I wasn't going to blog today but I read this story in the L.A. Times today and it really got me thinking.
The story is about Joe Francis, the "genius" behind the "Girls Gone Wild" phenomenon. I really never paid much attention, but this article really got my attention. This man is a pig, a purveyor of what is horrible in our society. And what I find most revolting is that he has more money than he knows what to do with. What I find most chilling is he made this fortune because of a sleazy need in this culture.
First, guys are buying these videos. That's nothing new. I'm not a prude and I can picture a frat house full of guys enjoying these videos while hammering down the Budweiser. For them, it is a hot party with hot girls. That doesn't bother me so much.
But how does Joe Francis get these girls to do this? Alcohol and the girls themselves. They target the girls in the clubs, find them somewhat inebriated and get them even more drunk. From there, they pressure the girls to do things they wouldn't do otherwise. These girls tend to be under 21 and in some instances, younger. They have dreams of being "discovered" from one of these videos. The payment they receive are tee shirts, underwear and hats emblazoned with advertising for the dvd's.
Why would a girl do this? I honestly don't understand. Yes, alcohol does play a big part in it, but they know about it before hand, make the conscious decision to become involved. They seek validation, as if the only thing which will make them important is this blatant exploitation of their sexuality. Forget school, forget activism, if you want to make your mark on the world, show off your breasts to a camera. The only attention which is important is the lascivious interest of strangers. The quickest route to stardom is to use your body. How sad is that? Why do they feel this way? And how pervasive is this attitude?
I think as the mother of two daughters, the whole issue really preys on my mind. I try to accentuate what is most important to my girls, to find the beauty within themselves rather than the beauty without. But how strong is my influence compared to societies at large? I have a place at Myspace.com and I'm amazed at how provocative the pictures are and how suggestive so much of the content is. Why is sex so prevalent in this culture? Funny question coming from a romance writer.
But there is a difference. In romance, even erotic romance, sex is a part of the relationship. It isn't used as a means of exploitation, it isn't a cold, emotionless device. What I see with these girls is that they are trying to use their sexuality to gain them the admiration of the opposite sex. They're going to get admiration all right, but not the kind they want. They are setting themselves up to be objects for these guys. Sure, your dance card is going to be plenty full, but does it really make you feel better that you are dating a dirtbag like Joe Francis? Don't these young girls realize they are nothing but toys to these men? Just like that little rubber ball thrown to a dog, they will use these girls until they are chewed up, worn out and useless. They they will be tossed aside.
It seems opposed to everything the women's movement was about. Yes, women fought for the right to express their sexuality, to be an equal participant in the world with men. Somehow I don't think "Girls Gone Wild" was what our mothers and grandmothers were fighting for. I wish these young women would see how much more valuable they are than to be the participants in garbage. I wish they could realize they are worth so much more than the flash of a camera bulb and the money-driven desires of scum like Joe Francis.
I think guys know better. People take advantage where they can, but the whole thing would shrink down if these girls posing in these videos would quit greasing the wheel. The only reason these videos exist is because insecure young girls think this is the way to become valuable. Until they figure out this is nothing but exploitation, Joe Francis will continue to make obscene amounts of money and take horrible advantage of our world's daughters.