Thursday, March 29, 2007


This collage shows the very sexual and provocative lifestyles of the girlfriends. The girls are depicted as the epitome of sexuality in their racy and barely-there outfits flaunting their large breasts and slim figures every chance they can. But what does this behavior, which some would ostracize as self-degrading and disrespectful, do for these blondes? It provides a medium for them to be recognized and to gain attention, particularly from the male audience. "Sexuality provides a resource that can be used to get attention and communicate instantly." 1

If these ladies wore blazers revealing little skin with other conservative apparel, they would not be considered "sex icons" and therefore would not gain as much attention or have the reputation they have today. Ultimately, this collage proves that sex, sin and skin sells in modern society when it comes to females gaining attention, popularity, and fame.

1. Gender, Race, and Class in the Media.Image-Based Culture.p.253.

GND's- Encouraging Hegemonic Norms

Some viewers may claim that "The Girls Next Door" is simply a show for entertainment purposes and that it does not serve any role or have any influence on society. However, the show enlists hegemonic norms of society making it a valuable part of popular culture.

In "Inventing the Cosmo Girl", the author identifies the hegemonic norm that "single women are depicted as shrews or 'gold diggers' while bachelors are advised to pursue sex on a casual basis to avoid getting snared in a 'long term contract.'"1 This norm is presented in "The Girls Next Door" through the girls and Hef. The girls receive whatever they want (whether its going on shopping sprees, throwing lavishing parties, or being in Playboy) as long as they keep Hef pleased. This provides much motivation for the girls to pursue sex and a relationship with the 80 year old and allows them to portrayed as "gold diggers" by the media.

The girls also represent the hegemonic norm regarding women and their status. In society, women are seen as gentle, childlike, attention graving, and inferior, and that their only purpose in life is to please their man and look pretty. On the show, the girls act more like little girls than mature women. They dance around the Playboy mansion playing and giggling deprived of any responsibility. Their only demand is to provide a "pretty" and "sexy" persona, but never to appear over-bearing or controlling.

On the episode, "Calender Girls" Holly, Bridget, and Kendra are posing in their own Playboy calender. The girls obsess about their appearance trying to look perfect for Hef. "I just want Hef to like it. I'm doing this all for him." said Kendra after photoshooting the month of June which resembles that of Christina Aguilera's "Dirrrty" video in the boxing ring. The girls constantly critique their appearance, questioning whether they look just sexy and sweet enough for Hef. This encourages the norm that women are expected to look attractive all the time in order to impress their man and remain on top.

Therefore, the girls display some hegemonic norms of society pertaining to the role of feminine characters. In the media, women lack authority and are seen more as objects who obsess about their appearance than as strong figures with confidence and power. The girls encourage this view and send out a powerful message to its viewers about femininity- that women are meant to be beautiful and keep the dominant males in their lives satisfied even if it means excessive dieting, spending long hours in the beauty salon, or being overtly sexual behavior.

1. Gender, Race, and Class in the Media. Inventing the Cosmo Girl. p.120