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June 30, 2010

Slutty Celebrity Quote (and Photo Shoot): Helen Mirren

Dame Helen Mirren recently did an interview in New York magazine's Summer Issue (June 28-July 5) to promote her latest role as Grace Botempo, the madam of a seventies Reno whorehouse, in the film Love Ranch (opens today).

In it, she had some pretty awesome things to say about sexuality:
“I much prefer overt sexuality to sleazy, vulgar prurience.”
As Mirren explains it, she struggled to get a handle on her own sexuality in order to use its power to accomplish her ambitions. “The Playboy Mansion, coke, and the rise of all that—Guccione and Hefner always pushed it as liberation, but it didn’t seem like that to me,” she says. “That was women obeying the sexualized form created by men—though maybe we always do that, because we want to be attractive. But I was kind of a trailblazer because I demanded to do it my own way. I’d say, ‘I’m not having it put on me by someone else.’ I didn’t want to be the sort of puritanical good girl with a little white collar who says, ‘Don’t shag until you get married.’ ”

Now, her reputation secure, Mirren’s enjoying the results of her efforts. “I’m thrilled young girls are claiming their sexuality for themselves,” she says. “I love bold women: Madonna and Scarlett Johansson—sexy and gorgeous, but not only that. And Miley Cyrus—fantastic! And Lady Gaga. I love the way she’s elevated pop to performance art, or dragged performance art down to pop, or maybe made a wonderful amalgam of the two.”

With her coy smile, Mirren looks like the conspiring queen who’s usurped the throne, securing the kingdom for her heirs: “My girls: Miley, Scarlett, Lady Gaga. My team … Yes.”
Of course, the media have been going nuts over the interview, but not because of what she said.

Everyone is flipping out over what she wore in the photo shoot: nothing. Mirren, 64, posed nude in a bathtub in two very tasteful shots by Juergen Teller. But based on the reaction, you'd think she did a full frontal spread for Penthouse magazine. But these were not racy or raunchy photos, nor were they even that overtly sexual.

Of course, we're not surprised that the media have made a big deal of the fact that Mirren is posing nude (er, nude-ish) at age 64. 

Mirren obviously looks amazing for her age - or any age - (we've all seen those bikini pics) but it's annoying how so many articles have focused on that - either how surprising it is that a woman in her sixties can still be sexy or how inappropriate it is that a woman in her sixties has the nerve to think she can still be sexy.

Either way, it's ageism and slut-shaming and we're not happy about it.

Just the title of the Zeitgeisty Report's "breaking news" report makes me want to punch someone:
Helen Mirren bares her breasts for New York Magazine…HOT or YUCK??!!
But Linda Parker from All Voices really pissed me off (and also added a year to her age):

Recently, 65-year-old Helen Mirren posed nude for a photo shoot in New York magazine for photographer Juergen Teller, according to reports. This was a rare sort of photo shoot which cannot be considered HOT at all.

Discovering nude photos of Helen Mirren is no longer an attraction for anyone, as the lady has lost her charm, obviously. Although, by posing nude with saggy boobs and unattractive curves, Helen Mirren showed her guts, it seems that nobody is interested in watching nude Helen Mirren photos.

Um, speak for yourself Parker. But possibly the worst offender was The Daily Mail:

[...] they are really quite peculiar. As she splashes about in the horribly murky water - no arty islands of strategically positioned suds here - exactly what is Helen trying to tell us? That getting older is fun? At first glance, it certainly doesn't look like it.

In one shot, it appears that she has just been forced into a cold bath in a nursing home, perhaps to undergo some procedure to assist with kidney function. Nurse, the hose! The other, however, is more elegiac; a portrait of a beautiful woman contemplating both her past and her future. Here is this mature body, she seems to be saying, a body that once tempted and enslaved men, now shrivelling under the cold water and betrayal of old age. Yet the grave, oval face and elegant arms are still lovely.

In a world where many men seem to take it as a personal affront that females don't all look like Kelly Brook, older women can become invisible. Not Dame Helen. Not a bit of it. [...]

So arise, Dame Helen, you crazy old doll. Or on second thoughts don't. Stay in the bath, for everyone's sake. [emphasis mine] 
I specifically bolded that one part because it is the only place in this article where the author, Jan Moir, makes a decent point. Older women, rather all women, are constantly made to feel like they have to look young forever (hello Botox) and if they don't, they should just disappear. However, instead of praising Mirren for not hiding herself Moir shames her for showing herself (and really, come on, she didn't show that much of herself).

On the opposite of the spectrum, the media outlets that have praised Mirren for looking so young aren't really that much better...  because instead of "if you don't look like Kelly Brook, you become invisible"... it only makes the point that if you're in your sixties and you don't look like Helen Mirren, then you should become invisible.

Such as The Frisky:

Dear God, please let me look this effortlessly beautiful when I am her age.
Or StyleList:
Okay, now she's just showing off. Helen Mirren soaking it in for New York Magazine.

A couple of years after flaunting her foxy frame in a bikini, Oscar winner Helen Mirren has upped the ante by posing topless in a bathtub for New York Magazine.

And while we can think of a few (million) senior citizens we'd prefer to not see in the buff, Mirren -- who turns 65 next month -- actually looks pretty darn sexy and wrinkle-free -- hard to pull off while striking a pose from a prune skin-inducing bath -- in the Juergen Teller-photographed shoot.
And we have to admit, we were surprised by the very pertness of the Dame's breasts and how they even floated to the surface of the sopay water (never underestimate the power of the arm-raised-above-the-head position). It's taken decades off them...
Maybe instead of being so shocked at how hot Mirren is despite her age or how not-hot she is because of her age, we should just acknowledge that women are beautiful at every age and there's nothing shameful or overtly sexual or "yucky" about the human body in its natural form.

On HollywoodNews.com, Mirren was quoted, “I didn’t think it was such a big deal. I couldn’t believe the reaction. I didn’t show very much.”
We'd have to agree.


1 comment:

JustJoeP said...

Outrage over Helen is ridiculous. Humans are drawn to beauty. In Helen's case, she's a talented actress, recognized by her nation's government for the entirety of the body of her work, from most accounts a very nice person, and she's esthetically pleasing to the eye. Too many people focus only on the "pleasing to the eye". Aretha Franklin has a beautiful voice, and is a nice person who's lead a difficult life, but many people find her very large physical form unhealthy and distracting. Betty White's hilarious wit & implacable comedic timing have endured quite well for 9 decades, but a baggy jogging suit does not inspire the human mind quite like Helen's bikini pic - thank you for posting the courier link, I'd not previously seen it.

It's the whole package - mind (and what one does with it), heart (inherently evil / selfish / unpleasant, or not), and physical form (in which case, Helen's got the triad going on) - that inspires higher forms of evolved sentient beings.