February 25, 2010

Sugar or spice? on The Bachelor

Filed under: Gender,Media,Sexuality — Tags: , , — Melanie @ 12:54 am

Aren’t these the two options we’ve been given since girlhood?

Be the nice girl (sugar) by being sweet, eager to please, remaining a virgin (although this gets complex, a girl at my Catholic high school was proud of saving her virginity and would only have anal sex. Yeah) and land a husband.

Be a bad girl (spice) by being brazen, out-spoken, independent, sexual (uh-oh, women can be sexy but *sexual*?) and get a booty call.

It’s the classic madonna/whore dichotomy, the 2 predominant archetypes that girls and women may choose from and the 2 we’ve been offered for hundreds of years (does it feel a little dated to anyone else? I mean, really). Despite our current sex saturated media culture, we still learn early on that there’s a fine line between being good and sexy before crossing over to sexual. Sexual equals bad.

It seems limiting, no?

That’s because it is. It’s another out-dated, one-dimensional and sexist expectation for girls and women that keeps getting recycled. And it’s hella confusing when you’re bombarded with image after image telling you to show your boobs and your ass (…uh, when you’re 9 no less) but then punishes you with s word (slut).

But that’s what this season’s The Bachelor, Jake, is left with: sugar and spice in the form of “sweet” Tenley (the teary divorcee that had only ‘been’ with her husband and the one wearing the crucifix in her profile picture)) and “spicy” Vienna (who was brazen enough to visit him in his room uninvited on a two-on-one date with Gia).

Teasers for next week’s final pick pump up the anticipation and drama by asking viewers to guess which way the all-American pilot from Texas will go.

“Will Jake choose sugar or (announcers voice becomes sultry) spice?”


January 16, 2009

Selling virginity

If you haven’t already hear about 22 year old Natalie Dylan’s virginity auction, start reading here, here or here.

Not surprisingly, the San Diego resident begin the auction on the Howard Stern (the talk-show personality with a reputation for upholding sexism and patriarchal values) show and claims that not only is this an opportunity to pay for her Master’s degree in marriage and family therapy but that she is a feminist and this is, indeed, a feminist act.

More accurately, this is a cultural statement. It speaks volumes about the relationship between the mass media, culture and women’s sexuality. It is also makes lucid statements about the nature of possibilities for women in terms of access to rewards, resources and power. I don’t think it is a benign statement when more and more women see selling their sexuality, their virginity and their eggs for cash to pay for school…or anything else.

Dylan states:

“We live in a capitalist society. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to capitalize on my virginity?” she added.

So far, the bids have exceeded 3.5 million. When people pronounce feminism as dead and/or unnecessary, ask yourself and those people why so many young women still mistakenly confuse selling or giving up their pussies as empowerment and then tell them to read Ariel Levy‘s book Female Chauvinist Pigs: The Rise of Raunch Culture.