June 22, 2009

On Sex Tapes and Scandals

I miss the Gossip Girl Feminist Index now that it's their summer hiatus, but it strikes me that there is a need for feminist theorizing surrounding the show's cast right now - I'd like to address the Leighton Meester sex tape.

Some of my friends have asserted this could ruin her career. Of course, it might well make her MORE famous. It probably will, but that doesn't mean she'll be closer to winning an emmy or an Oscar, and really, that is the caliber of actor this young woman is. She should be winning Golden Globes, SAG awards - and perhaps an Oscar - in ten years' time. She's also becoming something of an avant garde fashion icon with her edgy and inspired looks. Meester is famous for being petite and adorable with a hint of bad-girl behaviour. Last week, the so-called "bad girl" behaviour you always sensed was below the surface and saw glimpses of came out in a big-way - the Leighton Meester sex tape ads were released...

Let me first and foremost say that my feelings regarding Meester have no changed at all because of this sex tape. I think she is talented, intriguing and beautiful. I think sex tapes are made huge numbers of people at one time or another and I fully understand why people want to make them, though I don't think I need to get into that here. Meester was about 20 when the tape was made, so I don't think she was manipulated into doing it. I think we should respect her agency in making it. At the same time, I don't think Meester ever meant for it to become public. I have no proof of this. I just don't. Blair Waldorf has done lots of sexy and risque things on her show. She's stripped, she's slept with her boyfriend's uncle, she's had sex in a moving limo. Meester didn't need to sex up her image to prove that she could play bad. I also don't think she needs the publicity. She's the fan-favourite of a hot show and she has multiple high-profile motion pictures coming out in the near future, not to mention her much-hyped music album. She's in magazines and gossip blogs all the time. Unlike Paris HIlton or Kim Kardashian, she didn't need a sex tape to make herself famous - because Meester has talent.

I think whoever leaked it did something incredibly inappropriate (provided I'm not dead wrong and Meester and her partner were not both aware of it being released). Still, as a feminist, I say that what people do in their bedrooms should not affect how we see them to any great degree. I don't care if the ad is true and she jerked a guy off with her feet - what's it to you? Just like T.R. Knight being gay didn't disqualify him from playing a very heterosexual leading man on Grey's Anatomy, Meester having sort-of (not really) kinky sex shouldn't disqualify her from being one of the most talented young performers of our generation. Her delivery is spot-on, her fashion sense is amazing, and her singing voice is pretty good too. In that case, what does it matter whom or what you do?

My idea for how the CW and Meester can deal with this sex-tape situation is to write it onto the show. I think Meester should prove she's not going to run away from this. She should hold her head high - she hasn't done anything wrong! A really cool story-line, in my opinion, would be if Chuck and Blair made a sex tape and Georgina stole it to get revenge on Blair and then released it to the world. Blair could be humiliated at first, but then come to realize that she hasn't done anything wrong - just made a video to express one facet of her affectionate relationship with someone she loves. I would give made points for that on the Gossip Girl Feminist Index I also hope Meester comes to, or has already come (no pun intended), to this same conclusion regarding her recent sex scandal, which is that it shouldn't be a scandal at all!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're right about her not needing publicity especially since she's been getting it the right way. Whoever did this betrayed her and I hope she's not letting that person get away with it. If this was really a publicity stunt, she would draw more attention to it, not completely ignore it and move n with her life.

And Leighton has been holding her head high. She recently promoted "Good Girls" with Cobra Starship on Alexa Chung, she was partying with them, and was just at a club last night to preview some tracks from her album.

I don't care what anyone says, Leighton is a great role model - sex tape or not. Who are we to judge people by their kinks?

Great write-up.