Thursday, May 20, 2010

Well, That Was Disgusting

In the gym today, I was treated to a little show called "Young, Beautiful, and Vanished: 15 Unthinkable Crimes." As the title suggests, it was a parade of stories about pre-adolescent blond girls who were kidnapped, raped, and eventually found. But not recovered--oh no. As the show's TV psychologist (whatever that is) smugly remarked of one of the girls, "Elizabeth will never get over this."

Get over being raped by your father and confined to a cell for however many years? No, I should say not!

And of course we only want to watch re-enactments of young, beautiful girls being kidnapped and raped! Nothing titillating about an older woman, or one of only middling attractiveness. Or, God forbid, a boy. That would be, like, gay or something.*

The worst, though, was that this bit of hideous misogynistic trash was on the Entertainment network.



And that's why I like to pretend that 21st-century pop culture simply does not exist.


*I don't mean to imply by this that the viewership was necessarily straight men. In fact, I expect that it was largely female. But the sexual objectification of women means that women, faced with sexual imagery, frequently inhabit a masculine perspective: Sexualized women typically signify (hetero)sex, to men and women alike; sexualized men typically don't, or at least not as readily. In other words, I think that straight women could be as titillated as straight men by the stories in the show, and that both sexes would find a re-enactment of the abduction and rape of a young boy more jarring than the same story about a young girl.

7 comments:

LenapeGirl said...

Violence - of all kinds - seems to be the favored entertainment. What does that do to a society? How did this happen?

I live in a midwestern city where life is cheap for too many.

Prof. Koshary said...

Many, many creepy subtexts in this, as you suggest. I'm a professional scholar of contemporary popular culture, so I can't get behind ignoring it in toto. I will admit, though, that whatever one might encounter on TV in the gym -- any gym -- is probably bad for your mental and emotional health.

Remind me to blog some time about my unsettled feelings about What Not to Wear.

Prof. Koshary said...

And I just switched from third-person to second-person in that comment...on a blog kept by an English scholar. Fuck.

heu mihi said...

Well, Koshary, I appreciate your pointing that out--I hadn't noticed, and it's a rare treat to have someone be aware of his/her own writing errors (although I hesitate to call this an "error," since really, it works grammatically and all).

LenapeGirl--I wonder the same thing. Since I rarely watch TV now, I've noticed that when I catch glimpses of, say, Law and Order (again, at the gym), I am very troubled by the voyeuristic element (especially on SVU, it seems) in a way that I wasn't troubled when I used to see the show more often. I think that we do get desensitized to such representations, and that can't be good.

Sisyphus said...

Yeah, SVU is especially bad for its titillation and its slut-shaming ---- both that show and what you described seem to say that the way we as a culture celebrate our most favored beings (for only young, white, thin, beautiful women are actively favored today) is through a process of violence and sexual denigration, like desire can only be expressed when combined with hostility.

(PS I refuse to let myself think too hard about WNTW or any of the home makeover shows ---- is the only way to be appreciative and nonviolent to other people through excessive consumerism? Sigh)

登山 said...

Just do it!.......................................................

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