April 11, 2007

Life Is, Um, Beautiful

I'm not sure I should find this amusing, but I do:

According to the New York Daily News, a Brooklyn law student and University of Pennsylvania grad named Adriana Dominguez has put her future legal career in jeopardy by participating in a Playboy TV series called "Naked Happy Girls" in which she "happily strips naked, gets spanked and holds gavels up to her bare breasts."

Dominguez decided to participate in the video because, she said, she "wanted to do something a little crazy before [she] graduate[d] ... do something kind of out of character," the Daily News reports. "Lawyers can be boring," she's quoted as saying.

If it turns out that this young woman does not wind up as a lawyer, it's probably for the best. Someone who decides to appear in a Playboy video because "lawyers can be boring" is probably not cut out for a career in the bar (at least not the legal bar).

But what really made me laugh here wasn't Ms. Dominguez or what she did, but the fact that Playboy has a TV series called "Naked Happy Girls." Let it never be said that Playboy does not give the people what they want. I adove the cheerful straightforward nature of the title: Naked girls! And they're happy! Do you want to see happy naked girls? Then look no further, my friends! They're here! I'd have a lot easier time finding out which new sitcoms to watch if they all followed this naming policy. "Hmm, what shall we watch tonight, honey? Wacky Twenty-Somethings in an Impossibly Nice New York Apartment, or Spiteful Married Couple Trading Insults?" But even those fanciful titles can't match the elegant simplicity of "Naked Happy Girls." Oh, Hugh Hefner, you are truly an artist for our time!

One thing makes me wonder: I'm no expert in this field, but is the adjective "happy" really necessary? You'd hope it would be implied. Certainly, I think happy is the way to go here; a show entitled, say, "Naked Gloomy Girls" or "Naked Slightly Bored Girls" just doesn't have the same appeal. And simply calling the show "Naked Girls" would lack that snappy punch.

Obviously, when it comes to Art, at least Art involving nubile young women, Playboy knows what it's doing. I shouldn't question it. Naked Happy Girls!

Posted by Mediocre Fred at April 11, 2007 09:51 AM | TrackBack

Given the rad-fem criticism of pornography, I imagine the "happy" is reassuring to the audience. Fear not, the Hef is telling other men, these naked girls are happy, and not about to go all Linda Lovelace and claim that they in fact are abused and exploited.

Posted by: PG at April 11, 2007 03:49 PM

Perhaps, but I can't help but wonder if Playboy's target audience is all that exercised about rad-fem criticism. "Yeah, I used to like lookin' at nekkid women, then I heard Andrea Dworkin say that the women were gettin' exploited, so the hell with that!"

Posted by: Mediocre Fred at April 12, 2007 07:03 AM

Playboy's target audience is very large -- pretty much all heterosexual males, i.e. about 45% of all human beings over age 12. You don't even have to be literate or English speaking to enjoy Playboy. It's about as large an audience as one can imagine. Within that target audience, there have to be some males who feel guilty about consuming porn, and within that subset, some probably attribute some of that guilt to concern that the women involved are being exploited. Certainly any male who has stopped to think why he would rather have his daughter work at McD's for $6 an hour than at Playboy for a great deal more money -- whoever those minimally thoughtful men may be -- has to come to some realization that he likes to consume porn but is troubled by how it is made (sort of like the food at McD's). Much as animal cruelty crusaders have increased my consciousness of how I'm getting cheap food, Dworkin and her ilk have increased public consciousness of how they're getting cheap thrills.

If someone reassured me that the animals slaughtered for my food actually were happy before their death (think EU regulations requiring pigs to be given toys), I'd feel better about my meat consumption. Inasmuch as Playboy encourages looking at women as meat, the same probably applies to labeling the show "Naked Happy Girls."

Posted by: PG at April 12, 2007 08:47 AM

Sorry, but when I read "Naked Happy Girls", I seem to think of it to the tune of REM's "Shiny Happy People". Don't know why. I can't help it.

Posted by: PapaShaft at April 13, 2007 12:10 PM

I couldn't resist returning to my point when I read this NYTimes article:

While Acworth clearly enjoys retelling Kink’s materialistic creation myth — the fireman article, the laughably easy money — he also describes the company as having a certain social mission. Too often, he told me, B.D.S.M. is conflated with rape or abuse. He realized early on that building a respectable company devoted to the fetish could help “demystify” it. People who felt conflicted about their kinkiness, as he once had, “would realize they’re not alone and, in fact, that there’s a big world of people that are into this stuff and that it can be done in a safe and respectful way. Loving partners can do this to each other.” Kink’s required pre- and post-scene interviews, like the one I watched Wild Bill and Adams tape, for example, are meant to break the fourth wall, assuring audiences that, as in real-life B.D.S.M. play, everything is negotiated in advance and rooted in a certain etiquette and trust — that everyone is friends. The company actually requires that each model be shown smiling during the segments....

[T]he Meese Commission, the attorney general’s controversial report on pornography released in 1986[,] determined that some women were forced to perform in porn — particularly “in the fringe areas of bondage [and] sadomasochism” — and questioned how people could know whether a given S-and-M scene was or wasn’t documenting actual rape. “Obviously we are not dealing with people that can act, so they can’t act the pain,” one law-enforcement agent testified. (Last month, a Brooklyn federal court found a man guilty of sex trafficking and forced labor when a female “slave” testified that S-and-M acts he filmed and posted online were not consensual.)

Posted by: PG at April 29, 2007 03:41 PM

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