This post has absolutely nothing to do with running to tahiti, but I’m allowed to veer off every once in a while.
I remember a few years ago I was completely disgusted when the poster for “Wanted” came out:
The blatant gun to hot girl association in this image really disturbed me. Moreso that it was coming from Angelina Jolie who I would have thought would be opposed to what is in my mind a very destructive image. There’s our Goodwill Ambassador folks! Modeling automatic weapons with her sexiest smoldering profile.
Some time later I was again disgusted when I noticed this poster around Los Angeles:
God it’s even worse. The girl looks like she has zero personality (she actually looks like a wax figure) and she’s not even holding the gun. Let’s just put a super hot girl next to a huge gun and let people’s brains make the connection. Guns are sexy.
Even my dear Helen Mirren gave into the trend:
Looking her sexiest ever (not hard for her), Helen wields some horribly phallic looking thing right at YOU.
Here’s newcomer Jessica Chastain, soiling the Sacramento name by giving into the gun/hot girl porn trend:
OK that last one is not so bad and it does help me to know what the movie is about, but admit it, the gun is heavily featured next to Jessica’s beautiful face. Not a coincidence.
Are you noticing a pattern here? I’m not going to get on some high horse about this. Truth is I’d rather hear from all of you. Does this bother you as much as it does me? I find this kind of blatant association of sex to automatic weapons incredibly disturbing, not to mention how poorly it reflects on women. I know this is nothing new. I realize that sex and violence have always been hot ticket items, especially together; but I’m disturbed by the marriage of the two images now more than ever. The media is making a destructive association here. I mean seriously, Angelina Jolie is just short of sticking her tongue out and licking that gun. Terrible! At least when Quentin Tarantino does it, it’s so over-the-top that it’s a commentary on the whole gun fetish thing. Tarantino makes a rather brilliant commentary on how ridiculous this association has become when he gives Rose McGowan a gun for a leg in Grind House. Hilarious:
The other posters above all take themselves totally seriously. Danger.
You can say that “it is what it is” and that we know how to tell when something is deliberately over the top, but the brain is not actually very good at that. When we see one image right next to another over and over again, our brains start to create pathways associating the two. Read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” if you don’t believe me.
I am not a prude, and I am not interested in censorship. I firmly believe that whoever is making these posters should be allowed to make them and paper them all over the world. I just want to start a dialogue about it because personally I find them offensive. Why are we making these associations? Why are these images of hot sexy girls next to weapons of mass destruction so appealing?
This is not unlike the myriad of films, TV shows and commercials where smoking was featured as an incredibly sexy thing to do. You don’t see that so much anymore. Once we caught on that smoking was incredibly stupid and a one-way ticket to an early check-in at the morgue, we stopped creating the association in Hollywood that Cigarattes = Sexy. Of course it’s still out there, but not like it used to be. Edward Norton refuses to smoke in a movie, ever, no matter what. He knows that he would make that shit look cool, so he doesn’t do it, because it’s not cool. And that makes Edward Norton even SEXIER, which is hard to imagine.
So why do we continue this fetish with guns? What do you think? Am I overreacting?
God I hope I don’t get pressured into making a movie poster someday with me half naked, sporting a machine gun whilst looking into the camera with bedroom eyes. If I do, please reference this article and turn the gun on me.
!!!UPDATE as of 08/11/11 !!! I completely forgot to include the most recent offense which brought this issue to the forefront of my mind. The most current gun porn on the streets of L.A.:
Ahh, Zoe Saldana, “it” girl of the moment, looking so sweet, so pretty, so pious. She’s just the like the Virgin Mary… with a gun.
I rest my case.