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12 Famous Women Who’ve Used Their Sexuality (To Get Ahead)

The combination of tits and drive can, apparently, cause the internet to crash. In the past six months I’ve watched as publications and writers I admire scrutinize Lana Del Rey for representing a “passive femininity,” gawk at young writer Marie Calloway for sleeping with older, more established male writers and shake their heads at Rihanna for not giving a f**k anymore and Instagramming intimate moments from her party-fueled lifestyle. What is more controversial than a woman using her sexuality in order to get ahead? I guess, not apologizing for it.

The main reason for feminist criticism in these cases is that the image of sexuality projected by these women doesn’t look “transgressive” — it looks too much like the role assigned by mainstream, for the benefit of the male gaze. These images read socially as “hot,” seemingly heterosexual and femme.  I mean, I love it when women rock the boat with their sexual expression. I enjoy the “man repeller” fashion trend, I like seeing stars like Amy Poehler not in suggestive poses on the pages of magazines, I like the ugly-funny sex in “Girls.” But I also think there should be room for more. Why can’t a fantasy-driven  femme, submissive, seemingly heterosexual display of female sexuality be a genuine one? Why can’t the image of a self-destructive Lana Del Rey in heart-shaped sunglasses be one of her own creation?

With those questions in mind, click through for a celebration of famous women who are using their sexuality and not apologizing for it.

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