Saturday, June 04, 2005

A Discussion of Porn and Playboy

Here's what I want to add to yesterday's post about Tiffany being in Playboy, since a couple of you commented and a few emailed as well. I didn't realize that little comment would hit a nerve. So let me say: I have nothing against Playboy or strippers or porn or any of that stuff. I guess you could say I am an "enlightened feminist". As Guppyman said, and I agree, if people will pay to look at a woman's body, she has every right to show it and make money off of it.

However.

There are a few points to bring up. One is that perhaps I am slightly naive in hoping that someday, women will be valued for their talent, brains, and abilities moreso than their bodies. So when you have a woman with talent (well, in Tiffany's case, let's say questionable talent) who chooses to pose nude to boost her career...to me, it implies that the talent (or brains, or abilities, or whatever) just isn't enough. She needs to sell her body too. When her talent can't sustain her career, she falls back on nakedness to get attention. I find that to be really sad.

And its even sadder when you have a daughter. I look at my brilliant and beautiful daughter and I can only dread what women will have to do for success when she gets older. I want her to see women who are successes for what they accomplish. I hate that the images that my 15-year-old cousin gets are of girls like Christina Aguillera, who has an amazingly beautiful voice and is a beautiful girl, but she has to keep pushing the envelope of sexuality and showing more and more of herself and getting "dirrty-er and dirrty-er" each time she comes out with new music. Why isn't her talent enough?

When a woman chooses to pose for Playboy (or do porn or whatever), there are consequences that come with it. You are no longer taken seriously. Look at all these women who are in porn, thinking that this will be their big break into Hollywood or into a singing career...and it never is. Because now you are the porn star or the centerfold - you are no longer a "whole" woman, if you know what I mean. So my point with Tiffany was that now to me, she is a centerfold, not a singer. And I am sure lots of people think of her that way - "she's that mallrat singer who posed for Playboy."

And on another note, it also pains me that most of the "feminists" we see on tv are butchy and unattractive and masculine. That also sends a poor message to women - that if you are going to be strong, you will also be masculine. Now, I am one tough broad, don't get me wrong. I am strong and smart and well-educated and quite talented. I also wear makeup, heels, skirts, and like to look pretty. I wear a bra (nope, didn't burn it) and I shave my pits and legs. Where are role models like that? Why can't we be sexy and beautiful AND smart and talented? The impression is that strong women are ugly (and I do believe that certain segments of our population have taken hold of that myth and run with it to keep women "in their place" - now, you don't want people to think you're a lesbian do you? Just smile and look pretty and keep your mouth shut or the boys won't like you.).

So I think I got a little off topic, but hopefully you get the gist. I have no problem with female nudity (or male nudity, naturally), and I totally get it that men are going to like to look at naked women no matter how enlightened our society gets. And that's ok - but our bodies are only one part of what we have to offer.

32 comments:

-xtessa- said...

i totally understand. i remember an interview of Tiffany before and she said that she posed for Playboy because she wanted people to forget that she was a bubblegum singer. sad that she chose a way that somewhat ruins her "credibility" to some people.

our society still has a long way to go...

scrappintwinmom said...

Hey - here via Michele today. I totally agree with your post. My babies are only 1 year old, and I'm already worried about the messages they'll receive as they get older.

thisstupidmouth said...

Your post today mirrors a conversation that I was having with my mother last night. She was telling me about a friend whose daughter harbours emotional baggage over past situations only when it is convenient for her to do so. She isn't getting her way, so she pulls out the "I'm a victim (of my circumstances)" card, which otherwise she never bothers with. It's frustratingly juvenile and further devalues individuals who may genuinely be stunted in a similar state. The Tiffany/Playboy debate is similar in the sense that she pulled out the naked card when it was convenient, as you said to boost an ailing career, but likely if her success had been sustained we would not have seen her grace the pages of Playboy. Not likely (not impossible though... you never do know). It's the whole notion of convenience, I suppose. When to play the "I'm a woman," "I'm a victim," "I screwed up but it's your fault," "I'm < insert here >"... who knows?

Good comments from you, nonetheless.

As an aside, I've been visiting your blog for a while now and enjoy reading. Despite my anxiousness, I've finally decided to break the cyber-silence. Thanks!

Karen said...

You're spot on - I have three daughters - I hope by teaching them to respect themselves others will follow.

Here via Michele

janie q said...

we're living in a man's world, we may have come a long way, but we're not equal. if tiffany wanted to show everyone she wasn't that little girl anymore, but all grown up, she should have found some other avenue to do it in, because playboy is geared for men, not women, so the only people she is showing is men, because as far as i know, women do not buy playboy (could be wrong though, i'm just making an asumption). i think until anyone in the public eye can figure out how to market themselves to both sexes at the same time, it is going to remain a man's world. i have no answers how to change it, i think it is very sad.

Amanda said...

I agree with you on this whole post. I just pray that my daughter chooses a career that's clothed.

Miss_Vicki said...

The main thing here is to understand the "male" and how his brain works. Women can surely value other women for their brains, talent, whatever. Men, on the other hand, just don't work that way. They may respect a woman for her strength, or her aggressiveness, or her intellect, or whatever, but he'll still be thinking about getting in her pants any chance he gets. That's just the way they are. At least 99% of men, anyway.

J&J'sMom said...

A regular Wonder Woman you is!!! Amen sista! I'm tired of having to prove myself all the time. I just "do it" and let people find out for themselves. I loved Brittney before she went slut..I love Christina for the same reasons...let's hope Carrie doesn't follow suit. Just proves you have to stand up for what you believe in ... we'll get there someday.

Retro Girl said...

Woo-hoo! Excellent entry!

Claire said...

Hi, here via Michele's!! I think you've got some really valid points and I think it's a shame that somewhere the size of the States you don't feel you have a strong female role-model who is also beautiful. Reading this reminded me of a conversation I had with my flat-mate last night about a presenter here in the UK who we both admire and have respect for. One because she is a tough nut to crack, she's been through some hugely tough times and made it to household name and now she beats men to typically men filled presenting jobs showing women can be just as strong and good as a man (including presenting 2 separate seasons of big brother whilst heavily pregnant), the other reason is she's beautiful, she always dresses well and looks amazing and you know that it's all natural. I know from conversations with other girlfriends that this woman is considered a real role-model for British women: http://www.hellomagazine.com/profiles/davinamccall/

Sorry long post but I just feel it's important to share things like this, I find that we know so much about famous Americans but unfortunately not so many of our British talent makes it over there.

Raehan said...

Great post. With two daughters I can totally identify.

The thing that makes you so great, True, is that you are fun AND also thoughtful, smart and extremely kind-hearted.

I know princess will turn out just like you.

Christine said...

Hi, here via Michele's meet and greet!!

I hear ya! Women have to stick together on this. We are going to get exploited for our bodies and I think nudity can be a beautiful thing but we do have so much more to offer!

Charlie Mc said...

absolutely well stated!

tinkamarink said...

AMEN to every word you posted. Why is it so tough to just be acknowledged for the talent someone might have, rather than the shape that their body is in? Is that really the only value women hold? No so why do so many wannabe celebrities think that is the way to get noticed?

Lassa said...

You go Jersey Girl! I have three girls and Im always worried about their "role models" and wonder why they all have their boobs hanging out!!

Great post.

Dawn said...

I guess understand what you are trying to say. I use to strip for about 3 years and it helped me take care of my daughter and pay off my bills. It is not a job I want to see my daughter have but I can say that it did help me get out of a bad situation. It all comes down to looking at eveyone and the situation before you should judge. I know a lot of people that would be really shocked if they know I use to strip.

I guess that would make me less of a person in their eyes. I am not here to make everone happy. I know what I have done and I can wake up and look in the mirror so that is all that matters to me. My daughter has a good home a wonderful man she calls dad and I could not ask for a better man in our life.

I am sorry that this comment is so long and I am sure I left stuff out.....I hope you understand what I am trying to say.

Redhead Mommy said...

Well, apparently I missed the excitement, but I agree with you, nevertheless. You mentioned how hard it is when you have a little girl, and you're right. I also think it's hard when you have a little boy, because I need to teach this little man that what he will WANT to do isn't neccessarily what he SHOULD be doing (aka looking at porn). Due to my Chrisianity, I don't think porn is right in any way, but, it is a free country (mostly, but that's another post). I worry about how The Boy will understand women when there are so many negative images and influences in our society.

Indigo said...

I agree! Good blog Jersey!!!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

You make some excellent points, Jersey Girl. I agree with what you say The naked body is beautiful, but does it need to be used for the gratification of others? Classic nude paintings and sculpture is art, not porn, and is to be appreciated.

You are on my list of Enterprise Visitors. You have a super site!

Ally said...

I agree with you, too. Using you're assests is fine, whatever they are. But it's frustrating how if a woman uses her body as an asset, somehow society suddenly seems to think that she has no other assets worth valuing.

Dawn said...

I think playboy can be an okay way to celebrate the female body. . but I agree with your assessment of porn and other raunchy magazines and stuff.

PresentStorm said...

I pretty much agree with you..i mean of course every woman has the choice but I think women should be recognized for there God given talents ...Which some would argue that if God gave them a hot body why not ...I just do not agree with that ..But different strokes is what makes this world go round ..Anyway ....
I am here via Michele's today but I visit you every day anyway ..lol
Have a great day :)

..::Meems::.. said...

Hey True, Michele sent me! =P

I totally agree with what you're saying.

Natsthename said...

I hear you loud and clear!

Arch Storm said...

u make a lot of sense...
but dont u thnk that the root cause of the problem is that women want to divert attention to themself...and a short hem or a low cut sure does that! and from there they begin pushing the envelope...and finally end up on a Playboy. If responsible moms and dads stopped the high hem and low cuts rite at the beginning stages, probably a lot of ur problems would be solved..
charity aint the only thing that begins at home:)

Bumbling Bav said...

I was watching this Documentry on a subject close to this (more about teens). This show will forever stick with me.

The young woman is introduced by the interviewer and then he turns the view to her mother, who is sitting right next to her in the limo. He ask her how she feels about this (what her daughter is doing) and bla bla bla as they drive up to this house of where the porn movie is going to be made. The whole time the mother is stating how it is her daughters life and she can do as she pleases (the young woman was maybe 17, and looked stoned out of her tree).

They get to the house and the young girl walks in, does the shot... with the mother in the other room and then collects her things and with tears in her eyes leaves.

The interviewer asks her why she is cry and she tells him this job is hard to get use to. Her mother gives her a little "private" pep talk and wipes away her DAUGHTER'S tears.

Long story short.... the mother was pimping out the daughter to make these movies! How sad.... Why did this child not have someone in her corner saying, you are worth the world, you are wonderful, there are other options.

No instead her head was filled with $$$$, drugs, broken promisses of fame.... just truely sad.

Now that all being said, if an adult woman really feels the need to shake her money maker... and by that I am saying her ass/hoo hoo.... then whatever. Personal rights for all.... but when the chips fall, then what.... they end up on Oprah or Dr P!

Evey said...

That is so sad, and I think it happens much more than anyone realizes.

What makes me sick is these female singers....Christina, Britney etc...they start off so sweet and innocent and as they go along they become more and more slutty. SAD!

As far as the show went, I missed it...I wanted to see it, the talk of Tiffany and such brought back memories of singing along with her into my hairbrush! lol

trine said...

Lots to discuss here, and as always your argument is well thought out and clear, true.
Peronsally, although I agree in theory that "if people will pay to look at a woman's body, she has every right to show it and make money off of it" I am just not sure 1. how much choice she really has, and 2. why it is an option in the first place. Seems to me that capitalism, which makes money from both the woman taking her clothes off AND the man looking, is to blame. When Tiffany poses in a magazine she is not in control and she is not liberated.
As for our children, I suppose it will be up to us to educate our sons and daughters so they too understand this.
SOrry, i am a bit fuzzy headed today so not very clear... :-)

Goldberry said...

My opinion is similar to yours. Its sad IF the only reason to posing in Playboy is to boost your career. If you want to flaunt your stuff just to flaunt your stuff, so be it. Not my thing, of course, but it works for some people, I guess.

Marie said...

Very articulately and intelligently stated, Jersey Girl. I couldn't have said it better. I'm new to your site but I'll check back now and then. :)

Sleeping Mommy said...

Very well expressed, and a view point that I share.

I didn't even know about Tiffany and Playboy until I read your blog.

W. S. Cross said...

Maybe we need to stop looking down at women sex workers. Interestingly, Debbie Harry once said if she'd grown up now, she'd probably be a sex worker. So if we're not taking women in those professions seriously, maybe the fault lies in us?

Besides, what DOES someone like Tiffany do when the dollars run out on a mediocre career?