Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Jessicas Want Respect!

During finals week, I was desperate for some distraction from the hundreds of flashcards I needed to review and 30 pages of essays I had left to write. So, I went for a walk and the cover of the latest Elle hanging in a drugstore window caught my eye. Jessica Biel was on the cover in this strange outfit of a white bra top, bright yellow jacket and (here's the kicker) shiny gold lame bermuda shorts, paired with chunky gold jewelry. It was also "The Body Issue," whereby fashion magazines that exclusively feature size 00 models put a size 2 actress on the cover and expound on the beauty of women with curves.

I got back to my room, snuggled up in my chair with some cookies and began flipping through the issue. When I got to the article about Jessica Biel, I came across the following quote, in which she discusses being named "Sexiest Woman Alive" by Esquire magazine.

"I thought the Esquire cover was going to be really positive for my career. But it wasn't, really. [One director told me] 'I'm not looking for the sexiest woman; I'm looking for the girl next door.'"

She then goes on to whine about how, "Parts that I really want aren’t going to me. Like 'The Other Boleyn Girl’ with Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman. I don’t want to say that there’s nothing I love that I can have. But there’s still the occasional script that the director doesn’t want to see you for." Basically, she spends most of the article bitching about the fact that she's so sexy that no one takes her seriously as an actress, so she's not getting good roles. So tragic, I know.

But then I flipped the page and saw this full-page photo:

Ladies and gentlemen, Jessica Biel is an ACTRESS, not a sex symbol, and she wants your RESPECT!

That's why she's on her hands and knees in a skintight minidress and stripper heels.

Jessica Biel isn't the only actress who pulls this B.S. The other hot Jessica (now that Jessica Simpson is out of the running), Jessica Alba, also frequently complains about how frustrating it is not to be respected for her acting talent. She recently told GQ, “I hope all my new work will help producers in getting past my hotness.” She also claimed that she wants to be a “serious actress,” and does not want her movies to be all about “me in a bikini.”

What was the accompanying photo?

Obviously these ladies want it both ways, and I don't know that that's possible. Certainly there are actresses who are respected for their craft but are still viewed as sex symbols, but unfortunately, those girls have talent, which the Jessicas seem to lack. I think they realize that they aren't good enough to get serious roles, but if they say that they at least would like to be serious actresses and blame their sexy reputations on the exploitative media and casting directors who refuse to hire them, they come out looking more legitimate.

Still, I think a good first step would be to stop doing these erotic photospreads that accompany articles about how they're so upset about being known for their bodies instead of their talent.


Anonymous said...


Distar said...

I also read that Elle and thought the exact same thing. It's idiotic to pose for such photos and then to make the claims they make. I also wonder how they'd then explain Scarlett Johansson's acting cred, despite her outright sexiness. Some have talent, others don't, and the rest is just excuses.

H said...

I agree wholeheartedly.

I am getting really fed up with fashion magazines and have not renewed my subscriptions to Vogue (which I have read as long as I can remember) or Harper's Bazaar. I am getting tired of seeing nothing but celebrities (Keira Knightley was on the cover of Vogue again this month and while I like Keira Knightley, she was also on the cover of Vogue not thatlong ago) but the final straw was Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie on the cover of Bazaar. It made me want to vomit and I threw it away without even opening it.

Kathryn said...

I am so with you on this! As envious as I am of Jessica B's behind, etc., to whine about not being taken seriously and then pose with water spouting out of your mouth is just wrong (not to mention in extreme bad taste)

and do we not have enough "celebrity content" with People, US and their ilk?

Anonymous said...

Right on!
Geez, sometimes it feels like I'm writing these myself...
I find that most actresses who have both beauty and good acting skills had the talent to begin with and then kind of grew into themselves.
But it is also absolutely RIDICULOUS to call a size 2 or 4 "curvy" and to celebrate "different body sizes"

many props!

kesia said...

yeah, that´s what i say! size 2 is not exactly... much, innit?

knoxwhirled said...

I read a blurb about Jessica Biel complaining on this, and I was like: "Really, pretty girls don't get roles??? News to me!"

Try to think of even one actress whose looks compare to say, Tommy Lee Jones or Gene Hackman? You can't because they don't exist! Kathy Bates doesn't even show up in movies anymore and when she did, she always was cast as pathetic or psycho. Toni Collette gets "ugly duckling" roles and I don't even think she's ugly at all. It's pathetic. They want to have their cake and eat it too, and then to complain about it. Whatever.

Gauri said...

Argh, this pisses me off to no end. You'd think their pr people would notice the discrepancy, at least, and encourage them to stop doing the shoots. Or at least stop saying they want to be thought of as serious actors.

juicefairy said...

Actresses often get pidgenholed because they were famous for a certain role, and looks are not an exception. It is all a big game and it is not too late for a Jessica Biel to do the work of a Natalie Portman. She just has to be more careful about what work she does and how she is photographed. I think she is not known for meeting with publicists often however. Remember when she wanted to get out of her contract with WB for "7th Heaven". She chose to do a magazine article (maxum I think) that described her as a partyer who was wild and sexy (except the part where they described her vomiting from her excess partying). Her quotes came off really dumb too.
Good Post --JF