Friday, July 15, 2011

GQ and Sexism: Oops, They Did It Again!

Well, here we are again.  GQ has once again skyrocketed to the top of my "Sexism Shit List," this time with the spread titled, "Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs Did This Lesbian Scene for Us."

Why you gotta be like this, GQ?  You're a men's lifestyle and fashion magazine!  I don't get it.  Because frankly, yet again, this photo is offensive.  And not everyone understands why.

It's not Alison Brie or Gillian Jacobs.  It's not, "It's such a shame to see young actresses whoring themselves out for publicity these days."  That's rude, and slut-shaming, and it frustrates me to see people understand that this spread is not right but are left of center on why.  This is not Alison Brie's or Gillian Jacobs' issue.  This is a societal issue.  This is a gender issue.  This is a sexuality issue.  This is a race issue.

The problem with this takes us right back to the male gaze.  Let me ask you: how many men do you see in this photo?  Zero, right?  Wrong.  The answer is one.  There is one man in the photo and he is the one who is looking at it.  Thanks, GQ, for reminding us that the male gaze is alive and well!  

There should be no man in this photo.  But this photo was designed by men, shot by a man, and published for men.  The women in this photo are not subjects; they are objects.  They are fetishized and presented simply as a girl-on-girl scenario.  

Which leads me to another complaint: the title clearly says that this is "going lesbian."  Um, GQ, this is not "going lesbian."  This is going "girl-on-girl for the sake of a dude," which, frankly, is only ever designed by dudes.  "For us!"  It's right there in the title!  This is for dudes!  But girls don't "go lesbian" for dudes.  Girls "go lesbian" for, well, women, and marginalizing the validity of that by turning it into a sexualized and objectified peep show is just disrespectful.  

Gentlemen of the world: we ladies are not here for you.  This may be tough to hear, but we are not here to be objects to your subject, or accessories in your fantasies about lesbians or dominatrices or schoolgirls.  It would be helpful if the media would take note of this and stop perpetuating the male gaze in its creative endeavors.

Because, again, everything is a choice.  This photoshoot was a choice, and those choices reflect the fact that the objectification of women is still defended as a "style" in creative media.  Sexism is not a style.  Sexism is ingrained into almost every societal construct and its pursuits - the media especially - and it needs to be removed.

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that there are three female cast members on Community: Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, and Yvette Nicole Brown.  So what, did Yvette Nicole Brown's invitation to this photoshoot just get lost in the mail, or do I really have to wonder about this nasty little suggestion that America is unable to find anything other than white and/or thin sexy?

The worst thing in all of this is the idea that it somehow relates back to comedy.  If Yvette Nicole Brown were included, would this photoshoot therefore become more ironically comedic, as though she couldn't possibly be sexualized in a non-funny way?  With Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs, it's clear that "sexiness" is trumping "funniness," but if you include their size-larger-than-4, African-American castmate, does that therefore change the tone of the shoot?  Oh, the fact that these questions are both disgusting and yet valid is not okay.  This is just further indication that the media's perception of beauty and the female form is screwed up beyond the telling of it - and it's because the standard being set ties inextricably back to the male's perspective: the male gaze.

It's unfortunate.  I wish GQ wouldn't publish photos like this, and I wish there weren't an audience for them, because clearly, they wouldn't be published if they weren't popular.  At some point, the misrepresentations of gender, race, and sexuality have to be righted, and GQ - and the media in general - has enough power to start those changes.  It's all in the power of choice.  But right now, they're making the wrong choices.

Author's Note: I'm also annoyed that the article missed a semi-colon.  But that's not the important thing to focus on here.


  1. Has it ever occurred to you that successful publications cater to their audiences? Men's magazines include pictures of sexy young women in lingerie because men like seeing sexy young women in lingerie. The overweight black woman from Community wasn't included in the photoshoot for the same reason she's not on the cover of Sports Illustrated or Vogue or whatever: MOST men don't find her physically attractive. End of story. GQ does this for the money--not to piss off a bunch of jealous, priggish feminists. So don't take it so personally. Your hackneyed old "male gaze" indictment is just a puerile, over-intellectualized expression of female sexual hangups and jealousies. This is understandable, though, because you're just catering to your readership...kinda like GQ does.

    Sidenote: "That's rude, and slut-shaming, and it frustrates me to see people understand that this spread is not right but are left of center on why" is possibly the worst sentence ever written in the English language. Thanks for the laugh. Good luck with your "career" in ladies' journalism.

    1. very well said Anonymous (Jul 16, 2011 02:39 PM)

      To Dr She Bloggo :
      I was happy to find a sexy pic of the show, and I caught myself reading this non-sense, retarded and outdated sexist point of view. Alison and Gillian enjoys being sexy and are having fun with it. They surely recieve their fair share of the money/publicity for the shooting. We (not you apparently) enjoy watching it. So why on earth will you find something wrong about that. (Maybe jealousy indeed, it is not you in the picture, maybe you are not sexy...) And why insult those fine young ladies, they definitively aren't slut. Only you should be ashamed, by your uptightness : "omg, two nice girls in panties!" Even the pope love this photo...

  2. 'sup anon, isn't the fact that GQ felt like they had to include sexy young thin white women to sell kind of problematic? Likewise can be said about the fact that most men wouldn't find a dark-skinned overweight woman attractive. Isn't that both racist and sizeist? Just because "that's the way it is" doesn't make it less problematic.

  3. I'm a straight man and I believe in equal rights for LGBT peoples (let's get that out of the way), however I disagree with the author and suspect she is a hypocrite and sexist. Have you ever watched porn? Maybe not, but the actors in the film will likely portray different individual characteristics off camera. I know a lot of straight men play gay roles. That is neither "wrong" or "right," it just is. When someone believes something is right or wrong for another, that person believes he/she is superior and therefore is the *-ist.

    Everyone finds something a turn on or a turn off. It doesn't make them a "racist or sizeist." Would I be a "Hairist" if bald women with beards turned me off? It doesn't mean I hate the woman or think I am superior to her, it just means I don't find bald women with beards attractive. Blame it on social convention and biology, but would you consider my decision "wrong" here? I wonder why the author is so eager to judge people and their decisions as "right" and "wrong?" I suspect a superiority complex and lean to believe the author is the real sexist in the article.

    Why would it be a problem for you when an individual finds something particular about another that is sexy or not?

    As a side note, your article misquotes the GQ article as follows:

    >Which leads me to another complaint: the title clearly says that this is "going lesbian."

    There is nowhere in the title or article that says or infers "going lesbian", while in reality, it says "Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs Did This Lesbian Scene for Us"... which leads me to believe they are not really "going lesbian" but simply getting paid to pose in a scene. I am not a lesbian, but I think finding this offensive is quite a stretch.

  4. ((Gentlemen of the world: we ladies are not here for you.))

    Does this chick seriously think she is speaking for every woman on planet Earth? PLEASE. You speak for yourself, not me. Get off your high horse and speak for yourself -- beee-atch

  5. Thanks for posting this pic, hot as God.

  6. How did we get here?October 28, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    To the first 'Anonymous' (the one who posted on July 16, 2011), it's pretty damn clear that you HUGELY missed the point.

    And to 'Anonymous' number five, maybe you should stop pandering to the misogynistic crap that you SHOULD be trying to counter.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Great post! I do think that most people have forgotten what real lesbianism is. They probably conjur up a mental pic of the front cover of and FHM or whatever when they hear that word. It's just another thing which has been re-invented for this cock-centric world. If it doesn't work for hetero males, they just reinvent it and then try to convince everyone that it's empowering for women.

  9. Glad to see you have hit a few defensive raw nerves Ms Bloggo!


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