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Michelle “Bombshell” McGee
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When I have a brand new hairdo
With my eyelashes all in curls
I float as the clouds on air do
I enjoy being a girl

When men say I’m cute and funny
And my teeth aren’t teeth but pearls
I just lap it up like honey
I enjoy being a girl

    —from “I Enjoy Being a Girl” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (1961)

I love that I can feel the inside
of the feelings in you,
even if it stops my life
even if it hurts too much
or takes me off track
even if it breaks my heart.
It makes me responsible.
I am an emotional
I am an emotional, devotional,
incandotional, creature.
And I love, hear me,
love love love
being a girl.

    —from “I Am an Emotional Creature” by Eve Ensler (2010)

Who are these unfathomable creatures called girls? They’ve roamed the Earth for at least 100,000 years, they comprise more than half the world’s population, they account for 99.999 percent of the people who watch Gilmore Girls reruns, and yet they remain a mystery. 

Even at the end of the first decade of the new millennium. Even after a woman came close to winning the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Even after a woman won for Best Director and Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. 

Even with suffrage, women’s lib, feminism, post-feminism, third-wave feminism.

Even when we have Aretha’s “Respect,” Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman,” Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” Janet Jackson’s “Control,” Alanis Morisette’s “You Oughta Know,” and Lady Gaga and Beyonce’s “Telephone”. 

Still a mystery.

Except bad girls. They’re one dimensional. They’re easy to understand. They’re easy to label. In fact, they’re just plain easy.They get what they deserve, especially by the media, right?

Sexual stereotyping reached a fever pitch last month; call it March Madness. Here are just a few (in)famous instances that demonstrate how far we’ve come… in a reverse time travel kind of way.

The Whore-Madonna-Whore Complex
Consider the reporting on “America’s Sweetheart”, recent Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock, and “tattoo model and stripper” (or, alternatively, “tattoo model and pole dancer”) Michelle “Bombshell” McGee, who’s reportedly been sleeping with Sandra’s husband Jesse James for the past year. Could there be a clearer good girl/bad girl scenario? Yes, actually. Let’s not forget that James left his second wife, “porn star” Janine Lindemulder, while she was pregnant, allegedly for Bullock, but because Bullock’s so damned likable and Tattoo Girl is so offensive to so many people, what with her head-to-toe tattoos and her posing with Nazi armbands on, it’s an irresistible good vs. evil story.

Bimbo Eruptions
I would have thought the term ‘bimbo’ (or ‘mistress’, for that matter) was passé. Guess not! The women who sexted Tiger Woods have not primarily been reviled in the press because they were sleeping with a man who’s married with children. No, their real crime is that most of them were cocktail waitresses. Translation: they’re “hos” who, by virtue of serving alcoholic drinks to men in bars, are not making an honest living but are, instead, gold diggers, hoping to lure a rich guy with their feminine wiles. Sure, being a cocktail waitress may be a way of meeting men (mostly drunk, loud, obnoxious, gropey men, no doubt), but being a male bartender is also a way of meeting women, and yet no one snickers about guys who have that job.

Jezebel Rielle
Are there not enough of Rielle Hunter’s notorious photos in GQ, one of which shows Hunter posing seductively with her daughter’s stuffed animals on, presumably, her daughter’s bed, wearing nothing but what appears to be daddy’s shirt? Because there isn’t enough pedophilia and child pornography in the world. The problem is that the media uproar over the photos was nearly equal to the uproar over the fact that she’d had a baby with a married man (John, or “Johnny,” Edwards) who is famously married to a woman with incurable cancer. Let’s face it, her greatest offense, really, is that she’s a current-day Yoko in her IQ (Irritation Quotient, that is).

Trust me, I’m not stereotyping women, I’m stereotyping people who succeed in blinding an otherwise intelligent person to their supreme annoyingness, and Yoko happens to be the best example… until Hunter, that is. So once again, the media, metaphorically, put the accent on the wrong syllable. 

Who are these unfathomable creatures called bad girls? They’re pretty much anything other than what the media tells you they are.

In her "Vox Pop" column for PopMatters Meta voices her observations about pop culture, particularly as it intersects with our lives. She is endlessly fascinated by the myriad ways in which our pop culture choices reflect back on us -- our beliefs, our desires, our idiosyncrasies, our intellects. Wagner's published pieces include written commentaries, features, and profiles for Salon, Boston Globe Magazine, Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, and other publications. You can visit her blog here. When she's not writing, Meta is molding young minds as an adjunct professor at Emerson College, where she teaches creative writing. She also developed and occasionally teaches a column-writing class at Grub Street, an independent writing center in Boston.

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