We Need To Examine The Reaction To Jennifer Lawrence’s Full Frontal Nude Scene In ‘No Hard Feelings’

The typically sexist response proves that as a society, we're not ready to see female nudity in a comedic light.

Jennifer Lawrence

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

Yesterday, Jennifer Lawrence’s new movie No Hard Feelings aired on Netflix to rave reviews. The classic rom-com tale sees 33-year-old Lawrence take on a comedic role as a woman employed by helicopter parents to bring their introverted son out of his shell (yes, it’s basically the premise of the 2006 Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey classic, Failure to Launch, reimagined). It’s a fun, easy watch movie – but there’s one scene that stands out with viewers: Jennifer Lawrence going full-frontal nude as she beats up a bunch of teens who attempt to steal her clothes while skinny dipping.

When we say full frontal, we truly mean it – and naturally, that’s all anyone can talk about now. ‘Jennifer Lawrence nude scenes’ is a major breakout search term according to Google Trends, as is ‘Jennifer Lawrence full frontal’ and ‘Jennifer Lawrence naked pics’. Even 'Jennifer Lawrence fight scene' is trending. Now, given the perverted nature of the internet, this reaction is hardly surprising (pictures from the nude scene have been shared far and wide on Twitter), but it’s the accompanying commentary on social media that we take issue with.

‘Imagine if that's what your mum did,’ one person wrote in response. ‘She's a mum now, and I wonder whether she'll be showing her stuff to her kid. How embarrassing!’

‘Nothing we haven't seen before,’ one wrote on Twitter, crassly alluding to the fact that Jennifer Lawrence was a victim of revenge porn in 2014 when her private images were leaked online. In 2017, Lawrence opened up about how that experience impacted her emotionally. ‘It’s scary when you feel the whole world judges you,’ she said in an interview with Vogue US. ‘I think people saw [the hacking] for what it was, which was a sex crime, but that feeling, I haven’t been able to get rid of it. Having your privacy violated constantly isn’t a problem if you’re perfect. But if you’re human, it’s terrifying. When my publicist calls me, I’m like, “Oh, my God, what is it?” Even when it’s nothing. I’m always waiting to get blindsided again.’

Of course, consenting to appear in a movie fully naked as part of a deliberate comedic scene is different to having private images stolen and shared online. In fact, Lawrence has opened up in the past about how appearing nude in movies since the 2014 hacking has made her feel ‘empowered’, as though she was reclaiming ownership over her body after having her privacy violated.

In her 2018 movie Red Sparrow, Lawrence has a nude scene where she’s made to strip in front of a classroom of people. ‘It took a while to say yes – and the night before I didn’t sleep at all and I was obviously really nervous because it is the actual nightmare of standing in front of a classroom naked,’ Lawrence said on The Today Show after the film was released. ‘But then after I finished the scene, I felt empowered.’

This time around then, for No Hard Feelings, she says it was an easy decision to say yes to full frontal nudity. ‘I didn’t even have a second thought,’ she told Variety. ‘It was hilarious to me.’

And it is hilarious, watching her beat up two guys completely naked without any fear or shame. It’s the kind of scene that would be taken lightly if a man did it, laughing along without any theorising about how 'appropriate' it was or whether Lawrence should behave differently ‘because she’s a mother’.

It's a typically sexist reaction. Did anyone ask that question when Jason Segal went full frontal naked for a comedic scene in Forgetting Sarah Marshall? Or when Ken Jeong got naked in The Hangover, literally performing the same scene of beating up three men completely nude? We all laughed and laughed, and no one wondered if going full frontal would impact their careers or their children.

What’s important to remember here is what Jennifer Lawrence has said herself about her nude scenes – because it makes all the difference. It would be appropriate to question the validity of the nudity being included in a film if it felt gratuitous, or the actor opened up about feeling uncomfortable or being coerced into it, of course. That actor still wouldn’t deserve the trolling Jennifer Lawrence has received for going nude, but it would be important to dig deeper into the purpose of female nudity in Hollywood films. On this occasion though, when an actor has proudly proclaimed their nude scene and its intention to deliberately shock audiences into laughter is clear? We can take it for what it is, just as we would a man.

It’s not meant to be a sexy scene, and perhaps it’s true that we’re not progressive enough as a society to separate a woman’s body from sex when it comes to social commentary – but that doesn’t mean Jennifer Lawrence has to pay the price of endless trolling.

Where can I watch No Hard Feelings?

No Hard Feelings is now streaming on Netflix, or is available to rent on Amazon Prime.

Where is No Hard Feelings set?

No Hard Feelings is set in Montauk, New York (aka the Hamptons) however it was filmed across Nassau County in Hempstead, Point Lookout, Lawrence and Uniondale. Ted's Fishing Station located in Point Lookout was even made to look like Montauk Dock East.

What is No Hard Feelings about?

The film is described as follows: On the brink of losing her childhood home, a desperate woman agrees to date a wealthy couple's introverted and awkward 19-year-old son. However, he proves to be more of a challenge than she expected, and time is running out before she loses it all.

What is the No Hard Feelings fight scene?

As part of her character as the bold, shameless Maddie Barker, Jennifer Lawrence filmed a fight scene for No Hard Feelings completely nude. In the scene, the character is skinny dipping with introverted Percy Becker when a group of teens steal their clothes from the beach. Naturally, Maddie isn't having it - she runs out of the ocean and demands their clothes back, ultimately going on to fight the two guys that are holding her clothes before they give them back and run off scared. It's really quite impressive, to be honest.

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