CNN is running an Opinion piece by 25-year-old model Cameron Russell in which she comments on her fame as a model, as well as the fame she has earned as a result of her talk given at a recent TED conference.
i blogged about her TED Talk here.
In her piece for CNN, Russell is as articulate as she was when she spoke at TED. She wonders why her talk has more than 1 million views when a talk by Colin Powell, given at the same conference, has been viewed significantly fewer times. She mentions that her qualifications are a thin waist and white skin, along with her femininity, which means — essentially — her credentials are not that impressive when compared to someone like Colin Powell.
She’s right, of course, there are many relevant issues deserving of attention. Why has her presentation gotten so much viewership?
It seems to me the answer is that as a culture we are obsessed with beauty and fame, and we all feel the tension that comes from a constant barrage of images showing us people who are more beautiful than we are. It’s inevitable that in a culture that overemphasizes beauty to the point that people become famous for nothing other than being sexually attractive, a person who speaks candidly about it will get attention.
All the more attention will be given when a woman who has benefitted from the beauty industry has the courage to say what Russell has said.
Russell’s words are a shot of perspective we need in our sexually saturated society. We are hypnotized by media and we are captivated by the power of sexual imagery. What Russell is pointing out is that in our culture, image has triumphed over substance. Pornography, although Russell says nothing about it, is a classic example of this.
The substance of a real relationship is superseded by images and fantasies sold to us by the porn industry.