Thursday, April 14, 2011

UCLA vs. Miami Beach - Girls gone wild?

"Oooh, Pablo, I lo-o-o-ve you!" one girl hollers as loud as she can while still trying for silly sultriness, writhing somewhat suggestively in short shorts and a tee shirt.

Her friend laughs as the two boys on a balcony across the street holler back, decidedly less seductively: "Take off your shirt!  Show us some nipple!"

Oh good god, I thought, as I walked up the hill in the middle of Frat-town in UCLA-student infused Westwood Village, am I in the middle of a Girls Gone Wild shoot?

"That is SO degrading!" the girl screeches back, her faux-Latin-lover accent gone.

Long pause, and then a boy's deep bellow into the warm night air, "I'm sorry I objectified you!"

In return, "Apology accepted!"  And she quickly resumes her play of swooning in a silly, seductive accent.

It gave me a glimmer of hope, after reading Female Chauvinist Pigs, that not ALL 20-something girls are buying into the need to bare their breasts on demand. 

But for all my friends already worried about raising kids in our sex-saturated society, reading this book might induce self-sterilization.  As writer Ariel Levy points out, Girls Gone Wild is too frequently the norm.  The real, interesting, many-tiered parts of sexual liberation has been pushed aside as raunch has become the only alternative for expressing sexuality.


"We have to ask ourselves why we are so focused on silent girly-girls in G-strings faking lust.  This is not a sign of progress, it's a testament to what's still missing from our understanding of human sexuality with all of its complexity and power. We are still so uneasy with the vicissitudes of sex we need to surround ourselves with caricatures of female hotness to safely conjure up the concept of 'sexy.' When you think about it, it's kind of pathetic. Sex is one of the most interesting things we as humans have to play with, and we've reduced it to polyester underpants and implants. We are selling ourselves unbelievably short." 

The book is both juicy and enlightening, filled with educational tidbits about the range of sexuality (I'd never heard the term "boi" before reading it).  Rather than empowering ourselves through sexual freedom, we're removing ourselves further from true knowledge of pleasure. Making porn stars and strippers our guides into the nether regions of sexual expression, when the JOB of these women is to FAKE pleasure, represents a significant disconnect with reality.

Levy is a great writer, making what is at times a horrifying subject entertaining with her verbal spin:

"Without a doubt, there are some women who feel their most sexual with their vaginas waxed, their labia trimmed, their breasts enlarged, and their garments flossy and scant. I am happy for them. I wish them many blissful and lubricious loops around the pole. But there are many other women (and, yes, men) who feel constrained in this environment, who would be happier and feel hotter — more empowered, more sexually liberated, and all the rest of it — if they explored other avenues of expression and entertainment."

..."The women who are being emulated and obsessed over in our culture right now — strippers, porn stars, pinups — aren't even people. They are merely sexual personae, erotic dollies from the land of make-believe. In their performances, which is the only capacity in which we see these women we so fetishize, they don't even speak. As far as we know, they have no ideas, no feelings, no political beliefs, no relationships, no past, no future, no humanity.

"Is this really the best we can do?"

4 comments:

Hollywood Jeffy said...

Levy's book sounds fantastic. Westwood village, not so much.

Rebecca Snavely said...

Not so bad, but yeah. When the girls living across the courtyard held a super-screechy surprise party at midnight on a school-night, it cemented that I am so far from college.

Anonymous said...

Tell it! I love that book...BTW - You'll probably be able to start a whole new blog featuring drunk college kid discourse the longer you live in WeWo!

Rebecca Snavely said...

Thanks J-Wow - and for introducing me to the book, and to the WeWo community. I love the eavesdropping of drunken college kids, especially the hyper-socially aware. At least they knew the right script.