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Everyone who’s anyone has been getting their kit off in the press this week. Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, Celine Dion and even Prince Harry, the younger, modern day Hugh Hefner of the British monarchy, (who has now superseded the popularity usually reserved to the Page 3 girls in the tabloid newspapers), have all decided that public nudity is a valued form of self-expression (Prince Harry, maybe not so much).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as receptive to some flesh-revealing titillation as the next perv, and personally embraced Prince Harry’s cringe worthily un-royal ball cupping shot as much as the next cougar, enjoyed Celine’s black and white vintage shots and Natalie’s ‘tastefully topless’ shots for Dior; however, Nicole’s controversial photos for V Magazine begged the question, ‘WHY?’

Call me a jelly menopausal sourpuss if you will, but seriously, WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?

For that matter, what do we really think about celebrities stripping off for magazines? Is it art or purely self-promotion?

I don’t generally have a problem with nudity in magazines and believe that even porn has its place, but what I can’t get my head around is the notion of successful, (proven) talented artists ‘getting their tits out for the boys’, under the pretension of it being art. Nicole had earned her stripes already, and although it might sound ageist, I believe that Nicole made an ill-informed judgment call with this particular shoot. As quintessentially beautiful as she is, she is blatantly too long in the tooth to be exposing her booty in such a sexually raw statement in the disguise of art.

I’m not denying she looks hot for a forty-five year old and I’m sure that even with her status, it took guts to expose her wares (no matter how age-defyingly botox-enhanced they might be) for that saucy little V Magazine shoot, but what message is she trying to convey?

The excuse of being ‘in character’, is just that; an excuse. She might be playing a wild chick from the wrong side of the tracks in her new film, The Paperboy, but it’s Nicole Kidman on the cover of the magazine.

And even if it is promotion, I still don’t get why she has to provocatively expose her toned arse, and suggestively touch and flaunt her no doubt equally taut vajajay in barely-there red lace lingerie. What happened to the premise of ‘show, don’t tell’? We know she shags Zac Ephron in the film, we know she shags Keith Urban at home; she obviously has something. We should hate her.

She’s a mum as well as an actress, and the mother of teenage kids. Just wondering how those photos went down with Conor and Bella, because in my house catching mum in her underwear is the height of awkwardness, and hardly a reason for artistic celebration? Whilst Zac, on the other hand, is not married with kids – seeing him in crotchless leather trousers, flaunting his firm buttocks might have been more appropriate. Or is that double standards?

I know, I know, I’m beginning to sound like a middle-aged prude, jealous of a celebrity MILF who has a hot husband, an enviable talent and several skeletons in her cupboard that could double her fortune if she chose to divulge them, should she ever need the money. I’ve said in the past that you can’t have all; I lied. Nicole is the living proof. So why has she felt the need to compromise our well-earned respect, by selling her body like some worthless wad of drachma?

There’s a difference between Natalie’s and Nicole’s shots, and not just in terms of tonality. Natalie is young, her photos are tastefully styled, they’re aesthetically pleasing to the eye; Nicole’s are courting controversy, a reaction. Has she been talking to  Madonna? The next thing you know, she’ll be flashing her boob and dumping Keith for a toy boy dancer.

My begrudging respect for her has dwindled as a result of those photos. Why, when she’d earned her place in Hollywood through talent rather than the casting couch, and cultivated the respected poise of a serious actress, has she compromised her reputation? That journey can’t have been easy; Hollywood isn’t exactly begging for ‘ginger’ leading ladies.

Maybe she needs the money? Maybe all those first class flights between the US and Australia, Tom’s financial dedication to scientology, costly settlement with Katie and Suri’s high heels have impacted the Kidman/Cruise/Urban joint bank funds more seriously than we know. I’m sure Antonia would have a quick whip around the RSL if she’s really struggling.

Is it because I’ve been blinded by bitterness at the Kyliesque comeliness of her arse that I just don’t get Mario Testino’s inherent message in these photos?

Or is the message simply that sex sells and all publicity is good publicity?

Street View used with permission from robojose at www.flickr.com

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