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Commentary :: Gender
Paris Hilton versus Howard Stern—the Newspaper’s Double Standard.
07 Feb 2006
Recent public relations scoops on these celebrities are a cameo study for both reverse racism and reverse sexism in America. To the point—Paris Hilton has been accused of being a “slut” in no uncertain terms (and been gossiped about regarding troubles of sorts like lawsuits); for amongst other things, because of a commercial she did with her body writhing in provocative and or touching ways. So exactly “who” is it that calls Hilton a slut in newspapers (and who are the people who readily accept this labeling)? But more importantly what are their “motives” for doing so?
Paris Hilton versus Howard Stern—the Newspaper’s Double Standard.

By Josh Dairnst

Personally I could give a blip about either Paris Hilton or Howard Stern (they are not important to my life). But it strikes an ironic note how newspaper rumor mongering pages (Arts/ Life sections) judge these two individuals differently.

Of late, newspaper stories for Paris Hilton (as in scandal arousing), versus free publicity for Howard Stern (for his new radio show), regarding “persona projected,” as in what they seem to both cater (seemingly exploit), namely sex. Yet they are respected differently. Recent public relations scoops on these celebrities are a cameo study for both reverse racism and reverse sexism in America.

To the point—Paris Hilton has been accused of being a “slut” in no uncertain terms (and been gossiped about regarding troubles of sorts like lawsuits); for amongst other things, because of a commercial she did with her body writhing in provocative and or touching ways. (I can not describe the commercial because I do not watch much TV—nevertheless one can imagine that she was induced to use her body and image as such (by corporate paid advisers who, or course, remain anonymously unscathed in “their” repute)).

So exactly “who” is it that calls Hilton a slut in newspapers (and who are the people who readily accept this labeling)? But more importantly what are their “motives” for doing so?

And are we, as a society, still to presume the in-your-face and hackneyed tripe that accused “men” of labeling women sluts, and thus “restricting” a woman’s social and sexual freedom (as was sanctimoniously argued forever and a mile)? Nope—this heavy-handed, ad nauseum, guilt-trip that was smeared across major newspapers in America—you remember—the so called “sexist” double standard—that was purported to have been perpetuated mainly by men and patriarchy, is proven wrong again. Hardly can we continue to believe such feminist excoriation any longer—it doesn’t fly because this is “another” case of mostly women labeling another woman a slut. Or is such rancor OK because it is a “female” thing and mere men would not understand?

But to be fair (as this is not a statement arguing that Paris Hilton is or is not a slut), let us presume for a minute that Miss Paris Hilton matches a perfect stereotype of a woman prone to be accused of sluttishness. Let’s further imagine that she has engaged in sexual behavior for profit, gain, satisfaction, etc., and has thus violated the fears of others who are more socially fearful to do similar sorts of things (remember how Madonna was attacked by the main stream because she acted in overtly sexual ways). Still even “if” Hilton were one to act in ways befitting such stereotyping—why the slamming judgmentality toward her as openly exercised in the media?

Why would some women (not strictly women but predominately so) try to hurt Hilton’s reputation and name brand her in ways that were clearly meant to be derogations toward shame and ill-repute? What is behind this news media’s ordained paparazzi persecution?

Theoretically, if you are happy, or at least content, with your own life, such as your social life and sexual life, and you respect the freedom of other people, you would not need to put down (and worry about) other people and their reputations. Truly superior people do not try to make other people feel inferior. Superior people do not try to bring other people “down” to their own level of ill-feeling and low self-esteem—because superior people are not down (especially in attitude). So what gives ladies of the fourth estate?

Granted there are times when certain people put themselves in positions that beg certain levels of humiliation and ego-deflation, such as when they often act too insolent or presumptuous, etc., and such behaviors damages their potential affairs (as well as that of others); and then some caustic criticism is legitimately in order.

But! given the fact that men have been guilt tripped, to the umpteenth degree, about labeling women as whores and sluts, like it was the biggest sin this side of cravenness—how is it that some who work the main stream media can so easily attack other women with such sexist labels with so little concern regarding any scruple of political correctness or social decorum?

Could it because Paris Hilton is blonde? Are grown green eyed ladies smashing the Barbie Doll into the floor? Paris Hilton does kind of look like a Barbie doll does she not? Could this kind of targeted hatred toward her be an act by some jealous types who are thinking something like: “Don’t you dare act like the stereotype of blonde bitches I hold deep within my heart—shallow, spoiled, rich, man stealing, sought after and adored—I hate you.” Smash Barbie onto the floor ya’ll and kick her hard.

You see America has no type of Anti-Defamation League that cares about such Anti-Teutonism (besides America’s ADL is too busy labeling legitimate criticism of Israeli politics as Anti-Semitic, as its members also try to establish laws to limit free speech on campuses under the pretense of merely curbing hatred). In fact the Anti-Defamation League here in the states seems pretty darn reticent about addressing the heavy levels of Islam phobia and the stereotyping of Muslims and Arabs by our Main Stream Corporate Media and Hollywood producers. Such stereotyping over the years has seriously contributed to the likelihood of American Muslims en masse imprisonment and others tortured outside the U.S. (You can find articles buried away around the Internet that cogently argues such a case—issues that are far more serious than smashing blonde dolls).

Yes go ahead and guffaw, hiss, and scorn at such a supposedly ridiculous suggestion about Anti-Teutonism of blonde women in American newspapers (and notice I did not say Anti-Aryan because probably the historic Aryans were not blonde—rather that was Jewish Hitler’s propaganda). Nevertheless as you scoff consider that in fact the Anti-Defamation League, for example, seems quite “liberal” in defining criticism against Jews and Israel as Anti-Semitic? Equally some people of color can be quite “liberal” in defining any criticism of themselves (irrespective of circumstances or behavior) as forms of racism? Naturally then any suggestion of of another kind of racism (namely animosity toward blonde women) would be ridiculed OUT of ORDER—because part of the current status quo about who defines racism is reinforcing only certain ideas—one-sidedly.

If Hilton were brunette, or a minority person, would she be receiving as much direct and vicarious scorn in the media—even if she were a nasty person of sorts? Precisely what is it about her personality that makes her so target? Racism, as far as I understand it, is discriminating against and stereotyping a person because of “physical/ethnic” traits—and dolichocephalic blonde are identifiable traits. Therefore there are unacknowledged strains of hatred (sometimes acted out) against blonde women in this society that few are willing to admit. Some blonde women are hated because of beauty power—which one could think as a serious source of envy. And envy happens in an unfair world in which some people do get all the luck (as Rod Stewart sings) and others don’t seem to get much luck at all.

Or look at it from another perspective. Consider the stereotyping (racist) accusation (attitude) that even though blonde women are physically attractive they really are kind of dull and dumb (unaware), and therefore they don’t “deserve” all the attention they get from quality men. Many people think like this yet in truth is that many women in “general” are kind of dull and dumb—as are many men in general—irrespective on ethnicity.

What about the fact that many women and men didn’t seem to have a problem pasting the label “racism” on any white male attitude that concluded on the observation that “if” white women easily and quite willingly cozied up to say black men (establishing rapport), and some white men then seemed miffed about this double standard of not being equally as rapport opportunist them—because they felt like some of these negroid men got more attention even if they all did not as really compare in other departments—such as gentleman civility, vocabulary and education, resourcefulness, etc.? Supposedly any and every white woman/ black male couple was beyond cynical suspicion of soul mate compatibility. Yet “dumb” blondes are just sex bombs and anyone can say so?

Meanwhile never was there a case in which a white “girl” (“woman” doesn’t seem to be in style in certain quarters) went golly-doll—let me dumb down my vernacular to a street cant and gesticulate my foul attitudes just a bit while I psychologically adjust to (... “ … Bitch you cooking for homey and me!” ... Bitch… ), etc. No one would openly accuse women of discriminating against white men and in favor of black studs—because that would automatically have been viewed as racism. We were to operate under the presumption that all white women who dated black men did so because these black men were generally superior in most ways and these women were never just treating them like sex objects. Or if some thought otherwise it was blatant racism. Case closed because these women were all going for the marriage ring.

Notice that such argument as openly put as necessary to see the double standard is not arguing that all, or most black men or teenagers, are crass, anti-social, obnoxious, egotistical, angry, etc., but in truth some are so, and so it has led some people to wonder: “Why do some women cling to such men—no matter what their color?”. Nevertheless blonde woman have to worry about measuring up—soul-wise because they are open to attack—which is why many blonde woman are not attacked as whores—they make a positive attempt not to be viewed as such. Yet how is it that so many are so willing to see the racism of criticizing some arguments on certain sides of the fence but not on the opposite?

Media people tend to rationalize that people like Paris Hilton are celebrities and therefore they are open game—such as open to be name called a slut. They retort with: “What is the big deal, etc.? She is wealthy, famous, a celebrity and so fair is fair.”

Yet this is not about one person—it is about which “class” of people who seem more targeted as scapegoats. Furthermore, who says (as rationalization) or who supposedly dictates the idea that just because someone is famous that person has no right to some privacy from the prying espionage of the paparazzi and media? This attitude that just because one is a celebrity one has no right to privacy is a media conceit—not a norm of fairness. Meanwhile media people do not readily recognize their own raunchy motives. They certainly do not scrutinize themselves—yet they too are equally “public” persons because they perform a public function. Furthermore they do not reinforce paparazzi spying on owners and executives of big media companies—the good old boys and girls with the “real” power. How come we don’t read more sleaze on the movers and shakers and weasels of news empires?

Whereas Howard Stern, although a man who has hosted “many” women on his TV show to act like what—promiscuous maybe—has he been termed by main stream media as a kind of pimp by hosting such provocation? Hardly.

Granted Stern has paid real dues to the puritanical right wing of American and the FCC, but the executives and denizens of news rooms themselves hardly consider much of his behavior, or mode of operation, as demanding harsh or derogatory criticism.

Rather Howard Stern gets kid’s glove treatment, as far as put-down labeling, or slights to his personhood—regarding his befitting the social norms of public figures (again noting that we are not discussing the religious and puritanical right of America which thinks otherwise). Arguably Howard Stern is then also a slut of sorts so why the double standard by main stream media?

In fact Mr. Stern recently got a lot of free publicity about his new radio show, and all the money he has contracted to make from this broadcasting enterprise. He certainly was not derided like he constantly needed to be on the lookout for more cheap shots (well maybe because stern is older than Hilton makes him more mature?).

And this double standard is not just about sexism that some hyper-genderists would quickly conclude—as if it is just that Hilton is a woman and this proves the sexist standard irrespective of which sex is accusing Hilton of being a slut. Note that the women that appeared on Stern’s past TV shows too were seldom hounded about being whores or sell-outs by newspapers; yet they did as much, if not more, in the way of sexual provocation.

Nevertheless Hilton and Stern, arguably, both seem to cater to (and exploit) prurient interests—but why is there so much more criticality for Paris Hilton as a slut then good old boy Stern—who is left alone as he is just another shrewd eastern establishment Jewish capitalist?

No doubt—there is an established truth that if you are male (especially) and are making money off the sexual frustrations and desires of others by producing heavy or light porn the powers-that-be (the media) tend to leave you alone. Many women too make good money in these same industries (some don’t even pay taxes). You have pornography, prostitution, strip dance clubs, 800-dial phone numbers, etc., and these are huge markets. They are huge because there is more sexual and social loneliness (and frustration) than what society cares to talk about—so people are rife for financial exploitation and various kinds of titillation. Thus comedy shows invite subjects that are in need of comedic relief.

And it should be noted that most of the money that flows into the sex industry, by far is paid out of the “male” wallet (regardless of your personal take on such a truism).

Hugh Heffner, another panderer of sorts, seemed to imagine himself a “liberator” for sexual freedom, when in reality he was more an opportunist taking advantage of sexual deprivation—that is he catered to supposed men’s fantasies. Nevertheless he even got a Freedom award from B’nai Brith’s Anti Defamation League (something Larry Flint did not even get when he published pictures of the Vietnam War in response to being accused of pornographic and roguish “offensiveness” by puritanical zealots). Yet the sexual fantasies (supposed male ‘exploits’) printed in Heffner’s catered to male sexual anxieties. The graphic prose almost always included the “ample” dimensions of the man’s penis size (apparently this was perpetually important—one never got the impression that women worried so much about genitalia rejection or equated “adequacy” as “equality”). fantasies, as written, also stressed how “many” multiple s a woman had before the male finally succumbed to the inevitable, etc. The underlying message from this supposedly “freedom liberation” magazine was one of “catering” to female pleasure as male performance duty. And naturally it was the woman who screamed in ecstasy while the man was doing his everlasting ego grunt job as object. Nevertheless such fantasies honored the politically correct concept of mutual —or social ideal of simultaneous perfection, etc.

I say all this is way of the fact that Howard Stern’s past TV shows (the few that I watched) catered to these same socially learned male concerns in the commercials that aired on his show: advertisements about penile enlargement; sirens wanting listeners to call 800 numbers when becoming hot—paying those “shrewd” business partners (that association of telecommunication business savvy exploiters) that made money (their cut) while women cooed and blushed on the phone.

Yet if you (as a regular male) really felt you had the freedom to actually engage in the physical act of sex (or even talk about it openly without fear of being labeled a sexist pig) would you pay two to four dollars a minute to call some unknown stranger (who is most likely unattractive) and merely talk about your sexual fantasies (while revealing your personal privacy)? Is this then the sexual “power” feminists kept harping about for the last several decades as if paying money was strictly the exploitation of women?

The bottom line is—you can not consider yourself to be sexually free if it is considered bad form to even talk about your sexual desires to women openly or to act them out with real people (or visa versa). Yet this is precisely the world modern colleges and the mass media created—this constant carping about sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, double standards, etc. For a long time there was a serious chill in the relations between men and women that still exists somewhat more covertly today.

Why should media people especially (these people who like to air everybody else’s dirty laundry) get away with labeling certain women whores or sluts in their newspapers? Meanwhile these are the same people who want to tell everyone else in society what is acceptable and what is not. Think about it—these are the people who think it is their right to judge everyone else except themselves.

Ultimately what the “slut” labeling act (anti-erotic judgmentality) does is get women to feel guilt about their own sexuality. Then some of these guilty women (too many) tend to project their own guilt onto men (as prejudice) so that their attitudes about what constitutes appropriate behavior and conversation becomes stultified and rigid.

This same name calling equally stifles a man’s right to be sexual as well. In another words the people who are judging Hilton are also buying into the label—so that they too feel a need to restrict their own sexual freedom and spontaneity through their guilt/ shame mentality, as they then are left to adopt harsh judgments and rigid personalities. (Meanwhile is not kind of hauteur and snobbish that some of the mass stream media, while they shoot themselves in the foot, still tend to think themselves so sophisticated?)

Furthermore if women in general really worry about competing against the physical beauty of blondes they might contemplate perceiving and treating men more like human beings. In today’s world there are so many attractive women (including blondes—but not strictly) who remain so aloof and distant. As a male you walk by a lot of American women (say like in a neighborhood street) and these women who walk by you do not even recognize your male existence. They stare ahead as if you do not exist (as if you are of a second or third class caste system). And it is not just shyness, fear, or deference although in some cases it is. Your intuition can see the prejudice and distancing—the anti-social buffering as a kind of snide cynicism that you are not their equal.

Therefore if you want to compete against the physically beautiful women simply recognize the amount the amount of narcissism and snobbism there is in this fashion-lust society (as if beauty and better clothes was the whole of what it means to be attractive—like it was the man that gets “lucky”).

Equally recognize the amount of prejudice against men that has built up over the decades. All you need to do is treat men like you do not already presume to judge them as all the same (low-life scum that you want nothing to do with—even if they do not owe a sports car of wear GQ clothes). This suggestion alone ought to help plenty of women compete against those who overly preen themselves on their presumed attractiveness, health, femininity, or whatever hoity snob like defense too many seem to cop).

Yet it amazes me how women who seemingly envy blondes equally presume themselves to be so much more desirable in other ways—presumably like having more soul, rich conversation, resourcefulness or whatever? Well where is it? Where is all this other soul-attractiveness? Could it be that maybe some who think themselves so special maybe really are not that psychologically attractive, and therefore the beauty card becomes even that much more of a threat?

You’ve heard the conceit that men just want to take blondes to bed but they would select else wise when taking that special girl home to meet mother? Supposedly many blonde women don't have anything but their shallow manikin bodies? They don’t have all that charm and realness like other women. Yet if brunettes, etc., are so on top of it—I haven’t seen so much of it—not in this American culture. Can you imagine that the “drag” can be responsibly shared by women too?

And let’s be real here—being a so called slut is not the worst thing in the world. But we are talking about motives—not using a particular label. In fact maybe the world would be a little more humane and loving if people didn’t worry so much about being so labeled and if other people were not so quick to label? Still people fear social rejection and it reinforces rigid ideas about what is to be considered normal, viable and healthy.

So over the decades we have found ourselves stuck in this phony secular morality play in which one feels a need to hide one’s true social needs and desires. This is exactly the “American” hypocrisy people around the world notice—they were shocked more by the American media’s focus on Janet Jackson’s slip than the breast exposure itself—thanks to religious Puritanism, main stream media, and feminist dogma. (And note I’m not against feminism—just the immense hypocrisy part of it).

Nor am I against women labeled sluts—in fact I like a “wholesome” slut with a good attitude—like say (Hollander’s) “Xaviera’s Supersex: her personal techniques for total lovemaking.” For a blonde babe prostitute Xaviera had class. Her book ought to be revived as a classic.

But while on the delicious subject of whoredom—men might be accused of labeling women as sluts but bet your bottom that it is women, as often as not, who “perceive” men as sluts, whores, and sexually cheap—whether men are officially labeled such or not. Gender differences regarding “male” characteristics during the so called feminist revolution (that did not conform to what were touted as female values) were viewed as inferior or less humane. In another words if men were by nature more promiscuous then such promiscuity had to be labeled as vice, inferiority and exploitation (not by direct slut labels but by other equally derogatory explanations as harassment, offensiveness, boorishness, etc). Therefore natural differences between the genders were not celebrated as simple reality of difference—but castrated in ways demeaning and denounced.

(Incidentally this is not male “backlash” as one book quickly likes to suggest. Backlash rationalization was another of “many” ways some women continued to suggest men could not handle “real” equality. Explanations were almost always implied men were poor sports and inferior. Meanwhile much of the feminist message was itself backlash to men—for years—to a point that it drove men away from the campus life.)

For example, if some women know don’t like the fact that more men are not asking them out for Valentines—well maybe they should ask themselves when was the last time they got out of their comfort zone of criticizing men for not having confidence, or acting like men or whatever. When was the last time some of these bitter people initiated a date?

Recently a book received free press publicity entitled Are Men Necessary by Maureen Dowd. She apparently used all the clichés about men that have been handed down to female prejudice over the years. So it seems no matter how men act they were always seen as somehow inadequate and inferiority (and such criticality seemed more thrust toward white men who didn’t always get the warm rapport).

Over the years (decades now) very few of these so called “equalists” offered to buy a man a drink at a bar—even if the they were in fact making more money then the male. If a male is seen as poor then he is simply rejected as non-attractive. Equally at a nightclub a woman did not ask a man to dance—no she asked a girl friend—why deign to such lows?

Generally if you were not immediately perceived as a successful male (a success object) there was little but a cold shoulder. Meanwhile women quickly adapted the idea that the male ego (being so fragile) who made less money or could not as easily get a job had psychological problems (self-esteem issues) or was generally unworthy of admiration. A male who got a “wage” or rode the bus (as opposed to owning a car), or is dressed closer towards the poorer classes—got no attention—the silent treatment was one of “you are a nobody—a nothing and a low-life—so don’t waste your life looking at me—because I see no value conversing with you. Have a nice day.”

Anyway I digress—back to Mr. Stern. I do not harbor acrimony against Howard Stern, but he seemed to be getting rather rich on his formulaic type of so called “shock” jock cockiness. Nevertheless he does not seem to be all that brilliant of a man (other than able to capitalize on sexual/social naughtiness)? I may be wrong—I have not admittedly given him much of a chance (he has not earned it) but I mean the guy seems fairly boring and predictable to me. Sure he is getting over on Middle America as shock entertainment (perhaps that is what the good old media boys conceit about themselves—getting over on middle and lower class America?). Yet how much talent does it take to seduce and detract the masses in America?

Is Stern really going to shock America by talking about those finance gurus around the country and all the way up to Wall Street (his New York culture) that have suckered middle and lower class America into accepting cheap ARM mortgage loans that will up end their well-being soon because they really could not afford to buy houses in the first place? Will he discuss how financial corporations write U.S. Congressional legislation like not being able to acquire bankruptcy status—meanwhile the “real” lowlife elites still push credit cards to people who can’t even get decent paying jobs anymore and are going to the skids?

Or is Howy going to shock America by challenging the main stream media to challenge Israel’s politics, such their AIPAC spying on our government (say like become Amy Goodman who does and who get corporate media attention)? Or is he going to get political in any way that goes against the interests of the real media/ banker power brokers of this country? Probably he is not going to shock America too much—besides how could anybody shock America much after pandering Jerry Springer?

Still this is not meant to be an attack on Stern although it may seem that way. There is no law that says he need be original or politically motivated—yet he sure has a way in attracting young fans from say the Midwest to listen to his shows—these same young men that are soon to be drafted into the perpetual war on terrorism (as the U.S. and Israel threaten nuclear pre-emptive strikes) and make the world safe for the rich people and people who can flee to a dual citizen state when America sinks.

Yet I have to say in all true respect the Mr. Howard Stern deserves a sincere compliment. There is something noble in his style of humor—he makes light of something that is human about us—our sexuality. He brings levity to a topic that is in desperate need of replacing the rigid prejudices that many of us grow up with in this culture. For this he deserves accolades because we need to laugh at ourselves and enjoy our humanity (equally as our animality).

People are quick to point out and label sexual abusers and sex offenders as criminal or operating in bad taste; but there is one form of sexual abuse that is seldom addressed—that is the onslaught of guilt and toxic shame people are made to feel about their sexual impulses, desires and behaviors (including and especially men). So as the world turns into more and more a fascist state we need all the humor and comedy we can get. But hopefully it will be more than cheap formulae that really does not truly free the spirit to be and appreciate individuality—even if we share animal passions and appetites—no matter what our ethnicity or sex. ****

This work is in the public domain