Pussycat Dolls Vamp for Lame TV; the “F” word is Feminist? C’mon!

pussycat-dolls.jpgWriter Joan Didion once poignantly proclaimed, “To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves – there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.” Amen, Joan.

It’s clear I’m not buying into this whole ‘third wave’ of feminism, where supposedly the new pilot, The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll” is an “empowerment” show for young girls to idolize these hottie bods and aspire to their dance moves in teen wannabe fixation for reality TV. Bleh.

Fergawdsakes get some clothes on and empower yourself through your talent instead of your writhing pole dancing persona.

As it is virtual paper dolls like star dolls have kids’ fixated on body image and pop star microfocus, do we really need a bogus reality bit where girls idolize every skanky move for fame-n-fortune on the celebrity circuit thinking their physical acumen emulating pornification is what matters for ‘making it big?’

If I were a valley girl type, I’d do the ol’ ‘finger in the back of the throat’ gag me reflex about now. Feministas? Hooey. Shades of Johnny Depp’s Viper Room entertainment, that’s all…Profiteering using the oldest ad trick in the book, ‘sex sells’ is far from original and ludicrously limiting as impressionable icons go…

“Classy & sassy vs. striperella” is how their choreographer describes their style. Here are some video clips of how they want to ‘inspire young girls.’

That’s like saying the new Barbie-n-Mac makeup alliance is ’empowering.’

Mariel, one of our laser sharp teen blog commenters from Mexico City wrote more about that latest pairing on her site from a youth perspective.

Egad. It just keeps a ‘comin…Figure thousands of teens auditioned for PCD, and eighteen made the semi-finals cut to vampdom. C’mon:

Is this really the media impact we want to have on girls?

Sheesh. Delve deeper into the videos and hear the interesting commentary from the show’s spinmeisters too. (yes, you can feel me rolling my eyes, can’t you?)

As Slate described, the dolls were “All Fosse’d up in fishnets, boots, corsets, ribbons, and extremely knowing looks, they sang and lip-synced seductive chestnuts like Big Spender. Mostly, they gyrated for an audience of Hollywood scenesters while exposing less skin (and less interest in postmodern cheekiness) than the arty little acts destined to be the subjects of magazine trend pieces.”

This article quotes the New York Times about a backstage moment which doesn’t sound the LEAST bit empowering, and frankly, brings a whole new meaning to the showbiz tradition of waiting in the “green room.”

“Usually documentary producers are happy for spontaneity on camera, but scenes of the hopefuls vomiting in green-tinted bathrooms are probably not what they expected… Up until the last minute, there’s a refugee scene backstage: peaked-looking women lie supine, shivering together on plaid blankets and being pumped intravenously with fluids.

“It’s not inspiring — it’s grim — when the shivering hopefuls summon their empowerment, unhook their IVs, squeeze into their skimpy costumes and take the stage to try to become Pussycat Dolls.”

I’ve personally witnessed the fallout of elementary school kids and tweens “aspiring” to this objectified ‘doll-like’ image of ‘body above all else’ appearance-driven me-too-ism where girls are being recruited into softcore strip tease mavens under the guise of indie ‘feminist’ solidarity…trust me, it’s not pretty.

Strutting your stuff under the illusion of being “in control” of the message “makes me want to hurl,” as the kids would say.

But it sounds like there’s plenty of that going on already.

Ironically, some of my other ‘mainstream/traditional’ media colleagues and I clearly disagree.

Common Sense Media states, “Don’t expect innovation, but here’s the surprise, they’re quite earnest” continuing, “witness them cry when they think they’ve failed — and be jubilant when they realize they’ve performed flawlessly…they’re scantily clad, but for the most part, these Doll wannabes seem like, well, pussycats.”

Hmn. I ended up weighing in on this issue live on the air at KALW with noted guest and S.Y. advisory board member Sharon Lamb of Packaging Girlhood, and was so dang flustered and frustrated at the absurdity of it all I barely made sense. (listen to the podcast on Raising Strong, Independent Girls, you’ll see)

The very next day I heard Don Bleu of Star 101.3 (formerly K101) blather on with his tongue waggin’ about their skinfest tour with Christine Aguillera, simultaneously screening a bevy of call-in guests that found the ‘dolls’ to be so incredibly ‘hot,’ as teens and tweens cooed about their ‘moves’ and ‘brilliance’…and ogled their charms and feminine wiles.

Not arguing with their voices, I have one of their mp3 tracks, “Sway” and they’ve got some sultry pipes, no doubt.

But that’s not what they’re known for…they’re more about flesh flashin’ in Vegas lounge lizard style.

Check this Pussycat Dolls photo gallery and tell me differently, please.

In their bio, the poseurs position, “To me, a Pussycat Doll is fearless but also vulnerable. We’re strong but we like to play too. The line in ‘Don’t Cha’–‘don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me’–is meant to be empowering. The Pussycat Dolls are not about just being hot but also about saying something with real feeling.”

Puhhhlease.

The whole third wave feminism schtick rings false to me, as if the girls are all trying WAY too hard to be the ultimate boy toy to tickle the fancies in hook-through-the-nose style manipulation of every genteel inclination males have ever had…

I strongly feel it’s narrowcasting to toss a net for female role models to be either come hither sirens or in your face bumper stickers for the ‘if you’ve got it flaunt it’ sexuality presence.

Can’t femme talent emerge without the T&A Vegas peep show element?

We’ve already got ‘America’s Next Top Model’ all about appearance, must we endure beautification of burlesque troupes too?

I say get Dove on the ball with their makeover madness and counter-market this silliness with a behind the scenes version showing the impact it’s having on little girls, like we’re doing with our playground film, “Body Blitz: Media, Shaping Youth.”

THAT is a reality show that stings as the visuals slap you across the face to get a clue of where these messages are ultimately landing.

Any funders out there so we can get this work fully produced and have half a hope to turn the tide before we foul up childhood completely?

Nah, they’re too busy backing the PDC for profit to dink around with little guys like us trying to tell the truth.

More irony: evidently it’s women that are ringing radio stations for ‘Don’t Cha’ and responding to the insidious messaging, as Slates confirms,

“…in a weird, preening way, it envisages all women as sisters and regards male desire quite lightly–as a thing to toy with, not a defining force. It’s all rather Spice Girly, but then many of the vixens presently slithering across MTV in search of stardom make even the Spice Girls look like Simone de Beauvoir. The Pussycat Dolls project a definite toughness, and their hit combination of salaciousness and self-sufficiency recalls the sex appeal of Mae West.”

Greeeeeat. So now the genders are head-locked in a power-play of gamesmanship, manipulation and objectification?

Gee, so much intimacy and warmth there…gotta love what we’re sending out as signals to emulate for healthy, adult, long-lasting bonds of safety and authenticity in relationships.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Lighten up, right?

Media’s fixation on this perpetual churn means girls now take their ‘aspirational cues’ from hooker-style vamping…Guess I personally don’t see the “empowerment” there. That’s all.

Pussycat Dolls’ founder, Robin Antin, states in this New York Times article,

“There’s a reason why people like Scarlett Johansson, Gwen Stefani, Cameron Diaz have all been so interested in what Pussycat Dolls is all about,” she said. “They feel that it is empowering to get up there and dress up like a Doll. It’s fun, and it’s something that every girl in the world – she may think one thing, but I think inside every girl in the world wants to do it.”

Again. Sorry. Not buyin’ it.

Girls are being pre-conditioned to ‘strut their stuff’ as an imperative to ‘fun’ and acceptance? Poppycock.

Don’t expect me to laud any ‘third wave’ ‘feminist’ statement of indie indignation. Sheesh. What a crock. How naïve do you really think we are?

“Don’t cha” just wanna start all over again with better role models?

“Don’t cha” wanna tell your daughters this is pablum masquerading under the guise of feminism?

“Don’t cha” wanna roll your eyes and ignore the whole shebang? I sure do.

Thankfully, I’m not completely alone…I queried Joe Kelly, Founder of Dads & Daughters to weigh in on this, since he was instrumental (along with Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood) in halting the production of plastic retail ‘Pussycat Dolls’ from Hasbro targeting six —year olds with Bratz-like strip-tease behavioral cues…

I asked Joe point blank, “Am I off base here? I feel they’re missing the point on the ancillary ambient messaging to girls about their value being related to their bodies!!”

I forwarded him my strident comment that I posted on the teen scene blog on YPulse and he reassured quickly, “you are NOT off base, I’ve just been too swamped to respond myself.”

Whew. At least someone thinks so…and here’s another:

Anastasia, publisher of youth hipster pub Ypulse writes,

“Media Life Magazine attempts to explain the appeal by saying, “They see in the group and the wannabes fit bodies and the latest look. They see the latest dance steps. And they see their self-confidence, which is hugely impressive for girls at an age when self-doubt is the norm. They see role models.” Gag.”

Yeah. Gag indeed. ‘Don’t cha” agree?

Or not?

Sound off. Let me hear. I’m dying to glean some perspective here…Help me out, ‘k?

Pussycat Dolls
“Don’t Cha”–lyrics

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Comments

  1. Hey, I’m on the same page.

    Little girls aspire to dress like Pussycat Dolls AND BRATZ DOLLS (ugh, I despise both). I am all about self-expression… but let’s keep some self-respect for the girls of the world. Why does the idea that “sex sells” always have to apply with everything that girls are a part of? Ugh.

  2. Fully with you Amy. I caught the first episode of PCD last week. It’s a marketing vehicle, designed to sell more PCD merchandise. That is the bottom line. There is absolutely no redeeming social quality to it. The makers can co-opt as much feminist terminology as they wish, but in the the end, it’s all about the money and sex sells.

  3. Thanks for the comments; SO glad I’m not a lone voice in an echo chamber here (really thought I was for a tad, as no one seems to see the big picture trickle down on K-5 kids here)

    Being a centrist, I REALLY try to stay open to all sides of a debate, BUT my documentary data is telling me kids are getting hurt by perpetuating this crud.

    Here’s a cool comment from one of our advisory board members in a discussion we had offline…I’m going to post it, as I think he makes a strong point about the global/world beat cross-cultural influence of dance and body type offering a viable counter-balance to all things thin-n-skin or booties-n-bras…

    “I think it hinges entirely on who is watching and what other messages are provided along with this one.In context of over 18 entertainment -“don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me” along with ” I will be a pussy cat when I am 60″ is no better or worse. Problem is the demographics of who is taking this as guidance…And the absence of parallel programming
    about the continuum of ways to focus on dance/movement as a career or focus of life — including exposure to cultures where all body shapes dance as a way of participation, ritual, release, worship…We need more Balinese influence, etc.–“

  4. I’m not a valley girl; in fact, I’m not even a girl. But I came close to sticking my finger down MY throat when I checked out some of the links–(esp. that one of the three so-called Sexpots declaring that they’d be “Pussycats” even when they’re 60!)–So shallow & mis-guided…Wonder if any of these animated little “Barbies” have heard about a certain trend in recent years of some of the YOUNGER MEN going for more mature OLDER women?—becoming more tempting every day…

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  7. Pussycat dolls is the greatest girl band ever. I love Nicole because she is very beautiful, very sexy and has a great singing voice.

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