Thursday, July 07, 2005

Girls Gone Wild as a Cultural Phenomenon

Girls Gone Wild as a cultural phenomenon signifies a resentment that has grown up around the empowerment of women due to the sexual revolution. In the name of gender egalitarianism men have (justifiably) been called upon to significantly alter their behavior, from work environment standards (i.e. “hostile work environment” sexual harassment) to affirmative action quotas, and rightfully so. However, while gender based advantage has largely been eliminated for men, there still exists a significant gender based advantage for women in that men probably have stronger libidos.

GGW videos are “of attractive, often skittish young American women simply taking off some of their clothes, on camera, often highly ambivalent about it,” according to the Washington Post. GGW creator Joe Francis says of existing pr0nography that:

"Our woman is a young woman who is very innocent and wouldn't typically pose for anything," he says. "Playboy magazine likes to say it gets the girl next door. But it gets the girl next door who went to Hollywood, slept with the guy, and went with him to the Playboy Mansion."
explicitly referencing Playboy but more generally referring to the way the sexual revolution served to empower women. The secret of Francis’s success is that he is subtly inverting this empowerment.

Normally, a woman engaged in pr0nography gains control of an otherwise out of control life through the process of pr0nography. One of the best examples of this is Jenna Jameson (CNN book review). Before GGW, pr0n was a source of empowerment. But Francis seeks out women very obviously in control of their lives, in fact explicitly seeking out college students. He then enacts a sort of morality play whereby the young privileged woman who chooses to use her sexuality to get access to alcohol and fame (in the case of GGW: Doggy Style) has that act turned against her by the exploitation of Francis, turning her attempt at using her sexuality in an empowering manner into her humiliation. All of the outrage and controversy that follows these drunken self exposures contributes to the brand image.
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