If you open any popular women’s magazine (Cosmo, Vogue, etc), you’ll find the usual rail-thin models shilling the usual crap. If you turn to the masthead, you’ll find an entirely female editorial staff. I’ve always wondered a bit about that. Do these powerful women in the publishing industry feel any guilt about propagating the beauty myth? Should we expect more of them?
The latest (and impressively gratuitous) example of this phenomenon is D.E.B.S., a new film written and directed by one Angela Robinson. [more]
Here’s the plot summary:
This film focuses on four of these plaid skirted debutantes as they’re recruited and engage in their first mission, which is an effort to rescue one of their cohorts who has been kidnapped by the D.E.B.S. lesbian nemesis who calls herself Lucy in the Sky…
It’s the usual girls in short skirts, wielding usual big guns and enjoying the usual lesbian kisses. Ms. Anderson’s previous work amounts to Chickula: Teenage Vampire, so it’s no surprise that she’s turned out this dreck. Here’s what the New York Times offers:
Because of its mild sexual ripple, “D.E.B.S.” – the title is an acronym for discipline, energy, beauty, strength – is the kind of movie that might tempt an overzealous film student to read all kinds of deeper meanings into it. Don’t bother. The film has no idea of how to develop its one-joke premise. The tepid love scenes are as erotically charged as a home movie of a little girl hugging her Barbie doll, and the satire as cutting as the blunt edge of a plastic butter knife.
Lost in Translation, it’s not. Does Anderson have a responsible to not make this movie? Or is that too much to expect?
It’s easy–too easy–to write these films (and TV shows and magazines) off as sexy, trivial fun that don’t affect anybody. However, I think their cumulative effect is hard to ignore. We’ve shown that it’s possible to make quality, entertaining content that’s popular, but doesn’t pander to the lowest common denominator. Buffy is a great example, as is The Simpsons.
Don’t get me wrong–I know that Ms. Anderson’s only the messenger. The really decision-makers at the studios are old white guys who try to follow the dollars. And I fully appreciate that the male editors of Maxim, Playboy and a zillion other magazines are as guilty. However, I’m often struck by how similar the photo spreads in Maxim are to those in Cosmo.