Pop Culture and Capitolism; The Sexual Cocktail

First Published- April 2009

I’m sure many people in the US were greeted with the most earth shattering news of the year last week when they got up and brought in the morning paper. The front cover story on top of the Daily News in New York  was most memorable for me, since I don’t get the paper at home I rely on others who bring it to work. So you can imagine my surprise to see Valerie Bertinelli in a blue bikini laying on the beach in some exotic locale! I mean OMG is this a real untouched photo of her at 48 looking this good!  This gives a whole new meaning to the whole “Cougar” thing for me, I mean holy sheepshite batman!

I hope you could hear the sarcasm as I typed these last few sentences, in case you didn’t-let me spell it out for you. I don’t give a fat rats bottom about Valerie Bertinelli and her new body, who cares… is what I want to know? In these hard times why do we even need to have her plastered on the front page of a major newspaper for Long Island and New York?  Is this more important than the economy, the jobless rate, the fact that our tax dollars are being wasted by our government so that business execs can have rides in black cars while I’m praying that my Saturn holds up another year! Is this more important than the fact that I eat peanut butter on crackers for breakfast to save money so that maybe I can afford to eat out in Manhattan once every three months, while meanwhile these jerks who put us in this position are chowing down on eggs Benedict and bagels with lox every morning in their penthouses.

I’m not putting down the fact that she has done a wonderful job of losing weight, this is a good thing for her and for the people she will inspire to cut down and take charge of their life, and quite frankly I’m one of them who should do this too. But my problem is that it’s front page news, and not just in this particular paper, but across the country it was plastered over every news website you could imagine. The problem as I see it is the fact that there is very little responsibility in journalism today, it’s a business. That business is for making money, not providing information to the public, that is secondary. This type of hype is just under the “rags” in terms of targeting readership, you gotta know that many more papers were sold because of that picture on top of the paper, it’s like money in the bank.

The other problem is one that I find with the People magazine cover which featured Ms. Bertinelli in a green bikini, only this time she was standing in a provocative open leg pose with the bikini pulled up to show her naughty bits off very well. Now, I’ll cop to the fact that I do like women and their beautiful bodies very much, they have all the curves and quite frankly I don’t see what turns women on about men at all, our bodies have no redeeming features. I guess that’s what makes me hetero, but my objection to the cover is the message it sends to the young girls of this country. One day girls are being told to keep their bodies to themselves and to respect themselves.  Be good girls, proud and smart, girls who save themselves for marriage and careers, and whose children will be taught good values. The next day they see how easy it is to make money and create hype by using your body and sexuality to sell products and services, in this case newspapers, books and diet programs that can’t possibly deliver to half the people who buy into them because as we all know…diets don’t work! Not to mention a great way to boost a lagging acting career even though you have tons of money and don’t really need to do anything but raise your kid and make sure he doesn’t wind up like dear old dad.

What gets me is the blatant use of all medias to make people spend money on things they really don’t need, I’ll bet anything that thousands of newspapers were sold to people who don’t normally buy a paper just because of the picture and pose. I’m not naive, I know sex sells and that this is all premeditated and that is what gets me “ginned up” as our President Obama once said. It’s the double edged swords of Eat right and stay healthy!, Wouldn’t you LOVE an ice cream sundae with three toppings right now!, Work hard and get ahead in the world!, Why don’t you take it easier…you deserve a break!  The back and forth of the whole system, squeeze us for tax revenue, squeeze us to spend more, squeeze us to work hard, squeeze us to go on vacations we can’t afford, so that we have to work harder to make the money to pay off our credit card debt.

I used to think that my generation got screwed out of the American dream but now I see that the kids and teens coming up now are the real victims of this whole scheme, that’s why you see girls wearing makeup and jewelery at twelve, belly shirts and hip huggers at fourteen, and practically nothing at sixteen. This is all geared to make these kids spend money, and if they don’t have it then mom and dad pay for it all and if they say no because it’s too provocative, then the teens want it all the more and they find a way to get it. Why, because they have been made to desire it by the media and the image it projects of cool sexy confident girls being bad.  Then everbody screams bloody murder when these teens become sexually active, get pregnant and wind up needing state aid. But who are the role models, Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan, and who will their role model be in their forties, uhh lets see….could it be Valerie Bertinelli?  Well maybe not her exactly, but it will be the latest 40 something actress or singer who needs to jumpstart her career and uses the media to create interest in herself for that TV or picture deal.

Some of you I’m sure will think I’m being a real jerk about this, and that’s OK …because I know I’m right, I mean nobody ever saw Jared, the Subway sandwich kid in a speedo because he lost inches off his waist eating healthy, I mean no offense dude but your just not that cool looking are you (neither am I for the record), but then again he’s not a chic is he?  You get the picture don’t you. Let me spell it out for you, sex sells… female sex sells doubly so. Because it sells to the men who lust after them and the girls/women who envy them. So girls, don’t say you weren’t warned but if you want a body like hers all you need is the residuals from movies and TV, mix it up with a good settlement package from your divorce to a rock star, and then add the bucks you made off your book deal, commercials and guest spots on daytime TV and PRESTO! You’ll have a great body too, just like hers. What? You don’t have all those resources. Mmmm, well don’t worry something else will be plastered on the paper for us all to go gaga about. Isn’t it great to be mentally wacked around like a tennis ball, I know I love it!

Boing Boing

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Filed under Food, Media, My Truth, Pop Culture, Rants

4 responses to “Pop Culture and Capitolism; The Sexual Cocktail

  1. Hi Glen,
    No, you are definitely not being a jerk. I concur with everything you have written. Sex does sell and as long as the consumer keeps buying their products, companies large and small are going to take advantage of it. Never mind the low self esteem and eating disorder issues individuals develop by believing the air brushed images, depicted in the glossy mags and papers are normal or succumbing to the allure of the latest, incredibly expensive products and clothing! Why should these companies care? They have worked their magic through mass marketing and brainwashed a generation of kids to think that fast food is ok (just throw on a few tomato slices and some shredded lettuce and you’ve got a salad. That’s healthy isn’t it?)
    What really does distress me though is the sexualisation of children’s apparel. This would cease immediately if consumers refused to buy such items. Why would any parent want their child running around in inappropriate clothing and being objectified by those predators out there who prey young children?
    Some women also feel the need to be validated by men(and other women). Marketing companies know this and play it for all it’s worth. It’s a sad but true fact of life. We need to teach our children to be confident individuals and be happy in their own skin.
    Best wishes

  2. Thanks Maureen, your comments are always very intelligent and journalistic. Your insight is also very objective, you would make a damn good reporter.
    Cheers Glen.

  3. dailyplanetprincess

    Seriously the best post I’ve read in ages. You certainly hit the nail on the head. The media is engaged in the dumbing down of America by holding the Britany’s and Lindsey’s of the world up as shining examples of what our youth should aspire to. It’s sad, damaging at best, and just plain irresponsible.

    I so agree that sex sells and that is the only reason Valerie Bertinelli was on the cover of the Daily News. In these difficult and troubled times we live in wouldn’t it be lovely if a real story of compassion and hope were to grace the front cover. Don’t people want to be reminded there are real people out there engaging in heartfelt benevolent acts?

    Also…just so fed up with the exploitation of women in general. What inspires a woman to offer herself up as a rubber doll to be molded into someone else’s vision of who or what she should be. I don’t get it…I never will.

    Thank you for your amazing post and for trying to enlighten the public to the realities that are our world.

    Great Job!

  4. Thank You for the inspiring words to keep writing more, hoping to hit the nail for my readers more in the future. No guarantees but I will try.Thanks again.
    Peace Glen

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