One of the biggest headlines making it’s way around the internet this week was ALL about Lenny Kravitz accidentally showing his junk while performing. I lost count of how many people discussed it and gave input on the subject.
At first my thoughts were along the lines of “Okay, so?” If I had to draft a list of celebrities who I’d guess went commando Lenny Kravitz would’ve been high on my list. I mean, he wears skin tight leather. Anybody that has done that before knows nobody has time for lines or bunching. Plus, it’s Lenny Kravitz – the idea doesn’t seem that far fetched with his persona. After that, I got pretty sick of the constant chatter and just wanted to move on. Why was it in the headline days later? Shit happens, life moves on.
Of course, then my love of dissecting the entertainment industry kicked in. (It’s a favorite hobby of mine, I blame it on far too many critical media courses in undergrad.)
The majority of headlines surrounding Kravitz have been mild shock, lots of awe, and quite a bit of fangirling from all genders. Grown adult reporters were happy they saw his junk. Overall, it’s positive buzz. There seems to be no negative flack or possible career damage. Headlines have ranged from calling him “The New King of Cock’n’Roll” to praising his penis as making him cool. The “scandal” has brought Kravitz more attention and fans that may not have had prior knowledge of him. His response to it all? A laugh over Instagram as he screenshotted a text conversation with Steven Tyler joking that he didn’t know Kravitz had his genitalia pierced. The news doesn’t always handle it this way.
Let me take you back a decade – some of you may remember the Janet Jackson SuperBowl 2004 fiasco. If not, let me give you a brief refresher. During the halftime show a simple dance routine went awry when Justin Timberlake accidentally ripped off a piece of Jackson’s costume revealing her breast. The world immediately lost its cool. Jackson became the talk of the town and it wasn’t a good thing. She was forced to issue an apology and many accused her of purposefully exposing herself for headlines. It didn’t stop there. The heavy fines rolled in, Jackson (but not Timberlake) was barred from that year’s GRAMMYs, projects she had signed onto were withdrawn, and she was blacklisted from most radio stations and tv channels – which is still in effect today many places. Not only that, years after when Jackson released new music a majority of the reviews STILL focused on her Superbowl gaffe. It would be safe to say her career has never fully recovered since her accidental exposure. How different does that sound from the above story?
Both are considered private body parts – with me going further to say the penis is far more scandalous due to breasts being so desensitized in entertainment and everyday life. Both events were big oopsies and to the public’s knowledge completely accidental circumstances. So what’s the big difference? I don’t think it takes rocket science to figure it out. It all boils down to gender in the media.
I could go on for ages about the various ways the media and the entertainment industry use gender to categorize, scrutinize, and discuss celebrities. That there is a strong difference between male and female. The behavior towards unexpected nudity is just one example in a long line of situations.
Talk about good timing! During a press junket for their new movie Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg produced a mock Q & A this week that highlights many of the aspects relevant to this discussion. In the video the two switch the normal genderized questions for interviews and it adds up to hilarious (yet mind opening) results.
I do want to highlight that yes, I realized 10 years have passed since Jackson’s SuperBowl appearance. In that time period we have eased up considerably on what is considered controversial. I also understand that while both occurred during live events, the Superbowl is a far larger audience. The point still stands. Mockery and shame of female celebrities for accidental nudity still happens all the time. Very rarely do men get the same level of flack, unless a scandalous factor such as cheating is involved.
Have you ever noticed how differently entertainment uses gender?
P.S. – I’m not one to shy away from debating touchy entertainment matters, as my take on the cult of celebrity shows.
P.P.S. – All the input on my reader survey has been AMAZING so far. You guys are wonderful. If you have a moment please fill it out, I would greatly appreciate it!
Until next time,