Monday, May 02, 2005

Mainstream Rebellion

Over the years, I'd heard bits and pieces about the Suicide Girls. I'd seen an ad for a touring burlesque show involving Suicide Girls, but otherwise they had infiltrated popular (punk) culture without my fully knowing who or what they were.

Then I came across an article about an alternative porn Web site, and the writer -- or maybe someone she interviewed for the article -- took a swipe at the Suicide Girls, claiming that this Web site, unlike the Suicide Girls', would be truly inclusive. Probably because I trust skepticism more than I do enthusiasm, I decided to find out who the Suicide Girls were exactly.

What I found out is that the Suicide Girls are "pin-up punk rock and goth girls," in a nutshell. Women audition to be Suicide Girls, and if they are accepted, they are paid to have their photos taken, photos which are then posted online and accessible to paying members. The Suicide Girls Web site also includes interviews with celebrities, forums and groups, and the Suicide Girls' online journals. Suicide Girls have a say in how they want to pose in their pictures, and many use their celebrity to focus attention on creative projects they might be involved in.

My problem with the concept of the Suicide Girls is that, other than the fact that the women have tattoos, piercings and dyed hair, they do not really challenge accepted ideals of beauty in our society, i.e., big eyes, oval faces, narrow noses, white.

I did a Google search and found one girl had written in her blog about how it's a relief to see a photo of a Suicide Girl with small breasts, as she has small breasts herself. So the Suicide Girls might not be busty blonds. But take a look at mainstream media, and I think one will find plenty of models and actresses with small breasts.

I think what would be really radical would be taking an overweight woman -- or one with big hips and small breasts, or a woman of whatever figure is not already portrayed as attractive in the media -- and presenting her as an object of desire.

Writer Annie Tomlin makes a more eloquent argument than I do here in her article "Sex, Dreads, and Rock 'n' Roll." She writes, "Imagine giving the varsity cheerleading squad makeovers at Hot Topic, and you wouldn’t be too far off. Most of the models here (and on other indie-porn sites, too) are thin, white, and traditionally beautiful. ... It’s not that punk and indie scenes are devoid of these women [women who are not thin, white, and traditionally beautiful], so their apparent exclusion from the site suggests that Suicide Girls and others aren’t seeing the alternatives in 'alternative.'"

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Anonymous SK said...

Interesting article on the indie porn phenomenon.

6:29 AM  

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