September 25, 2003

Guilty Pleasure

Ok. I admit it. Sometimes, when I log onto Instant Messenger, I read the "entertainment" news in the pop-up windows. Yes, I know. I'm a gossip monger. It's not something I'm particularly proud of. It's that voyeuristic impulse... the desire to know more about the lives that seem so glib and perfect on the screen in your living room at night. Or maybe not your desire... maybe just mine. But then again, there's an entire industry built up around this stuff, so enough of us must fall prey to the voyeur in ourselves in order to keep the industry churning.

In any event, for today's guilty pleasure, I decided to see why Jennifer Aniston showed up for the Emmys without her hubby Brad. Last year, he was her crutch... this year he was absent. The desire to know hit me hard. So, I clicked on the link. The reason was, of course, harmless hype. (Wanna know? Brad's in Mexico shooting a new movie.) Anyway, more of the article was dedicated to Jen Garner's "secret" budding relationship with co-star Michael Vartan and romances that "went public" on the red carpet. And then I came across the following:

... "Friends" star David Schwimmer wasn't as shy as Jennifer [Garner]. He hit the red carpet with girlfriend of one year, 24-year-old model Carla Alapont.

"You are one lucky guy walking around with this accessory," said Pat referring to Carla.

"Well, she's amazing," said David.

Well folks... there you have it. In all the years of feminism, gaze theory, art history, you-name-it-we-have-a-discipline-for-it studies... we haven't progressed one ineesy weensy little bit. According to "Pat" from Access Hollywood, Carla Alapont, a model by trade, has sacrificed any kind of personhood and become nothing more than an object. An accessory. Something for the male artist to drape on his arm and use to demonstrate his power, prestige, and virility. Schwimmer's effete response "Well, she's amazing" only frustrates the situation further. To praise Alapont is to praise himself. It accentuates her position as object in the service of proving his own significance.

Ok, so you're thinking... "What did you expect, CJ?" That’s a good question. I don't have an answer to that one. I suppose I had just assumed that it would be more subtle. I assumed that we were really making progress in terms of reclaiming the female body as a site of selfhood. Wrong. I suppose that I believed (maybe hoped to the point of convincing myself is a better way of saying it) that such blatant objectification was passé. I was wrong.

Posted by c_jane at September 25, 2003 10:03 AM | TrackBack

I heard that comment from Pat on Access Hollywood. Beyond the pale. I do wish Carla had managed to do something other than smile and shimmy in response. Too bad there wasn't a thought bubble over her head ;-)

Posted by: kari at September 25, 2003 2:20 PM |

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You know, in some ways, the world *would* be more interesting with thought bubbles.

I wonder if you could market those...

Along the same lines of the "I can't believe this crap" factor-

I was reading the reports of Ah-nold's performance during the California recall debates last night. A snip from the report:

At one point, Schwarzenegger took a shot at Huffington for targeting the Bush administration as the source of the state's problems.

"If you want to campaign against Bush, go to New Hampshire," Schwarzenegger said.

The tension between the two peaked when Schwarzenegger began to cut Huffington off and she said, "This is the way you treat women, we know that. But not now."

Schwarzenegger replied, "I just realized that I have a perfect part for you in Terminator 4," getting laughs from the audience but a rebuff from the moderator.

After the debate, Huffington said the "Terminator 4" comment was an offensive reference to a scene from "Terminator 3" in which Schwarzenegger's character stuffs a female robot's head into a toilet.

"That was such a clear and unambiguous indication of what he really thinks of women," she said.

Schwarzenegger, by contrast, said the debate was "a fantastic experience" and described Huffington as "entertaining."
/end snip/

To quote Charlie Brown: Good grief!

Posted by: Jason at September 25, 2003 3:29 PM |

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