There's Sexy, And Then...

A couple nights ago while working on a term paper, I had my TV on and was sort of half-typing, half-watching a countdown of 50 sexy spring break music videos on MuchMusic. The videos became more explicit as the countdown went on. #2 was Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty"; #1 was Britney Spears's "I'm a Slave 4 U."

The end of the countdown left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Since when did society define "sexy" as synonymous with softcore porn and insincere performance? Take the Pussycat Dolls, for instance. I know they started out as a burlesque show, but there is something so insincere about their brand of sexuality, as though they are performing what the audience expects rather than really FEELING it. There's nothing organic or natural about this sort of sexy, as though it's something they do to please someone else rather than something organic that they naturally feel in themselves. This really came to light as I was watching their new reality show, The Search For the Next Pussycat Doll. The costumes, the fake eyelashes, the caked-on stage makeup and carefully choreographed routines which the women force their bodies to learn as though they were forcing themselves into an ill-fitting spandex bodysuit...this was manufactured, fake, inorganic sexy, the kind that's produced and dished up as a readily consumable commodity.

Sexy is about feeling it in your heart and in your being, and not just putting on a fake routine to please someone else. Sexy reflects who you really are. For this reason, I consider Shakira to be sexy as opposed to the Pussycat Dolls. In live performances and videos, she dances as though she really feels the music. I know she works with choreographers and those are probably all routines as well, but the bellydance shimmies and Latin hip movements seem to reflect who she is rather than a music video director's concept. I consider Gwen Stefani to be sexy in a stylish yet intelligent and ironic way. There is a lot of visual wit involved in her postmodern reconstructions of themes we're all familiar with in her music videos: Alice in Wonderland, The Sound of Music. Again, I'm sure she had a lot of help in this and it wasn't all her, but the consistency in style and wit that she shows in her clothes and music videos makes me sure that Gwen's own brand of pomo sexy is responsible. I consider Audrey Hepburn to be sexy because of the grace, style, and old-fashioned femininity she embodies in her movies. Compared to these women, the PCD, great guilty pleasure that they are, come off as crass and vulgar.

Kids Of Today

I went to work today and my boss's 12/13-year old son was there to help out. He's an interesting set of paradoxes. In some ways, he's a kid through and through. He plays street hockey, loves violent video games, hangs out with friends, and eats loads of sugar. But he seems odd for his age in other ways. He spent a good deal of time during quiet periods describing what he'd bought lately. He's very brand-loyal and can rattle off all the brands of stuff he has and wants. He collects colognes (real ones, not the Axe spray-on stuff) and uses them daily. (He's 13!) And he told me he skips meals sometimes and only eats at dinner, and is really afraid of getting fat.

I thought back to when I was in grade 7. Was I skipping meals and worrying about getting fat? No. Caught up in materialistic brand-chasing? Well...I coveted some brand name stuff but could never afford it, and still can't, although now I prefer to go cheap and stylish rather than slavishly collect designer labels. He's a precocious kid with a good head on his shoulders for such a young age; these tendencies toward materialism and a fear of fat...where do they come from? The media? His friends? Who knows? I just hope that, bright as he is, he will figure out these things for himself.
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