Sharon Stone Bravely Bares All, But Not Everyone Is Inspired By Her Courage

Edward VKanty

Harper's Bazaar published a story on Sharon Stone and the actress' return to the limelight, following Stone's recovery from a debilitating illness, only to find that the article and the nude photos have sparked more controversy than anyone might have suspected. The article, "Sharon Stone Reveals All," recounts Sharon's struggle with a 2001 brain hemorrhage that sabotaged her career and limited even her most basic abilities, and the accompanying photos featured Stone wearing nothing other than Jimmy Choo stilettos and designer jewelry.

"I thought, 'You know what? I got thrown off the bullet train, and now I'm going to have to crawl up a hill of broken glass, get back on the train that's going a million miles an hour, and work my way from the cattle car up,' " 57-year-old Stone says of her return to Hollywood.

Sharon reveals that she'll be playing the United States' Vice President in the new TNT series, Agent X.

When asked why she's returning to acting after so much time away, Sharon admits that it's really all that she knows.

"That's just the way it is, so I'd better get humble and shut the f**k up and do the job. Because if I can't do this job, I'm certainly not going to be able to do anything else."

"I'm aware that my a** looks like a bag of flapjacks," Stone said. "But I'm not trying to be the best-looking broad in the world. At a certain point you start asking yourself, 'What really is sexy?' It's not just the elevation of your boobs. It's being present and having fun and liking yourself enough to like the person that's with you."

Stone's story seems incredibly inspiring at first glance, but her words are now being questioned simply because they are published in conjunction with Sharon's nude photos, which, by Stone's own insinuation, have clearly been Photoshopped.

Criticism in the comments section of the original Sharon Stone article have only touched on the issue, but it rushes Stone into the center of a much larger problem.

"The problem is that women see these Photoshopped and airbrushed images of women and think that they can attain it with plastic surgery, lasers, and injections that only make them look worse. Time for advertisers and photo magazines to show real women images, and not fake, lying Photoshop fakes."

"She doesn't claim to be making a feminist choice. She says very plainly 'I'm trying to show that I still have what it takes, and in the contemporary world of acting for women, this is what that looks like,' " said Occidental University Sociology Professor Lisa Wade.

"If she was Photoshopped she's taking advantage of the same tools everyone takes advantage of in the industry," Wade points out.

"It's reasonable to criticize what Sharon Stone is doing as capitulating to the patriarchy because she's making a clear and implicit statement that the way for her to get her career back is to pose nude. But we all bargain with the patriarchy. At least she's being straightforward about how she's claiming to get her career back and I don't think there's anything particularly new or unique or interesting about what doing," Wade said. "If anything, I appreciate her honesty about it."

[Featured image: Sharon Stone courtesy of Mark Abrahams]