Something's been bugging me for ages and ive never been able to really put my finger on it - other than to say i am fed up with knickerless Britney, Paris Hilton and some dirty internet footage, Jordan and her boob jobs, Abbey Titmuss and Rebecca Loos celebrated as celebs for doing nothing more than shagging someone famous..... Im fed up with GQ, Maxim, Loaded and a variety of soft porn bullshit boys magazines that set girls up on the cover like a couple of grinning bimbos which the models themselves seem to buy into, unquestioningly, and would probably babble on about being 'empowering'. On the back of a post at ATW on teenagers aspiring to have kids as fashion accessories (nothing new really 'i want a brown baby like all the other mothers on the estate') it got me thinking about role models and all this sort of stuff again. It has a massive influence. I was looking up figures and found this:
Which of these professions appeals the most to teenage girls?
Glamour model 63%
Lap dancer 25%
In a poll conducted by mobile entertainment providers, www.thelab.tv over half of British teenagers between the ages 15-19 would rather take their clothes off for a living than enter the professional sector. The seemingly endless media coverage of celebrities such as Jordan, Abi Titmuss and Lucy Pinder has sparked a shift in the professional ambition of Britain's teenage girls as they see glamour modelling as more appealing than more traditional jobs such as doctors and lawyers.
Looking up the stats I also found this. A book that tries to pinpoint it all."Levy cleverly leads us to explore the role models women aspire to emulate. We are not pursuing the confident, self-determined, powerful, free ideal the women’s liberation movement would have dreamed for its daughters. Instead, our icons are porn stars and strippers and prostitutes. Paris Hilton and Jenna Jameson flaunt their successes in the pornography industry, and in doing so seem to earn our adulation", "that a number of female Olympic athletes saw fit to pose nude for Playboy before the 2004 games in Athens, for instance..." says it all really.
This comment struck a chord for a number of reasons:
"Every once and awhile, a book brings together cultural trends that until then were rattling around unconnected in the back of our minds. This is one of those books. When and how did porn suddenly become mainstream and cool? It wasn't that long ago that it was a back-room thing, and now it's sexy and desirable. Girls don't want to be pretty anymore -- they want to be "hot," which apparently means something that used to be called "slutty." Read this book, and a lot of contradictory cultural trends suddenly come into sharp focus. A great analysis of modern American trends".
Tom commented on the ATW post:
"I think teen magazines (both lads' and girls') play a part in all this too.You walk past the magazine racks and the covers of Zoo & Nuts are just porn in your face. What image of women do those mags create for the 13-20 year old lads who buy them?"
Very true. It does cut both ways and does create this vicious spiral. There's been a relentless media drive towards this sort of consumerist 'ideal' which then gets heaped back onto young men and women growing up as they grapple with it all. Some power struggle. It has really all gone off the deep end when women buy into all this crap and see it as 'empowering', when the media churn it out for a fast buck ad nauseum and when tacky models are known by name by some blokes and are seen as aspirational by some girls.
"Our popular culture, she argues, has embraced a model of female sexuality that comes straight from pornography and strip clubs, in which the woman's job is to excite and titillate - to perform for men. According to Levy, women have bought into this by altering their bodies surgically and cosmetically, and - more insidiously - by confusing sexual power with power, so that embracing this caricaturish form of sexuality becomes, in their minds, a perverse kind of feminism"
Apparently this book which is two years old, will 'create many aha! moments for readers who have been wondering how porn got to be pop and why feminism is such a dirty word'.
Having just used that word pop on that thread myself, Im inspired to read the book.