J500 Media and the Environment


If Lyle Lovett and Rod Stewart are…then why not the environment? by shemme
February 11, 2008, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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Hmm, let’s see, how do I sex up environmentalism? I think an experiment is in order! Yes, a sexy experiment, indeed.

I called up a few friends and read the following two sentences aloud to them:

As the long shaft of the big black coal plant’s stack penetrates the womb of Mother Nature, the goddess shudders. She’s definitely hot and bothered, but not in a good way.

My boyfriend: Wow, that was raunchy. (Laughing)

Me: Does that mean anything to you?

My boyfriend: It’s humorous. It makes you pay attention more. (Smiles)

Female Friend 1: Wow..sounds dirty! (Laughs to point of not being able to breathe)

Female Friend 2: (Silence) Uh… read it again. (I read it again) So, basically the coal plant is raping the earth and Mother Nature? Yeah, that’s interesting. (Giggles)

Male Friend 3: (Silence) Uh, ok. (Long pause) Sounds like a metaphor for pollution, like the environment is getting raped…by the coal plants. (Starts giggling) I definitely smell what you’re steppin’ in.

Maybe this isn’t quite the approach that most environmentalists would take in order to “sex up” environmentalism, but hey, it seemed to work. They all got the message, right?

I’m guessing that what Ahh-nold meant was that we need to make going green attractive to mainstream America. We know that sex sells, but can it sell ideas and new habits? Sex seems to really sell booze, clothing, most commercial products, cars, perfume, vacations and concert tickets. Can sex sell recycling, biodiesel, and eco-architecture? (Check out the links, because some are definitely giving it a try.)

And just for fun, you gotta watch these videos:

Please be aware that the video below is somewhat graphic:

For anyone who has ever made a video starring their Grandma:

A student group at the University of Washington attempts “Sustainability is Sexy” here:

At last! The super sexy organic energy drink we’ve all be waiting for!

Somebody somewhere is probably “peaking” just watching this:

Ok, I guess that’s probably enough videos. I guess my point is that we’re trying to be sexy, but we’re just not there yet.

~ SARAH H

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3 Comments so far
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I think you are right when you point out that maybe most environmentalists wouldn’t neccessarily WANT the green movement to be sexed up, but in America, sex is what WORKS, whether we like it or not. Why not use that to our advantage? I’ve already seen celebrities starting new trends. Who were some of the first people to start buying Pruises? CELEBS. That’s when people starting lining up for them at the dealerships. Just the other day I saw a picture of Lindsay Lohan carriying a bag that read “this is NOT a plastic bag,” and what do I find while browsing a favorite Web site of mine? The same bag! And guess what? It was SOLD OUT. Go figure. Even though it’s not the the ideal way, ultimately I am a firm believer that IT WILL get the final message across. Make the environment sexy, and people will follow. This is America.

Sarah Nelson

Comment by snelson33

snelson33:
I agree that sex works to sell PRODUCTS. But can it sell ideas, habits, lifestyle change, wisdom, etc.?

TREND: implies something fleeting. Like tight-rolled jeans in the early 90s – thank god it was a trend that lived and died, never to return (keeping fingers crossed).

Would it be ok if environmentalism was reduced to just another trend that everyone forgot about a year from now?

What about all the celebrities doing humanitarian work in 3rd world countries? How many people have followed suit? The general public reads those stories and probably thinks “Oh that’s nice, Angie is saving the children in [insert African country here] again…hey, did you see what dress she wore to the Oscars this year?”

Did the message regarding the plight of orphans in Africa get across? I’m not so sure.

In your examples above – I’m willing to bet $1 (that’s right, real money) that at least one person who bought that bag has no idea what it actually refers to. Somebody somewhere probably thought it was a “Cute” novelty saying (like “Mrs. Pitt) or somehow related to surrealist art (see René Magritte and his work called ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe.’) How many people plan to actually use the bag as their shopping bag in place of plastic sacks? Don’t know. I’m willing to bet one more whole dollar that somebody (or maybe even a few) will probably use it as a gym bag, overnight bag, purse, bookbag, etc.

Oh yes, by the way, I saw on E! the other night that Paris Hilton bought herself a Yukon hybrid for her birthday. I gotta say I’m not impressed with the EPA highway fuel economy rating of 22 mpg.

Yes, this is America.

Sarah Hemme

Comment by shemme

Good things that stood out to me in this post:
Very creative way to address the sexy language to grab attention. We violate the Earth everyday but it’s easy to ignore– I find your metaphor appropriately appalling. Inappropriate for young audiences, however.
Sustain My Ride is a good idea and a great example of how the message can be planted where people don’t know to tune it out.

Bad thing about your post.
I saw some private parts.

Sonya E

Comment by Sonya




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