Mr. Sean goes to Washington

Suicide Girls as metaphor for the Tea Party

No Gravatar

I recently had a family member pass and that night, when I was on edge but exhausted, I started flipping channels. I soon realized I couldn’t concentrate at all (even usual insomnia standby Sportscenter seemed confusing), so I was grateful to stumble upon a channel with naked women, as this was a concept my mind could wrap itself around. As it happened, it was a program called The Suicide Girls: Guide to Living. Having seen it, the world makes a bit more sense.

For those unfamiliar, the Suicide Girls are young women with piercings and tattoos who proudly display their body art by getting topless and, often as not, bottomless. (It should be noted that there’s no full frontal — they’re ladies.) Beyond the tats and nipple rings, the Suicide Girls set themselves apart by generally not being built like your standard models: even if they hadn’t been pierced a single time, they’d still be unusual in the modeling world because they’re basically average women (granted, women in their 20s who clearly take care of themselves, but still). These are supposed to be punks and goth girls, and the hook is that they may be giving men what they want, but they’re doing it on their own terms, take it or leave it. It’s become a highly popular website, attracting hoards of viewers and aspiring models alike.

Being such a presence on the Internet, it was natural the Girls would take the next step: conquering late night cable. And so I stumbled upon a special consisting of a variety of filmed segments where the girls would each offer a bit of instruction on an important area of life (these ranged from rolling a joint to getting your friends to skinny dip — the basic essentials for human survival). Inevitably they ended with the participants at least topless, then it cut to a clip of Suicide Girls discussing the segment, then came the next lesson.

It slowly dawned on me: this seemed like something a man would make. Not even something a woman would make to appeal to a man, but just something a guy would do if he had access to a camera crew. (Sure enough, it was directed by a man.) And knowing that this was really no different any other Skinemax production changed my reaction, because suddenly it wasn’t “These women look like actual women”; it was “If they’re gonna hire chicks to take their clothes off during cheesy filmed segments, they might as well spring for professionals.” Whatever was interesting and different about the Suicide Girls had been completely lost, in the process leaving behind something as bad as what you usually find on late night TV (worse in fact — at least Deviant Desires has the decency not to put on airs).

I think the Suicide Girls are very similar to the Tea Party movement. They both have worthy goals (letting women be sexy on their own terms; giving the government back to the people). Many people find them both inherently troubling and offensive (“I hate tattoos!”; “These people are just idiots!”). And with success comes bastardization. It’s easy to call for small government in the abstract, but for far too many elected officials it quickly turns into a few speeches denouncing NPR and the NEA (which between them count for a few hundred million) — a start, I suppose, but when a single B-2 bomber costs 2 billion and the government deals in trillions it’s not going to get the job done. The Republican leadership goes out of its way to appeal to the Tea Party with its pledges to cut wasteful spending…but already carves out “common sense exceptions” for seniors, veterans, and troops. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily (they’re all worthy groups), but in this context the words “common sense” actually mean “freakin’ huge” because these are massive exceptions: it’s like saying, “I’m going on a diet…except for that cup of lard I chug with every meal. But that’s just common sense.”

If you’re this compromised already, good luck when you get to Washington.

It should be noted for all my critiques of their TV special, Suicide Girls: Guide to Living still featured lots of young women taking their clothes off, which frankly is all I was looking for (I’m a fan of the genre). Likewise, the Tea Party will probably be different enough from Obama that no matter how hypocritical or plain inept they may prove to be, their supporters will be appeased (if not thrilled). But it’s harder for a person to change a society than it is for a society to change a person, so I feel like a year from now I’ll look on the Tea Party the way I look at the Girls: something weird yet potentially promising that somehow wound up exactly like the the crap that came before.

Mr. Sean goes to Washington appears each Thursday.

Print This Post Print This Post

One Response to “Suicide Girls as metaphor for the Tea Party”

  1. Let’s just hope the TEA Party girls keep their clothes on. On second thought…

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment