The Contortions of Pussycat Sex Appeal
Picture this. Five cervixes bobbing about on stage. Or was it six? Hard to keep count, what with my round-eyed seven-year-old next to me as I valiantly tried to explain away the music video thrust before her eyes.
The graphic nature of the Pussycat Dolls’ routine leaves very little to the imagination. Nevertheless, a coterie of cervixes came to mind. So very graphic was the fanny-flashing, they’re just a nip and a flap from soft porn.
For her tenth birthday a friend’s child had been given a DVD of current pop video clips and a bunch of her friends, including my 10 and 7-year-olds, were gathered around watching, in silent and detailed study, as a series of young women indulged in intent sexual posturing.
Behind them a group of mothers were variously open-mouthed, indifferent or guffawing at the desperate contortions these young women were pulling to appear pretty and desirable. And to whom? To an audience of flabby middle-aged corporate men who need to appear virile to their peers despite their impotence? Try girls aged under 10.
The ‘PCD’ – oh they are important enough to warrant an acronym - were mouthing something about popping bottles while opening giant champagne flagons from which sparkly glitter burst. Their every move seemed to be about turning themselves inside out so we could all get a better look.
A speculum might have saved them all that splitting, gyrating, thrusting and bottom vacillating. But less is more, right?
Those of us mothers who consciously work in a swat team of cultural quarantining might imagine these PCDs – Pornitically Correct Debutants - were manufactured by a boardroom of impotent Californian Corporate Profiteers who assume we all suffer the same need to make penile responsiveness the centre of our vision and our culture.
So central in fact that PCD inc is an expansionist media enterprise recast as a music group through a record deal with Interscope Records. Originally a Los Angeles burlesque dance act this toxic troupe of pornographied gender norms has morphed into a reality television program, venue, casino and merchandising and - who would have guessed - a spread in Playboy.
But their creator is not some bloated Caesar of a tyrannous gender regime emanating from the remote, dysfunctional community of Los Angeles and enforced through media saturation. Any libertarian media commentator would delight in telling you those are a set of stereotypes saying more about the devaluing of ‘low’-culture and the snobbery of critics. Did somebody mention gender politics?
The PCD creator is a woman, a model and choreographer named Robin Antin. Pink might have once have dubbed her a Stupid Girl, but instead she works with her. Antin’s immobilized face might feign scorn at repressed embittered feminists who think her work grossly exploits young women. But what would she say to mothers of little girls who, trying not to be too prohibitive, nevertheless draw the line at crotch-clutching and protest – we can’t turn it off.
You see, there’s the rub. The devastating argument always put against us inhibited, resentful feminists is to look the other way. I confess that is my impulse in the face of such a consistently dull, unrelenting cultural visage of same-same undressed pouting pretty-girls taking themselves so seriously it is laughable. Along with most families we adopt of policy of avoidance for our children, but it is slim defense against the barrage of turbo-sexed imagery that is not just before their eyes, but directly marketed at their age group.
Let’s once and for all debunk the ‘adult-entertainment’ façade of a retaining wall around sexualized imagery as delusional and counter-productive as that built around the Gaza strip.
Firstly, what adult missing even a residual trace of cynicism doesn’t appraise the PCDs as a tonga-line of twerps? Granted there may be a populace of men who actively suspend disbelief for the pleasures of penile responsiveness (to which we are all enjoined to bear witness), and to them I wearily say, oh get your hand off it.
Secondly, who else among our demographic has their antennae out, uncritically receiving all media transmissions from the likes of Robin Antin, and passively absorbing her damaging mesh of meanings about girlhood. Through a set of circumstances parents can’t actually control, it is children under 10 watching the PCDs and this is cause for real concern, even outrage.
Unsurprisingly my diatribe to the under tens didn’t work. I ranted the PCDs are like puppets who make a lot of money for other people and have no say about their dance moves or lyrics. They have careers so short-lived it is discriminatory. They make being pretty the central objective of young women, most of whom can never live up to their surgically altered features and air-brushed bodies.
But what did work was laughing at the preposterous lengths the PCD’s went to, to attain the status of sexy. The bewildering acrobatics of desirability have become so absurd, so ‘ridick’, you need botox to keep a straight face.
But little girls are trying, in a relentless routine of minute daily gestures and self-adorning, to figure out how on earth to be girls. And since it doesn’t come naturally they take the ludicrous posturing of the PCDs very seriously indeed. Diatribes and snickering aside, if parents want to give their children a childhood, that is largely distinguished from adulthood through their protection from adult sexuality, we need to stop buying into this guff. Better still Robin, stop making it.