(Editor’s Note: Ticket editor Josh Middleton has designated this entry one of the blog’s top posts for 2014.)
If you regularly attend theatrical productions in Philadelphia, then you have probably seen two-time Barrymore-winning actress Amanda Schoonover on stage. But you’ve probably never seen her quite like this.
Schoonover recently turned 40 and decided to celebrate the occasion by joining forces with photographer Kate Raines of Plate 3 Photography on a series of 40 boudoir photos, with the idea to release one each day on Facebook. (See more of the photos, possibly NSFW, below).
"I wanted to do something that promoted a positive image of what 40 looks like," says Schoonover, a South Philadelphia resident. "Some people say, 'Well, don't worry. You don't look 40!' I find this rather insulting. What do people think 40 looks like? This is what it looks like, and I am very proud of it. I am hoping the pictures inspire others to love themselves at any age."
Generally speaking, response has been positive, although at least one person complained to Facebook that the photos "violate community standards," as Facebook puts it. And Facebook agreed, pulling one of the photos down for obscenity. And it's easy to imagine that some of her friends are wondering whether it's a good idea to put sexy photos out there on social media the way that Schoonover is doing it.
Schoonover says that she removed a few more photos after Facebook contacted her. "I was afraid that they were going to flag them," she says. "You know, side boob could be offensive."
Raines was happy to get involved with the project. "Too many women suffer from an unhealthy body image," she says. "But real sexual appeal is much more than what can be anatomically measured. The more we can see real women feeling beautiful about themselves, the more women and our culture at large can reclaim the definition of and the way we think about what is sexy at any age."
Some may wonder whether this is feminist or anti-feminist. "What concerns me is when people want to put women into categories: either sexy or progressive," says Raines. "The point of being a feminist is to support equal rights, and women have the right to be empowered and sexy at the same time."
See Schoonover (the fully clothed version) this May in Luna Theatre's Brainpeople. After that, she is assistant directing the world premiere of The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington by James Ijames at Flashpoint.
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