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Michael G. Maudlin
The Six-Million-Dollar Breast
Let's stop and ponder a cultural milestone: Castle Rock Entertainment paid Demi Moore $12.5 million to "appear" in their movie Striptease. This is the highest amount ever received by an actress. A victory for gender justice, certainly, and for the proposition, equal pay for equal work.
Megastars have been paid at these nosebleed heights for some time. What were they paid for? To be well-toned, look tough, fire big guns, and slaughter all the bad guys. Now it's a woman's turn. And what does Moore have to do? Well, being well-toned and looking tough helped, but we haven't even reached the monetary second comma yet. What pushed her salary into eight digits was her breasts. For letting us see her naked she got paid what Michael Jordan earns for playing 40-odd games of basketball.
Why are Demi Moore's breasts so expensive? Make no mistake about it, Moore has a great body, as she has amply displayed on screen, on tv, and on magazine covers. The mother of three, she has worked hard to be hard in all the right places. And the wonders of modern medicine have added softness where quantity is a virtue. The bionic woman has nothing on her.
Yet Playboy and its kindred display oodles of mammary splendor, as do real strip clubs. So why pay Demi $12 mill.? Her male counterparts get to do all sorts of things we ordinary mortals cannot: jump out of planes, fire laser guns, and bed pretty women. But most people do not have to drive that far to find a strip joint. One could argue that this is simply the latest evidence of Hollywood's moral degeneracy, or that this proves Tinseltown's misogyny, only valuing women as long as they take off their clothes. While true, these observations are so obvious even actors make them. They do not fully explain this particular top-heavy transaction.
I think they paid Demi over 250 years' worth of my wages because Hollywood's imagination is so Christian.
Striptease is a lust movie. The producers bet their millions that America desperately wants (i.e., lusts) ...