Thursday, March 15, 2007

The New Face Ass of Feminism

There's an interesting social experiment going on on TV right now. Interesting in the sense that it's like a thirty car pileup on the expressway with really bad music playing in the background.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the show was how many of the contestants defined their drive to become members of the burlesque troupe turned singers as an act of "feminism". So many did that I thought it would be interesting to watch it with someone of the opposite sex. So when CW reran the pilot, I recorded it and asked a young lady that was at my house for dinner to watch it with me. She has chosen to remain nameless, but for the sake of the article, I'll call her Miss Congeniality.

Particularly amusing was when a young woman on the show, a twenty-year-old named Brittany, said that the Pussycat Dolls appealed to her feminist side because she had "worked all her life and never had to depend on a man for nothing."

Me: Um, sweetheart, you're twenty. What has that life really amounted to thus far? And is shaking your tits really feminism?

Miss Congeniality: The never depended on a man part is stupid, but is shaking her tits by her own choice not feminism in its own way?

Me: If it is, the definition has changed. Is she trying to impress women by shaking her tits? She dances like a stripper (It came out later that the young woman in question had already worked as an exotic dancer, and was eventually bounced from the show because she danced too much like a stripper even for the PCD)!

Miss Congeniality: Isn't it possible to be a stripper and a feminist?

Me: If your job involves pulling out the waistband of a g-string so a man can put a dollar bill into it, then no, I don't see that as feminist. Women who are already doing it may eventually come to see it as somehow empowering, but really, I think they're just telling themselves the consolation prize is better than the blue ribbon so they can sleep better at night.

Miss Congeniality didn't really have an answer for that. I would imagine that it's most likely because she's never really seen the inside of a strip club and didn't realize that it's more like it's portrayed in every b-movie in the world (Isn't it amazing how all criminal investigations in movies end up at the topless bar sooner or later?) than the temple of female empowerment that the girls on HBO's "G-String Divas" would have us believe.

Not that Brittany was the only one. Woman after woman on that show kept talking about feminism and female empowerment in the context of competing for the privilege to dance half naked on TV. Maybe it's me--- Perhaps I'm old fashioned. But isn't the overt marketing of feminine sexuality the problem rather than the solution?

Perhaps the structure of the PCD record deal could shine a new light on some of this. Rather than the typical contract where the performers get paid a royalty on albums sold, there by giving them an incentive to market themselves by any means necessary, the Pussycat Dolls are salaried employees of Geffen Records, meaning that there are no incentives beyond the fact that any of them can be replaced at any time.

Miss Congeniality: Dontcha wish your girlfriend was hot like her?

Me: I wouldn't be upset.

Miss Congeniality: Dontcha wish your girlfriend was a freak like her?

Me: How freaky are we talking?

For the record, men, when you're asked those questions, the answer should be uncategorically "no". Trust me. It's a trap.

3 comments:

Tom Guleff said...

This show is a classic...

Freedonian said...

Tom,

I saw another reality TV show that was even funnier. It's on the Fox Reality Channel Comcast just added a few months ago.

It's called "My Bare Lady". A London producer auditioned porn stars so he could bring them to London and have them do Shakespeare. There were times that I laughed so hard that I cried. A genuine example of the dialogue:

The girls were touring London, and they stopped at the statue outside the Parliament building.

Girl 1: Who was George V (Pronounced George VEE)?
Girl 2: I dunno. I think he's the king or something.
Girl 3: Nuh uh. It says here he's dead.

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