It was only 25 years ago that a naked and pregnant Demi Moore stepped onto the cover of Vanity Fair and shocked everyone. The photo was deemed so risque that it had to be sold in a brown paper bag along with the likes of Playboy magazines.
Women and men have taken it all off in the name of empowerment, money, to raise their profiles, and as a form of activism, to name a few reasons. It is becoming increasingly less shocking now that there is a long list of celebrities to have bared it all for film, television, tasteful nude shoots or just for Instagram (we’re looking at you, Kim Kardashian). However, if not done under the exact right conditions, a nude photo can quite easily encounter a lot of backlash from the public – fans, The American Family association, moms, Instagram and even other celebrities – both men and women alike. The reasons for such objections are many, including being too young, too old, too “fat” or too risque. The following celebrities have taken it all off but have taken a lot of heat for doing so.
12. Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer’s topless photo for GQ Magazine where she is in bed with R2-D2 and C-3PO went viral this summer, along with other racy Star Wars themed photos, much to the dismay of the public and Star Wars fans, in particular, who lamented that their beloved Star Wars characters had gotten down and dirty. One picture even featured Schumer with a lightsaber in her mouth. Part of the backlash came from Lucasfilm and Disney, who took to their Twitter account to state Lucasfilm & Disney “did not approve, participate in or condone the inappropriate use of their characters in that manner.” Others said it was in poor taste.
Madonna has found herself in some hot water after she intentionally pulled down a seventeen-year-old girl’s top and exposed one of her breasts after inviting her on stage during a recent performance. Madonna said: “She’s the kind of girl you want to slap in the a**. And pull.” She then said, “I’m sorry. Sexual harassment. You can do the same to me”. The video has since gone viral and now the singer could be facing sexual assault charges since the girl did not give her consent. However, the fan apparently has no intentions of pursuing any legal action. On the topic, she said: “Why would people assume I am humiliated by my own breast, nipple or body?”
Explicit content alert. Even Rihanna isn’t exempt from breaking Instagram’s nudity rules. Back in 2014, Rihanna shared several topless photos from a shoot she did with Lui. Much to the dismay of teenage boys everywhere, all were promptly taken down by Instagram for breaking their no-nudity policy. She also was threatened that she would have her account shut down if she posted any more nude photos. Twitter, however, welcomed the photos, as it does not censor content. The whole fiasco saw Rihanna deleting her Instagram account shortly thereafter (for a while, at least). Catch her censored pics over on her latest Instagram account.
9. Miranda Kerr
Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr posed completely nude on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, wearing only a pair of heels. Despite the fact that her arms and legs covered her womanly bits, the cover received a lot of backlash from no less than mothers shopping at grocery stores, which caused the magazine to be pulled from the shelves of an Australian grocery store. The move was due to “feedback from our customers,” the grocery store said in a statement. On the actual photoshoot, Kerr had this to say: “I do have a G-string on and that I am covered up with a robe in between shots, and that nothing is really showing apart from my skin.”
8. Alyssa Milano
Alyssa Milano has prompted a lot of outcry for sharing breastfeeding selfies on social media. She said she feels inclined to share the photos not because she is trying to be outspoken about breastfeeding, but because they are special moments in her life. On the topic of the public outcry, Milano had this to say: “I think more people are comfortable sexualizing breasts than relating them to what they were made for, which is feeding another human.” She gave Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian as examples. “No disrespect to Kim but… people are offended by my breastfeeding selfies & are fine with her (amazing) booty cover?”
7. Kendall Jenner
Kendall Jenner has created a lot of controversy for baring it all. The first was when she posed topless for Love Magazine. However, Jenner said she was “comfortable” on set and that it wasn’t “weird in any way.” At 18-years-old, she went on to pose nude for a portrait by Russell James back in 2014, and fans were particularly outraged. The photo revealed part of Jenner’s side breast and also a side view of her buttocks. The photo generated more than 7000 comments. Although one of Kendall’s older sisters, Kourtney Kardashian, proudly shared the photo on social media, others claimed that she was too young and that she would regret it. Her dad, Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner, was likely sick to her (then his) stomach. Others blamed her parents.
6. Miley Cyrus
23-year-old Miley Cyrus is constantly pushing boundaries. She has a history of taking her clothes off and causing a lot of backlash for doing so. Her 2008 Vanity Fair shoot, where she was topless under a satin robe, caused a lot of outcry, particularly from Disney executives. They said that “For Miley Cyrus to be a ‘good girl’ is now a business decision for her. Parents have invested in her a godliness. If she violates that trust, she won’t get it back.” Miley was sixteen years old at the time. She most recently took it one step further by posing nude (full-frontal style) backstage at MTV’s VMA’s for the December 2015 cover for V Magazine. Regardless of some people claiming that she used her body for the good of the LGBTQ community, a lot of the controversy surrounding the picture was the fact that the causes she’s trying to draw attention to by posing nudes no longer getting the attention they need because she has taken her clothes off so many times that it’s no longer shocking anymore. Miley also posed nude for the same magazine in the past when she went topless for Karl Lagerfeld.
5. Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham is frequently seen baring it all on-screen and engaging in various sexual acts in an effort to present a less glamorous and more realistic vision of both sex and women’s bodies in HBO’s Girls, which she created and directs. However, it has garnered a lot of scrutiny and backlash from the public. A similar response was found when she posted a picture of herself wearing her boyfriend’s Calvin Klein underwear on Instagram. She posted the picture to be funny, since her dog had eaten all of her underpants. However, she received a lot of negative attention with variations of being called “fat.” Lena said that it wasn’t a graphic photo and that “it turned into the most rabid, disgusting debate about women’s bodies.”
4. Britney Spears
In what is now considered to be one of the most controversial magazine covers ever, Britney Spears, who was eighteen at the time, appeared scantily clad on the cover of Rolling Stone. In the photograph, she is lying on her bed wearing a bra and short shorts. Although it seems tame now, the photo was seen as shocking at the time. The cover received a lot of negative press. The American Family Association referred to it as “a disturbing mix of childhood innocence and adult sexuality” and even called for “God loving Americans to boycott stores selling Britney’s albums”. Britney responded by saying: “What’s the big deal? I have strong morals. I’d do it again. I thought the pictures were fine.”
3. Demi Moore
In 1991, at seven months pregnant, Demi Moore posed nude for the cover of Vanity Fair wearing nothing but a diamond ring. She said she felt “glamorous, beautiful and more free about [her] body.” The cover is now one of the most highly regarded of all time. Nevertheless, the photograph was highly controversial at the time. Critics called it grotesque and obscene. In fact, some retailers sold the magazine in a brown paper bag as if it were a copy of Playboy. On the backlash, Demi said that she “didn’t expect for the response to be what it was. I was pretty shocked.” The iconic photograph went on to inspire a long list of other celebrities to do the same and its cultural and societal impact has been significant.
2. Yoko Ono (and John Lennon)
For the cover of one of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s experimental albums, 1968’s Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, the couple stood full-frontal, side by side, in a picture they took of themselves (an idea that was apparently Lennon’s). The back of the album features the couple nude from behind. The cover prompted outrage and controversy and it was deemed “obscene.” A lot of copies were impounded and their record company also refused to distribute it. It was later sold in a brown paper bag to avoid any further trouble. After the cover, Lennon said that the cover “just seemed natural for us. We’re all naked really.” He also said that the outrage seemed to have more to do with the fact that the couple was unattractive as opposed to the actual explicit nudity.
1. Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian regularly sets out to “break the Internet” via naked selfies, naked photo shoots (a la Paper Magazine), etc. Her most recent foray into posing nude was via her Instagram account, where she posted a selfie of herself in front of the mirror, which followed with a lot of other celebrities mockingly following suit (or, perhaps, lack thereof). This included the likes of Bette Midler and Sharon Osbourne (who Kim proceeded to snark at via Twitter). The photo garnered a lot of outrage, including Piers Morgan. He wrote: “You’ve still got a great body Kim, but if you’re really so successful why do you still feel the need to pose nude at 35?” He wrote a piece for Mail Online where he interestingly commented on the fact that she “ruthlessly exploited every crevice of her body in a way so spectacularly successful that it’s turned her into a multimillionaire.” Nevertheless, Kim defended herself on her website, writing that: “It’s 2016. The body-shaming and the slut-shaming – it’s like, enough is enough. I will not live my life dictated by the issues you have with my sexuality.” She said that she is “empowered by her body” and “empowered by showing the world [her] flaws.”