Actress Caitlin Stasey's Reaction to a Nude Photo Shoot Request is Priceless

July 21st 2015

Laura Donovan

Actress Caitlin Stasey, who has been a vocal advocate of promoting positive messages about female body image, spoke out on Monday about an incident that she says illustrates our culture's confused understanding of female nudity.

Stasey, writing for Jezebel, said that Australian publication Good Weekend magazine canceled a photo shoot with her because they expected a provocative, nude photo spread to accompany an article about Stasey's Herself.com female empowerment project, which has published nude photos of women of all body types. The idea behind Herself.com is to spread a message of empowerment. But, according to Stasey, 25, the Good Weekend shoot would consist of "lots of ladies in panties, big hair, big makeup ... [p]anties, panties, panties," something that her and her publicist agreed was contrary to her message about body image and inappropriate next to an interview with Stasey about Herself.com.

When Stasey explained this to Good Weekend editor Ben Naparstek, however, he sent her this email:

Stasey worked with the publication to change the details of the shoot, but the following day, she was told it would no longer take place:

Her publicist then received an email confirmation that Good Weekend didn't want to use funds for a shoot that was different from the original vision:

Naparstek released a statement to ABC on the matter, saying he wanted the photo shoot to be nude because of the "beautiful" naked photos Stasey had posted on Herself.com. "That was always the concept we had in mind," the statement read. "As the profile was tied to the launch of Caitlin's website of nude photography, I thought it would be fitting to do an artful shoot in that vein while offering a change of pace from our usual celebrity portraits. But of course I fully respected and understood Caitlin's reluctance to participate in that. We decided not to pursue the shoot when her agent offered us access to existing portraits instead. But with the Herself.com peg no longer as strong, we chose to delay the profile until later in the year so it could be tied to the new seasons of her series 'Please Like Me' and 'Reign.'"

On Jezebel, Stasey said the problem was that the magazine wanted her to talk about female empowerment in an article next to a salacious photo spread.  "It wasn’t the nature of the shoot that bothered me," she wrote. "But the pairing of the shoot with the story I was hoping to tell, which was specifically that women, and only women, are in charge of their bodies, their image and their sexuality."

Stasey, unfortunately, is far from the only female public figure to face dilemmas of this kind. Actress Jennifer Lawrence faced backlash from Internet commenters earlier this year when she posed nude for Vanity Fair magazine shortly after her phone was hacked and naked photos of her were uploaded online. Lawrence relayed in her interview with the magazine that there's a difference between taking nude photographs by choice and being violated by someone who wants to take advantage of such images.

"It's my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting," she said. "I can't believe that we even live in that kind of world. It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime... it is a sexual violation. It's disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change. That's why these Web sites are responsible. Just the fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated, and the first thought that crosses somebody's mind is to make a profit from it. It's so beyond me."

Writer Danielle Shorr was subjected to the same kind of criticism after she posed in a bikini shot of herself on Total Frat Move Girls' Instagram page, which has more than 700,000 followers, despite labeling herself as a feminist in an XO Jane piece about the experience.

"If she wanted to celebrate her body and not have it be a meat market, she could have gone to a sex-positive feminist site," one commenter wrote. "Not one that extols the virtues of natty light or playing edward fortyhands."

As Shorr explained in her article, however, loving her body enough to pose for a popular Instagram account doesn't make her any less of a feminist, "I am 100% a feminist, an advocate for women’s rights of all sorts and there will never be a time when I refute that. As someone who undoubtedly owns her sexuality and body, I was disgusted at the idea that embracing it makes me any less of a feminist."

Here's what a few people had to say about Stasey's tiff with Good Weekend: