Wet shirts and bare chests

Oh wow, Armitage world erupts again, because of these…

armitage proctor @washbasin

A whole controversy has emerged over whether it is OK to ogle these, whether it doesn’t objectify Richard Armitage/John Proctor. Well, these are public pictures, everyone involved in the production must know the effect such images can have and it takes nothing away from the absolutely electrifying performance by Mr. Armitage. In fact, it adds to it! A state of undress like that may seem sexy (and believe me, I like to look) but it also shows a vulnerability and that’s what these images convey to me as well – a strong, sexy man at a very vulnerable stage in his life.

As soon as I saw these pics of a bare chested Armitage at the washbasin it made me think of this:

Darcy wet shirt 2

Darcy wet shirt 0In 1995 Mr. Darcy emerged in a wet shirt from a lake, with nipples showing and everything, and the world went gaga… He too, at that moment, was at a very vulnerable point in the story and the “less formally attired” look added to his desperation. What makes these pictures so sexy? I don’t believe it’s just the look that makes it sexy, it’s the context in which this scene is placed as well and the character of the person! Of course, things get taken out of context, and that has happened with the Darcy wet shirt. It has become a legendary, stand-alone image. But Colin’s name is attached to that, so that’s not bad PR… you can have a worse image than being considered sexy.

So, was Colin Firth/Mr. Darcy objectified for this scene? Er… yes, I think so! And even now, almost 20 years on, this may be the most famous scene from the whole 1995 Pride and Prejudice production. So much so that it has passed into legend and is referenced endlessly. For instance:

In a time travel romantic comedy adaptation of Pride and Prejudice called “Lost in Austen” (things work out quite differently than in the book – loved it! Oh, and check out the Mr. Darcy and Tinky Winky scene), the actor Elliot Cowan was specifically asked to step into the lake, to recreate the Darcy-wet-shirt look:

wet-shirt Lost in AustenLizzie Bennet appreciates Darcy in a wet shirt just as Amanda appreciates it in Lost in Austen:

Lizzie w Darcy in wet shirtAmanda w Darcy in wet shirt

There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to Darcy’s wet shirt: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mr-Darcys-Wet-Shirt-Appreciation-Society/150114028390072

In 2013 a statue was made of Mr. Darcy in a wet shirt and it was placed in a lake in London, it even toured England!

Colin Firth wet shirt statue

More recently I came across this:

benedict-cumberbatch-colin-firth-460x272Even Benedict Cumberbatch gets in on the wet shirt action! http://www.unrealitytv.co.uk/showbiz/colin-firth-vs-benedict-cumberbatch-wet-shirt-competition/

Colin Firth answers questions about it in interviews and has a good laugh with it. He has recently even said he should have been naked in the scene! My, what a fuss that would have caused! http://www.express.co.uk/news/showbiz/553741/Colin-Firth-wet-shirt-Pride-and-Prejudice

And in the extras of the second Bridget Jones film, Bridget Jones interviews Colin Firth, the actor (so not in character as Mr. Darcy), about the wet shirt – this interview cracks me up and Colin plays along so brilliantly!

I follow all this with great amusement and yes, I ogle as well. So, are we objectifying? I guess we are to a certain extent. But is that always wrong? I don’t think so. Believe me, there are times when I very much objectify my husband and in those moments I am really not thinking of his other wonderful characteristics and all the wonderful things he does… It’s OK to zoom in on certain attractive aspects of a person, doesn’t mean that is the only thing you care about.

So… if anyone ever decides to do a statue of Richard Armitage with his bare chest so that he too can pass into sexy-man legend, then I hope they choose this image, it’s my favorite one:

armitage proctor @washbasin 5