywhere, and can and will stand firm in what I know, what I have experienced and what is true. I will do this because I live in a country where although I can be threatened and attacked and maybe even killed by someone who disagrees with me, I do, in essence have the right to speak for myself and for those who do not, cannot, or will not speak up for whatever reason.

      I can respect that you have different thoughts than myself or than this individual, but I will not accept that that makes this author’s thoughts any less valid. It is tempting and it is easy to throw out the argument that we should be silent because of the plight of another. But I would argue that it is a ploy to do just that. To silence. And I say absolutely and under no circumstances is that going to play in my world anymore.

  10. Thank you for this post. It reminds me of Susan Griffin’s book “Pornography and Silence” where she argues that the pornographic gaze is not contained within “pornography” but pervades all of culture in our objectification of women. Women are reduced to body parts utilized to fulfill fetishes. Having said that, I also believe men are objectified, but in a very different way. Men tend to be reduced to the money and power they display or represent. However, this objectification places men in a dominant position, so it does not disempower them, but is reductive all the same. Both types of objectification need to be fought against, but the objectification of women is clearly the more dangerous and threatening because it denies women their personhood, which permits such atrocious acts to be committed.

  11. Women want equality as long as they can use their sexuality to their own advantage whenever it’s convenient to them. They want equal pay for equal work as long as men pick up the tab at dinner. They want to be treated like queens while treating men like subjects rather than kings. They don’t want to be judged by their bodies, yet they think it’s alright to judge a man by his bank account. And it’s REALLY disingenuous for an article to equate the so-called “objectification” of women with a mass shooting. That’s just low. Maybe the women’s movement would move forward more quickly if there weren’t so many double standards.

      • My, are you polite, Margot! Then again, pointing out each & every lie these misogynists spew would be exhausting.

      • The title of the post is “Why do men in America feel entitled to women? A gallery of reasons”.

        How is it “NOT ABOUT MEN”?

    • Well Ray I am not sure where you are from in America, but I understand that your attitude is a very common problem in the USA today. Perhaps the technological and sterile environments you are exposed to , high rise buildings? apartment complexes? malls? parking structures? amusement parks and hours and hours of video games? A mindless job going nowhere perhaps? In the real world, the flesh and blood reality, women are people, people denied the basic human rights and if you can pick up the dinner tab that would really help out, since we get paid less than you and are having a hard time these days. When one of my daughters got her first period and was in a lot of pain she laid there between sobs and said, “oh I see why men give up their seats to women on the bus and open doors for us,.” Now mind you thats a childs perspective on gender relations but I think is vastly more mature than your perception. you are living in a cartoon world of girls who are two dimensional.

      Don’t let the media mislead you about the complexity of real human beings, did the media ever explain a womans cycle to you? Do you always stand up on the subway/metro concerned that the women around you might be suppressing tears because they are on the heavy flow days? It seems to me son that someone or everyone in your life and on your TV failed to teach you about the differences between men and women. I think if you continue to read feminist pages and really use your imagination to connect with the female experience, how would you manage your period if you where a woman, how would you juggle work and family if you were a working mom, what are 5 challenges that women today face? and if you were born into a womans body how would you meet these challenges? I hope this helps and I recommend you unplug from all devices and think for yourself for a month or 3, then see where your anger level is after 90 days of digital sobriety. Ray it would be so wonderful if you could give that a try and stay in touch and share how that feels.

  12. In all seriousness, though, the magazine cover that is the catalyst to your entire article is actually not as arbitrary as you make it out to be. The reason he is flanked by models in swimsuits is not because Vanity Fair is overtly sexist and finds any excuse to stick nude women on their magazine…it’s because there is a co-cover story (see the top line of the cover) about the 50th anniversary of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Those are not Victoria’s Secret models…they are Sports Illustrated models.

  13. Maybe people just don’t want to see naked men because the penis is still unsettling for most viewers/readers. This is the real travesty.

    In fact, as a man, I am OUTRAGED that there aren’t MORE penises on magazine covers, adverts and in music videos. It makes me feel ashamed of my body, because it makes me think penises are ugly. I think they should be considered beautiful.

    The clothing that men are subjected to wearing, nay, that they are FORCED to wear, is binding, constricting, and really makes me feel that the worth of a man is tied up in how nice his tuxedo or suit is. I can’t afford a tux like that. Does that make me inferior to Jimmy Fallon or Jon Hamm?

    Will there ever come a time when men aren’t burdened with the responsibilities of being wealthy/powerful? As a man, people tend to expect too much of me. Can’t we just be appreciated for our bodies and our looks?

    • You’re absolutely right, men are the ones who are suffering! I absolutely love kicking my clothes off and laying down and having people take pictures of me like I’m their pet dog! I don’t want to be recognized for my talents or accomplishments, and I’m happy working minimum wage and doing everything everyone else tells me to as long as I get to look fabulous! I don’t mind getting sexually harassed by customers when I’m at work, either! If a guy asks me to help him with his “morning woody” or asks me if I’m wearing panties, I’m totally cool with that! It may seem a little creepy but I know it’s really meant as a compliment, because the way a guy shows you he likes he is by totally dehumanizing you!

      • While slightly tongue-in-cheek, Stephen brings up valid points.

        While the social pressures placed on men can easily be minimized as “1st world problems,” these pressures are the other half of the problem and need to be properly addressed. Instead these pressures are dismissed as “not important,” telling men that the pressures they face don’t matter; which contributes to the pressures even more– and attitude of “suck it up, be a man, your feeling don’t matter.”

        Being sexually harassed or judged by looks is degrading and a big problem; however the pressures put on men to be strong and wealthy also ask men to obtain some form of idealized perfection. For men who are boxed out of these perfections because of class and genetics, pressures are real and destructive, often resulting in the mistreatment of others, most commonly women.

        If society wants a true, lasting change, it needs to address both sides of the problem.

        • Yes Yes. I wholeheartedly agree. I think that is why countries in Europe like Sweden is a bit better on the women’s rights front. Because the feminists over there not only fight for women’s rights but also men’s rights. You are absolutely right. Both men and women face oppression and both needs to be addressed or neither will have equality.

          —a woman

      • a) Pet dogs are beloved by most and are usually naked (in public no less!!)…I wish I could get away with that combination

        b) Wage discrepancies and sexual harassment? Where the hell did those topics come from? Sorry you have such a shitty job. I doubt your gender has anything to do with that.

        C) I was simply stating, in obviously an absurdist manner, that there are pressures on both sides of the gender gap.

        But then again…Women are allowed to be more upset than men about double standards!!

        • First allow me to state I do not deny the fact that women are systemically disadvantaged in many ways men are not, or, as in objectification, certainly not to the same extent. The purpose of my comment is not actually to make a case that Men’s plights are equal that of women; only that the people, like Stephen, who are arguing for acknowledgement of social problems that face men, are missing a hugely vital point. Societal conditioning to be a tough, emotionless, stoic and sometimes violent, man, instead of a complete person. Check out – http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xwu5r3_tough-guise-violence-media-and-the-crisis-in-masculinity_tech

          To see what I’m talking about.

          The pressures we put on men is part of the problem with inequality between the sexes, because we are raising, and training men to have certain notions.

          The language used to toughen boys up are is so very degrading towards women, but isn’t directed at women… it’s used to condition boys and makes them think that Manliness is BETTER than Womanhood.
          Be Tough! Don’t Be…
          …a sissy…
          …a little bitch…
          …a pussy…

          To close the equity gap between women and men, we will have to address the problems and pressures both groups face.

          • you make really good points Mike, I would just add that gender slurs like pussy also train boys never to identify with being a woman since, as you pointed out its better to be a man, so much better in fact that being associated with womanliness at all is a put down. ” Imagination is the cornerstone of compassion, since you first have to imagine what it feels like to be like someone else to truly feel for them.”

          • I agree with you! gender roles and stereotypes crossed with with extreme pressures from mainstream media are the biggest problem. We need to stop acting as if males and females are from different planets. We share this world together.

        • When women stand up for their rights or when the inequities are so well expressed as in this blog, there is always this cry from men, what about us? Its just like the civil rights struggles of the 60’s, every time blacks asked for equality under the law whites would say “what about the rights of white people.” Stephen you are just a garden variety bigot. In thirty years you and all you say will be completely unthinkable, you wont even believe you said it yourself. Anyway please don’t join the KKK and please don’t hurt any of my sisters or daughters.

          • Hey, hi, how are you?

            Thank you for your astute comparison to me and the KKK. It was not ignorant at all.

            And your automatic label of me as a male predator? That’s not fucking ass-backward in the least.

            I don’t think my views will change much in 30 years for one simple reason: I am not a bigot, nor am I a racist, misogynist, or any other sort of hate-filled being.

            I’m an incredibly open-minded individual with diverse influences. I respect and firmly believe in everyone’s inalienable human rights, and recognize the struggle that many groups endured to find these rights.

            But at this point in time, I firmly believe calling attention to these gaps, be they race, gender, whatever, causes more harm than good. You’re not saying anything new, not adding anything to the dialogue or even attempting to rectify these problems, and therefore you’re stagnating the process.

            JUST LET IT DIE. Bigots are a dying breed. They won’t even be around in 30 years. These kinds of articles just stoke the flames by giving them something to respond to. By continuing to engage in this debate you are, by default, giving credence to the other side. You’re saying that there is a potential validity, and (clearly) there isn’t.

            Everything has been vented, the problems are out there in the open, so unless you are saying something that will start the healing process, you’re just keeping that wound open because you want to see it fester.

            My point was not saying “What about us?”, it was more to state the absurdity in cherry-picking separate pieces of art created by totally different people with different motivations and styles, working for different publications from different eras and slapping one, big, overarching label on what “they” were trying to accomplish.

            I chose to do so in a satirical manner that lampooned the common male response, but obviously my subtlety proved to overshadow that. Hopefully, this clarifies that.

  14. What cracks me up most about all of this “outrage” is that, for every woman who complains about the “sexism” in our society, there are 100 girls setting up their own private porn channels featuring cam sex and making a mint off of horny men willing to sign their credit cards over in the blink of an eye… sex rules this, and every, society and American men are no more “entitled” to “a woman” than a woman is “entitled” to have a man take care of her, which there are a crapload of those out there too… SO, stop all the generalities and just accept that naked women have been selling products since the DAWN OF MAN… I have heard the words “SEX SELLS” ever since I was old enough to understand…

  15. Come on, you don’t really think anyone is going to take an observational article written by a chick seriously, do you? … ? That’s just the way it is, Honey, deal with it, men are in charge and have always been and always will be, because we’re naturally dominant and superior in logic and ability. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. That’s just life. You’re too sensitive. You and all those other women out there who think they can think and have the right to “speak their minds” are all clones of each other, only guys are cool enough to speak their minds, all you have to do is read the comments from the general population under the articles written by MEN, compared to the comments under the articles written by WOMEN, to see who everyone thinks is COOLER and SMARTER.
    Let it go, sweetheart, you’re just a girl, no one wants to hear you whining and complaining. Let it go. Get over it. Quit yer b*****in’. Quit yer complainin’. Be grateful that you’re not worse off than you are. Be grateful that you live in a free country. Be grateful that you don’t get beaten every day like some women do, and I’m SURE you’ve NEVER been a target of anything even close to that, even though I know nothing about you whatsoever.

    What are you doing trying to be a “Writer”, anyway.. you should be home so we can criticize you for being home!

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  17. The Rolling Stone covers chosen to show another example of clothed men and naked women fails in a few ways. Some of the chosen covers show women who are clothed, this is a problem? The cover choices show direct omission of nude male covers. Most recently Rolling Stone featured Neil Patrick Harris in the buff, going to spin that as one for the guys? Prior covers have included Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers all absent of clothes.

    The magazine has a number of covers that feature men and women together each without clothing. It’s simply not right to slight RS to fit a particular point you’re trying to make. Let’s not forget that the female celebrities bare on any magazine cover chose to be so. That many of them utilize their sex appeal because they see a benefit in it.

    It’s insulting to those women who choose to pose and to the women who often do the photoshoots to call it tokenism. Women have every right to use their sexuality to their advantage. Those who do should not be belittled by other women who claim it’s their only way to be successful, by playing the game. Doing so denies their talent, their effort, their intelligence and their right to choose.

    Women shaming other women who play off their looks to get ahead is nothing new. It also does nothing to validate any arguments they’re trying to make. That all women don’t act or think the way some would have them to is a good thing, no matter what gender stands opposed.

  18. You know this is all pretend, right? Jimmy Fallon doesn’t actually “own” those women. They are free to come and go, as they please, like everyone else, and the same for the other scenarios (as that’s all they are).

    No one thinks men are “entitled” to women, are you crazy?

    The killer of those people was a a psychopath, plain and simple, no matter WHAT he said to try and justify it. Making excuses for killing people, doesn’t meant anything, he was still a murderer.

    Why are you upset about make-believe scenarios on a magazine? Is anyone upset that people get hurt in fairy tales? Gimme a break. More professional victim hood.

    • Steve, it’s obvious that you don’t see the problem here… but hey your a guy! I am not a victim, but I am concerned about the way the media i.e.; advertising, magazine covers etcetera depict woman. Most men think it is a honor to be depicted in this way…it is not. And yes while there are women that say this kind of behavior is alright…they are either making good money from it and set aside their ethics for profit or they just want approval from men and are willing to allow this type of degradation in order to have it.

      • I wouldn’t totally agree with that, in that it’s okay for a woman to want to be seen naked or exhibit their sexuality.

        The problem is that it’s not really a freely made choice for most, as things are now. Our society default is “woman as sex object”, and not complying often means not being seen or heard at all.

    • Hi Steve,

      This entire blog Reel Girl is about how reality creates fantasy creates reality in an endless loop. Rich old men in Hollywood are paired with women 30 years younger all the time, and guess what– they are in movies as well. Old guys get major parts while women over 40 go missing or act the mom part. Hollywood– and all kind of text and narrative and images, including those stories marketed to little kids, which is what my blog is about– tell stories where males are the stars, the heroes, he protagonists while girls are stuck on the sidelines, sexualized and marginalized if they get to exist at all. Look at these stats: http://reelgirl.com/about/


      • You’re making women the victim when they aren’t. I am a women and i know these don’t apply. These magazine covers are showing women who are payed to pose, they are choosing this. Men aren’t to blame.
        yes, society is screwed up , so inform other women so that they don’t lower there standards and stop bitching about how you are the victim. It’s not true.

        • Hi Sue,

          My 3 daughters, ages 2, 8, and 11 are victims along with everyone else’s daughters and sons who see these depictions in the media everywhere we look.


          • Hi Wendy,

            Yes! I saw that. Awful. At least my kids won’t get that part, though teens will. They should at least sell the issue with the porn mags and not at all the check out stands/ bookstores, and I hope the subscriptions come wrapped in brown paper.


          • I really hope you don’t tell your daughter that they are victims. That will just make this all so much worse. We are women, we are strong, stop telling each other that we arent! If you don’t like the way things are changeit, stop sitting around complaining about it.
            These women weren’t held by gunpoint forced to do these things. If we inform our young girls then this problem won’t spread further.

          • Hi sue,

            The problem with how women are depicted in the media goes way beyond what I tell my daughter, or what any parents tell their children. Children– girls and boys– see a culture when men are valued for what they do while women are valued for how they look.


          • Then you are exposing your children to the wrong environments. Yes, society as a whole is messed up but we can change how that effects of children and what our children believe.
            Teach our boys to value women and our girls to not lower their standards and we can change society.
            This article is bias, yes it has good points. But it works both ways. what about the magazine covers that have fully clothed women and naked men.
            Stop playing on the double standard and lets actually make change.

          • Hi Sue,

            You’re right, I’ll try to keep my kids out of Safeway, Target, buses will billboards, Toys R Us, and other children.

            Please feel free to share media with naked men and clothed women, I’m always on the look out for this pairing and the ratio is pitiful.


          • so you’d rather let the cycle continue?
            I feel bad for you, playing the victim all the time can’t be fun.

          • Hi Sue,

            No, I’d rather get more women into positions of power so more women’s stories get out into the world besides the role of girlfriend/ sidekick etc. thus, my blog, rating children’s media and toys for girl empowerment so that more boys and girls aren’t trained to expect and accept a world where females go missing. I’m also writing a middle grade fantasy-adventure that features 2 heroic girls who work together to save the world.


          • I agree with what you’re saying. But that’s not what this article is saying. It isn’t all men fault that the world is like this, and women aren’t only seen as arm candy. You’re only seeing what you want to see, and what serve the purpose for your blog and book. No women are “going missing”. and again WOMEN ARE NOT THE VICTIMS!
            I’m sorry for whatever man hurt you to make you feel this way, but this isn’t all men.
            Informing women is a great idea! But stop telling women that they are victims cause then i’m afraid they might start believing it.
            I understand that you cant shield your kids from the world but you can inform them on how to treat each other.

          • Hi Sue,

            I never wrote it was all men. I’m happily married and have been for 13 years. It’s a system of patriarchy that affects women and men.


  19. Regarding the Nick Cave cover photo:

    Speaking to The Sun, Cave said: “That picture was not set up. It was taken in our bedroom by Dominique Issermann, the unbelievably brilliant French photographer, who was doing an editorial shoot of my wife for a French magazine.

    “She was in between costumes, naked under a cape, when I walked in. She just said, ‘Look, go over and open that window up’. As I went over to do it, she dropped the cape and Dominque took a few photographs.

    “Later on, we saw this one and thought, ‘Wow! What a strange, beautiful, ambiguous photograph.”

    • Yeah, I’ve seen that comment. So, that makes it “beautiful”? Do you think if she were clothed and he were wandering out naked, that would have been chosen as a cover photo?

    • stop defending him because you like his music. I happen to like the birthday party and the bad seeds too but this is still objectification. Classic objectification. And it put me off even listening to this album. The fact that the woman has her face covered and is just a naked body next to a clothed man is really bad. You would think they would know better because it is just a misogynistic photo.

  20. Pingback: Yes. All Men. | Consent Culture

  21. How about, I owe it to myself to be the best I can be? They show naked female bodies because they are attractive. They don’t write a great deal about jimmy Fallon’s wife because the article is about…Jimmy Fallon ! Not his wife! Why anyone would buy a magazine with an article about some one and be upset because they didn’t write about the partner is looking for trouble.

    • Hi Linda,

      The best you can be is determined by how much you weigh? Give me a break. All those men are the cover of GQ are not attractive? Why do they get to wear suits? What about Johnny Depp, John Hamm, and Robert Downey Jr? What Bout Justin Timberlake? They all get to be clothed and still attractive? As far as the Vanity Fair article, there would never be a profile about a woman with a new baby where they did not mention her baby until page 5 or where they only mentioned her power producer mate in a couple sentences or when they replaced her partner with naked models while she was fully clothed.


      • If he had a wife who was a “big time” producer they probably would have mentioned her. Nobody(except you I guess) even knows who she is. Plus there are countless magazines that feature woman in business attire and naked males or just naked males, the only reason you don’t notice is so you have something to feel offended about.

        • “If he had a wife who was a “big time” producer they probably would have mentioned her.” EXACTLY my point, they didn’t hardly at all.

          • It is because she is not actually a “big time producer”. She has been credited as a producer on exactly eight films since 1999, all of them Drew Barrymore movies. She is the in-house producer for Drew Barrymore’s production company.

            She is not a particularly noteworthy person to be going on and on about in an article about her enormously famous husband.

            Also, even if he was married to let’s say Gale Ann Hurd or Kathleen Kennedy, who are actual big deals as movie producers, it *STILL* wouldn’t make much sense to make an article about Jimmy Fallon into an article about them. There are plenty of articles about them.

            This is just a silly, silly criticism.

          • Hi 3D

            Once again, a comment shows the sexism “She’s not a particularly noteworthy person.”


          • >>>>Once again, a comment shows the sexism “She’s not a particularly noteworthy person.”<<<<

            It is not because she is a WOMAN that she is not noteworthy. It is because she has produced 8 movies through one production company and 7 of the 8 are drippy, Drew Barrymore chick flicks (the exception being Donnie Darko).

            Additionally, I mentioned two heavyweight Hollywood producers in my comment as counterexamples (Hurd and Kennedy) and you glossed over that portion of my comment to create the mistaken impression that I was dismissing Jimmy Fallon's wife because she is a woman. Shame on you for being disingenuous.

  22. This is all so true — really good summary. Made me think of the cover of this month’s Esquire, where they call Lake Bell “the most important actor/director/writer of her generation” but show her like this: http://iwantpop.com/13770/lake-bell-covers-may-2014-esquire-magazine/ Women have always been “decorative,” but the sexual-object-over-all-else trend in mainstream culture in the past decade really makes me fear for my daughter’s teen years. Appreciate your blog so much.

  23. Last January, I was fat-shamed by my gynecologist at my pregnancy confirmation appointment. After looking at my wrist to determine my frame size, my doctor consulted a chart that told her my maximum ideal weight was 35 pounds lower than what I weighed at that time, and she proceeded to tell me that I was being misled by an obese society into believing that I knew what was the healthiest weight for my body. (This was just one of the many howlers she told me).

    This was an upsetting experience, but I’m ultimately glad that it occurred. I fired my doctor and was delighted with the relationship I built with the midwife who ultimately delivered my second son in September. In addition to that, I also started exploring some fat-acceptance blogs and ideology. And that exploration led to this revolutionary realization:

    I don’t owe being attractive to anyone.

    Here’s what’s odd about that realization. I’m a dyed in the wool proud feminist who was raised by a feminist mother *and* father. I don’t wear makeup. I don’t buy into the fashion industry. The majority of my clothes are practical and come from Target and the like. I have no interest in dyeing my gray hairs or otherwise hiding my age. If you had asked me prior to coming to my realization if I believed that women needed to be attractive, I would have firmly said no. And yet–some part of me would have still believed that I owed it to some unnamed group to make an attempt at being attractive.

    I’m honestly still struggling with this revolutionary concept–that my purpose is not decorative in any way, shape, or form. That tells me that the belief that women owe men their beauty (or their sexual favors or their adoration) is so deeply ingrained in our culture that lifelong feminists can still be surprised to realize it isn’t true.

    It makes it that much more disturbing to realize that active misogynists have bathed in the same toxic beliefs without the benefit of knowing that women are just as human as they are. It makes Friday’s attack seem almost inevitable, rather than a tragic rarity.

    I just hope that I can find a way to create a safe space for my sons where they will be able to see these beliefs for the bullshit that they are.

    • While I understand the purpose of this piece is to bring to light the unhealthy expectations from society we bring onto men and women, particularly the lack of interest in women for their thoughts and accomplishments, it is concerning that you are mistaking your doctor’s “fat shaming” advice as less to do with your image and more to do with the health of you and your baby. I’m upset by your example used to connect society’s toxic culture to this event.

      • I did not include much of the specifics of how my doctor fat shamed me, but I can assure you that her concern for my weight was concern trolling rather than any actual medical concern for the health and well being of my baby and myself. For instance, 6 weeks before this appointment, when I told her that my husband were planning on trying for a second baby, she told me that losing weight would improve my fertility. Women who have had no issues whatsoever with fertility (like myself–pregnant within a month of trying every time with 2 healthy babies and one miscarriage, which my doctor knew) could necessarily experience no positive change in their fertility after losing weight–and the science doesn’t even back up the claims for morbidly obese women attempting to get pregnant: http://www.futurity.org/weight-loss-doesnt-improve-womens-fertility/

        Again, I did not include every offensive thing that my doctor said (like patting me on the head when I told her that I run 12 miles per week) in my previous post. Suffice it to say, she has an issue with weight that she uses medically but has a deeper root.

      • Also, something I have noticed as I have finally started talking about this incident is the disbelief I encounter. People tend to think that I must be wrong about my own analysis of my healthy weight and that my doctor must be right. I’m not saying that people can’t be delusional, particularly about weight. But the fact that it is the default assumption when I tell this story is awfully disheartening.

  24. While I agree with the premise of this article, it may be worth noting that the photos in the Vanity Fair article were shot by a woman. I agree with the idea that propagating women as props in a photo, using them as nude versus fully clothed, and similar methods is wrong, my question is how do you stop it? How do you create enough dialogue to where more women refuse to participate as Rachel McAdams did in this one instance?

    • Hi Braden,

      The female photographer speaks to tokenism, you are allowed to succeed if you play the game. How we stop it is to get more women in positions of power– no more tokenism– and men who “get it.” As a mom of 3 daughters, It is so clear to me that kids need to be shown a fantasy world where gender equality exists. If you can’t imagine it, you can’t create it. Instead, right now, we are training a new generation of children to expect and accept a world where females go missing or get sidelined and sexualized if they are allowed to exist at all.


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