Have we reached peak male gaze? Is this what happens when female photographers are commissioned to shoot pinup girls calendars? Is it safe to raise daughters who'd like to be taken seriously for something other than their looks? Is the world spinning off its axis?
The answers: Yes, yes, yes and unlikely.
The 2016 Pirelli Calendar is generating a lot of buzz for featuring women who, for the most part, don't tick the beauty boxes traditionally used to describe beautiful women. And yet, they are just that: beautiful.
Garnering the most attention is comic Amy Schumer, whose stand-up and "Inside Amy Schumer" punchlines have taken on male privilege, narrow beauty standards and the inordinate amount of say men have had (for centuries? forever?) over what defines beauty, femininity, desirability.
The blonde perches naked on a high stool, holding a cup of coffee. She's everything, as she sums up in a Tweet of the image. She writes, "Beautiful, gross, strong, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, sexy, disgusting, flawless, woman. Thank you @annieleibovitz."
The new Pirelli Calendar owes its headline topping images to famed celebrity photographer Annie Liebovitz, who the Italian tire maker commissioned this year for its annual calendar, which for decades featured, as the New York Times phrased it, "arty soft-core ode to pinups." Instead, Liebovitz chose women based on their achievements.
So along with December's Schumer, the calendar includes writer/thinker Fran Lebowitz, young fashionista Tavi Gevinson, 77-year-old philanthropist and past president of Museum of Modern Art Agnes Gund, Mellody Hobson (president of Ariel Investments), tennis star Venus Williams, director Ava DuVernay, musician Yoko Ono, and other artists and entertainers.
For half a century, Pirelli calendars featuring naked women have hung in the garages of stations serving high-end clients. As women have an increasing share of dollars to spend at places where these calendars hang, appealing to their sensibilities is probably not just a attention-getting way to hop aboard a cultural shift but also a smart business move.