Saturday, August 12, 2006

Eva Gone Wild

For a long time now I have tried to figure out why it is that You Tube is populated with young girls stripping, gyrating and touching themselves for the camera. Some make a little bit of money off of it but many of them seem to be posting these videos for one thing and one thing only: attention.

I follow Francis and his bodyguard through the crowd to find Kaitlyn Bultema. She's dancing on a podium and leaps off at the sight of Francis. She's wearing a skirt-and-shirt ensemble that exposes her stomach, most of her breasts and much of her bottom. I ask her why she wants to appear on "Girls Gone Wild" and she looks me in the eye and says, "I want everybody to see me because I'm hot." - Claire Hoffman

And even more than that, it is validation that they seek. Each click of the mouse, every hit from a chubby old dude surfing You Tube in his boxers adds up to one more inch of validation. And is it ever enough? Are 40,000 hits from strange men and 20 comments saying, "u r hot" enough to make you feel whole inside?

It's then that it hits me: This is so much bigger than Francis. In a culture where cheap and portable video technology lets everyone play at stardom, and where America's voyeuristic appetite for reality television seems insatiable, teenagers, like the ones in this club, see cameras as validation. "Most guys want to have sex with me and maybe I could meet one new guy, but if I get filmed everyone could see me," Bultema says. "If you do this, you might get noticed by somebody—to be an actress or a model." - Claire Hoffman

Tanner forwarded me this really creepy article (link here) written by Claire Hoffman about Joe Francis, the Emperor of the "Girls Gone Wild" mega-video franchise. After reading this piece, I felt dirty all over, like I had taken a bath in the middle of a swamp during a marathon reading session of National Enquirers (see video here).

I ask her why she wants to get noticed. "You want people to say, 'Hey, I saw you.' Everybody wants to be famous in some way. Getting famous will get me anything I want. If I walk into somebody's house and said, 'Give me this,' I could have it." - Claire Hoffman

But in some ways, I had my answer, this is why the girls on You Tube parade their wares for lecherous strangers. This is why intelligent college girls have sex with strangers in exchange for a g-string panty.

Francis has aimed his cameras at a generation whose notions of privacy and sexuality are different from any other. Nursed on MySpace profiles and reality television, many young people today are comfortable with being perpetually photographed and having those images posted on the Internet for anyone to see. The boundaries that once contained sexuality have also fallen away. Whether it's 13-year-olds watching a Britney Spears video, 16-year-olds getting their pubic hair waxed to emulate porn stars or 17-year-olds viewing videos of celebrities performing the most intimate acts, youth culture is soaked in sexuality. - Claire Hoffman

And I have to ask myself, am I any different? Out of the blue, Susan Gehard, the editor of a website called SF360 (a combo of Indiewire and SFFS) emailed me to get some info about my Bay Area related You Tube videos.

I thought she was going to do a general piece on You Tube and, if I was lucky, I might get a mention. It must have been my pre-birthday luck because she wrote a great blurb about The Deadbeat Club and my videos on You Tube (see article here) entitled aptly, "All About Eva."

The funny thing is, I feel totally validated by the spotlight. I am basking in it and rolling around in it to make it last longer. It's like all the hard work and late nights spent editing are finally worth it because someone intelligent is getting it and she even took the time to write a positive blurb promoting it. But am I whole inside?

Or, as Tanner asked me, "So, are you happy now?" Will I ever be happy enough? And even more importantly, do I get a free g-string?

And most important of all, did you see the sky tonight in Burlington, Vermont? It was sky gone wild, not sure if it wanted to rain on us or bring more sunshine our way. Fall is in the air, I can feel it in my bones and a pot of hot tea and fresh blueberry muffins has never felt so good.


pornstudent said...

I followed the link to the article about Joe Francis and "Girls Gone Wild". Hope the LA Times exposure gives him what he deserves.

It's nice the way you ended your post with pleasant thoughts.

Eva the Deadbeat said...

dear student of porn (doesn't this describe us all?)

yes, who knows if Joe Francis will get the mainstream cred he desires or more strange rape attempts by strangers in the night (i want more details on that incident). the article was pretty creepy and brought up some creepy thoughts. do the Europeans have a better attitude toward sex and therefore a less creepy porn industry? Dunno.

clouds are always a nice balance to creepy, i find...

Molly Lynch said...

I read that LA Times article about the Girls Gone Wild guy. Disturbing. His behavior, not the girls' behavior. I think that when you're a teen, you'll do anything to be outrageous. At least I did! However, nothing I did was caught on tape... I feel bad for the girls who regret their actions years, or even weeks later! Poor kiddos! The world is so much more complex now. Oh yeah, congrats on your media blitz.

Eva the Deadbeat said...

i know. that dude is massively creepy. those girls stories did make me sad, just because they had such naive hopes for what they might get out of their TV exposure. have any former Girls Gone Wilders made it as actresses? doubtful. and regret is an awful thing.

i'm glad there were no cameras around to capture my Gone Wild youth. i probably would have been one of those desperate-n-lonely girls in the sticks with a You Tube webcam - eeek!!!

casey said...

The article on Joe Francis was amazing.

It's obvious that radical fundamentalism is a reponse to such "decadance." But where's the middle ground? The choices seem to be conditioned capitalist enslavement or religious toltalitarianism. Our so-called civilization has become an embarassment of extremes.

If the situation wasn't so disturbingly hilarious, I'd say that our species simply needs to be obliterated. Oh, wait — I say that all the time.

It's gonna happen either way, so let's get WILD, ladies!

Or bust out your burqas.

Eva the Deadbeat said...

i know, there really isn't much middle ground to stand on. but i think you just have to carve out your own center island as best you can and stand resolutely on it. for instance, i am a girl and i enjoy some porn but i don't want that to be the only way i can make money or be powerful in this society. i want more options than that.

i don't care to obliterate the entire porn industry but i would like it if younger girls had some role models who were not naked big boobed bimbos like pamela lee anderson. i would be glad if they read books occasionally, had some intelligent role models and aspirations beyond being a Playmate.

but perhaps this is asking to much? i guess i can become a religious nut when i am older and more desperate. in the meantime, in the middle is where i stand - until the comet takes us all down. ;)

notlisaloeb said...

Lisa Loeb is a great role model for young girls! She looks like a librarian so she must read books, plus she was married to a Zappa so she must be smart! stay....stay

Eva the Deadbeat said...

Dear Lisa Loeb Proponent,

I agree, Lisa Loeb is a great role model for teens today. Glasses are always a sign of intelligence and when you add on 80s clothes and quirky songs from Reality Bites, well, you are sure to have a winning combo. Those teens will change their aspirations from a Playboy bunny to a funky songstress in no time (as long as they can still look HOT in low cut bathing suits and be desired by strange men - all of which I am sure Lisa Loeb can also do)!

and if all else fails, I propose JK Rowling as a role model! she can write about nerdy things AND look great in a bikini!