I’m Sorry Anna Nicole

Everywhere you turn these days there’s a girl in her knickers. A young actress who just scored the Armani underwear model gig; an ungracefully ageing pop queen; a reality TV star who wants to show us her new surgery enhanced bikini body; and a pop sensation who’s taken the world by storm with her lack of clothing and simply bizarre ‘performance art.’

Well there’s a few off the top of my head. Some other celebrity types go above and beyond – and DON’T show us their knickers, because they’re not wearing any. Mmm, yes these girls prefer to show the worlds waiting paparazzi how they pay homage to Brazil.

I’ve noticed over the years that the images presented to us have become increasingly raunchy. What was once an advert for jeans (albeit with sexual overtones) and included models wearing jeans AND tops….… is now models who; in the throws of a ménage a trios, look as though they’re about to climax – wearing nothing. Except jeans.

Here are some jeans ads from the 80’s

     

Here’s are some jeans ad from last year

So is this sex in the media getting out of control? Or are magazines, music, tv and advertising just the messengers in terms of what has become acceptable popular ‘raunch’ culture?

Raunch culture is definitively thriving, but some say it’s been around for decades. Truthfully – the mantra SEX SELLS is by no means the new black. Many believe its pretty much Chapter One of the Grand Advertising Bible that says: Push Boundaries. Use Sex. Sell more stuff. Get rich.

And you know, sex may have been in advertising for years, but you can’t deny the boundaries to push have totally moved.

And those opposed to seeing these overtly explicit and borderline pornographic images are labelled as matron like customs agents, standing on the outskirts of Conservative Nerd Land, waiting to stamp all the bulimic model asses and pop star booties as they cross over into the glamorous Kingdom of Raunch.

“There you go Ms Christina Aguilera. There’s your passport, and your Visa. Until you make a new album with songs that don’t include the words Dirty, or show you crawling subjectively in a boxing ring in your red knickers… you’re officially RAUNCHY”.

(ooh, I do like that song… great beat)

At age 36, I am one of those people who sometimes remember the good old days. I realise this makes me a TOTAL NANA, but something has happened to me and I can’t watch most film clips without a million cynical and judgmental thoughts.

Ok, seriously do any of you remember the following….

  • When Olivia Newton John’s “Lets Get Physical” was considered risqué.
  • When Madonna sang about feeling “Like A Virgin” as she crawled all over a gondola like a cat on heat and was labelled as lewd, suggestive and inappropriate.
  • When Cher, in a see through seat-belt-jumpsuit straddling on a cannon aboard a navy ship, was thought to be racy and too sexy.

Yes they were the good old days and I barely blinked an eye, I didn’t register at the time any sex or inappropriateness, and I’m sure there are plenty of teenage girls that didn’t know what Fergie’s song My Humps was about, and they probably don’t realise Kesha is acting like a $2 whore when she sings:

Don’t be a bitch with your chit chat
Just show me where you dick’s at….
I wanna dance with no pants on…
I wanna be naked and you’re wasted.

Seriously? It’s like Gloria Estevan never happened.

My problem is that as I sit here from my almost-middle-aged perch, I notice young girls everywhere seem obsessed with making penises that belong to men they don’t know – hard.

It’s as if women have become so fed up trying to prove they’re equal, they’ve just thrown in the towel saying, “Stuff it – I may not get paid as much as you for the same game of tennis, but I can make you want me. I can make you beg for it. I can make you wish you had me, and if you’re lucky or if I’m wasted enough – you can.”

It’s a common theme in many film clips today. That – and the luxurious life of fame, sexual promiscuity, and violence. But film clip directors dress it up with styled sets and glamorous inventive costumes and hot looking guys and girls, and amazing choreography.

And we (and the media) applaud them for their creativity, for pushing the envelope, for their artistic expression, their originality.

For their ability to Shock us. Rock us. Roll us. RULE us.

 Are we that desperate for a surprise? Is our appetite for sex and beauty and danger and glamour so enormous that if we are presented with images that aren’t part-pornographic and polished and pretty we turn away?

Truthfully, I think there are many ‘consultants’ who tell these companies that if they don’t incorporate sex into the campaign, they won’t sell product. (Sadly, I’ve seen it happen first hand, and the consultants are right!) Likewise with pop artists… If they don’t get their raunch on and show the world they can change, the world will forget them, they won’t sell albums and they’ll stop being famous.

Right Miley Cyrus?

Right Gabrielle Cilmi?

Right Britney? Oh my beloved Britney… you sang, “All the boys and all the girls are begging to F. U. C. K me…” (If You Seek Amy)

Maybe they are Britney. And with one song, you’ve just made a million teenage girls wish that all the boys and all the girls wanted to F. U. C.K them.

Is that power? Having a million ‘unknowns’ want to get down your pants?

Art Buchwalkd, the Pulitzer Prize winning author says we need to stop comparing pop culture of today with ‘the good old days.’

He said: We seem to be going through a period of nostalgia, and everyone seems to think yesterday was better than today. I don’t think it was, and I would advise you not to wait ten years before admitting today was great. If you’re hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and have one hell of a time.

Hell of a time???? I wonder if the girl who’s attackers got away with rape because she was wearing skinny jeans is having one hell of a time? Yes, a LIVING HELL I bet.  Because it’s possible that at the time she was just perpetuating the idea that it’s so cool to turn guys on. Yeah, maybe she was acting like she ‘wanted it.’ But isn’t that how she’s being told to act? Everywhere she turns??

In terms of how woman are portrayed and promoted as sexual objects and the fact that advertising and even the products themselves are aimed sexually at women younger and younger every week, I must disagree with Art Buchwalkd.

Here is an ad for Mr Leggs Trousers from the 60’s. The fine print reads: ”After one look at Mr Leggs slacks she was ready to have him walk all over her.”

It’s wrong, offensive too, no doubt about it.

HERE is an ad for American Apparel that had to be taken down after someone graffiti’d on it, “Gee, I wonder why women get raped?” Other than the graffiti, there was no fine print.

Both ads are for clothing. Both send DREADFUL messages to young girls and women, and men too. But only ONE image shows a woman posing passively in an attempt to make herself sexually available to whoever wants her? And THAT is what’s changed.

Just as Kesha said, she wants to be naked, while you’re wasted. Nice one. And who’s filming that?

And what about these photos?

Do these make you want to go and scrub your retinas with oven cleaner too? Or is it just me?

Lindsay Lohan didn’t just hit rock bottom when she did these. She smashed, crashed and made one hell of a mess falling. Because you know, bleeding wrists are like – so hot right now! And guns pointed at my face are such a turn on.

Here’s a girl who needs to lose her team of advisors and stop listening to other people. Because Linsday Lohan did not dream up these images. The photographers and stylists and set directors did. She’s a puppet, but she’s the one we all point the finger at and call a mess.

I first learnt about the term, ‘sexualisation and objectification of girls’ from some amazing blogs and websites like The Butterfly Effect & Melinda Tankard Reist. Slowly it’s a subject that’s reaching people….slowly.

Back when I was growing up I knew vaguely of women called ‘feminists’ who objected to other women entering beauty pageants and bikini pageants. I presumed these women were uptight, miserable and probably spent way too long at the library and not enough time having body hair removed. Cliché or what?

But over time, the penny slowly dropped. I once had a boyfriend that made me feel like an object. It’s a pretty random feeling when you’ve grown up being confident and sure of yourself, only to be told that your outfit is ugly, you need more lipstick, told to go put earrings on, told you’re putting on weight and might want to start exercising, and asked why you didn’t do your hair the way he liked it.

Suddenly I was basing my own self worth on how I looked. I became obsessed with being skinny, tanned, and buying clothes, and still joke that back then; I had a BMW in my wardrobe. Working for a Luxury French cosmetic house probably didn’t help either. My appearance was EVERYTHING, and who I – Cindy became, was about as clear to me as a Monet up close.

I sometimes wonder about Anna Nicole. I remember her reality show when she was possibly at her heaviest and the world was accusing her of being on drugs…. DER!

Then she lost all her weight again and finally, we could stop feeling sorry for her and laugh in her face again….Trailor-trash-train-wreck that she was.

Ahhh, Anna Nicole – back to your old ‘bad girl’ ways. You sexy blonde bimbo bombshell you!

(Incidentally, I’m wondering at what age the term BAD GIRL goes from being a scolding to a compliment? Because it is now you know? A compliment! Just ask Rihanna!)

And now here’s this. One man’s brave, brave apology to all women, for what has now become so accepted and normal.

It’s this clip that has inspired the above 1600 words. Sorry it was so long and possibly blah in places.

But I watched this and it opened up an envelope inside my brain. And envelope that has been stuffed with images and words that are always telling me I must look sexy, and hot, and desirable. Even after giving birth – I must lose that weight SNAP – so I can be one of those lucky enough to be called a MILF or a Yummy Mummy.

I’m sorry too Anna Nicole. Because I’m one of the people who called you trash, fat, drugged, cheap, and slutty. And sometimes you were – but I’m starting to realise it wasn’t all your fault.

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2 comments

  1. mystafied · May 9, 2010

    No, it doesn’t make you a total nana 🙂
    I share a very similar view and worry what my young daughter is exposed to on the t.v. She loves to watch t.v. on Saturday mornings and some of the advertising aimed at young kids is pretty full on.

  2. Pingback: My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard… « Cyclone Cindy

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