Is going topless in a music video a cheap grab at publicity, a political expression, or both?
Rose McGowan is the latest woman to go naked up top in a music video, joining the likes of singer Miley Cyrus (“Wrecking Ball”) and model Emily Ratajkowski (“Blurred Lines”) in stripping down to next-to-nothing.
And like Cyrus and Ratajkowski, McGowan says her bare breasts are sending a political message.
“I believe in civil disruption. I also think it’s important for bodies to be represented in a non-sexual manner, especially women’s bodies,” she told the online magazine Nowness.
It’s not the first time McGowan has made headlines standing up for what she sees as blatant sexism. In June she was dumped by her agent for criticizing the revealing outfit she said she was asked to wear in an Adam Sandler film. McGowan said the sexual double standard had gotten so bad, she was giving up acting for music because the latter industry was so male-dominated.
“Imagine, its predominantly men whose scripts get done so it was mostly a male voice coming out of my mouth for 15 years,” she said.
Cyrus has also cited political reasons for her frequent nudity, specifically aligning herself with the “Free The Nipple” campaign, which boasts a full-length feature film, and calls itself a movement to empower women against “female oppression and censorship.”
"There’s still so many laws against women’s bodies but barely any against men," movement founder Lina Esco told FOX411 earlier this year. Numerous celebrities have jumped on the band wagon, including Rihanna, Liv Tyler, Lena Dunham and Scout Willis, who instigated a topless protest on the streets of New York earlier this year.
Even Ratajkowski has cited politics, telling Ocean Drive magazine that the “Blurred Lines" video gave her the "opportunity to say the things that I felt about feminism today and about women in general in pop culture."
"Anything that’s in pop culture and involves naked women and dressed men should be criticized or at least inspected, so I felt glad that it was criticized," she said. "The female body is a beautiful thing, and it should be embraced and celebrated."
But not everyone buys what these women are selling.
"The female body should certainly be celebrated, but there is too much unnecessary female nudity in the entertainment industry. It doesn't prove a point or make a political statement, it just distracts from real beauty and actual talent,” says TV host and producer Dorothy Casceceri. “Women don't have to take their clothes off to get attention or be heard, yet so many A-listers are doing this and teaching young girls that it's not only okay, but it's the most powerful way to convey a message."
Sara Benincasa, author of "DC Trip," disagrees. "I think women who show their bodies as they please are doing the right thing. If it doesn't hurt anybody else, why not celebrate the body God (or nature) gave you if you're so inclined?" she says. "As far as I know, nobody's even been hurt by the mere act of a woman appreciating her own beauty."