Idol Chatter

Elle Macpherson—supermodel, actress, and now lingerie designer and CEO of Elle Macpherson Intimates—is out and about posing for the holidays in her next-to-nothing offerings. (One billboard on the Long Island Expressway—an eight-story high vision of Elle bearing bra and panties—was recently taken down for reasons still a bit unclear. Indecency perhaps?) When she appears in more professional attire to talk about her latest business ventures, Elle is also openly discussing, of all things, what she’s wearing underneath what’s she’s actually wearing and giving out her bra-size (34-B) to curious interviewers.

But in a New York Times holiday magazine article, “Going Undercover,” Elle–discussing the “why”s behind her decision to go into the lingerie business–began sounding almost, almost, like an ecofeminist theologian (check out Sallie McFague if you are curious about ecofeminist theology), going on about how wearing lingerie is good for the earth and is one way that women nourish society and contribute to the health of our environment. I quote fom the article:

I truly believe that women, when they’re empowered—by their femininity, by their Venus, by their sexuality—that it’s so positive for the earth,” she says. “It’s positive for the earth because women are the nurturers of the environment, they’re the givers of love, they are the warmth, the protection, the centeredness of the family. For me, my idea is that if we embrace this femininity, embrace this sexuality, we have a much healthier society.

While second wavers (second-wave feminists, that is), including the theologians among them, would likely take issue with this mixture of empowerment, environment, and tradition-evoking femininity (precisely the kind second-wavers spent their lives critiquing), I have to say a rousing “Cheers!” to Elle for somehow coming up with an ecotheological-sounding (close enough) viewpoint that somehow reconciles the kinds of questions on the lips of all my students and friends: “Can I be a feminist and wear a thong?”

Answer: Yes! You not only can be a feminist and wear a thong, with the right mindset you can be an ecofeminist theologian and wear a thong.

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