Tom Hiddleston’s underwear shots expose our double standards | Flic Everett


When a famous man such as the Night Manager actor puts his trousers back on hes still taken seriously. But women are treated with less respect

According to a certain sidebar of shame, theres a new pin-up in town. Leaving his legs open and his feet placed on the floor as he leans on the bed, Tom confidently shows off every inch of his muscular physique, breathes the caption, channelling Rita Skeeter after a vat of Spanish fly.

Actor and Bond Apparent Tom Hiddlestons racy photoshoot is for esteemed fashion mag W, and the 35-year-old actor is pictured lounging about in nothing but a pair of white cotton boxers, legs spread, gazing longingly at the camera like Oscar Wildes best Bosie fever-dream. Yet the accompanying text appears to take his career entirely seriously, allowing him to discuss his roles, throw in a few Bond-like quips, and generally reveal himself to be reasonably intelligent, witty and talented.

David Beckham who scarcely counts as naked because hes got drawings all over him. Photograph: H&M/Rex

And while the internet may be allowing itself a brief, maidenly flush of excitement at the pictures, nobody is groaning, Oh, put it away, To-Hid, or sniping, What an air head, how is this news? under his sultry portfolio. Its quite the contrast to the general attitude when a successful actress gets her kit off. Septuagenarian Dame Helen Mirren is still wading through a pond of lascivious slime because she once let it be known that she has breasts, while Kim Kardashian may be married to a rap god and a wildly successful businesswoman, but the general response to her regular showcasing of her assets is sleazy pathetic and attention-seeking, which doesnt stop every coy, hand-across-boobs bathroom snap she ever posts going viral within seconds.

Any female celebrity who has ever been persuaded to undo her top because the film needs publicity, or has, like Miley Cyrus, decided to take control of her own image and get naked without coercion, steps immediately into a looking-glass world where nothing but their flaunted curves is reflected. When a man does it like Daniel Craig, say, emerging from the turquoise waves like an irritable tendon in tiny pants, or David Beckham who scarcely counts as naked because hes got drawings all over him theres a brief outburst of comedic, hen-party lusting, then the pouting pin-up in question is allowed to return to pontificating about cinma vrit, or representing the UN on a global stage.

Everyone understands that it was purely for fun, something that a gorgeous, intelligent man might choose to do to please his public and celebrate his own magnificence, like a lion at the zoo choosing to roar at the crowd. But no matter how intelligent, successful or globally charitable a woman may be, as soon as she poses bum to camera in lacy pants, shes seemingly revealed herself to be lesser. Less worthy of respect, less impressive; a woman we had thought was classy exposing herself as just another pair of tits on a stick.

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