Culture

Bad, Bad Girls

Sexual stereotyping reached a fever pitch this month; call it March Madness.

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.

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Film

From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Music

The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.

Music

'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.

Music

​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.

Music

Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.

Music

Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.

Music

Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.

Music

Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.

Music

Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.