Other Ladies Agree: Annie Leibovitz's Latest Is Painfully Lame

Yesterday, we posted about the Vanity Fair shot in which funny dudes recreate a 2006 cover — with bodysuits. Today, the annoyance is spreading around the web:

Over at feminist blog Shakesville, Melissa McEwan writes:

Even when women do what they're meant to do by the fucked-up standards of The Patriarchy-get naked and submit themselves for public objectification-they're going to get mocked for doing it. Because, even though we're ostensibly laughing at the Judd Apatow Boyz for their uproarious send-up of a sexy female-oriented VF cover, implicit in that laughter is a condemnation and marginalization of the female-oriented cover: See how silly it is when a man does it?! Ho ho ho.

Author Amanda Marcotte, on her Pandagon blog:

"I prefer jokes that send up sexist stereotypes, like when Liz Lemon makes a stupid mom joke and high fives herself. This joke, it seems to me, works off the idea that it's stupid to want to put men in an objectified position, ‘cause duh, that's for ladies! The bodysuits just makes it more insulting."

Salon's Rebecca Traister adds:

All this silliness does is amplify the point that men can become famous in Hollywood, and famous enough to be photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair, without having bodies that you want to see unclothed. There is not a similar path to success for Hollywood's women.

But we're really behind Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon, who says:

Between the hack work and the pawning of her photos, I guess Annie Leibovitz really is hard up. That this drivel is being peddled by the same woman who shot one of the most famous male nude photos ever — the beautiful, vulnerable image of John Lennon curled up against Yoko Ono for Rolling Stone, just makes the whole business all the more cynical and pitiful.

See, we're starting to wonder if Vanity Fair is the problem, or if Annie Leibovitz is the problem. She's one of the most famous photographers working right now, but she pushes people of color off of covers, turns black basketball players into gorillas, gets 15-year-old girls to pose half-naked and has no regrets.

As an artist, it is certainly her job to push boundaries and break the rules. But lately it seems that instead of inspiring and innovating, Leibovitz offends and denigrates. What is she doing? What is her goal? To create "art"? Or to rock the boat? Or merely to get paid? On the one hand, she's been generating lots of negative press lately — why would any magazine continue to use her? On the other hand, no publicity is bad publicity, right?

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other [Shakesville]
Quick Take: Funny Or Not? [Pandagon]
Dudes Undress For Vanity Fair [Salon]
Earlier: Vanity Fair: Not In Favor Of Naked Men
Photo Finish
LeBron James "King Kong" Cover
Is Vogue's "LeBron Kong" Cover Offensive?
Miley Cyrus: Fifteen & Topless in Vanity Fair
Is Tween Titillation More Offensive Than Casual Racism?

[All images by Annie Leibovitz.]