Apparently, posing nude -- or mostly nude -- in a mens' magazine is still some sort of rite of passage for female entertainers, and there has been a spate of female comedians stripping down recently. We have to admit, as fans of comedy and women in comedy especially, my fellow editors and I die a little bit every time this happens. When we saw the new behind-the-scenes video of Abby Elliott's Maxim shoot, we decided it was time to start a conversation.
In one sense, there is a pragmatic way of looking at this: in order to win a larger male audience, women have to remind men that they are women (with a capital T & A). Conventional wisdom says that funny women are intimidating, so why not take yourself down a peg -- or article of clothing -- or two to make yourself a little more approachable?
This makes good career sense, but does it undermine the struggle to let a woman's work, not her workout, be her selling point? To put it another way, we aren't expecting to see Sarah Vowell in a Maxim photo shoot anytime soon, and we doubt that has hurt her career very much.
Another, perhaps even more crucial point, is that from all accounts, these sorts of photo shoots are a lot of fun. We are sexual beings after all and to deny that is not only wrong, it's naive.
Nevertheless, at a time when so many men feel comfortable saying, "I don't find women funny," it doesn't sit well with us to see many of those same men rewarded with getting to see actual funny women in the buff.
Below are a few examples of funny women who could/should keep their clothes on (unless, of course, it's for a role and it's tasteful and artistically justified, etc. etc.). It's not because they aren't beautiful, of course they are. It's because we consider placating the readers of laddie mags just so beneath them.
What do you think? Does seeing hilarious women strip down bother you or is it all in good fun?
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post did not adequately attribute the photo of Tina Fey. The original photo shoot was for BUST Magazine, which describes itself as "an uncensored view on the female experience." The photo in question was re-posted at Maxim.com, where we found it.
Note: Yes, we know some of you are only here for naked pictures.