Yes, the French are right. This is, perhaps, not a popular position to take in these United States of America at this time, but the French do have it right about one thing: the American media’s snickering, schoolboy, pubescent attitude disguised as a Puritanical and neo-Victorian negative emphasis on sexuality in general, and the female form specifically, is both laughable and sadly hypocritical.
That was indeed a long sentence attacking a big subject. I cite two widely covered examples of media sexual frenzy in violinist Lara St. John’s 1996 debut recording Bach Works for Solo Violin’s CD cover and Brandi Chastain’s celebration after the United States Women’s Professional Soccer Team won the 1999 World Cup.
That these examples approach or are a decade old is immaterial. Pull up any Internet page at Yahoo, Google, or even the old big three news centers. At Comcast, the feeds are currently concerned with whether a) Britney Spears is wearing panties, b) Britney Spears shaves her private parts, or c) Britney Spears is going to lose custody of her children to her loser ex-husband Kevin Federline.
The comparison of my subjects with Britney Spears is not the point. Spears is a Louisiana cracker tart with no talent and a lot of money. Lara St. John and Brandi Chastain are supremely talented and gifted artists (if an athlete can be an artist) trying to make a living at what they do.
What the three have in common is how American media is more interested with where each crossed some Scarlet Letter line. This is all they are ultimately remembered for (this is okay for Britney though, the only thing memorable) because of the prurient focus of our western media.
The former of these examples created a titillating stir among serious and cultural critics alike. Canadian violinist Lara St. John’s debut Bach Works for Solo Violin CD cover depicted the then 24-year-old musician au natural, pictured from the waist up, and her 1779 “Salabue” Guadagnini strategically covering the violinist’s breasts. The violinist is an attractive young woman. The CD cover is beautifully provocative and not just possessing a little whiff of marketing genius.