Girls Gone Wild

August 30, 2007

ggwild-pic.jpg

Howdy everyone! This is Tara blogging.
On a recent roadtrip to our good ‘ole neighboring state of Texas, I was jolted out of my half-waking state to see a huge Girls Gone Wild RV driving a short distance ahead. I grabbed the camera, and had my driver pull up next to it, so that I could snap a shot for posterity. Was it wrong for me to think of lifting my shirt up as we passed the driver?

OK, seriously, I would never lift my shirt up for anyone I didn’t know (unless they were paying me in cold, hard cash ;). But, this got me thinking about the whole GGW phenomenon in general. Let me start off by saying that I have no issues with pornography or naked girls as a rule. In fact, I collect vintage girly mags and have watched my share of porn, both gay and straight, in my lifetime (only for research purposes of course). I do, however, take huge issue with GGW, and it has been one of those nagging, nauseating things that I haven’t quite been able to clarify or define for the longest time. So, I decided to put my typically-open-minded brain to work and try to figure out why it bugs me so much.

I was helped along a bit by recent news that Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner refused to support the incarcerated GGW creator Joe Francis (he was convicted of filming underage girls in the shower). “I’m not a fan,” said Hefner, 81, “because I think it’s [exploitative], and I don’t think he’s a very nice guy.”

We could argue until the end of time about what is exploitative and what isn’t, but it’s interesting that Hef doesn’t see any connection with what he does and what Francis does? It is easy to purport that the result of publications like Playboy and GGW videos both result in the same problem: the objectification of women. But I would argue that the approach/attitude behind them varies greatly. First off, Hef pays his ladies very well. Does this make a difference? Isn’t that the same as prostitution? Yes, I think it does make a difference; and I have no problem with prostitution per se, so that issue is irrelevant to me. It makes a difference because with Playboy and other porn franchises, it is clear on both sides, that it is a business – it is art, entertainment, erotica – an old business, probably one of the oldest. A service is offered, a deal is made, both parties (ideally) benefit. The girls in Playboy (this could go for girls in porn films too) are not drunk (we hope) while they are signing their business contract, and being photographed or filmed. They are doing a job, work they hopefully enjoy, and they are getting money and recognition for their work in return. I’m not denying that many women have been taken advantage of in the porn industry, but many women in administration, government work, and academia have also been taken advantage of. It bothers me when people act as though the porn industry is inherently disadvantageous to women, either as participants or viewers (check out Annie Sprinkle’s website for some feminist pro-porn perspectives).

GGW’s Joe Francis, on the other hand, uses drugs and alcohol as an entrée into the world of (often underage) porn. These girls are young, on vacation, toasted out of their minds and wanting to have a good time. Francis and his crew encourage these girls to entertain them, either publicly or privately, by doing a variety of things with each other. It started with flashing and kissing, and as GGW has become a prosperous and famous franchise, has made its way to the obligatory oral sex scenario. I have a number of problems with this:
1. These girls (drunk) are asked if they will perform certain acts and be willing to be filmed. They are then asked to sign a waver (Francis knows, of course, they will not read it, or can’t read it if they try).
2. After signing the waiver, Francis can film the girls and use the film and still shots of these girls anywhere and everywhere he wants to promote and make sales – TV commercials, billboards, magazine ads, the website, and the list goes on.
3. Francis doesn’t pay the girls – he gives them a T-shirt or some other piece of crap for signing over their dignity. Most of us can relate to a minor loss of dignity — we’ve done something embarrassing, something we wouldn’t normally do when we’re sober, and we thank the gods every day that no one has it on film.

GGW is not art or erotica. It is downright, dirty, one-sided exploitation – even if the girls seem happy to do it, or don’t regret it the next day, they were still exploited. If they don’t realize it, they have a low assessment of their self-worth or bad business sense, one or both. Another thing that bothers me is how GGW has started this weird trend of fake lesbianism – that is to say, pretending to be a lesbian is “hot”, but being an actual lesbian would not be hot, because that means you wouldn’t be doing it for men’s entertainment, but for your own, private pleasure (god forbid).

A few, last words. I’m not ignorant or immune to the fact that it is natural for women to want to feel sexy, desirable, etc. And I am also aware that that porn, in whatever form, often offers women an outlet for expressing that desire. But, I imagine that fulfilling that can only get a person so far on the long-term happy meter of life, and beyond that, there has to be something more. So, yeah, if you’re sober-minded and fully aware of the costs and repercussions of being filmed naked or involved in sexual acts, and you are willing and able to deal with that maturely and not be taken advantage of, then go for it. I just wish more women would fucking slap Joe Francis and his crew when they come up asking for some T&A shots. And if they don’t slap them, they need to be asking for some money, and lots of it, because after their parents see them on TV late at night, they are going to cut them off!!!

BTW, it annoys the crap out of me that I can’t watch Cartoon Network or Comedy Central late at night without seeing 7 million of those damn GGW commercials. I love how they think only lonely men watch those channels…

I’d love to hear what other people think!!!

Advertisements

3 Responses to “Girls Gone Wild”

  1. beamish Says:

    joe francis is a grade A skeez.

    i wonder if any of the lawyers behind him care where the money they’re making comes from.

  2. Emma Says:

    I think you’re brilliant! You expressed exactly how I feel about the whole GGW phenomenon, and much more eloquently than I could have done.

  3. Emma Says:

    Oh, and to respond to beamish’s comment about the lawyers: No, they do not care.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: