You may have never heard of the 17-year-old actress Taylor Momsen, but she represents everything that's wrong with pop culture today. At 7, she starred as the adorable Cindy Lou Who in Jim Carrey's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," but there's nothing adorable in what she's done lately.
Momsen is a "multiple threat," matching acting on CW's smutty teen series "Gossip Girl" with a "music career" with a band accurately titled the Pretty Reckless. In July, still aged 16, Momsen's music video for the song "Miss Nothing" featured her in raccoonish eye makeup wearing a white silk bodysuit, fishnet stockings and garters -- not exactly your standard high school junior outfit -- a child crawling, standing and lying on her back on a banquet table offering herself figuratively as a morsel for men twice her age.
In September came another video, for the song "Make Me Wanna Die," where she walked down the street, systematically stripping until she stood in a fiery cemetery in her underwear and stockings. She promised in the lyrics she would steal and die for her beloved.
Then in October, Momsen -- realize, still legally a child -- appeared on the cover of the hard-rock magazine Revolver wearing a skimpy black camisole, black panties and the requisite garters and stockings -- but this time, she was carrying a Glock pistol and a sawed-off shotgun. The copy next to her promised verbiage on this "pretty reckless firestarter's appetite for destruction!"
Also in October, Momsen performed with her band in New York and upped the ante for the crowd, opening her shirt and exposing her breasts ("covered" by pasties). The Hollywood Gossip website underlined that "This was no invasion of the Gossip Girl star's privacy by paparazzi. Taylor Momsen made sure concert-goers saw Taylor Momsen topless on stage. Insane."
It's either insane -- or the act of giving the envelope-pushers exactly what they want. She also keeps celebrity gossips buzzing by joking she had sex with a priest, that "her best friend is her vibrator", that she set her neutered dog's testicles on fire as a protest against men and that she started a feud with Miley Cyrus and her repressive "bubblegum (expletive)," saying she never wanted to be "Miley f-ing Cyrus." Momsen blames her parents for ruining her life, that she never had a childhood and started working as a model and actress at age 2.
Momsen may be extreme, but the trend is well established -- the marketing of teenage temptresses for much older men. Oh, let's stop the niceties. It's not "teenage" anything. These are young girls. Children. And it's the glorification of statutory rape.
Earlier this year, we had the stars of the teen show "Glee" prancing around in underwear and sucking on lollipops for GQ magazine. A "Glee" scene featured two cheerleaders making out in bed in their cheerleader outfits.
Why must Hollywood turn high school girls into fantasies for men of all ages? More importantly, what do teenagers learn about sexuality from our brazen popular culture? The Parents Television Council recently started at the top of this sleazy mountain, studying sexuality in all scripted programs in Nielsen's top 25 for viewers aged 12 to 17 (during the 2009-2010 season) in two hot ratings periods: the first two weeks of the November 2009 "sweeps" period and the comparable first two weeks of the May 2010 "sweeps."
That would include dramas like "Desperate Housewives," as well as comedies like "Two and a Half Men." Fox's programming aimed straight at teenagers was heavily represented: not only "Glee," but "The Simpsons" and the Seth MacFarlane cartoons "Family Guy," "American Dad" and "The Cleveland Show."
What the PTC found matches the teen-temptress trend, and it's a factoid that should rattle you: Underage female characters are shown participating in a higher percentage of sexual action than adult females. While almost 70 percent of sexy scenes with adult females involved verbal sexual references, 47 percent of the sexy scenes with teenagers implied nudity, implied intercourse or erotic touching, kissing or dancing.
And then there's this: 98 percent of the sexual incidents involving underage female characters occurred with partners with whom they did not have any form of committed relationship. In other words, just raw, physical sex.
The depictions of underaged sexual activity are more explicit than those featuring adults and yet, 75 percent of these hit shows with sexualized underage female characters did not have an S-descriptor on screen to warn parents of sexual content, thus nothing tripped the alleged parental "protection" of V-chip technology. This proves for the thousandth time what a joke it is.
Taylor Momsen shouldn't just blame her parents for her horrid behavior. The supposedly "feminist" entertainment industry that can't wait until adulthood to exploit females for money needs also to be condemned. There's a whole lot of pimping going on.
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