Images from Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs’ GQ photo shoot have been on every website everywhere today. Even this website! (In the comments.) And they are certainly very good pictures. No one is trying to say that these are not very good pictures, but they do kind of…They do make me feel a bit conflicted. The photos are featured in the “Comedy Issue” of GQ, which also features a nearly-naked Mila Kunis on the cover, which, again, no one is saying that anyone doesn’t want to look at a picture of a nearly-naked Mila Kunis, but it does seem like a back-handed recognition of the HOT TOPIC of “women in comedy.” That topic, of course, being one of the most annoying topics of all time. But just because it is an annoying topic doesn’t mean we can’t discuss how the treatment of it kind of makes us uncomfortable sometimes. So, for me, I partly feel like the idea of “funny girls having fun” is being pushed a bit insincerely, while the idea of “hot girls I don’t care who they are” is coming across much more strongly. And maybe comes across a bit too often in these situations. I also partly feel like these are very good photos and who cares, because if I could be in this photo shoot I would be in this photo shoot because photo shoots look like fun and if you’re funny, you’re funny and, again, who cares. So, like I said, conflicted.

I do think this is a bit gross, though:

Jacobs, whose Britta has “slept with two-thirds of the male population” at the show’s school, is playing opposites, too: “The episode where I made out with my supposed lesbian friend was the first time I’d kissed a girl. I was terrified.”

Brie: “Aw, Gil! You should have let me know! We could have practiced!”

Uggghh, lady! Panderson Brie! That quote certainly does not help anyone’s case. Again, much less “funny girls having fun,” but in this case much more, “girls making jokes that maybe aren’t being portrayed in the exact sense than they were originally stated, but still, that’s not really a funny joke and maybe your joke should at least be funnier if it’s going to be so pandering and demeaning, but is that demeaning to say? I don’t know anything anymore, my brain is broken, this has broken my brain.”

Anyway, so, what do you think? Do you think about this at all? Hello? Is this thing on? Ladies? Fellas?

Comments (140)
  1. I’m okay with this.

  2. Yep, I’d hit that.

  3. See, here’s the thing with that whole issue:

    Nope. Sorry. I’ve got nothing. But really, if you were wanting a big mostly-incoherent speech by Facetaco trying to defend an unpopular opinion, you should not have presented me with mostly-naked Allison Brie. I’ve got more important things to do now.

  4. *gasp* Lesbians…

  5. Point – I think Kelly’s right about how the sexy hot lady pandering undermines the whole idea that they’re celebrating women in comedy.

    Counterpoint – I really, really like looking at those pictures.

  6. Sorry, not enough bile today. This gets a pass.

  7. Yeah, this isn’t a good representation of “women in comedy.” Remember that photoshoot of Jenny McCarthy on a toilet? Now THAT was funny! Because toilet!

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  9. After watching that video I… I… I… *whew* Ummm….. *cough* I think… um… Well.. These girls are funny, but the photoshoot itself is pretty…. umm. the photo…. umm… buh! Umm….. umm………

    Umm………………………………

  10. I get this is the nature of the beast in Hollywood, and I’m not looking to treat actresses who play along as some kind of betrayer to our sex because they’re trying to raise their profiles and paychecks instead of serving as staunch defenders of feminism. But ladies, if you’re going to do it, please don’t pretend it’s “ironic”. It’s not. You’re participating in an unfortunate but necessary aspect of your careers, not making a statement.

    • I’m not sure you’re using the word “unfortunate” properly.

    • You’ve basically said what im thinking uberstellar. If you’re going to wear sexy lingerie and play-swat each others asses with a pingpong racket don’t present it under the false guise of ‘we’re IN on the JOKE guys. we’re just pretending to be hot and fake lesbian’ when in reality you are actually just being hot and fake lesbian.

      That aside, i find this very easy to masterbate to.

    • I wrote and deleted a couple of responses to this, and I can’t adequately write what I’m thinking if that makes any sense. I am VERY bothered by this and VERY bothered by the opinions expressed here by the lady loving folks. It all just reads to me as, “welp, they’re hot and funny so it’s all good if they objectify themselves and we reap the awards!”

      I also feel silly for getting so upset about this stupid thing which isn’t really an issue, but, you know, feminism.

      • Also, ‘Panderson Brie’ is PERFECT, Kelly!

      • Thank you! Not to be a big whiner, but it feels like every time an issue about women and objectification and the male gaze that is written about here, several of the male commenters jump in and write, “Well, she’s hot, so I’m cool with it.” And many commenters who may feel there IS an issue stay quiet for fear of being called uptight, prudish or acting like a wet blanket. Or told are taking things to seriously. It’s unfortunate, because it truly subverts any real discussion of an actual issue and instead degenerates into a bunch of bros sitting around talking about how cool they are with the male gaze. I have nothing funny to say about that. It just bums me out because this site is generally cooler than that.

        Also, Kelly, yes, this is photoshoot is problematic and Brie is totally pandering. And as you can see- it’s working!

        • Yeah, I try to stay out of these things after Gwynethgate.

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          • Steve Winwood does have a point in that we can find the images aesthetically pleasing (Cf. va-va-va-voom), but also find the implications of these images as problematic as they are AWOOGA AWOOGA.

        • Nothing to say – just that I will stand with you in growing discomfort about the whole thing. :\

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  11. Shirley wasn’t invited.

    • She’s just not that funny.

    • That’s actually a good point. If it’s women in comedy rather than women in sexy, sexy positions, then why NOT invite Shirley? The correct answer, of course, is because they want to sell magazines. But still, food for thought.

    • You know what, the more I think about this, the more pissed off I get!!! They sure as hell DIDN’T invite Shirley! And Annie and Brita didn’t stand up and say, “We’re not doing it without Shirley.” Shirley is DAMN funny, and TOTES deserves to be there! Eff off, GQ! Didn’t have any plus-size lingerie in your wardrobe department?? ASSES!

  12. It’s funny because sex.

  13. plz dont try to ruin alison and gillian’s birthday present to be k thx.

  14. Congratulations, GQ. You’re officially Rolling Stone.

  15. I’m not so sure that quote is necessarily pandering, or, if it is, it’s Alison doing it intentionally because she finds it humorous. If I recall correctly, she’s certainly been open–and a bit gonzo–about her sexuality before. There was a piece somewhere on the internet where she wrote about all the sex she used to have and her–rather amusing–attempt at having sex with a gay (male) friend.

    • Yeah, those were some crazy times.

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    • i guess im ok with objectifying women if i highly respect their comedic talents, as long as it’s in the proper order.

      you could call it the Olivia Munn rule.

      • negative? i think i’m being mis-interpreted here. the “proper order” being that one should respect them on the merit of there talent first, and then if they happen to be “hot” on top of that and want to do things like faux-lesbian photo shoots, so be it. good for them.

        the reason I said it’s the Olivia Munn rule is that I don’t find her nearly as funny as she thinks she is, if at all. so I don’t think she has the credibility [i guess would be the word?] to do things like faux-lesbian photo shoots in the context of “funny girls having fun” but she’s really just letting herself be objectified just for attention in the more “pandering an demeaning” way as described above. does that make sense? hopefully it does. but then again, this is why the whole “women in comedy” is messed up and silly and stupid.

        man, woman, or beast, you either are funny or you aren’t. here’s a funny beast:

    • Wasn’t that a made up comedy piece?

    • That story wasn’t funny, and it was pretty badly written. At least five lines of ”then I was like- and then he was like-so I’m like” etc etc. I don’t know, I thought it was pretty gross to be honest. And pander-ish.

  16. Sexy faux lesbianism. How original.*

    *yes, they are really pretty ladies. But you have to admit, sexy faux lesbianism is really not an original gimmick.

  17. I’m with you, Kelly. This whole BRAND NEW women in comedy thing is supposed to be empowering, but recognizing women for being funny and then sexually objectifying them (feminism) instead of showcasing them for what they’re allegedly being recognized for seems counterproductive and insulting to these women who are in fact extremely funny. And granted, I haven’t seen the rest of the issue, so maybe they have tons of meaningful, thought provoking interviews with fully clothed funny women, or maybe Mila Kunis just drinks some Starbucks in her underwear? Comedy?

  18. Spot on, Kelly!!!!!

  19. I think something that deserves mentioning (not to be a wet blanket) is that GQ is a “gentlemen’s” magazine, which means that this spread is for men to enjoy.

    Did that deserve mentioning? I’m not sure. I just deleted a whole paragraph on this. You are welcome.

    • So honhon, if the were a magazine called White People’s Quarterly (and I really hope there isn’t), and it had some subtle racism that would also be ok because the magazine is for white people?

      • “canadiantuxedo” is right, beautiful people expressing sex positive stuff = racism. great, nice, slow clap from citizen kane or gary busey or who ever

        • I don’t see the criticism of this as “sex negative.” You can be against sexism and also be sex positive. I also never said that beautiful people expressing a sex positive attitude is racism. Where do you get that? I’m merely pointing out that you – a guy- don’t get to tell me – a disenfranchised woman- that I can’t get offended by subtle sexism because it is in a magazine geared toward men.

      • I actually get White People’s Quarterly. I got a pretty good meatloaf recipe out if it…and their profile on Steely Dan was revelatory.

      • Cover articles from White People’s Quarterly:

        Places to See “Cats the Musical” on St. Patrick’s Day
        Polishing Your Vespa
        Should You Pretend to Like Obama?
        How to Find a Whole Foods Near You
        Your First Gardener
        What’s Up With Topher Grace?

  20. This is subversive. Makes me want to be a lesbian.

  21. Here’s the thing, this is GQ we are talking about. When they were doing a Women in Comedy issue, did everyone assume that it would feature a 5,000 word essay by Catharine MacKinnon on gender inequality in the nation’s comedy clubs?

    Also, this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGx_1TswEXk

  22. I don’t know you guys. This is how I see it, as a woman, I don’t have a problem with this. If Alison and Gillian want to be seen as sexual objects in this instance, then why is that wrong? We are human beings and we like sex. We all like to feel as though we are wanted and I don’t see what is wrong with embracing our sexuality. Women can be funny AND sexy. A-DUH!

    And I will just wait for the downvotes and for someone to yell at me in text now.

    • Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure sex is wrong. The male and female TV newscasters plastered with make-up told me that.

    • I have a few issues: 1) I am unfamiliar with their private lives, but it is a pet peeve of mine when hetero ladies play gay for a dudely audience. Yes, people can make out with or spank whomever they want, so long as it is between consenting adults, but I am annoyed by the sexualization and fetishization involved. 2) yes, it is their decision, but we do not exist in a vacuum and we cannot forget that. Of course women can be funny and sexy and frumpy and whatever because we are humans with the whole gamut of human experiences behind that. But the fact that this reads like “oh they are so funny and SEXY SEXY SEX BOOBIEBOOBIEBOOBIELESBIANBOOBS is grating. It always boils down to hot sexy sex.

    • But in their industry, it’s way more of a requirement than a choice. Maybe they were thrilled at the aspect, or maybe they realized the only way to be included as “featured women in comedy” was to be photographed in their underwear. There are women who choose not to participate in in racy photoshoots, but they’re mostly punished for it in terms of money-making and hiring potential. To be fair, men in certain genres are also expected to do eye-candy bits, but for women it’s across the board. Even if they’re having fun embracing their sexuality, doing this or not affects their bottom line, and that’s pretty icky and seems to make their level of comfort a moot point.

      I’m also not yelling though, I promise. Just the way I see it, personally.

      • I would say it’s over-stating it to call it a ‘requirement’. Everyone has control over what they do. Bottom line, these ladies *chose* to do this. Would they lose work if they didn’t? Maybe? I don’t know. Probably not? Either way, no one is forcing them to be in GQ or any other silly magazine.

        If their personal views on sexuality/feminism/sexism/hollywood/whatever are in direct conflict with what they find themselves doing here, and their careers ‘require’ them to do this, then they have chosen to put their careers before their principles. Simple as that. Which is questionable, I suppose, but entirely their choice. Otherwise, it may not be so much against their principles.

      • Personally, at the extremely young age of 25 I have already lived through a couple of media cycles of “WATCH OUT FELLAS, THE GIRLS ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES!” commentary about different, traditionally male forms of culture, like comic books, punk music, etc. And every time I’ve had to watch female artists that i really enjoy and respect get smashed against the rock of media bullshit. I don’t begrudge these artists, who have to do a really intense calculus which pits popularity against the sad realization that more people will be into your (totally great!) work if you spank someone in lingerie. But I am dismayed and discouraged that this still is considered a legitimate option.

        • There are plenty of female artists that have garnered incredible respect for their work/art without spanking someone in lingerie, or otherwise purposefully sexualizing themselves. You have to choose to go down that path, and if you think the media or culture forces you to do so and that you have no choice, then you have failed yourself as an artist.

    • Here’s the thing, I mean, I partly don’t have a problem with it, in that Alison Brie, time and again publicly is very sexual in her interviews. Maybe we can debate that being a problem of it being NECESSARY to be sexual to play the Hollywood game, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. I seem to remember something she wrote kinda carte blanche about her attraction to women and her experiences there. Should this be cheapened and sold to hornin dudes? Probably not. But she was just being honest. I feel like she might have made that joke in her normal life anyway.

      Boners aside, I see the problem and it’s a double edged one. It’s a problem that they feel it’s necessary to do a photo shoot like this. But maybe they want to do a photo shoot like this and be sexual ladies. But anyone who thinks it undermines the “women in comedy being taken seriously” agenda, never took it seriously in the first place. These girls are funny and have been way longer than this photo shoot.

  23. Well I know what I’m doing when I get home from work.

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  25. I can’t even watch the video because I’m at work, so this comment might be completely pointless, but what is funny about 2 women having a sexual encounter? I mean, I know a lot of funny women, some homosexual and some not, but really, is this photoshoot not a wee bit insulting to actual lesbians?

    Also, being funny IS sexy, all on its own; it doesn’t make you a funnier woman to be a size 2 and wear Victoria’s secret.

    Wow, I guess this really kinda bothers me more than I thought!

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  26. #1: This is GQ, which is a magazine for (mostly straight) dudes. So whenever they do a feature on ladies, these ladies are going to be sexualized.

    #2: I think Allison Brie and Gillian Jacobs were featured because they are good-looking ladies who happen to be also be funny rather than the other way around. I’m sure GQ’s list of women in comedy doesn’t include Tig Notaro, Rachel Dratch or Lisa Lampanelli.

    #3: If this was a woman’s magazine featuring a good-looking funny guy, they’d probably shoot some sexy photos of him too. It’s what their audience wants!

    Whatever. In show business, women’s looks are valued more and held to higher standards than men’s looks. Not really much we can do about it. But at least people are giving more credit to funny women now!

    • So life is just sexist and we should just deal with it. When men everywhere are saturated with the idea that women are only sexual objects, it becomes harder for them to vote for women, take women seriously, pay them a fair amount etc. If all things were equal I could live with the whole “well it is a magazine for gentlemen” argument, but things are far from equal. And “not really much we can do about it” is probably the most depressing statement on the subject I’ve read in a long time.

      • Yes, it is depressing. It depresses me to think this is the world that my potential future daughter would live in. I’m not excusing it. I just don’t know why everyone’s so mad about it. As long as there are men’s magazines and women willing to pose in men’s magazines (including respected actresses like Gillian Jacobs and Allison Brie), then it will always be this way. So I guess don’t buy those magazines? And maybe stop watching Community in protest?

        • “Yes, it is depressing. It depresses me to think this is the world that my potential future daughter would live in. I’m not excusing it. I just don’t know why everyone’s so mad about it. ”

          Wait, what? What are you even saying???

          “Yes, I agree that this is awful. This is a terrible world and women are forced to overcome difficult obstacles which set them back in their personal, public, and professional aspirations. But whyyyy are the ladies so upset about it?”

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          • Actually, I re-read your “interpretation” of what I wrote and that’s not what I was saying. Women are not “forced” into anything. Allison Brie and Gillian Jacobs were not forced to wear lingerie and pretend to be lesbians against their will because that was the only way to get ahead. They were doing just fine IMO before this photo shoot. It was their choice to dress that way and act that way. So the real question is: Why are ladies so upset when other women (who also happen to be funny, smart and talented) choose to be portrayed as sex objects?

    • I see your point, but I think what’s particularly annoying about this issue of GQ, at least to me, is that it’s coming out at a moment in time when women in comedy are finally starting to be taken seriously in the mainstream and this just feels like such a big frowny face cutdown, even if it was just business as usual at GQ.

  27. I, for one, subscribed to the iPad app.

  28. Did you read the Mila Kunis article? Super cute. super cute. and I didn’t even look at the pictures! http://t.co/6EnjhZf

  29. http://www.benzlogo.com/

    I tide fashion Good-looking, not expensive Free transport

  30. When my boyfriend got home last night he had this magazine with him. I said something about seeing these pictures everywhere today and he was like “Wait, who is doing what with spanking?” in a way that I realized he hadn’t even known about these pictures before he bought it, because he’s not a good actor (pretty sure he bought it for Mila Kunis).

    It’s fine for my bf to look at pictures of sexy ladies but 1) I would rather not know the particular pictures of the particular ladies he looks at 2) I feel uncomfortable with the fact that there’s no way for me to make things even.

    I mean, so many normal guy magazines have pictures like this, but no lady magazines that you can pick up at the checkout have anything comparable. There’s PlayGirl but that’s so unappealing plus it’s a “dirty” magazine, so buying it isn’t the same as just picking up a GQ or Maxim that’s sold with all the other magazines. The only other magazine I’ve seen with scantily clad men is Men’s Health but that’s for men too, not women. Other than that there’s Tiger Beat and whatnot, but those boys are gross and young and if you buy it Chris Hanson invites you over for iced tea.

    I think things like this wouldn’t rub me the wrong way so much if it wasn’t so one-sided. I guess I could say “I don’t want anyone to be objectified” but 1) That’s not going to happen 2) Sometimes I like to look at people being a little bit objectified, so instead what I’m saying is that I want equal opportunity objectification. Even commercials for things not at all related to sexy women or boobs are full of sexy women and boobs. I am confronted with this everywhere I go. It gets discouraging sometimes. I would like to be distracted from my discouragement by even a fraction as many commercials with hot dudes rubbing products on their chests or something. For equality.

    tl;dr: Please to counter-balance all the objectified sexy women fauxgay with some sexy man objectification to make me happy, society.

    • Let’s start up a GQ for ladies? But it’s funny and cool. Not Cosmo-esque.

    • Agreed. I hate when one of my boyfriend’s friends get engaged. I know there will be a bachelor party with a trip to the strip club. I don’t like this, but it’s “socially acceptable” so I just have to “deal with it.” I often wonder what is an equal situation if reverse. It’s not going to a strip club with male dancers. I wouldn’t enjoy that, and I’m assuming men enjoy seeing the ladies strip.

  31. Also, remember those Anthony Weiner photos? They were very nice to look at! Here was a guy with a beautiful body and a successful career. Of course, in his case, looking like a sexual object destroyed his career. There is such a double standard.

  32. Disregarding the obnoxious male-gaze/”I’ll allow it” bro-comments, what’s with these disingenuous comments about how women can choose to be sexual objects if they want to?

    Everybody knows famous women can be funny AND sexy. And everybody definitely knows famous women can be sexy. The question here is whether it’s acceptable for famous women to just be funny. Show me one major cover story about women in comedy where all of the involved parties are fully clothed, and THEN we can talk about women’s options when it comes to professional development via pandering photo shoots. There is not a choice between “participating in this sexy cover shoot!” and “participating in this fun, professional cover shoot!” when it comes to career development. There is a choice between the sexy cover shoot and no cover shoot at all. Don’t even try to pretend to me like that’s a real “choice”.

    Do you guys really think that the goal of feminism is to allow women the freedom to be sex objects? Woohoo! We got the world to accept the idea of women as objects for male consumption! Glass ceiling SHATTERED! The point is to make as much room for Roseanne as we do for Larry the Cable Guy.

    • Awesomely put. Beautifully put. Brava!!!1 (look how enthusiastic I am with the accidental “1″)

    • Well said! Thanks!

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  33. Why two down votes for Julia? Maes no damn sense.

  34. I don’t think it’s that confusing. As a fan of Community, I associate these actresses with one of the most original, innovative shows on television (though yes, I understand that it’s not improv and they’re not writing every episode). So to see them associated with something so clichéd… it’s like they’re doing cameos in Two and a Half Men. It pays, some people like it, but it’s a bit sad.

  35. Geez, Kelly, way to harsh on all male Monsters’ hard-ons! How DARE you.

  36. The “Men in Comedy” issue has Louis CK licking Patton Oswalt’s butthole, so this seems fair.

  37. I’m definitely tardy to this party. I totally agree with the comments that basically say it’s b.s. that women have to be hot and sexy and show their breasts if they want to be successful in Hollywoodland. From stuff I’ve seen/read about Alison Brie, however, I think this is something she likes doing. If she likes doing this, is that wrong and degrading?

    The only thing I truly find offensive is that I didn’t see anything funny in that shoot. It’d be funny if they were wearing granny-panties, or they had guts, etc. This just isn’t funny. However, it was a shoot for GQ, so I don’t think they were going for funny. They were going for sexy women in the category of females in comedy. If it was a “women in comedy” issue of Playboy, and these actresses were posing nude, would there be outrage?

    Again, I’m just annoyed that none of the pics were funny.

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