Let Hot Men Sell Environmentalism
Last week, in an interview about eco-fashion, I was asked how it related to womens' positive body image. Given that some of our most popular fashion posts have featured busty, near-nude models, I had been mulling it over and answered that the best we can hope for in the foreseeable future is equal opportunity objectification. "Sustainable" textiles becoming mainstream means selling them in the way the public expects: preying on all of the hopes, fears and longings of consumers through image-making. Do men with Photoshop-enhanced six packs and Marky Mark-like endowment sell conventional underwear? Well, then, let them sell organic cotton and bamboo.Today on Eco-Chick, Starre commented along similar lines when discussing the Ecobabes calendar controversy:
I’m not opposed to natural beauty being appreciated, but honestly, I’d like to see some ecohunks too- some young, shirtless guys who work hard for the Earth…I can imagine some forest rangers, environmental scientists and maybe even bloggers (wink, wink) who would look great half-naked in a calendar whose proceeds would benefit green causes. What do you think? Would you buy an EcoHunks calendar in 2008?
Yes. Yes, I would.
Most of the arguments around objectification focus on needing to uproot our patriarchal assumptions (not to mention racist and heterosexist) as we create a more eco-friendly world together. To this, I say that there is one lesson I learned from wading through cultural theory in grad school that made me a happier person in this f***** up world of ours: Jack Tripper will always be a part of me.
It makes sense to get pissed that I watched Three's Company every day after school and learned a bunch of bull**** about what it means to be straight, a woman, white, middle-class, etc. I could spend all my time trying to find my "true self," free of Jack's handsy, polluting influence. Say I did rip him, Chrissy and Janet from my psyche somehow. What would be left underneath all of the "culture"? There's no Kyeann without Three's Company -- I became who I am through interaction with it. No "revolution" or "paradigm shift" will change that. I could spend all of my time trying to be not that Kyeann, but who wants to constitute an identity out of what you're not? Tiring.
It's more fun to accept the cultural messages that have constituted us, tweak them, play with them, and watch change emerge randomly, in spontaneous mutations, as we struggle to leave the world livable using the tools available.