The Rise and Rise of the Nouveau Bimbo
I remember that when I was growing up, unless your name was Pia Zadora or Bo Derek, it seemed that you had to at least have some kind of talent or intelligence in order to become famous. Think of Barbara Walters, Gloria Steinem, Demi Moore, and Sara Brightman. A diverse group, yes. But all these four women were famous while I was growing up, and they possessed talent or brains, or in some cases, both. To be certain, they were ambitious. And one of them once dressed up in a bunny suit and one played a stripper, but none of them were actually strippers or whores in their real lives.
Now, at the risk of sounding like somebody’s grandmother, there’s a whole new class of woman out there who makes her rich and famous living off of being an infamous slut. All you have to do is make your own homemade porn tape, somehow “lose” it or have it “stolen” by someone who makes a mint off of marketing it on the internet, and you, too, can be a star, no talent or brains required. Think of Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, and now Hugh Hefner’s ex, Kendra. This kind of behavior is no longer something to be ashamed of. It’s to be celebrated.
I happen to think of myself as a feminist, and I’m all for women enjoying sex in the same way that a man can. I’m not advocating going back to the days of the scarlet letter. It’s the way we go about enjoying that sex that I have issues with here. Sex is, in my opinion, something that should remain somewhat private, an act between two consenting adults who aren’t exploiting one another, something done for mutual pleasure or to show affection. I have to say that I don’t think that being a man ho is anything to be proud of, either. However, at least Rob Lowe has talent.
This month’s Vanity Fair cover stories include a political article entitled, “America’s Top Gun in the Middle East,” a style retrospective/biographical piece on Grace Kelly, and an expose on Tiger Woods, complete with, “Tiger’s Girlathon Gallery!” Vanity Fair has always had a sort of gossipy quality to it. The pieces they do, though, are never hatchet jobs. They’re well researched. They frequently cover people of importance in political, artistic and financial circles, and they are done thoughtfully and not in a salacious or sensationalistic manner.
There’s a first for everything. With Tiger’s Girlathon Gallery, Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter has destroyed the cache of his magazine. With a single set of photos in a single issue, Carter has reduced Vanity Fair to the journalistic equivalent of TMZ, Perez Hilton, or The Star. Even People Magazine has more class. Why does our culture glamourize such behavior? Why does a Monica Lewinsky or a Michelle McGee or a Jamie Jungers get to be famous for being a homewrecker?
It takes two to tango, and Bill Clinton, Jesse James, and Tiger Woods should be ashamed of their behavior as well. But Clinton, James and Woods aren’t famous for being star fuckers. They are famous for being highly competent in their respective fields.
In the same way that I am dog tired of reality television, I am bone fucking weary of women becoming celebrities by virtue of being whores. Now you could argue that some of these women are not actually whores in that they didn’t receive money for the sex. I would beg to differ. These whores are crazy like foxes.
In the same way that a porn star is a porn star and not a prostitute through the fine line of the presence of a camera, these women are definitely not whores. But in the real world of critically thinking people, it’s easy to recognize that these women have capitalized on the notoriety that is afforded to them by selling their stories, negotiating for royalties on their “stolen” sex tapes, wrangling deals for reality television series or recording contracts or tell-all books and tabloid magazine articles.
Being a whore is nothing to be ashamed of today, as long as it buys you some notoriety and a new career. Thus, think the Mayflower Madam and Heidi Fleiss, not that African-American street hooker that blew Hugh Grant in his car whose name none of us can now remember. She should still be ashamed of being a prostitute because she wasn’t media savvy enough to parlay her celebrity fellatio into a career that made her a household name.
Sex workers are people, too. I’m sure many of them are smart and/or talented people. They deserve to be treated with the same respect with which we would treat any other human being. My issue here is with our culture’s continuing fascination with a profession that victimizes and objectifies women. Little girls today learn that the best way to become successful is not through ideas, practice, and hard work but by spreading their legs for a famous, and preferably married, man. That way you can create a scandal that generates publicity. Better yet, videotape it. Then you, too, can be a success.