Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Superbowl Show Commentary Offense 

I finally came across an article which expresses my ho-hum, it's all publicity feelings about the Jackson-Timberlake double lip-synch. The Toronto Star published "Drop the outrage, bra-play was blase: Sexual and crass ads drew no ire" this morning, and Vinay Menon (the author) sums it all up quite nicely. I figured I would post a link this article which articulates my thoughts quite nicely. But then...

The Yahoo! news page on which I located the Toronto Star article also contained a link to another article titled Stale Pop Tarts. Curious, and even though the link was to the National Review Online, I clicked away. I like to be aware of what is being written by people with politics and philosophies other than mine. Sometimes we even agree, and I find that a hopeful portent. Unfortunately, this is not one of those times.

Nicole Gelinas opens with "What is up with the old women?" She then continues her article, the main point of which was not, as I had anticipated, that the Superbowl incident was another example of using sex to sell, or that such antics are so ubiquitous as to be ineffective, or even that these "shocking" stunts are behind the alleged moral collapse of America. The main theme appears to be that such marketing ploys are ineffective because the women in them are too old to be considered sexy. According to Gelinas, "human sexuality is still governed by natural law," and:

"...young men are still biologically programmed to desire to mate-and to desire to partake in such, um, activity with women of childbearing age. That means women who are not nearly eligible for AARP, no matter how scantily clad.

Britney is mainstream sexy because she is young. She is cute. She is blonde. She has big blue eyes and a pleasing hip-to-waist ratio. She's accessible, not scary, to teens. Madonna, Demi, and Janet are all over the hill. Let's be realistic: If all you're selling is sex, you'd better at least understand that your product has a shelf life. When will the producers wake up and tell their aging stable of no-talent stars: You're just too old for the show!"

For the record, Madonna is 45, Demi Moore is 41, and Janet Jackson is 38. These women are just entering the prime of life, and -to address Gelinas' biological concern- are all of childbearing age. But more importantly, it doesn't matter. Human sexuality is a feature that evolves as we grow and (hopefully) mature, not something that withers and dies just when our lives are reaching their brightest years. I had hoped that the concept of "over the hill" was itself heading the way of said hill. Kathleen Turner, Helen Mirren, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, Jodi Foster, Isabella Rossellini, Lauren Hutton, Diane Lane, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, Jessica Lange are all at least over 35, if not over 40, 50 or 60, and are all vibrant, attractive, incredibly talented, intelligent and absolutely sexy women. These in addition to the targets of the article - Madonna, Demi Moore and Janet Jackson.

Hopefully one day Britney Spears will be able to join their ranks as a woman who has continued to extend her talents, expand her knowledge, maintain her comfort with herself and her sexuality, and in turn be supportive and welcoming of the gifts offered by other women, and encouraging of the new talents coming up through the ranks.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:38 PM