Controversial Celebrity Stunts
A topless Mischa Barton was clicked biting into a raw steak and Rihanna bared all for an Esquire photo shoot recently. Are celebs pushing the envelope of edgy exposure or are they simply willing to do anything to stay in the spotlight? Radio 2’s Kenny and Accalia debate how much skin is too and what fuels the stars’ need to reveal.
She says: I admit, I enjoy a bit of controversy. The thought of having that envelope pushed, and my levels of comfort as a viewer and fan challenged, thrills me. Comfort zones are funny things. On the one hand, they keep us safe because we don’t expect any surprises. On the other, where’s the fun in that? I admire those that are fearless.
Take Lady Gaga. Love her or hate her, you can’t deny everything she says or does makes news. Unconventional and unabashed, from her meat couture to that egg costume. Her music I can take or leave, but what fascinates me is her quirky no-holds barred personality. Explaining her sartorial choice (the meat dress?!) at the VMAs, Lady Gaga said that since she wasn't performing at the Awards she didn't want to let her beloved fans down by being "just another b***h in a dress at an awards show." She added that she had to kick things up a notch with a series of outrageous outfits, because, “If we don't stand up for what we believe in and if we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones. And I am not a piece of meat."
Of course, Lady Gaga is by no means the first celeb to kick things up a notch. Madonna paved the way for the likes of Gaga. Madge realised very quickly that scandal equals sales and people love it. So, perhaps Mischa Barton was trying to follow in the footsteps of such superstars when she decided to pose topless with a lump of raw steak in a rather bizarre photo shoot with celebrity photographer Tyler Shields.
Tyler is no stranger to controversy – he’s also famous for his work with celebrities including troubled actress Lindsay Lohan. In those shots he had her scantily clad, covered in blood and posing suggestively with a gun. The series of pictures entitled ‘The Dirty Side of Glamor’ caused outrage among her fans. Then there was Glee star Heather Morris, sporting a black eye. Apparently the inspiration behind that shoot was, ‘Even Barbie bruises’.
Can we consider these photos as art? Is this work ethical and or morally just? I guess that’s up to each individual to decide. Art is meant to evoke emotions, whether positive or negative. Tyler Shield’s work certainly continues to do just that.
I don’t doubt that Mischa Barton is hoping that the new prime cuts pics will gain her some publicity for a career which has been on the wane since she left TV series The OC back in 2006. It certainly won’t harm Tyler Shields’ career either. Controversy gets people talking, and no press is bad press!
He says: I reckon celebrities have taken the ‘if you've got it, flaunt it’ mentality to a whole new level. I've grown tired of the ‘skin game’ - and I’m a MAN! There is simply nothing left to the imagination anymore. I might even go so far as to say, I'm a bit tired of celebs taking it off. But these days A-listers seem to be ready and willing to go au naturel or be a part of anything so long as it is jaw-dropping to the public. Not only are they taking it all off in front of the flashbulbs, they’re going overboard with the controversial shoots.
American Esquire has just named Rihanna the Sexiest Girl Alive and, for the photo shoot, she elected to wear nothing - aside from a couple of strategically placed leaves. Even athletes are now willing to bare all. ESPN magazine, a publication by the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, has convinced some prominent male and female athletes to drop the uniforms for their ‘Body’ issue. Though their naughty parts are artfully covered by props, we know that they’re nude.
Then there’s Mischa Barton, recently photographed topless with her teeth sunk into a raw steak and slabs of it pressed up against her face, and Heather Morris of Glee with her painted-on black eye. These photographic escapades leave most of us scratching our heads trying to figure out what these photos mean or what the photographer is trying to say.
I guess it’s just art… right? Or is it just a celeb’s desperate attempt to cling to the spotlight? Personally, I think it's the latter. Is anyone ever going to compare Mischa Barton’s meat snaps to Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus? I think not.
But the great unwashed want to see skin and if the celeb in the picture is doing something bizarre, even better! Even if we don't want to see this as ‘art’, at least we’re talking about it - and that is their real goal.
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