The amount of nudity we see in television and film is astronomically higher than ever before. Shows like Game of Thrones and Girls show stars in the buff on almost a weekly basis. While scenes involving nudity have been relegated to "gratuitous" and "pornographic" in the past, the purpose and discussion behind those scenes is starting to change. Now, nude scenes can be viewed as empowering, poignant, and even necessary to storytelling for these films and TV shows. But that doesn't necessarily mean the Hollywood landscape has been scrubbed clean of its blatantly titillating nude scenes either, especially in regards to women.
Female celebrities in film and TV are the first to be taken advantage of when it comes to nude scenes. Whether the scene is necessary or not, women in the industry are expected to oblige and strip their clothes whenever asked of them. Some female celebs have voiced stark opposition to filming nude scenes, even refusing to consider the option.While baring it all is a deal-breaker for some, stripping down is a no-brainer for others. Actresses like Mary-Louise Parker and Emmy Rossum frequently go naked for their roles on their racier Showtime shows. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're happy about all the scenes that come their way. Female celebrity nude scenes will always be a source of controversy and criticism. Misogyny within the industry is to blame for that, especially when considering the unequal portrayal of nudity between men and women on-screen. But what do these women think about nude scenes themselves? Here's a roundup of popular actresses' opinions on doing nude scenes.
Emilia Clarke has been pretty vocal about her nude scenes in Game of Thrones. But she's also been relatively flip-floppy on her stance on them. After Season 4 of Game of Thrones, Clarke vowed to never do a nude scene for the show again. She told interviewers in 2015 that "sex scenes should be more subtle," adding that she'd be participating in fewer of them in upcoming seasons of the show. "I'm British, so I cringe at that sort of thing anyway. I can't stand it," she added. Clarke clarified her statements later, claiming they were taken out of context. "Sometimes explicit scenes are required and make sense for the characters/story, as they do in Westeros. If it’s gratuitous for gratuitous sake, then I will discuss with a director on how to make it more subtle," she said.
Clarke recently received criticism after appearing fully nude again in a recent Game of Thrones episode. She defended the scene, saying: "I personally have had a lot of [criticism] where people are like, 'Oh, the chick who takes her clothes off,' as a kind of derogatory thing, and I'm like, 'Excuse me, [those scenes] couldn't be more empowering.' The fact that I'm naked is just like a 'screw you' to all the haters, do you know what I mean?"
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Hands down one of the most memorable scenes in James Cameron's Titanic is Kate Winslet's nude drawing scene. And although the film legitimized her acting career, Winslet sometimes regrets having agreed to that scene. To this day, Winslet claims that people still approach her on the street asking her to sign the film's nude drawing. "I don't sign that [picture]. It feels very uncomfortable. Why would you do that? People ask me to sign that [picture] a lot...I'm like, 'No! I didn't mean for it to be a photograph that I would end up still seeing 17 years later,'" she explained. If she could go back, it seems that Winslet wouldn't avoid the boat altogether, but would definitely turn down Jack's offer to draw her like one of his French girls.
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Natalie Portman, albeit nervous, was not necessarily opposed to on-screen nudity. But after her naked scenes ended up all over porn websites, the actress felt much more opinionated on the issue. "It really depressed me that half of every review on the film was about the nudity. It made me think I shouldn't have done it. I'm not prudish about nudity. I think it's beautiful in films, and sex is such a big part of life. My issue is that I feel it takes something away from what you're doing when the focus is put on the wrong thing," she told interviewers. Since then, Portman has vowed to avoid appearing nude in movies. "My picture ended up on porn sites, and that's the dilemma. I just don't want to do something that will end up as a screen grab on a porn site," she told Elle magazine.
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Former protagonist of Showtime's Weeds, Mary-Louise Parker had a few issues with her character's onscreen nudity. The actress, who appeared naked on the show relatively frequently, didn't love every scene that required her to strip down. Parker actually publicly voiced disappointment in a scene that she felt was particularly gratuitous. In the Season 4 finale of Weeds, Parker appears naked in the bath tub for an extended scene. According to Parker, she didn't find the shot necessary. "They made it sound like I was like, 'They made me take my clothes off and chained me to the bathtub," she said. Parker later clarified her statements, assuring viewers that there were no on-set quarrels. "I was talking about that scene as an example of something I didn't love as much when I saw it because they kept cutting back and I was naked, but they liked the position of it," she added. In fact, Parker enjoys being naked on set. The actress admitted: "I mean, if you know me, it's like, someone sneezes and I take my clothes off. I'm naked in Esquire in August. I was naked on the set the other day. I'm always naked. I'm naked right now, in fact."
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