Thursday, October 19, 2006

The NY Times shoots for the lowest common denominator--and scores!

The New York Times Style section has scored the #1 most emailed story of the day, for "Good Girls Go Bad, for a Day," about the prevalence of slutty Halloween costumes for women of all ages.

Is is popular for the trenchant social commentary, the in-depth investigation of this trend and its implications? Nah--it's gotta be the 4 photos of a gorgeous young woman wearing four different slutty costumes.

The photo captions say "Post-post-post feminism? Halloween is a day to flaunt your inner vixen," and "Tricks. Seemingly innocuous characters have a sexy edge in costumes, which evoke male fantasies and reinforce a larger cultural message: younger is hotter."

Gee, New York Times, thanks so much for showing us that even a referee costume can have a "sexy edge" when it's made with a cleavage-bearing top, crotch-high pleated miniskirt, and paired with stilletto-heeled basketball shoes. Your visual aid was really, really helpful. I especially like that you used a young, hot model to show us how "younger is hotter" plays out in our cultural landscape. That is some trenchant social commentary.

I feel bad for the actual sociologists who were interviewed. The article doesn't really bother to have a point or draw any conclusions. Don't get me wrong, I actually love dressing up for Halloween, but the stupididy and hypocrisy of "dressing up" this article and calling it social commentary is incredibly irritating.

My best Halloween story is the year that we went to the Castro district in San Francisco, which was a hugely crowded street fair and great people-watching event. I was dressed up in my vintage, Salvation-Army-salvaged disco pantsuit and a shoulder-length blonde wig. I was having a great time, but I started noticing irked looks from some of the men around me. It dawned on me that they thought I was a guy in drag and were annoyed to look closer and see I was an actual woman.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's hilarious! Halloween has got to be the *only* time a group of guys would be disappointed to discover you weren't cross-dressing.

8:56 PM  
Blogger MojoMom said...

Well, even though I taught in San Francisco at the time, we still felt like tourists hanging out in the gay district on Halloween. So that's what the disappointed looks were about. I wasn't trying to impersonate a drag queen with my costume but that's apparently how it was interpreted. But I stand my my right to party like it's 1979--gay guys aren't the only ones with an inner disco diva!

9:35 AM  
Blogger PunditMom said...

What would the social commentary be, then, for the outfit a friend of mine came up with MANY, MANY years ago ... we went as a two-pack of Twinkies ... those yellow garbage bags came in pretty handy! :)

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Karen Miller said...

Yet another case of an Idea that goes looking for a Story, like an egg looking for a chicken. Thank you, mighty social commentators on high, for reporting, er, creating our culture.

11:58 AM  
Blogger MojoMom said...

" ....we went as a two-pack of Twinkies ... those yellow garbage bags came in pretty handy! :)"

Calling all semiotic majors...that pretty much speaks for itself, I'd say!

Pundit Mom, I wanted to give you credit for reminding me that on October 16 The New York Times published an INTELLIGENT article about the fact that "hottie" costumes had taken over, Halloween on Heels by Allison Glock. That makes yesterday's "Good Girls Go Bad" aricle even lamer, in my book.

Glock's article was accompanied by a picture of a woman a with a bag over her head and a smiley face drawn on it. Not the media hook of the Times' dreams, we now see.

Depressingly but not surprisingly, this morning I opened the Raleigh News & Observer and there it was again, the hoochie mama costume article reprinted in my local newspaper....with the original photos included, of course.

12:06 PM  

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