In her new book, Suck It, Wonder Woman: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek, poor, unfortunate Olivia Munn was tricked by evil, gross-looking photographers to – gasp! – take off her clothes for a Playboy cover article.
I’m pretty shocked, too. I never thought I’d see the day when Playboy would want their models to go fully nude. Oh. Wait. I guess Olivia hadn’t heard about how empowering posing nude for Playboy is for well-informed women and their weight loss goals.
The Washington City Paper reports the details of Munn’s harrowing experience:
When Playboy offered Oliva Munn the chance to pose nude on the cover of the magazine, she declined. When Playboy offered Munn the chance to pose clothed on the cover of the magazine, she accepted. But once Munn got to the set, Playboy’s photographer, stylist, and team of handlers staged a day-long attempt to coerce Munn into taking it all off anyway.
If only she had had a contract ensuring that they couldn’t pressure her! But wait! It turns out that she did have a contract, and yet Playboy still tried to pressure her! The scoundrels!
After signing a comprehensive contract specifying which specific areas of Munn were on-limits and off for the photographer—side boob and underboob, yes; nipple, butt crack …
… and vagina no—Munn describes all the ways Playboy attempted to convince her to show what she didn’t want to show.
The Washington City Paper tries to argue that this is an example of a “frightening account of how manipulators attempt to coerce their targets into consent,” but I’m not so sure. Come on, this is the magazine that got a cheerleading coach fired. Is anyone confused about the fact that Playboy = nudity? Go figure.
Let’s even forget the contract for a moment. Let’s say Playboy called you up and asked you to be their cover model. Would you be shocked and disgusted to learn that they expect you to be naked in the pages of a magazine that has specialized in nude photos for over fifty years? Really? I’m a vegetarian. It’s like if I walk into a restaurant called “Joe’s House of Meat” and demand to know why Joe doesn’t have tofu stir-fry on the menu. I don’t walk into places called “Joe’s House of Meat.” If Olivia Munn wants to keep all of her clothes on, she probably shouldn’t agree to pose for Playboy.
Apparently in the book, Olivia claims that the stylist — a “tall, heavyset, bald man from Scandinavia with a very heavy accent,” in Olivia’s words — said pretty much the same. Or, as Olivia so charmingly transcribes him, “Zis iz Playboy!!! She haz to be naked!””
Munn eventually calls her publicist to help convince the photographer and stylist not to shoot her nude, and the photographer tells the publicist that they’ll airbrush out anything she doesn’t want seen. Still, let me get this straight: an enormous contract was drawn up where every detail of your exposed flesh was pre-approved up to and including the crack of your ass, and your agent or manager was not on-set to make sure that this lengthy and thorough contract was honored? Really? If that’s the case, why bother with the contract at all? Either Miss Munn is lying, or she really needs new people.
In the end, her pictures look more like something you might see in Maxim – Munn lounging on sofas, basically nude apart from a pair of panties, strategically covering her vital bits with hands and hair.
I wrote last week about how Olivia Munn is a problem because she panders too heavily and too transparently to a male audience, cracking the same sexist and offensive jokes as her fanboys. Here, however, I feel like Munn is pandering just as a hard to that same target audience, but this time casts herself as some kind of hurt, scared and vulnerable little lamb, rather than her usual foul-mouthed one-of-the-boys persona. Can she really pull off being both?
Munn claims that she doesn’t want to be thought of as a successful woman, but rather as a successful person who has gained fame because of her own blood, sweat, tears and talent. If that were the case, why does the model/fake news correspondent capitalize so heavily on her female sexuality? Take, for instance, the cover of Suck It, Wonder Woman. More to the point, which of Munn’s career moves have not somehow capitalized on her sexuality? Even on Olivia’s first Daily Show segment, Samantha Bee jokes she is already the show’s resident “sexy news bunny,” and they don’t need another.
The easy answer is that Munn wants it both ways. She wants to be able to flaunt her junk for money and fame, but is outraged when people claim that she’s only famous and rich because she flaunts her junk. And for that reason, Olivia Munn remains a problem.