Sunday, November 26, 2006

Give me a red hot lovin', babe...and for my drink, I'd like...*

In a sense I hate to perpetuate the "subordinate theme," as one commenter put it, of my most recent post, but this is good stuff.... There's an article in the local paper today about the interview process for service jobs in PA's nascent casino industry. Where women are concerned, these interviews apparently consist of showing up in stiletto heels and bustier and strutting your stuff for management, who will then decide if you're sufficiently leer-worthy to earn $10 an hour plus tips for shuttling cocktails around the casino floor. Hundreds of young women are queuing up for these opportunities—a happenstance that mirrors the turnout in any and every American city where legalized gambling has taken root, as well as in hiring for certain restaurant chains (Hooters comes to mind), bars, acting jobs, modeling assignments, reality show auditions, etc. The bottom line is that often as not, the young women (and not-so-young ones) with tight little bods seem to be every bit as proud of that attribute as some other women are of their minds and talents. (Check out some of the quotes in the article.)

Not that I imply any "dizzy-blonde" dichotomy here: You can have a great shape and also have a great mind. The point really is that it's hard to combat the stereotyping as well as the unfortunate social fallout (in eating disorders, despression and such) when there are so many people of distaff persuasion who unapologetically buy into the Barbie Doll mentality. We talk of this burden being "imposed" on women, yet there are more than enough women who giddily embrace it for themselves. Is that nature or nurture? And even if it's nurture—a lot of women are doing the nurturing. I need hardly remind you that women have plenty to do with the editing and management of women's magazines, which, as we've seen, are some of the worst offenders. Women also have increasing clout in advertising and the weight-loss industry, which disseminate the potent messages about size and shape and overall appearance, and exert significant control over the average woman's comfort level (or lack of same) with all of the above.

Just thought I'd mention it.

* A Red Hot Lovin' is indeed a mixed drink, and a veritable smorgasbord of liquor at that: bourbon, amaretto, sloe gin, triple sec, and who knows what else.

9 comments:

RevRon's Rants said...

"We talk of this burden being "imposed" on women..."

Truth is, the "burden" is more equally shared than one might think. How many guys make a big show of drooling over a woman's obviously over-enhanced chest, when they really don't find such appendages attractive at all? They do it because they feel that failing to be attracted to the "babes" leaves their "guy-hood" in question. And how many men seek out the trophy wife/girlfriend in order to make themselves appear more manly/desirable/powerful?

The people who market the supposedly idyllic stereotypes have chosen their own profit over the well-being of their fellow humans (no surprise there). They are merely providing what their market demands, as do pushers, pimps and self-help hustledorks. We can damn them all we want, but until we quit paying them, they'll continue selling whatever (and whomever) they can to make another buck. If there's any doubt about this, just look at our highly touted - yet largely unsuccessful - "war on drugs." We hammer away at the suppliers, while ignoring the demand, and the illicit commerce continues to grow. Just a thought...

The Professor said...

The Professor does not usually like blondes, although he can appreciate Meg Ryan in her prime.

The Professor also thinks that this is not a terribly cutting edge discussion. These are tired points, a tired topic. Why not explore a "newer" angle on this than the Barbie Dolls and fashion mags. What about online avatars and self-presentations in forums like MySpace, Second Life and online role-playing games where body image is literally being played with and reimagined by the user? The Professor thinks that Steve just recycled easy ideas to fill blog space.

Cosmic Connie said...

Good points, Rev, re "supply and demand."

If the Professor is so cutting-edge, he should perhaps start his own blog. This may be an oft-discussed topic, but it continues to hold relevance to many people. And as long as Mattel keeps introducing new and improved versions of Barbie, she will never go out of style as a cultural icon, and therefore, arguably, a worthy topic of discussion.

Besides, the online examples you mentioned, Prof, are still mostly a younger-generation phenomenon, whereas the fashion mags are all-pervasive and exert their influence across all generations.

Steve Salerno said...

Methinks the Professor declines to start a blog lest he invite criticism of his own unerringly trenchant and cutting-edge thoughts (like, say, his memoirs of his shopping excursion this past Black Friday). Methinks the Professor is somewhat more thin-skinned than, say, the proprietor of this blog, who has never censored or flinched away from honest criticism. But as long as the Prof keeps it clean, the Prof can continue to fire away...thereby revealing more about himself each time, perhaps, than about those he likes to pick at? (Fearless prediction: Another barb aimed at the "groupies" is already in development.)

Steve Salerno said...

Professor: I don't know who or what you are, but since you insist on pushing the envelope, despite my relatively good-natured hints to cease and desist, I'm afraid I must ask you, indeed, to find your own blog to clutter with scattershot remarks about ethnicity and irrelevant tidbits of personal invasion. Too bad you couldn't stick to the issues. You had something to say amid all the sniping.

As they said in the old tuna commercials, Sorry, Charlie...

Anonymous said...

Steve, I'm surprised it took you so long. The guy was farther out than me even, and that's saying alot.
-Carl

Anonymous said...

I think its a shame. Buried in his hilarious rambling style were points that made for excellent discussion and further thought. He opened up this blog in a lot of ways from a tight lecture to a loose, modern classroom discussion. RIP, Professor.

Anonymous said...

Well, I for one will miss The Professor. No one could appreciate ethnic slurs, etc., but--in the absence of those--I thought he energized the blog with his commentary. It was good to see a playful intelligence on display.

RevRon's Rants said...

One of the greatest challenges I've faced as a ghostwriter & editor is convincing clients that readers quickly tire of prose that is structured with the clear intent of making the author appear clever and/or profoundly intellectual. The task of a writer is to communicate his/her thoughts in a way that the reader becomes absorbed in those thoughts, rather than in trying to wade through layers of synthetic affectations, which are nothing more than monuments to the hunger of the writer's ego.

Protracted prose is actually the hallmark of the frustrated poet, who demands that readers conform to his own needs, and bemoans the fact that he must "suffer for his art," claiming that the masses lack the sophistication necessary to understand his brilliance. Such would-be "poets" are, in their essence, too needy to achieve success, so consumed by their own narcissism that they cannot reach beyond themselves and reach out to their readers. At best, such writers may cultivate followers who hope that, by "getting" the writer's work, they will appear clever and profoundly intellectual themselves. Thus, the emperor dons his new clothes with aplomb!