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Pussycat Witchhunt

In the spirit of it being university holidays,  I’m going to see if I can re-introduce the concept of leisure into newsblogging. I could do this during semester, but who has the time? After you add together all the hours I spend polishing my silverware, tatting lace, and being a slut, there’s very little time left over to peruse the various news sources with one hand and furiously masturbate with the other. What? I’m a female Arts student, apparently it’s expected. (Oh, the calluses.)

So here is, had you not deciphered the sheepish apology in the preceding paragraph, a news story that was not only published five days ago, but is, in content, Shockingly Old: Pussycat Dolls Milk Porn for Power.

Here’s the thing. I really, really like Ariel Levy. I find her charming, clever, and unaffected; her piece on getting married to another woman is one of the things I read to myself after enduring an horrific event, like wearing a hole in my shoe, or eating slightly too much pudding. Despite this, I occasionally curse her. She is, if not solely, then majorly responsible for the trend of this article that I find leaves a shallow, satiny taste in my mouth:


Instead of waiting to be subjugated as sex objects, women are rushing to present themselves that way, objectifying not only themselves but other women.


This about the Pussycat Dolls, recall. The entire article is pervaded by this tone, rushing to blame not the corporate machine that created the Pussycat Dolls, but the gyrating, tanned Feline Faux Humanoids themselves. The concern of the author is decidedly feminist in nature, as she frets over the sexualised presentation of plasticised femmebots to girls not old enough to shimmy into glittery, padded “training bras” (I’ll do a post about them, I promise):


The message is clear: Women can do whatever they want, and what they want most is to please men. It’s a confusing message from a group of women with fame and money, marketing themselves to the barely pubescent.


Yes, thanks, some of us may have noticed over the intervening 10,000 years of human cultural evolution that depictions of women are generally engineered to present aspects of male fantasy, and concluded that marketing these images to impressionable young mites might seriously warp their conception of gender roles. Come on, though; I don’t think it counts as denying women’s agency to suggest that maybe the people responsible for this carefully constructed and ubiquitous artifice are the people who construct and perpetuate the artifice, also known as “recording companies”. I’m not saying that the Dolls themselves are oblivious puppets, because if someone offered me millions of dollars to dance around occasionally in my underwear, you’d better believe I’d rip off the old wimple and go for it.

The point is that it’s a bit unfair, within a system of cultural currency where women are at their most venerated and profitable when skinny, nude, and lascivious, to blame women who choose to be skinny, nude, and lascivious. I want to see someone cutting through the moral panic bullshit and flinging the dart at the right target, the one with “A&M RECORDS: YOU MUST BE THIS SASSY TO RIDE” written on it. I don’t hate the Pussycat Dolls; in fact, I’m quite proud of them for taking commercial advantage of their exceptionally writhe-suited physiques. It’s what they’ve got, it’s what they’re obviously very good at, and given the expansive niche for it in popular culture, someone’s got to do the job.

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