Monday, January 14, 2008

Playboy Wonder Woman Tiffany Fallon's Scarlet Letter

Okay, here's an interesting wrinkle to the whole "Playboy Wonder Woman Cover" brouhaha...

The Playmate in question, Tiffany Fallon, is actually a stated fan of Wonder Woman even before the Playboy cover came out:

"I'm obsessed with Wonder Woman. I grew up and I had the Wonder Woman Underoos, when Underoos first came out. And I was always a big fan of the show and Lynda Carter. And the older I got, the more I would get these comments like, "My god, you look like Lynda Carter in that picture!" And it doesn't happen all the time, but I just grew to appreciate her and the character and the campiness of the project. I was Wonder Woman at one of the Playboy Mansion parties, and I just started getting all these comments, like, "My god! You would make a great Wonder Woman!" And I'm like, "You know, I would!" [Laughs]. And so I just have fun with it. And I heard they were starting to make a movie about it, and so I was like, "You know… Stranger things have happened in my life!" You never know. But that would be something I'd be really proud to be a part of."

This raises several questions/comments from me.

1. I have to wonder (if you will excuse the pun) how much of the subject matter was Playboy's initial idea and how much of it was worked out with Tiffany because she's specifically a fan of the character. She seems to want to be identified with the character.

2. There is obviously, at least for me, a measure of PR involved with this, with Tiffany making a play for the proposed (shelved?) Wonder Woman movie.

3. If comic book publishers are going to use cheesecake art for their mainstream superhero characters anyway, how can they complain about having a Playboy Playmate portray one of them? Outside of copyright issues?

4. If comic book publishers are going to use cheesecake art for their mainstream superhero characters anyway, why can't Playboy Playmate Tiffany Fallon be Wonder Woman?

Has the fact that she has posed nude make her a "dirty" person unfit to wear the WW bustier & girdle?

As women, do we want to point a finger and say that a certain woman can't play a superheroine because she's "bad" for having posed nude? Are we doing this because as women we feel that she has betrayed us, that she has contributed to a perceived degradation of our gender? How much of it comes from a Judeo-Christian "nudity is sinful" perspective? If as women we operate from the "sexuality is bad" perspective, are we unwittingly buying in to a mentality where the "sinful nudity" parts are intertwined with "women are essentially sinful" parts?

If Tiffany Fallon wants to make a living modeling her nude body, and she spends a great deal every day at the gym etc. to invest in this, do we have the right to condemn her? What if she was only a nude model for lesbian women, and no men were ever going to look at her flesh? Would that be acceptable? Is it the fact that she strips down for men that is the issue?

I have no one definitive viewpoint on this topic, because it is far more complicated than my stupid blog can define. But I will say that within some feminist arguments against porn there IS some sort of vestigial Judeo-Christian judgement call in play.

Is erotica evil? Does erotica hurt? Does erotica for depicting women degrading?

Is Tiffany Fallon a bad person? Has she been victimized by Playboy? Is she a "marked" woman because she been photographed naked?

Have we given her a Scarlet Letter?


  1. FYI, I'm pretty sure the woman who was cast as WW in the on/off current JLA movie posed nude in the past. Or at least topless. I'm at work, so I'm not gonna check.

  2. Being a mans, I s'pose my comments may be tainted with wangness, but I feel this hubbub is kind of crazy.

    1. Playboy is an adult themed magazine so the arguments that Ms. Fallon is besmirching an icon in front of children is possibly one of the weakest I've heard.

    2. Regarding you 3rd and 4th points, I do think it's a little hypocritical for comic publishers to complain. There is so much nipplage in comics, they might as well be running around nekked.

    3. And this is my stance on porn and erotica in general. If'n you want to make a living with your body, woman or man, you have that right. And more power to you! If you want to sex it up with body paint, rock rock on. I'm certainly in no position to pass judgment.

    MJ statuette? Yeah, Marvel fucked up that one. Completely exploitive and tasteless. Nude body paint WW in Playboy? Hell, at least she's wearing something. We're talking Playboy here, not something distributed to widely comic stores and marketed towards kids.

  3. I'm unaware of any feminist in the past decade who has claimed that women who pose nude are "bad." Some may decry a culture in which such careers are the ones that pay women the most money, or that support so many such magazines, but those are sociological debates, not aspersions on anyone's character.

  4. Oh, and by the way, Lynda Carter had a brief nude scene in "Bobbie Joe & the Outlaw" (1975) before she became Wonder Woman

  5. I'd rewrite this thusly: "How much of it comes from a Judeo-Christian "[public] nudity is sinful" perspective? If as women we operate from the "[extramarital/public] sexuality is bad" perspective, [or better, the 'notoriety based on nothing *other* than sexuality is bad' perspective] are we unwittingly buying in to a mentality where the "sinful nudity" parts are intertwined with "women are essentially sinful" parts?"

    Wonder Woman is a public figure as a superhero. Close scrutiny of the sexuality of a public figure lessens the nobility of the public figure.

    "Is it the fact that she strips down for men that is the issue?"


    While I'll grant the "woman is essentially sinful" thing is highlighted in various places in the Christian tradition, particularly during periods where monastic forms of Christianity held sway, I'm loathe to claim that Christian views of sexual morality and modesty have a necessary link to views of women as "sinful". I was raised to and continue to hold to Christian standards of modesty as my (imperfectly held) standard, but it was always clear and made clear to me that

    1) marital love and martial eroticity were proper, moral and God-intended

    2) temptations to sin flowed from the heart of the individual who lusts, not from external forces (though girls were always encourages to not be "stumbling blocks" to men via overt displays; But men had their ways of causing stumbling too)

    3) "In Adam's fall we sinned all", and Eve was misLED, not misleading.

  6. Actually, Bobbi Jo and the Outlaw was filmed AFTER the ABC Wonder Woman pilot, and before the rest of the ABC Wonder Woman episodes.

  7. i don't know that i agree with those caveats, pduggie.

  8. DC Comics has done far more damage to the character of Wonder Woman on their own than Tiffany Fallon ever could.

  9. I seriously doubt that the majority of readers and non readers would have any problem with someone who posed for Playboy being Wonder Woman in some movie that will probably never get made. I'd think a bigger concern is that this gal Tiffany isn't an actress.

    Lets face it many Oscar award winning actresses have been topless either on screen or in print. Did people wig out at Halle Berry playing storm because she was topless in that horrible swordfish movie?

    Thinking that Playboy is something that is going to hold tiffany Fallon back, when all she really is known for is being in playboy, seems like pressed logic at best.

  10. how did this thread get hijacked by a group of kevin/kevens so quickly?

  11. The League of Kevins controls the internet, after all. Didn't you get the memo about today's takeover of blogger?

  12. You missed a question:

    "She used to actually wear underwear?"

  13. 'You missed a question:

    "She used to actually wear underwear?"'

    Wait to disprove that Scarlet Letter theory there. Has anyone bothered to try to find out what exactly SHE thinks of this whole hubbub?

  14. PDuggie: While I commend your particular interpretation of Christianity on embracing sexuality as a healthy part of a persons psyche in the context of a loving relationship, I would hazard to say that the majority of Christian sects (and certainly Catholicism, which is the only strain I have had any direct dealings with) are far less... understanding than you appear to be.

    Certainly, the strain of Christianity that appears to have a stranglehold on the Christian discourse in America (i.e, the television pundits and preachers, the President, etc) appear to hold that women's sexuality and women's essential nature are sinful. Full of sin.

    Sorry, my biases are showing. I just wanted to point out that there're lots of different christianities, and some are more accepting of women than others.

  15. Here's a twist....

    I'm a Muslim man and I think Ms. Fallon looks hot and I'm all for magazines publishing pictures of naked women in sexy poses. If someone says, "Hey, let's cast her as Wonder Woman," I'm all for that, too. Why? Cuz she's hot and I like looking at hot girls. (I only mentioned the Muslim thing to remove any sort of Jeudo-Christian context to what I'm saying.)

  16. "But I will say that within some feminist arguments against porn there IS some sort of vestigial Judeo-Christian judgement call in play."

    I'd guess there's a lot more than we realize.

    This is a very difficult conversation to have in our society because of our sexual hangups; expression of sexual libertarianism from men or women inevitably lead to some variations of "pervert" and "bimbo." Look at the discussions on this blog about Marston. It's a visceral reaction, stemming from childhood and our collective upbringing. Sex is dirty.

    Would it be nice if someday people could be completely open and unashamed about their sexuality? Sure. But we're all a long way away from that.

  17. I recently commented on your previous post regarding the possible affect of posing/performing nude has on being cast in a comic book role.

    I personally don't care if the actress showed some skin or not, but some audiences do. My nerd buddies really do.

    I can see why some people are so pissed/offened/bitchy over this crap: they don't want to see their favorite fictional characters be brought to life by "tainted" actress who took off their clothes because some guys told them too. It's stupid, yes, but it sadly makes some sense.

  18. <3

    I'm too tired to comment but I feel similarly as you :D

  19. I'm not sure if it'll help or hurt or even add anything meaningful to the discussion, but a couple of years ago, Mark Evanier linked to a Playboy Mansion Halloween party photo of Tiffany Fallon as Wonder Woman. As far as I can tell, the photo is safe for work, but I'm still linking to Evanier's link first as a precaution.

    (she's just been doing this for a while now, is what I'm saying)

  20. Now that I go back and more carefully read Fallon's excerpted comment, I realize that this was the event to which she was referring. But I just liked Mark Evanier's take on the whole thing circa a couple of years ago, and wanted to pass it along.

  21. I remember it being mentioned that after Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia from Buffy and Angel)posed naked for playboy that she had lost out on her chances of being Wonder Woman, something that seemed fairly likely when Joss Whedon was writing the script.

  22. I got no problem with the idea of Tiffany Fallon playing Wonder Woman in a movie, or even posing in Wonder Woman body paint in Playboy.

    My problem is with Playboy taking *the* feminist icon and reducing her to no more than T&A - I'd be a lot less pissed if she looked remotely powerful - and that DC / TimeWarner is effectively pimping out their most iconic superheroine.

  23. As has already been pointed out, I don't see how Playboy could POSSIBLY do more harm to Wonder Woman's image than DC Comics itself has. I give you this cover from Wonder Woman Comics to make my point.

  24. Its really very good and interesting information. Every year a number of events are held at the Playboy Mansion. Inevitably, A-list celebrities make appearances. And who could forget about the Playboy bunnies, the highlight of the Playboy Mansion. People always enjoy in this type of party.

    Kandy Halloween 2010