NY Times: "Good Girls Gone Wild"

Started by ., Nov 02, 2010, 09:58 AM

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Nov 02, 2010, 09:58 AM Last Edit: Nov 02, 2010, 10:36 AM by John Dias
Article here.  Remember 3rd-wave feminism, the wave that intended to somehow liberate women by destroying the social stigma against slutty and trampy behavior (a stigma which suppressed women's sexuality, according to the 3rd wavers)?  Well, such efforts are not working out so well.  The feminist bastion New York Times recently published the following opinion article that totally undermines both the slut-justifying goals of 3rd-wave feminism, and also the 2nd-wave feminist idea that women who benefit from their sexuality are somehow victimized.  It looks to me like it's a complete route against all varieties of feminism, no matter how you slice it.

Good Girls Gone Wild
By Frank Bruni
New York Times
October 29, 2010

It happened again this month, a familiar pop culture cycle: the provocative pose, the righteous fuss, the blushing assurance that no offense was intended. This time around it involved actresses from "Glee" in GQ magazine, tapping into their inner tramps. Not long ago it was Miley Cyrus  in Vanity Fair, giving the world a glimpse, or rather a glimmer, or really just the slightest insinuation, of her breasts.

The starlets change, the story doesn't. If a young female performer with a relatively straight-laced image wants to take full charge of her brightest future, she apparently has to do some time on the pole.

[font=Verdana]Slide Show: Teen Idols, Before and After[/font]

That was the missing acknowledgment in the hullabaloo, both genuine and disingenuous, over the "Glee" photographs, which showed Dianna Agron in a very short plaid skirt and Lea Michele in white panties, legs spread wide. These images were less shocking than predictable, part of an established gallery that includes not only Miss Cyrus but also Britney Spears, who at one point proclaimed that she was a "Slave 4 U" (and demonstrated as much with a snake), in addition to Christina Aguilera, who got down and "Dirrty," as the song was titled and spelled, in chaps and little else.

All began their careers with a preponderance of fans in the bubblegum set and traced the same celebrity arc, by which Disney tiara is exchanged for Victoria's Secret teddy and the sweet princess becomes a sweaty temptress. If she's lucky, she then proceeds quickly to some amalgam of the two, her diversifying mission accomplished. If not, she's Lindsay Lohan.

Ms. Agron and Ms. Michele came to their erotic emancipation relatively late. Both are 24, a detail worth dwelling on in light of the Parents Television Council's denunciation of the GQ photo spread as "bordering on pedophilia."

And neither is overcoming a background as candy-coated as those of Miss Cyrus, whose "Hannah Montana" sitcom played on the Disney Channel, or Ms. Spears and Ms. Aguilera, both of whom did time on the revival of the television variety show "The Mickey Mouse Club."

But "Glee" does cast its stars in a largely wholesome light, and doesn't market them in a predominantly adult way to a predominantly adult audience. The GQ shoot, by the photographer Terry Richardson, presented a fix to that.

By the time the magazine actually reached newsstands last week, the pictures had already circulated widely and prompted complaints, including one from Katie Couric, who noted that she and her teenage daughter count on "Glee" for responsible fun. And Miss Agron had already offered something of an apology, saying she didn't intend any upset.

But it's worth recalling the superficially apologetic, supposedly abashed aftermath of the 2008 Vanity Fair picture in which Miss Cyrus, then 15, was topless, though the angle didn't actually expose anything. She claimed that she'd more or less been duped; the photographer, Annie Leibovitz, dutifully said she was sorry.

And a year later, Miss Cyrus was pole-dancing -- literally, and by all appearances volitionally -- in boots and hot pants at the Teen Choice Awards.

It's all about image adjustment, about taking a pendulum positioned too far in one direction and yanking it in the other, so that it eventually winds up somewhere in between. The process has a physics all its own: G plus NC-17 equals PG-13.

And the yanking can't be too subtle. Before Miss Aguilera was "Dirrty" she was a "Genie in a Bottle," asking to be rubbed the right way, but that apparently wasn't solicitation enough. On went the chaps, the multicolored hair extensions, the eyeliner, the mascara. The purposeful strategy was spelled out by one of her musical collaborators, the songwriter Linda Perry, who told The New York Times that Miss Aguilera wanted "to show everybody that she's not some goody two-shoes."

That's to some extent what the actress Natalie Portman, fresh from studies at Harvard and "Star Wars" stints as the young queen of the planet Naboo, was doing in the role of a stripper in the Mike Nichols movie "Closer." She performed a private tease for Clive Owen -- and received an Oscar nomination.

And it's what Jodie Foster  was doing in "Taxi Driver." To counter "Freaky Friday," she played a freakishly young prostitute. And she was also nominated.

For a child actress (or singer) looking to establish maturity, flesh is the fastest and most attention-getting route. Hence the suspicion in some quarters that Vanessa Hudgens of "High School Musical" wasn't really so bothered by those nude photos that wound up on the Web.

And for their male counterparts? In a sexist world, it doesn't work quite the same way.

While Justin Timberlake, another graduate of "Mickey Mouse," proceeded to record the album "FutureSex/LoveSounds," including the hit single "SexyBack," no video put him in the sort of attire or through the kinds of gyrations that Ms. Spears and Ms. Aguilera came to know. And at the Super Bowl, it was his female sidekick who had the wardrobe malfunction. It's also interesting to note that Cory Monteith, the lone male "Glee" star to appear in the GQ spread, exposes no more flesh there than on the show. While the gals vamp, the guy is merely banging on drums.

Strumpet is just one station for a starlet intent on going the distance. Others loom. There's Unicef  ambassador or its rough equivalent, like adoptive parent of minority child. There's ostentatiously humble cameo in acclaimed television show or a tango on "Dancing with the Stars," which in that sense is "The Love Boat" of its time. If the show lasts long enough, we may well see Ms. Spears on it.

Meantime, should we be on the lookout for a lap dance from Taylor Swift?


The last line mentions a lap dance from Taylor Swift. Sign me right upmfor that shit.
You may sleep soundly at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence upon those who seek to harm you.

Captain Courageous

Speaking as an old geezer, I'd say ...

You give 13-year old boys head, because you think it's safe sex; ...

These guys are watching some real crazy variations of sex, with comments about
it from people in the street, on HBO's Real Sex; ...

Then they get to watch the Pay-Per-View Channels; ...

Or the stuff they won't even show on TV; ...

(Even on other shows, the guys who are supposed to blur out the
gal's private parts can't keep up with her movements, peek-a-boo!)

These celebrities may actually be slutting it up for the wealthy, upwardly-mobile
lesbianicus americanus segment of the audience.


Strumpet is just one station for a starlet intent on going the distance. Others loom. There's Unicef  ambassador or its rough equivalent, like adoptive parent of minority child. There's ostentatiously humble cameo in acclaimed television show or a tango on "Dancing with the Stars," which in that sense is "The Love Boat" of its time.

Good writing...
The spreading of information about the [quantum] system through the [classical] environment is ultimately responsible for the emergence of "objective reality." 

Wojciech Hubert Zurek: Decoherence, einselection, and the quantum origins of the classical

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