Saturday, September 15, 2007

Needing a Mother.

Here we have Maddison Gabriel. I bet if you were single you'd buy her a drink (or two) and flirt shamelessly with her if you came across her - or maybe you'd just sit back and perve - you're allowed it's what boys do, don't worry! I mean she has a great set of pins and I can say that because well she's on a catwalk and she's wearing a miniskirt and well...dude she's a model and she's there so that gay men can admire the dress, women can feel inferior (and yes okay admire the fashion) and straight men can oggle her legs. I know I'm not too far off the mark.

The problem is that she's twelve.

This is a problem. This is a BIG problem because if a 12 year old is the best representative as the face of Gold Coast Fashion Week then it's no wonder that any women or girl over the age of 14 is completely and utterly fucked when it comes to body image. How in the hell can someone who might not even have her first period yet be a "model" that represents the rest of us? Kids are not the same as adults and I have a humongous problem with the 'if she's enjoying it then let her do it' argument that has been passed around. Okay, smartarses would you let your 12 year old get married to your 45 year old neighbour if she said she wanted to? Probably not..why? Because 12 is a kid and 12 has no idea what 12 wants and 12 needs to be protected even if 12 looks more like 18.

You don't see 12 year old boys representing 25 year old men on the catwalk do you? That's because
1) Society is not obsessed with men looking young.
2) Boys don't look like men.

Girls don't look like women either but this girl looks older than her years and that's the point. She has all the youth of 12 but with a body that looks slightly older no woman wants to actually look like a 12 year old tom boy but take a body of a 17 or 18 year old with the skin of a 12 year old and you have one big confusing message for women that is: "woman" as represented by the media can NEVER, EVER be achieved no matter how hard we try. Since "woman" represented by the media is our primary image/model for women in this society then that's a pretty fucked up message. The other prime image of women for women are our mothers, but more about that later.

Enter Maddison Gabriel; the perfect unreachable target which is the whole message of the modeling industry if you ask me. 30 year old skin does not have the same elasticity as 12 year old skin, though we'd love it to. There is a rather dangerous propensity for the media to admire and reward females who look younger than their age. Take a look at the straight up and down models who have graced the catwalks over the last 20 or so years. Thin, boyish and very weak looking. This to me screams of young girl. I don't understand how they can be our "models" but there you have it - apparently it makes the dresses hang better. I laugh my head off at this since it's actually women who end up wearing fashion on the streets, not bloody coat hangers.

Anyway, Maddison Gabriel has come out laughing about the whole deal because she thinks it's funny that anyone would be fussed with such a thing. Her mother is also perplexed by the furor in the media and is feeling as though next people will come out and say that she's a bad mother - when all she's doing is letting her daughter do something that SHE wants to do. Well said mum, I mean child stars are never known for going COMPLETELY off the rails are they? *cough*

You know what I wanted to do when I was 12? Marry Tom Selleck and eat only hubba bubba gum for the rest of my life. Yep, being 12 I really should have been allowed to pursue those dreams of mine. I'm still upset by not being allowed to eat only bubble gum and marry Tom Selleck - instead my mother made to stay in school and eat three balanced meals a day.

Speaking of needing mothers.

The best comment I have heard on Britney Spears has come from Tori Amos at her concert on Tuesday at Hamer Hall where she sang a little ditty as her response to the media laughing about Britney Spears. If you click on the link it takes you to Perez Hilton's site where there is audio of the song and the lyrics.

Britney, they set you up
But you drank from their cup
Britney, they set you up
Oh, but this is what it looks like, love,
This is what is looks like

When a star falls down
When a star falls down

Well, maybe you’re a mother
But you still need your mother
Yes, I may be a mother
But I still need a mother
To pick me up
Yes, to pick me up

When it all falls down

I'm not one for excessive lyric posting but I thought this was all extremely topical not only for Britney and Maddison but for too many young female Hollywood stars who have fallen down in a heap over the past 5 years. Girls, what is going on? What are we becoming? Meg White has also eluded to this issue in the song Passive Manipulation where she sings

Women, listen to your mothers
don't just succumb to the wishes of your brothers
take a step back, take a look at one another
you need to know the difference, between a father and a lover

I know this is turning into a bit of a Musical Monday post but I have to say, yes I think there is definitely a place for politics in music and when put so eloquently then yes I agree. I found the Britney performance and subsequent media feeding frenzy sad because girls when Pete Doherty does it, people aren't laughing quite as hard at him are they? He's not regarded as pathetic, or as unhinged as Brit - though, clearly while he is talented he is that pathetic and unhinged.

I also came across this quote where Tori (again) says of Britney and other young starlets like her

"You see a lot of women today -- maybe in magazines -- crawling out of cars and thinking it's sexy," Amos recently told Spinner. "[And] for the most part, you don't hear guys going, 'Wow! I am just blown away by that beauty or by that woman's way. There's something about her.' No. Do you know what they do? They laugh. They laugh when we're spreading our legs and crawling out of a car. It's tragic. Ultimately, we demean ourselves."

What the hell is going on with these girls? Is it a lack of mothering that is to blame? Are we trying too hard to keep up with the boys? Are women just dumb? Is culture ripe for tearing women down while we support and encourage that with our own actions? Have we been set up? Should our role models be our mothers rather than our daughters and younger sisters?

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