Two things happened this week in show business that caught my eye. One was a kiss between Madonna and Drake, the other an SNL sketch about statutory rape. You might be wondering why I’d choose to combine both of these stories together in one blog post. Besides living in the world of entertainment, what do they really have in common?
Well they do in fact have a common denominator. They both involve deep seated stereotypes and double standards, enough so that a very large group of fans and non-fans alike, were morally outraged, disgusted, horrified, concerned and the list goes on.
The first stereotype: Old women, like, in their fifties old, can be hot no more. In fact, women in their fifties and beyond are disgusting to the eyes of their youthful successors. It doesn’t matter if they work their asses off keeping in shape, using every possible resource that money can buy at their disposal, all of the best spa treatments and mud wraps and cosmetic enhancements. It doesn’t matter that they have access to wardrobe stylists and makeup artist and colourists that make them look like a million bucks. They are practically grandmothers; they should act their age, show some class, and be positive role models for their children.
Stereotype number two: Young men, teen boys, high school juniors will always be ready, anytime, anyhow, anywhere if a hot teacher makes herself available to him. Even if he doesn’t want it. Even if he has a girlfriend already. And no girl, no teen girl, no young woman, would ever want said advancements from her own young and attractive teacher. She’s only sixteen, and no sixteen year old girl could possibly know what she’s doing if she enters into a sexual relationship with a man that is in a position of power. That’s like, ten years older. Maybe even fifteen. It would always be his fault. He is in a position of authority, you know.
Now as for the two actions. Are they inappropriate? Are they just both completely out of touch? I’m not going to debate that part. Most people feel very strongly one way or the other. I’d like to think that I’m in the, “who cares?” camp.
Take Madonna’s kiss for example. Personally, I believe it was all planned. Perhaps Madonna pushed it farther than it was intended to go, which is why we got a genuine reaction from Drake. First and foremost, these folks are entertainers, a completely different breed of human being. My husband always comments, after both of us worked in entertainment for years, that he could never do what performers do. Because sometimes their job requires them to do things so uncomfortable, so embarrassing, that the average person would never be able to stomach it.
And what is the ultimate reaction to such stunts? Wardrobe malfunctions and make-out sessions, deisgned to get your attention, bring about media hype, create more hash tags and social media re-tweets and like and follows. That’s it. Just a media machine.
So what disturbs me is when John Q. Public uses these opportunities, and they often do through social media, to spread their vile hatred, to behave just as badly if not more so. Since Madonna’s kiss, words to describe Madonna include: nasty, old, elderly, disgusting, vile, putrid, slut, whore, has been, irrelevant, disease riddled, rancid and the list goes on.
Some have called it sexual assault and that if a man had done this, he would be charged. I beg to differ, again, because of the double standard. First of all, it wouldn’t be just some old grandpa doing the kissing. No one as old and nasty as Keith Richards or Steven Tyler (see, I can do it too). It would have to be someone of equal fame and fortune and handsomeness, like a George Clooney, Lenny Kravitz or Jon Bon Jovi, who are all in their fifties. Even Pierce Brosnan, an astoundingly gorgeous 60 year old.
The kissed could be someone like Rhianna, similar in age to Drake, and equal to him in attractiveness and fame. I don’t think the reaction would be the same, at all. Certainly, no one would be saying that they are long past their best-before date, or that they are setting a bad example for their children. No one would be calling them a cougar or a slut or a whore – because to my knowledge, there’s no male equivalent to it. That’s the double standard.
As far as the SNL skit, which to my mind was satire, or parody, I personally don’t take issue with it. I rarely watch the show anymore myself, and I’m certainly not worried that my children might see it since they’re usually in bed before 11:30 pm on a Saturday (it is adult programming folks).
Also, satire is not the same thing as condoning. It is placing the taboo, in this case the rape trial, under the microscope, creating some controversy and getting the conversation going. There is a double standard for boys and stat rape, and I personally believe that’s what the SNL skit is pointing out.
Some critics have said that SNL wouldn’t dare parody a young woman in the same boat. Yet, they parodied the Lolita of Long Island, Amy Fisher, who at 17 took up with Joey Buttafuoco, age 36 and later shot his wife. Not exactly the same thing but you see where I’m going with this.
Again, SNL critics and haters have called the show irrelevant and past its prime, similar sentiments to Madonna – both who have enjoyed success for the last 30 years – but not without their hurdles and controversy.
As a first world problem, I realise this isn’t the greatest challenge facing mankind. Famine, war, genocide, and climate change are far bigger issues of the day. But in the underbelly of society we still hold on to our attitudes of old – sexism and ageism – and I fear that sentiment will linger on.