Talk about mixed messages.
The Pop Press — which includes the blogosphere and the sleazoid wing of The Media — certainly doesn’t swim anywhere but in the shallow end of the gene pool. I speak here of the coverage of two of our current crop of pop tarts: Britney Spears (left) and Vanessa Hudgens.
Ms. Spears, trying to shed the mantle of Show Biz Moron — earned through her drinking binges, marital strife, child-rearing faux pas, etc., debuted her latest single, “Gimme More,” on the MTV Video Music Awards telecast. There wasn’t much energy to her performance and the lip-synching was off at times.
The emphasis of the Pop Press’s review: Her body wasn’t in good enough shape to properly fill out the black bikini she had selected as her costume. (New York Post headline: “Lard and Clear”)
Put simply, they wanted her to be old toned-and-gorgeous Britney they wanted to pay attention to. Image is all.
Then we have Ms. Hudgens who, I must confess, I didn’t know about until she became the latest goodie-goodie starlet to have a nude photo appear on the Internet.
It seems she’s one of the stars of the uberpopular Disney extravaganzas “High School Musical” and “High School Musical 2.” The photo in question is one of those cases of “It was a private thing. I don’t know how it got leaked.” The celebri-bloggers and tabloid press are up in arms that such an outrage should have occurred. The question is, are they more outraged over the fact Ms. Hudgens actually bared it all for a grainy photo or that it was released online — or, perhaps more to the point, that it wasn’t released to them first?
E!News is a prime example of the barely-restrained glee with which the Hudgens case is being handled. And the Australian popular press is having a special field day because — hold on to your seats — Vanessa and co-star/boyfriend Zac Efron were touring that country as the “scandal” broke. She is being referred to there as “Vanessa the Undresser.”
We often discuss the messages being sent to our young people by performers and the press. Here’s a prime set of examples. Britney is belittled by some who think her body wasn’t in good enough shape to show it off. Vanessa is belittled because she was in good enough shape to show off her body to someone (the picture taker’s identity is not known at this moment) and it became publicly known.
So, what is the message here?
(1.) All bad behavior is forgiven if you keep your body looking good enough, but (2.) you shouldn’t show off your body too much, even in private. Just in case.
As I said, swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool.
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