Eva Mendes Says Getting Naked On Camera Is Empowering — But Is It?

“If I feel it’s appropriate to show some nudity in the scenes then I go for it. As much as I use my sexuality, I have never felt exploited. I feel like it’s on my terms and I have no problem with it.”

That’s actress Eva Mendes, who stars in the upcoming “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,” on going naked in the movies. If she’s in control of her sexuality, her theory goes, how can she be exploited? Cinematical’s Peter Kaplan agrees:

“Speaking as someone who first noticed Mendes when Ethan Hawke opened a door in ‘Training Day’ to reveal her lying naked on a bed, I say: ‘I have no problem with it, either.’”

One imagines Broadsheet’s Kate Harding would not concur.Recently, Harding, in a post on porn, women, and power, opined that women who sell their sexuality and deem that act empowering are sorely mistaken. In fact, she suggests, those women are disempowering themselves.

“The vast majority of women are never considered sufficiently wankworthy to earn money for taking their clothes off, and those who are can only hold that distinction until they begin to age visibly, at which point they join the unsexy masses. Making matters worse [...] women who have at some point bared it all for money are taken less seriously when, inevitably, their no longer marketable bodies force them to seek a new means of making a living. Thus, many Actual Feminists conclude that being photographed naked is not, in fact, a job that moves women as a group closer to equality with men in terms of employment and earning opportunities. Instead, it is one that reinforces the distinctly unfeminist and demonstrably false idea that the commodification of certain young women’s sexuality is a form of real power. See?”

What do you think? Is getting naked in the movies, on the cover of Playboy, or for a TV show an act of female empowerment, or the continuation of the sexual exploitation of women? Tell us in the comments.

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