Funny ... there's no glass ceiling if you strip off

Katy Guest wonders why women take the lingerie route to fame
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The Independent Online

It is not easy to research an article about Kelly Brook's new Channel 4 show Celebrity Naked Ambition, because googling "Kelly Brook" and "naked" throws up a number of results that are entirely unsuitable for the offices of a respectable family newspaper. Unfortunately, therefore, I was unable to determine confidently what was the content of last night's programme, but I would be prepared to bet that it didn't feature a lot of naked men.

According to advance publicity for the two-hour special (which revealed that Kelly is "still fighting fit at [the grand old age of] 31"), Sharon Stone, Demi Moore, Halle Berry, Sienna Miller, Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley were feted to appear, and we just might have seen a flash of Richard Gere's bottom. But the programme's researchers would have had to look a long way (back 42 years, to Ken Russell's Women in Love, perhaps?) to find men flashing the same amount of flesh as seems to be standard among women actors now.

Ms Brook is no stranger herself to the gentle breeze of studio air on her nipples, of course, having starred in such contemporary classics as Calendar Girls (on stage), Piranha 3D, Playboy and the Daily Star. And thanks to Craig in Dundee for pointing out on one website that "If only all women looked after themselves this well there would probably be less divorce."

If all men were as charming as Craig, there would probably be less marriage, but I'm sure that Kelly would try her best to get him up the aisle if only they could meet.

I've been thinking about nudity a lot lately, as I spend the long March evenings sitting in front of the telly, frantically knitting cardigans for the poor, exposed lady newsreaders. Unlike Kelly Brook, I am not fighting fit in my thirties but instead have turned into my Nanna. Only this could explain why I have conducted a comprehensive audit of the Top 40.

Last week's chart comprised 16 women and 24 men, and I have watched all of their videos. Of the women, only two wore more than hotpants and a bra. (These were Katy Perry and Adele, but Perry is an old married woman of 26, and Adele is at No 1, so perhaps she can afford a skirt.) Of the men, none wore less than jeans and a T-shirt, and many of them kept their coats on inside nightclubs. (Southerners, mark my words.) To be fair, we did see a second's glimpse of Nelly's chest, but this was in a drowning scene, and his name is Nelly. Rihanna, I learnt, has a nice line in stockings made out of the same sort of fabric as pink balloons.

This is difficult to criticise for two reasons. First, that the likes of Lady Gaga and Jessie J clearly are emancipated young women, and if they want to display their independence in PVC lingerie or slashed lacy catsuits, then I pity any pervy male Svengali who tries to stop them. And second, that the male uniform of rebellion, the black leather jacket, is no less of a cliché in itself. But while the boys wear their individuality as jeans (everyone), space suits (Tinie Tempah) and pork pie hats (Olly Murs, bless him), the girls seem only to choose between tits and arse. And isn't it a coincidence that they all decide to exhibit their liberation using nudity?

It would be sad if girls grew up thinking that there is only one (chilly) way to be a successful woman, and boys grew up thinking like Craig in Dundee. So I'm writing to Adele today to ask her if she'll buy Lady Gaga a nice frock.