The XX Factor

Mary Louise Parker Makes Pie, Shows Booty

After last week’s video of was-it-or-wasn’t-it booty ogling , I’d love to watch Sarkozy flip through these bare-assed Mary Louise Parker photos in Esquire with that same unashamed delight . And then I’d like to watch someone else, someone who was part of the feminist movement, perhaps, take it all in. The glossy photos of Mary, butt peeking out from her floral apron, pie poised over her shoulder or kneading dough in black lacy underwear, the red of exposed areola balanced by the single cherry on the counter. I’d like to watch that woman’s face crumple as she reads Mary’s ode to men who “can fix my front door, my sink, and open most jars,” or Esquire ’s returned affection for what Mary delivered in this photo spread: “That pie. The crust, so flaky. The fruit, so sweet. The little apron.”

What is this, exactly? Do we not get to call it sexist, because Parker is clearly such a willing participant? My friend and colleague Tony Dokoupil (on the “man beat” for Newsweek ), who alerted me to the spread, argues in an e-mail that the entire package is “a giant leap back for man and woman kind … Isn’t this a classic example of, er, tit-for-tat sexual harassment? It belongs in a law school textbook.”

What do others think? A reason to cry harassment, or “if you’ve got it, flaunt it”?