Defining Beauty

This post at the blog for Beauty Redefined hits on a lot of issues pertaining to the pornification of culture.

It’s exhaustive in detailing, from the perspective of two 27-year-old women, the detrimental effects pornification is having on women in our culture. Of course, men are affected also, just differently.

The authors at Beauty Redefined say:

The last 10 years of our lives have been called “the rise of raunch” and “porno chic society,” which highlights the way media makers incorporate sexualized female bodies into their messages while totally denying they are pornographic.

Meanwhile, they add:

…as author Gail Dines (2010) describes, the pornography industry has worked carefully and strategically to “sanitize its products by stripping away the ‘dirt’ factor and reconstituting porn as fun, edgy, sexy and hot.

The combination is powerful. By cleaning up its image, porn has re-branded itself while at the same time mainstream pop culture had asserted that pornography is — in a sense — not porn.

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is an example of this. Each year the magazine takes more risks and denies that it is porn while the reality is that some of the shots in the publication clearly qualify as soft porn.

So the porn industry can play it either way:  Porn is hot and edgy and healthy and, by the way, what you think is porn actually isn’t. The result is that the line of what is acceptable gets pushed so far to the margin it becomes a joke and then, when you finally realize that porn has asserted itself into pop culture, its promoters tell you it’s good and healthy.

After all, everybody wants to be edgy, hot and hip. This attitude comes at us in a variety of ways, including fashion. Consider the comments by Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO as to why he markets his clothes the way he does.

All the cool kids are sexy, right?

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