I’ve been an actress since age 13. You might be familiar with me from the TV show Neighbours, or from my current role on the CW’s Reign. But after a recent run-in with a crooked magazine editor, you might be familiar with me instead as an attention-seeking, hysterical lady human who endlessly cheapens feminism by having the lunatic opinions that our bodies are beautiful and worth celebrating—and also, simultaneously, believing that my body is my own.
Earlier this year, I launched a website called Herself.com. Herself is a safe space for women of varying backgrounds, body types and belief systems to amplify their concerns, wishes, dreams, complaints and woes—a platform dedicated to expanding the scope of visible female experience and of visible female bodies. The courageous, luminescent women you will find there are nude, shot by female photographers. In showing us their bodies on mutually-agreed-upon terms, they have given all of us an immense gift; as they appear there, they are both impossibly vulnerable and utterly indestructible. Even, I, myself, appear on the website too, completely naked. (Burn her!)
Given these facts, it may or may not surprise you to hear that, when an Australian magazine called The Good Weekend asked me to appear in lingerie to accompany a piece on me, I declined.
It wasn’t the nature of the shoot that bothered me, but the pairing of the shoot with the story I was hoping to tell, which was specifically that women, and only women, are in charge of their bodies, their image and their sexuality. This commodification of my body had nothing to do with me. My input and my consent had never been sought. Simply, my body was going to be used as a prop to sell a magazine. And I, as the human occupying this prop, was not a part of the conversation.