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.