Translating Carnal Desires Into Cash: Banging for Bucks



America is the land of opportunity.  Even today, with a shitty economy, you can still come up with a great idea, and turn that idea into thousands, sometimes millions of dollars.  Fads come and go, whether it be clothes, music, drapes or dishes.  But one thing America loves more than anything is a good old fashioned ‘whore to riches’ story.  It could be some version of Cinderella, Pretty Woman or Trading Places.  But that feel good story of rising up from the depths of despair and finding true love and riches doesn’t happen for everyone.  One difference has allowed certain people to achieve at least pseudo-financial comfort.  That difference?  Television.

The four ladies above are not the only girls who have punched the meal ticket with the world’s oldest profession, but they are four of the most well-known.  I am all for selling yourself to make a profit.  We all sell ourselves, every day, in varying degrees.  We don’t all hump for our supper, but we all constantly sell some version of ourselves for a dollar.  If I was a smoking hot 20 year old girl and people wanted to pay me to show some skin, I would have my clothes off before the ink dried.  For some of these women, it’s an easy way to parlay natural beauty into a career.  I could name dozens of women, probably hundreds, who have shed part or all of their clothes as models – nude or otherwise – and then parlayed that into successful acting careers, television gigs, or product spokesman roles.  This is great.  It doesn’t hurt the consumer.  Adults have a choice as to whether or not they consume what these ladies and fellas are selling.  There are only two things that upset me.  One of these I touched upon in a previous article, that being attention seekers who get upset that they are getting attention.  You can’t suck a dick on camera, release the video of it, start a reality TV show based on your sex life, and then expect people to leave you alone.  If you’re going to reveal the most intimate details of your life you have to be prepared for the backlash.  If a young girl or guy wants to parade their sexuality on MTV, E! or any other station and profit from it, as long as they are willing to take the backlash in stride, I say more power to them.

My feelings on this issue change completely when it involves kids.

Two of the women above are now making headlines involving children.  Farrah Abraham (the white bikini above) has a kid and has used the fact that she got pregnant as a teenager as her meal ticket.  Snooki (the snarling troll above) is now rumored to be pregnant.  Both of these women have used their poor decisions and sexual appetite to get famous, which is okay as long as they are the only ones involved.  It becomes a completely different game when they become responsible for a young person.

At some point, every human being is confronted with the decision to become their own person and take responsibility for their lives.  You can’t blame your parents forever.  Some rise above the shortcomings of their upbringing, and some avoid the decision perpetually.  More and more, though, I notice people really are a product of their upbringing.  For better or worse, the things you are exposed to as a child have a major impact on who you become as an adult.  People can change, but it’s hard.  With that in mind, I think it’s only fair we as a society try to give kids at least a fighting chance.  That chance is severely crippled when we exploit kids for profit.

Look at shows like Teen Mom, Toddlers and Tiaras, and Dance Moms.  These shows maintain a pretense of ‘documenting the lives of people’, but really all they do is shine a spotlight on parents who exploit their kids for a profit.  Maybe one of the worst shows was John and Kate Plus 8.  Kate Gosselin is one of the biggest attention whores around.  All she did was have babies!  Somehow, she managed to parlay something that literally billions of women have done for thousands of years into appearances on all manner of TV shows, much to the detriment of her eight kids (Google).  If you click that link you see that the kids have been expelled from school for fighting and acting out.  If you look up recent photos of the family, the kids look unhappy.  Few of them ever smile.  Most of them seem like they are almost pouting, either looking down, frowning, or staring off into space.

It is easy for me to paint with a wide brush on this issue because I don’t see behind closed doors.(¹)  Without seeing their parenting skills in action, we really shouldn’t judge any of these reality stars.  But if you look at their track record, their kids are on pace for some serious issues growing up.  I don’t care how much someone says it doesn’t bother them, if one of their kids watches an old episode of Teen Mom or Jersey Shore, there is going to be some resentment and some embarrassment issues to deal with.  It doesn’t make the stars of these shows bad people.  But it can make them bad parents.  I mean, some of these reality stars might end up being a whiz at financial planning and providing a good, stable home life, but I think its pretty safe to assume the jury is still out on most of their life management skills.  That good, stable home life can likely only be achieved by getting out of the spotlight, and how many of these ‘stars’ are going to want to sacrifice their fame for the betterment of their children?  Not Kate Gosselin.  Not Farrah.  Not Kris Jenner.

The reason it is so upsetting is because the kids don’t have a say in the matter.  They can’t say, “Gee mom, I really wish you wouldn’t have let that guy feel your tits at the bar on national television.”  They don’t get to voice their concerns with their mom posing naked in a magazine (WWTDD),  but I guarantee they will feel like saying something in middle school when a classmate brings an old Playboy in and tricks them into seeing his or her mom spread eagle on a Mustang.

Through the power of DVD, kids like the Gosselins will be able to go back and watch their parents’ marriage fall apart, frame by frame.  Snooki’s get will be able to see her in all of her brutal, trashy glory.  How will Snooki be able to reprimand?  How will Kate and John countermand feelings of resentment and hostility with feelings of generosity and compassion?  How will Farrah’s kids relate to their mom, especially if Farrah ends up fading from the spotlight into a depressed, bitter person; unhappy with life?  How will ‘real’ parents keep their kids from choosing the path of Farrah, Snooki, Kim and Paris when those kids can see this easy path to stardom glorified on TV? (²)

These are real questions we need to be asking.  What effects will these decisions have on future generations?  I’m all for excess and access when adults are making adult decisions, but if our hedonistic tastes start affecting the youth adversely, then we need to change our tastes.



(1) On second thought, when I watch clips of very nearly any reality star I lose all hope.

(²)  I understand by making this statement I am contradicting my opinion above, the opinion that if they are a consenting adult with no dependents they should be able to do whatever pleases them.  In this instance, I’m making the assumption most parents with a basic set of morals would not want their son or daughter to grow up like many of the reality stars.  I think it’s safe to assume a majority of parents wouldn’t be happy if their teenage daughter came home pregnant and said “I’m going to air my dirty laundry on MTV” or “I’m going to stage a fake wedding in an attempt to bilk millions out of unsuspecting viewers.”

~ by maxaverage on March 2, 2012.

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