Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, October 30, 2021

spin cyclers
All the social outrage over the “Glee Gone Wild” photoshoot in GQ is predictable — just as predictable as the oft-repeated girl-to-woman image makeover employed by maturing performers:

All began their careers with a preponderance of fans in the bubblegum set and traced the same celebrity arc, by which Disney tiara is exchanged for Victoria’s Secret teddy and the sweet princess becomes a sweaty temptress. If she’s lucky, she then proceeds quickly to some amalgam of the two, her diversifying mission accomplished. If not, she’s Lindsay Lohan…

It’s all about image adjustment, about taking a pendulum positioned too far in one direction and yanking it in the other, so that it eventually winds up somewhere in between. The process has a physics all its own: G plus NC-17 equals PG-13.

When you’re dealing with public perceptions, shock techniques work better than steady progression. Fact is, most of the audience doesn’t want that little boy or girl in the popular sitcom or rock band to grow up — they want them to remain an iconic representation forever. Basically, a sharp break with the past is necessary, and nothing does the job better than sexualization.

And yes, that formula goes back a lot farther than “Glee”. It even goes back farther than Britney, Christina, or any of the latter-day Disney child stars. One-time one-dimensional kid phenom Jodie Foster turned the trick (so to speak) by playing a teenaged hooker in Taxi Driver. You can even point to Liz Taylor‘s career following the same (albeit tamer, owing to the times) trajectory.

And it’s all calculated. So keep that in mind the next time the apologies and claims of being led astray (the latter being another veiled form of sexual presentation for young women) spill forth, after the next strategic “scandal”.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/30/2010 05:25pm
Category: Celebrity, Pop Culture, Women
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