Actor Steven Rock has posed nude for a men’s fashion magazine.
The 57-year-old bared all – physically and emotionally – about his struggle to sustain a career into middle age.
“Everyone kept saying I wasn’t sexy enough. I stopped getting jobs. Sure, my pecs look like puppy dogs ears, but I’m not trying to be the best-looking guy in the world. I’m just having fun.”
But some fans would prefer to see his droopy pecs.
“He looks hot! But how much photo shopping has gone on there? It looks like the body of a 21-year-old,” Emma Astley posted on Twitter.
Rock is no stranger to cosmetic enhancements, recently named the face of chemical injectable, Botox.
Gender studies professor, Alison Wang, says this is simply what is expected of men in Hollywood.
“We all bargain with the matriarchy. At least he’s being straightforward about how he’s claiming to get his career back.” (**see note)
If this story sounds strange, that’s because it is.
Unlike women, men aren’t expected to nude up to prove their worth.
Nowhere is this more evident than in Hollywood.
Sharon Stone is the latest in a long line of actresses clinging to their career by shedding their gear:
Frankly, it’s sad. This is not a criticism of Stone: it’s about the value of women in the workplace.
There’s clearly a double standard. And it goes beyond the old trope of older-men-look-distinguished/older-women-look-haggard.
As the author John Berger wrote in the 1970s, “men act and women appear”.
Stone says her acting skills were not enough to be able to break back in to the industry, after suffering an aneurism in 2001.
So, she reprised her Playboy shoot.
“She is using the same strategy that has been successful for her for the length of her career… selling sex appeal,” according to Occidental University Sociology professor Lisa Wade.
Selling is the operative word: society accepts the naked female form as a conveyance for consumption.
Stone is promoting her new show, Agent X, a spy series for cable TV in which she plays the Vice-President of the United States.
But instead of this sparking a conversation about women in politics – a timely topic, given Hilary Clinton’s likely nomination as Democrat candidate for the presidency – we’re talking about whether a woman’s ass looks like a bag of flapjacks.
It’s like the discussion about female actors who start up businesses.
In a recent interview with Allure magazine, Jessica Alba — whose eco-friendly company Honest is worth $1.7 billion — says she’s sick of being compared with fellow ‘actress-entrepreneurs’ Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon and Blake Lively.
“What I think is unfair is to lump actresses together,” Alba explains. “People aren’t lumping Justin Timberlake and Ashton Kutcher together. They do other businesses. I think it’s expected that when you get success in one area, you’re supposed to evolve and try to do something else – especially in business, and especially if you’re a man.”
Paltrow had a similar response to a Time reporter, who asked about other lifestyle brands started by actresses, saying, “I wonder if George Clooney would be asked about Puff Daddy’s ancillary liquor line”.
This frustration, in part, sparked the #AsHerMore movement, against sexist, and banal, questions to women on the red carpet.
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Traditionally, female actors are asked about what they’re wearing; men are asked about their roles.
It’s edifying to see women like this fighting back.
Model Heidi Klum took just 12 seconds this week to demolish Donald Trump, who’d declared her no longer a ‘10’.
In a video posted on social media, a man in a Trump mask rips a ‘10’ off Klum’s t-shirt, revealing ‘9.99’.
Everyone gasps, but she simply shrugs and smiles, as the hashtag #BeautyIsInTheEyeOfTheBeheld appears.
In other words, “F*ck you, Donald. My worth cannot be summed up in a single number. And if my looks are ‘fading’? Well, so what!”
But we can’t rely upon a handful of high-powered, high profile, women to change the deep-seated devaluing of a woman’s worth.
An awful lot of consumer goods are draped across women’s bodies.
These images sell an awful lot of magazines.
Which are bought by an awful lot of people.
It starts, and ends, with us.
To paraphrase the former Chief of Army, David Morrison, the standard we walk by is the standard we accept.
Stop buying those magazines that depict women like pieces of meat.
Or start demanding that men, too, are treated like pieces of prime rump.
** This never happened