Jenny McCarthy is on the cover of Playboy‘s July/August issue, and she also appears nude inside. But GASP! Did you know that she’s a MOTHER? And that’s she’s 39 YEARS OLD?! Did you know that mothers–who had had actual children–could be nude…and attractive? Stop the presses!
But seriously. This is ridiculous. All the media I’ve seen in relation to Jenny’s cover centers around the fact that she’s 39 and she’s a mom. In my opinion, this is sending lots of mixed messages to women about what they should be looking like at different ages.
On one hand, it’s saying “WOW can you believe Jenny McCarthy doesn’t look terrible….AT HER AGE?” Really. It’s not a miracle that a middle-aged woman cares about her body and has remained attractive; it’s like the media almost expects women to pack up her gym clothes and makeup bag once she’s over thirty–and especially if she’s had a child.
Look at Victoria Beckham, Kate Beckinsale, Jennifer Lopez or Gwyneth Paltrow. Lots of ladies look good into their thirties, forties, fifties and beyond (hello, Sophia Loren!). It’s such a double standard: you’re damned if you don’t maintain your body, but if you do and you want to show it off, that’s also an opportunity for criticism.
But on the other hand, this approach to coverage of Jenny’s cover story is setting up pressures for other women to look the same as celebrities, who as we know have a lot more resources than the average American mama. Celebrities also have a larger incentive to maintain their bodies, as their appearance is tied into their profession. Jenny herself calls her pictorial “a salute to the MILFs,” so we know she’s on board with hot moms. She said:
I’m so tired of seeing just the 20 year olds being considered sexy. I was like, ‘MILFS are hot, too.’ I’m getting better with age.
Although lots of people think that the mere act of posing for Playboy is in bad taste, especially at “her age,” I say more power to her. Jenny McCarthy has never been someone who has any problem with shaking up the status quo, be it with her outspoken stance against vaccinations or by appearing in a film where she sat in a pool of her own menstrual blood. As for those who might be concerned about the effect that posing nude might have on her son, she said she will eventually “have a conversation” with her 10-year-old Evan about the pictorial. But really, it’s not as if it’s going to be news to him that his mom was once hot. After all, we seem to re-hash this sentiment every year.
And this is far from the first time Playboy has featured women over 30 or women who are mothers. If Playboy doesn’t think the age or reproductive status of its models is newsworthy, why should the rest of the media?