From time to time developments come along in popular culture that force me to reflect that perhaps I am getting a bit past it, and the modern world is becoming a bit confusing.

A striking black column gown by Tom Ford with a voluminous cap; but unfortunately no underwear

Such an example occurred this week when the actress Anne Hathaway was photographed emerging from a limousine in New York on her way to the premiere of the movie version of the musical Les Miserables.

For those who may have missed the photograph Hathaway was dressed, according to E! Online, in “a striking black column gown by Tom Ford with a voluminous cape for added drama’’ with `“edgy knee-high gladiator sandals’‘.

For us old timers however while that was all well and good there was critical item missing from the Hathaway wardrobe, viz her underpants.

The American press referred to the incident as a wardrobe malfunction, but I am not sure how that works. In this case the wardrobe, what there was of it, was working fine, the issue was what was missing from it..

Now if you had told me when was I at school that in 2012 to explain the Cuban Missile Crisis to a youngster you would first have to explain there was once upon a time a place called the Soviet Union and that respectable actresses would one day be regularly giving us a glimpse as they alighted from their vehicles, well I don’t know which I would have found harder to believe.

In those days when a lady of the stage decided it was time to delight her fans by giving them at a gander down there, they usually did so only after pocketing a large fee and giving a number of interviews in which they reassured their public that the role was of such artist merit that it would have been a crime not to disrobe.

They didn’t just hop out of a car sans knickers when it was a dead certainty cameras would be there to immortalise the moment.

To those of us who delight in The Things Actors Say, Hathaway’s interview the next day with NBC’s Matt Lauer was a a moment to treasure.

``It was obviously an unfortunate incident,’’ she told him before going on to say it made her sad for two reasons:  ‘‘One was that I was very sad that we live in an age someone takes a picture of another person in a vulnerable moment and rather than delete it, and do the decent thing, sells it’‘.

Which I suppose is fair enough and made me wonder if actresses had not been walking around without undies since time immemorial. Perhaps they never wear underpants at all. Perhaps showfolk are like Scottsmen and nothing is every worn under the kilt and it is only our unchivalrous age that sees to it that such images make their way to the screens at our workplaces by lunch time the next day. Perhaps. I just don’t kow.

But then Hathaway went on and undid her good work with this pearler: “I’m sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants, which brings us back to Les Mis, that’s what my character is, she is someone who is forced to sell sex to benefit her child because she has nothing and there’s no social safety net.’‘

Let’s unpack that thought. In Hathaway’s world it seems there is little to choose between Fantine the impoverished factory worker in Les Glumsaif who goes onto the street to feed her daughter Cosette and she Anne Hathaway, victim of the paparazzi.

Never mind for a second that I’d be surprised if anyone actually got off on her flash the other night, I’ll leave that alone. I actually think that most of just found it funny that you could get yourself all dressed up for a big night and forget the first thing that most of us put after we get out of the shower.

That and the contrast between the amount of money Hathaway had spent on her outfit and the fact she appears to have been too mean to spend $5 on a pair of Reg Grundys to come out the cold.

Another surprising thing to me about the Hathaway expose was it wasn’t as though this was the first time it had ever happened to a celebrity. From memory I believe the getting out the car glimpse was pioneered by Britney Spears. Lindsay Lohan’s had her moments in the sun that department too I seem to recall. (I’d check but this is a work computer.)

If Hathaway was so worried about unwillingly commodified for the sexual pleasure of others, she ought to have heeded their example. A woman in her position has plenty of money, she doesn’t need a social safety net to keep herself private.

She just needs to pop into Target. But as I say I am getting old. I don’t understand anything these days.

Comments close on this post at 8pm AEST

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    • ronny jonny says:

      05:50am | 16/12/12

      Aren’t you a delight James? Though I do agree, put some knickers on Anne Hathaway.

    • Gregg says:

      06:02am | 16/12/12

      We are all ageing James, day by day for those of us that see the sun rise or the cloudy morning the day after but yes I feel you have allowed some ageing misinterpretation in your unpacking with:
      ” Let’s unpack that thought. In Hathaway’s world it seems there is little to choose between Fantine the impoverished factory worker in Les Glumsaif who goes onto the street to feed her daughter Cosette and she Anne Hathaway, victim of the paparazzi.

      Is it not possible that Anne is using a connection to lead from one example of sexuality use to another more so than attempting to claim there is little difference or little to choose from as you put it.

      Perhaps Anne just wondered about how it feels to be going commando as it is put or does it regularly enough and is quite happy without clinging panties or whatever, something that I do not think I would be trying too soon for myself, age doing enough as it is even with undies.

    • Chris L says:

      09:34am | 16/12/12

      My thoughts exactly. She’s drawing parallels, not equivalents.

      Hathaway, bless her cotton socks, has every right to enjoy the breeze and I don’t see how we can blame her if crass and opportunisitc photos appear in a magazine. It would be like blaming Kate Middleton because she obviously should have accounted for a no-life sleeze using a telescopic lens to intrude on an otherwise personal situation.

    • nihonin says:

      06:08am | 16/12/12

      Pffft, it’s Anne Hathaway’s (and for that matter any woman’s prerogative) to flaunt it, if she feels the need to.  But if it gets too much publicity (or perved on) and hence opinion pieces about written or televised concerning it and the person exposing it start complaining, pffft on that as well.  Take responsibility, you flaunt it, expect the professionally offended to be…..............well, offended.  wink

    • TChong says:

      06:11am | 16/12/12

      Dear Ms Hathaway has a very good publicist.
      Going to such an advent , without undies is strange, to pretend she forgot is strange, then making sure the papparazi were there for THE shot…
      Of course the whole thing was a deliberate stunt.
      Clever though, cause she got the attention she sought, and is able to use the same incident to appear with Oprah, or The View, and complain about women being objectified.
      Her publicist is worth twice what she pays
      AS for identifying with her character…. Pahleese ! - sounds like an overly emotional undergrad from Gender Studies 101.

    • acotrel says:

      06:20am | 16/12/12

      What is this topic about and why is Anne Hathaway different from any other flasher ? Sex has something to do with love, so it can’t be all bad.

    • Mik says:

      06:36am | 16/12/12

      Children are being killed around the world and more refugees are being made by the hour, good ordinary people take heroic actions (eg. the Sandy Nook teachers) but what’s her name’s fanny is worth a column?

    • TChong says:

      06:55am | 16/12/12

      The awful tragedies of recent , have been given decent coverage at Punch.
      I see this article as a much needed mood lifter, about the superfulous and silly world of Hollywood
      No harm done, is there?

    • ronny jonny says:

      07:22am | 16/12/12

      Yes it is worth a column, my column.

    • Philosopher says:

      07:22am | 16/12/12

      we have all been reading about death (the tragic exit of life). So it should be refreshing to be able fo celebrate life again, even if it is a tawdry glimpse of that eternal symbol of fecunditty. New life springs from the ashes, and won’t be denied…

    • TChong says:

      08:58am | 16/12/12

      ronny jonny
      hope i dont offend anyone, but,
      LMAO !!!
      That is funny.

    • Carolyn says:

      12:47pm | 16/12/12

      ronny jonny

      Is it a classic column?

      Corinthian, Ionic, Tuscan or Doric?? How’s the foundation? What sort of load does it carry? grin

    • Sickemrex says:

      07:10am | 16/12/12

      Pants first, then shoes. Pants first then shoes.

    • iansand says:

      07:12am | 16/12/12

      I didn’t realise that Ms Hathaway’s career was on the way down.

    • Joe201 says:

      09:07am | 16/12/12

      I for one, am incredibly pleased to live in the modern world of women’s liberation, where women no longer wear panties. I hope, that in another 100 years or so, women will forgo clothes entirely.

      Who would have thought that all those bra-burners in the 60’s would lead to panty-free shenanigans 40 years later?  Bring on women’s liberation from clothing!

    • Charlie says:

      09:08am | 16/12/12

      I’m pretty sure that a lot of girls go commando, so there is no noticable lines visible through there dress. It’s pretty common practice.

    • George says:

      09:34am | 16/12/12

      Well I don’t know much about France back in those days but I think it’s sad that we have to give so much value to human life that we should be wasting so much money on people who have irresponsible breeding habits.

      She got the furry wallet out in a movie a few years ago. So this one is no big deal to me. She does it well, she still comes off classy some how. Lol. That’s certainly a talent.

    • Mouse says:

      09:42am | 16/12/12

      The things you see when you haven’t got your own camera!!  lol
      I don’t care what anyone else thinks, Sharon Stone did it better.  ;op

    • Philosopher says:

      09:52am | 16/12/12

      Sort of ironic given Anne Hathaway played the assistant to the fashion demigodess Anna Wintour. No wonder Ms Wintour was always grumpy; as Sickemrex points out above, girls these days are neglecting the abc’s of how to don garments.

    • sunny says:

      01:24pm | 16/12/12

      Not a bad idea there she should just use the Scotsman defense

      “Eee trooo Scooot is nayat supooooosda wier oondawier ooonda thier weee kilt !  ..Och aye meee shrooon haggis.”


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