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Is this how Hollywood turns 40?

Cameron Diaz's <i>Esquire</i> birthday shoot.

Cameron Diaz's Esquire birthday shoot.

Cameron Diaz celebrated turning 40 by slipping into suspenders, thigh-high boots and bending over on the cover of UK Esquire magazine. Why, why why did she want to mark the milestone in this way? I’m intrigued as to the thought process behind the decision because on the surface it looks something like this:

“Hey y’all! I may be 40 but I can still drop it like a freaky-hot pole dancer! Wooooh- hoooo!”

Kill me now.

Mila Kunis is <i>Esquire</i>'s 'sexiest woman alive' for 2012.

Mila Kunis is Esquire's 'sexiest woman alive' for 2012.

I like Cameron. I am a fan. She’s beautiful, a great comedic actress, excellent taste in friends (Drew, Gwyneth) and shoes. She seems like the kind of girl who makes the good times roll. One of my people. She surfs, she hikes, a man has never defined her - I thought she might celebrate turning 40 by being the first actress in space or dressing up as a Muppet on the cover of Vanity Fair.

Instead, Cameron has joined the long, long list of celebrities - Jennifer, Kylie, Madonna, Demi, Catherine – who felt the need to prove to the world that they were “just as hot as ever” by taking their clothes off at/near/after 40. It’s a move that’s become achingly predictable like bad, cheesy wallpaper in a cheap hotel.

The sad part is that after seeing Diaz’s crotch blown up to A4 size I didn’t want to read the article. I lost all interest. I don’t care what she has to say about ageing, marriage, world peace, anything when she’s in the nude. I really don’t.

Turning 40 as an A-list leading lady musn’t be easy. Particularly if you’re known for your body and looks. This is the watershed time when you move from getting cast as the Babe, the Ingénue, the Love Interest, the Hot Thing to the Cougar, the Mother, the Basket Case or the Witch. But surely there’s an alternative way to reaffirm your attractiveness other than posing for a men’s mag in your undies?

Before you start throwing rocks and screaming that “women are sexy at any age” and “who I am to judge anyone’s choice”, just hold off for a couple more paragraphs. This is NOT about a woman’s right to disrobe or be sexy. This is about celebrities over a certain age feeling the pressure to prove their hotness. I’m exhausted by it. I would love to see just one of these beautiful, talented women mark the moment in a different way. If I’m rolling my eyes at these images then I know that others must be too.

I appreciate that Esquire is a men's magazine and that the pictures were shot for a specific audience. However, Cameron (and all her people) knew that these shots would travel everywhere and be seen by everyone - including the kid looking over Daddy's shoulder and asking why Princess Fiona was showing off her bottom.

US Esquire magazine's ‘Sexiest Women Alive Issue’ went on sale on Monday with said 'sexiest woman', Mila Kunis, on the cover. Wearing leather jeans, she’s topless with her back to the camera. In the article she talks about being forced to appear in a shoot for a men’s magazine (not Esquire) when she was starting out in her career: "(He was) a person higher than an executive. It was like, 'If you don't do this magazine, you'll never work in this company.' I went, 'Great.' It was the first time that I had someone on the phone tell me that I will never work in this industry again".

It made me wonder if I’m wrong about Cameron and her motivations. Maybe there are far darker forces at play in Hollywood than we realise? It’s possible that all the clichés you've read about are true. Perhaps the women really don't have a choice and these shoots happen because it’s still very much a man's town with men making the wrong decisions for all the great women in it?

Paula Joye is Editor of www.lifestyled.com.au or you follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

66 comments

  • You are reading too much into this I think Paula. Esquire paid her a ton of cash to spice up the magazine so they sell more issues and make more money from the advertisers. That is about as far as anyones thinking on the article went I suspect.

    (I never buy magazines or read about celebs - it's all totally fake and life is too short)

    Commenter
    Dave
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    October 09, 2012, 9:17AM
    • If you've got it, flaunt it and in Hollywood appearance/image is everything.

      Commenter
      MrOtto
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      October 09, 2012, 9:21AM
      • "I appreciate that Esquire is a men's magazine and that the pictures were shot for a specific audience."

        Yes. Exactly. She knew what she was doing. And I'm not a huge Diaz fan either, but good on her. In terms of role models for younger women and body image she's right up there. She looks after herself.

        Not sure the relevance of Mila Kunis either? She's stunning in the shoot.

        Just feels a bit like sour grapes with this article.

        "Maybe there are far darker forces at play in Hollywood than we realise?"

        Come on... let's not hysterical just yet.

        Commenter
        GKFC
        Date and time
        October 09, 2012, 9:30AM
        • In terms of a role model for young women she's right up there? Why? Because she's selling her looks for bucketloads of cash? Because she's still "hot" at 40 and that's more inspiring than being intelligent or funny or nice?
          Oh! No, you mean because she's not fat. So, she's a naturally slim woman who stayed natureally slim. Wow! I know I'm inspired.

          Commenter
          Alice
          Location
          Melbourne
          Date and time
          October 09, 2012, 1:30PM
        • I love Cameron Diaz, she is funny, doesnt take herself too seriously, she just seems like a really cool down to earth woman. As far as celebrities go I thnk she's ace.

          Commenter
          Steve
          Location
          QLD
          Date and time
          October 09, 2012, 3:55PM
      • "I don’t care what she has to say about ageing, marriage, world peace, anything when she’s in the nude."

        But she's not in the nude. She is clothed in all all the Esquire photos. Prudish much?

        Commenter
        Foxy Trollwolf
        Date and time
        October 09, 2012, 9:32AM
        • What a joyless world you live in Paula.

          Commenter
          MrBlonde
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          October 09, 2012, 9:35AM
          • It's hilarious how defensive the men get isn't it when we women question our own role in society. Not joyless, MrBlonde. But questioning.

            Commenter
            catfurball
            Location
            syds
            Date and time
            October 09, 2012, 11:52AM
          • Although I question your choice of pseudonym, Ms catfurball (and what it implies about your self-image), I applaud your retort to the above silly comment by MrBlonde (I also wonder what kind of misogyny is implied by that name).
            I don't know enough about being a woman, or being a Hollywood star, to comment too much on the authors conclusions, but I did find her article interesting.
            My own conclusion was along the following lines: feminism has come a long way but in the end, women are still mostly judged by their looks - by all of us - men and women.

            Commenter
            Robert Bishop
            Location
            Hervey Bay
            Date and time
            October 10, 2012, 10:46AM
        • You could write quite a bit on this topic but really, simply, she's unenviably entrenced by the phenomena of Hollywood dictatorship. Hollywood archetype actresses, especially young women (Mila Kunis, Rose Byrne and the like...) are living under it and it dictates very strict sexist standards to adhere to whether they want to do it or not or whether they're even aware of it. The fundamental exchange of Hollywood capitalism and sexual transaction(s) go very well hand-in-glove.

          Commenter
          catfurball
          Location
          syds
          Date and time
          October 09, 2012, 9:40AM

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