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Dared To Bare: 40+ Celebs Who Have Posed Nude (PHOTOS)

07/11/2012 08:14 EDT | Updated 07/11/2012 09:55 EDT
Playboy/Getty

Seems like everyone is doffing their clothes these days, and we're not sure what's to blame. Is it our ever-loosening morals? Is it the summer heat? Is it our quiet but lingering curiosity about Nude Recreation Week, which kicked off Monday?

Whatever the case, there seems to be a trend amongst the 40+ set to bare all -- seemingly with nary a care. (Make that the 39+ set -- Jenny McCarthy did her sixth photo spread in Playboy some 20 years after her first, because she wanted to pose again before her 40th birthday which is later this year. McCarthy says she likes the fact Playboy "doesn't really have the anorexic look," for their models, whom she called "voluptuous.")

Still, the question remains: is seeing a woman posing in the buff empowering or indulgent? On one hand, seeing women of all ages and shapes helps to normalize and broaden our understanding of what women really look like. Kate Winslet (who still has a few years to go before 40) recently told The Sun that although she doesn't have a flawless body, she continues to appear nude onscreen when the role calls for it -- it's her bid to boost the confidence of women.

“I look like the people that walk down the street," she says. "I don’t have perfect boobs, I don’t have zero cellulite -- of course I don’t -- and I’m curvy. If that is something that makes women feel empowered in any way, that’s great.”

On the other hand, there's the sexual objectification aspect, which science has shown happens to women more than men. A recent study stated "focusing on targets’ appearance, rather than on their personality, could diminish the degree of human nature attributed to female targets, but not to male targets."

So perpetuating sexualized images of women, whether they are older or not, can still contribute to the tendency to view women's bodies as objects. Although, just to tip the scales a bit, this is apparently the Summer Of Lust, where men are being sexually objectified left, right and centre. (Hello, Magic Mike!)

Here are some celebs who have dared to bare after their 39th year. What do you think -- a step forward for womankind or unnecessary nudeness?

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