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The Unisexification of Contemporary Society" (Part 2)
by Aaron Sean Bayley based on a concept and theory by Luigi Di Serio

Call it cultural de-evolution.

That is what we are in the midst of now, and have been for the past five or six years. A capitulation to corporate conformity, as we pushed culture, integrity and intellect into the passenger seat and let our minds be driven into barren wastelands by corporate cruise control. In Part 1 of this feature, we examined the origins of the sexual revolution of the early 90's, and saw how Gen Xers unintentionally provided marketers with a hot, new target demographic:

"...for many of the activists who had... believed that better media representation would make for a more just world, one thing had become abundantly clear: identity politics weren't fighting the system, or even subverting it...they were feeding it" (Klein, No Logo, p.113)

Now, we will discuss the consequences of the sexual revolution and the effect it has had and is continuing to have on the current status quo.

Male/Female Unisexification.

There is a sharp contrast between the ways in which the sexual revolution affected the attitudes and behaviors of males and females. Whereas females were glorified and made to feel strong and independent, males were "wussified". We shall see, however, that both of these stereotypes are based on a giant hoax.

In the late 1990's, artists like No Doubt's Gwen Stefani and the Spice Girls initiated the terms "Riot Grrrl" and "Girl Power", respectively, and these catchphrases caught on with adolescent and teenage girls. The reason the whole "empowerment" phenomenon was so successful was because the concept was being pushed by sexy female entertainers as opposed to feminist groups or women's liberation movements. But missing was the intellectual dimension that the latter group could have provided. Young females began to emulate their favourite Spice Girl, and later on Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, and it was around this time that Nike came out with it's "whatever you can do I can do better" commercial celebrating female athleticism.

So what we have here is a new aggressive, athletic independent young woman that ostensibly is a positive thing but in reality is just a prototype to feed the mass marketing machines. The problem was that there was too much "sex" and not enough "substance". This was perpetuated by the Britney's and Christina's of the entertainment world.

In this month's issue of Maxim Blender, the gorgeous Britney Spears graces the cover wearing a bra and a leather jacket. The headline reads: Talking Trash with the Queen of Pop". A more accurate description would be: "Talking Pop with the Queen of Trash".

The point is, the dumbed-down views on empowerment and equality were embraced by girls:

  1. there is a double-standard in the music industry. A guy can take off his shirt and be macho, but if a girl does it she's labelled a slut.

  2. it's ok to dress sexy. If people don't like you, they don't have to look at you.

These two recycled soundbytes of simplified "wisdom" have been repeated by virtually every female popstar in order to justify being naked in a music video. What's unfortunate about this is that young girls are led to believe that they actually have their own opinions, when actually they are being fed to them by the media.

In the new millenium, these concepts were perpetuated, but R&B music was now at the forefront of popular culture. Pink became the poster girl for dykes and socially confused teenagers from broken homes. Destiny's Child replaced the Spice Girls with their songs about being independent, emotionally strong females, and Jennifer Lopez and Lil' Kim repped shallow materialism (and medicore talent). This shift in power has not gone unnoticed, as Mattel has just released a line of dolls that are the hood's answer to Barbie: Black and Hispanic "Flava" dolls rocking fake Kangol hats, cool clothing and lots of jewellry. If you collect them all and put the boxes together, you spell "Fa Sizzle" (we're not making this shit up).

So what the sexual revolution did to girls was provide them with a false sense of security through materialism and the need to "acquire", raping their parent's pocketbooks in the process. The "valleygirl", "Barbie" and "diva" images were shoved down their throats as often as an anorexic girl's finger, and there was no room for analyzing what was going on. No one was teaching these girls how to process all the information and images they were being fed and how to make intelligent decisions and conclusions based on their own personal beliefs and moral conduct.

As we've shown, the sexual revolution provided females with a prototype that corporate sectors manipulated them into emulating. The same thing was done to males, but in a much more subtle manner, and with much more drastic consequences.

Around the same time that the "Girl Power" phenomenon was enjoying worldwide success, another phenomenon crawled out of the corporate, corpulent womb of middle America and raised it's ugly, newborn head: the birth of the boy band. We already had the Backstreet Boys; add to them N' Sync, 98 Degrees, Boyzone, B4-4, I.D. and V.I.P. (Canada has the dubious distinction of producing some of the shittiest boybands in the history of recorded music). We also add to these rock bands that are not boy bands in a "traditional" sense, but serve the same purpose. They are Linkin Park, Blink 182, Good Charlotte, Not By Choice, and A Simple Plan.

The boy band phenomenon had males getting in touch with their emotions, and glorified the "pretty boy" image to sickening heights. Cliques started dressing and acting the same, to the point where it was virtually impossible to distinguish between a "gino" and a "rocker". Spiked, messy hair, tattoos, piercings, and the colour BABY BLUE. Masculinity really took a turn for the worse when guys started rocking baby blue tracksuits, shoes, even cars. Everyone was colour-co-ordinated to look like they belonged in a boy band. We talked on the phone for hours, and balked at making important decisions. We wore colognes with fruity, citrus scents (when your best friend resembles the girl you are attracted to, we have problems). We got our hair cut at salons instead of barber shops. We started dyeing our hair different colours, and using unisex hair products by companies like Tigi Bed Head and it's imitation, Got2B.

Viewership for the two manliest sports in the world, boxing and hockey, were at an all-time low. Instead, guys watched wrestling, which the WWE labeled as "sports entertainment" but was essentially a male soap opera, with preposterous storylines and men and women wearing costumes that would make a drag-queen blush.

Put simply, we were starting to RESEMBLE the girls we were after.

Now that the behaviors and attitudes of males and females had been homogenized, marketers swooped down like corporate vultures and began to pick away at the last vestiges of cultural and gender integrity. What took place was the "one-stop-shop, mega-sizing" of the urban landscape.

Men and women now both enjoyed doing the same things. They both watched "reality" television shows like Survivor, Temptation Island, Joe Millionaire, and Blind Date (no more fighting for the remote). Wussy businessmen and soccer moms alike drove SUV's and drank Starbuck's coffee. Both men and women shopped at Best Buy, Old Navy, The Gap, Future Shop, and Ikea.

And just like that, a simpler, dumbed-down society was created.

Globalization and unisexification have far-reaching consequences. For example, imaging spending $10,000-$20,000 on university tuition only to graduate and be unable to find work because all the jobs you apply for are taken by part-time workers making $10/hr. This is just one of many scenarios that is threatening to become prevalent if we don't SMARTEN THE FUCK UP. Men should be strong, independent decision-makers, with a passion for hobbies and higher learning. Men should exist to make the world more rational and systematic.

Women should be much of the same, existing to make the world a more beautiful place.

Until we rediscover our higher purposes, until we refuse to be subjugated to the corporate agendas of our so-called oppressors, and until we learn to give a collective FUCK YOU to those that would have us conform to societal-norms, our fates lie in the hand of the omnipotent administrator.

And it's time to bite the hand that feeds us.

"I picture the reality in which we live in terms of military occupation. We are occupied the way the French and Norwegians were occupied by the Nazis during World War II, but this time by an army of marketers. We have to reclaim our country from those who occupy it on behalf of their global masters." -Ursula Franklin, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto, 1998

Back To Part I

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