Siblo: Sex sells and (unfortunately) I’m buying

Tom Siblo

So I have gotten your attention, right? One word is all it takes for everyone to read my column this week. And I’m not the only person who is aware of the draw of a certain three letter word and its byproducts. Everyday I am bombarded with images of scantily clad women on bus stops (courtesy of Bebe), and hunky men carrying kayaks pictured on shopping bags in the mall (ahem, Abercrombie). And sometimes I don’t mind. Attractive people are what sells and when it comes down to it, who wants to see nasty people in good clothes on the side of a bus? Not I.

But the media has taken things a little too far in my eyes. I am definitely not here to argue the effects of the images of thin or muscular people on the youth of America. I am here to point out the effects of magazines such as Maxim and FHM as well as TV shows such as “Sex and the City.” That’s right; men aren’t the only people being pigeonhold into certain sexual stereotypes, women are too.

The saddest part of being a man is to know that Maxim is what supposedly represents my gender. This just in: not every man is a beer guzzler who enjoys wrestling. Since, as of this printing, there are only two options in the gender column, I would like to point out the error in naming an entire magazine for any gender.

Besides making men look completely unintelligent, “men’s magazines” convince men, sometimes at a very young age, that romance should be goal-oriented (sex, of course, is the goal). Headlines on the average “men’s magazine” read like a junior high school boy’s inner workings. You can read up on such valuable social lessons as “How to Sleep with Women Quicker” and about 30 variations of that article every month. The worst part is that the advice speaks to men in a weird, almost primate tone. The article includes a paragraph on making sure you don’t leave when you’re done and to remember the girl’s name. Priceless advice.

The laughable part of any of these men’s magazines is the interviews with the models or actresses of the month. Now, am I going to say, “No! Stop showing me pictures of Alyssa Milano with not so many clothes on.” Absolutely not. But, has anyone noticed the really funny quotes they usually plaster all over the pictures? Such gems as “I only walk around the house in lingerie” or “Being naked makes me feel sexy.”

How could every girl interviewed walk around the house in underwear or nothing at all? Do we live in some society that I don’t know about that has all the good-looking girls prancing around in next to nothing? Of course not. That is what men want to hear, so the magazine prints it over and over. These magazines mislead men into believing every girl is “naughty,” which obviously is going to taint any relationship these half-wits attempt to maintain.

With that said, I do like the non-sexual aspects of men’s magazines. The articles on daring rescues, plane crashes, anomalies, sports and music are fairly articulate and are great on long plane trips.

If there is one thing I hate, though, it’s a double standard. For example, men are constantly trashed by women for objectifying them and so on. Now, I do believe men objectify women, which is completely wrong. But, what happens when a very powerful media outlet turns the tables and markets it so that it comes in a fashion-oriented, “cool” package? The HBO series “Sex and the City,” although beautifully acted, does to men exactly what women have been complaining about since the dawn of time – objectification of the opposite sex.

In short, the fact that the majority of the characters’ time is spent either having sex, shopping, pining for a hot man or gossiping about the aforementioned pining, sex and shopping makes me irate. The four women, regardless of their personality differences, all do very little except have guys send drinks over to them, and the criteria for their acceptance is basically income and how good in bed they can be. Parents and teachers watch this show. Girls order Cosmopolitans and constantly say they can identify with characters on this show. Frightening.

Is it right for women to judge men superficially after all the complaining they have done about being equal? It is scary that women had to stoop to the average man’s level, rather than rise above. I won’t even delve into the fact that last season there was full frontal male nudity. I called my mom immediately, and of course she was watching. If that doesn’t prove that this show is a debacle, I don’t know what will.

I’d like to thank everyone for reading my column this semester. You might want to keep in touch with me because there is a good chance I will be famous one day. Oh, yeah, and buy the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds,” it will change your life.