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« The Uncomfortable Position of Civilians in Wartime | Main | Irina in New York »

March 21, 2008

More on Gal Performers, Exploitation, Etc.

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

I can't let the topic go by without reprinting a couple of great comments that visitors have left behind. First, from PatrickH:

I've gotten an enormous erotic charge out of pics of women from olden times...more or less pre '90, perhaps earlier. The dames of yore, you might say. The women of the seventies in particular still give me a real sexual jolt. The sight of imperfect teeth, maybe a blemish or two, breasts just ever so unpneumatic, and especially, some softness, some roundness, some juice -- all the signs of a real woman, alive and warm and breathing, ah, they got me going, those seventies girls, and they still do. (BTW,apparently the cast of LHotL was doing the seventies thing off-camera, what with massive drug use and apparently non-stop you-know-whatting.)

The eighties saw the emergence of the type of female body I found utterly uninteresting, the manufactured hair, the harsh makeup, the growing trend to fake breasts, and above all, the increasing dominance of the hardbody aerobicized ultra-toned look...tense, harsh, unfeminine, and really really unsexy. The nineties and beyond have just made it worse, what with CGI manipulation of images, Photoshopping, and yes, the continued dominance of the over-exercised and under-feminine "ideal".

The deadness, the anti-sexiness, the sheer unhumanity of the erotic imagery (of men and women) in today's pornogrified culture is one of its most interesting and troubling aspects. Odd, how America can somehow be so sexually overwrought and yet so utterly unsexy.

Yeah!

Next, from Ron:

This post, along with Michael's post about down-and-dirty '70s pictures and PatrickH's related comment about '70s women (I love them too!) has put me in an exploitation-movie kind of mood -- which is a mood I like a-plenty.

I had a nice email conversation with a friend not too long ago about the joys of '70s exploitation actresses. I spent most of it name-checking the many lovely, fearless ladies that have provided me with some low-down viewing excitement and pleasure over the years, as well as lamenting the fact that these types of actresses just aren't around anymore. Michael's comments regarding the effects of agents and careerism on current actresses has me thinking about this all over again.

Hmmm...sad to think that movies today haven't given us anyone to take the place of Pam Grier, Roberta Collins, Barbara Steele, Edwige Fenech, Camille Keaton, Monica Gayle and countless others. Barbara Crampton is another good one. Has a cuddlier woman ever been assaulted by zombies?

Even the more respectable actresses of that era, women like Susan George and Colleen Camp, could act in memorably unpredicable and vibrant ways--almost as though they were laying their sass, their verve and of course their bodies on the line in a winner-takes-all sort of bet.

This sort of performing is sexy, of course, but there's something endearing about it as well. In fact, it's not off-base to say I feel genuine warmth and affection for all of these ladies. I feel like they've put themselves on the line for my pleasure, and maybe arrived at something elusive, even sort of (gasp!) spiritual, in the process. That's surely the horndog in me talking--but, hey, the horndog in me is a spiritual sort of guy.

Maybe YouTube (or some more scandalous equivalent) will step in to fill the void. Or maybe the online scandal-zines and sex tapes have already taken up the slack. Funny how B-level actresses have been usurped by the A-level stars. It's just that now the A-level stars do the scandalous stuff on home video and in front of the paparazzi rather than on film.

There's something lost though, as even a Lindsay Lohan sex scandal feels more scripted and airbrushed than, say, Caged Heat.

Double-yeah!

And let me give an extra-special vote to Edwige Fenech, whose exquisite-yet-sultry, Sophia-Loren-meets-Isabelle-Adjani beauty adorned numerous slasher and sex-comedy movies in the '70s. Here's an appreciative blogposting about Fenech (NSFW).

A few tidbits to chew on for those who worry about what appearing in such movies can do to a girl's rep: 1) The giallo films that Fenech starred in were taken as nothing but low-class slasher movies at the time of their release, but they have since attained near-classic status. 2) Fenech herself went on to become a producer and a TV personality. 2) Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth are huge Fenech fans.

In other words: Edwige Fenech has attained something pretty close to film-history immortality -- and she didn't do it by holding out for respectable roles in prestigious productions.

Good lord: If now isn't the time for a visual then I don't know when is:


fenech1.jpg


Thanks as well to visitor Barry Wood, who passed along a link to a juicy Daily Mail piece about Paul McCartney's ex Heather Mills. The tabloids are really at their best with these kinds of stories, aren't they?

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at March 21, 2008




Comments

"...and above all, the increasing dominance of the hardbody aerobicized ultra-toned look...tense, harsh, unfeminine, and really really unsexy."

It's good to see this topic brought up. I think the look of famous women went from soft to hard when women's roles in society went from conjoining with men to competing with them in the workplace. Who wants to look all soft and cuddly for the enemy?

The party line look of the 1980s and beyond seemed go from women (metaphorically) saying "F*** me" to women saying "F*** YOU" to men. There's a hostility in the way females are presented -- a deliberately castrating image is now the norm. Good examples of this are Jennifer Garner and Hilary Swank.

Lester Bangs commented on this shortly before his death. He felt like the new look of models in Vogue and such were confrontational and looked like the wanted to pick fights with men, not entice them. Time has proven Lester correct, as usual.


Posted by: Days of Broken Arrows on March 21, 2008 1:40 PM



Edwige Fenech! Wow, what a good looking woman. And to think I didn't learn of her existence until today!

Late to the party, as usual.

There are days when I look at pictures like this and think: now why didn't I sign up for that glamor photography course again? Dang. Old too soon, smart too late.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on March 21, 2008 5:42 PM



Friedrich, you can see ALL of her here...

http://tinyurl.com/3xacf7

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on March 21, 2008 7:54 PM



Alerting Peter! ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 21, 2008 8:01 PM



utterly uninteresting, the manufactured hair, the harsh makeup, the growing trend to fake breasts, and above all, the increasing dominance of the hardbody aerobicized ultra-toned look

This is a great description of some of our more popular porn stars. It would appear, however, that if male desire drives the porn aesthetic and men determine with page hits & their dollars what porn actresses rise to the top, that this is what most men want to see. I don't get it either, but there it is.

a deliberately castrating image is now the norm. Good examples of this are Jennifer Garner and Hilary Swank.

Really? The public image of both these women has always been that of the sweet, smiley, down to earth Midwestern girl w/ little attitudinizing or trashiness. I've never caught any whiff of the castrating from their personas.

Posted by: yt on March 22, 2008 7:59 PM






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