J500 Media and the Environment


Gaia gets a makeover by jkongs
February 12, 2008, 3:35 pm
Filed under: Society + Media

Beer companies know it. Perfume companies know it. Designers know it. Even Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger knows it: sex sells. Advertisers definitely know it, you can’t turn on the TV, open a magazine, or walk into your local Target without getting a full-on shot of a size 00 seductress asking you to buy something without saying a word.

The environmental movement got that cute sells (think of the penguins and the polar bears), but it has yet to fully embrace the whole sex thing. The problem is that there is no sexy chick to mascot for environmentalism. Sure, there are hot celebs hugging trees all over the media, and that’s done its own share – but the fact remains that Mother Nature herself is not hot.

Now picture this: the next global warming (or climate change, or weather irregularities and possible resulting discomfort) ad comes out. A super hot Ferngullyesque model is leaning against a lone tree, pouting ever so deliciously, looking sultry as she peers over a recently plowed down stretch of boreal forest. “Save a Tree, Stop Global Warming” is printed across the bottom of the scene – not that it matters what the words say, the picture will say it all and more.

It would be even better to have an animated Gaia figure – the name Mother Nature is out obviously, no sex appeal there – made into stickers, action figures, maybe even a cartoon show, a sort of sexed-up Captain Planetess. And why not? Moral qualms, dumbing down of a serious contemporary issue – pshaw. Nature is sex – bumble bees making love to flowers, rabbits popping out multiple love bunnies, the animal drive to survive and reproduce. It’s about time humans joined in and let a pair of womanly hips and full juicy lips say what politicians, academics, and journalists have been trying to say for decades:

Global climate change is H-O-T-T Hot.

–Jennifer

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3 Comments so far
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Jennifer, You are on to something very interesting! “Nature is sex – bumble bees making love to flowers, rabbits popping out multiple love bunnies, the animal drive to survive and reproduce.” This is what I was trying to emphasize in “Stung” (Elizabeth Kolbert’s article). We could actually leverage what we already have instead of trying to sex up the polar bears.

Simran Sethi

Comment by j500

Even the first paragraph of Kolbert’s essay — and Simran, this is the quintessential example of what I’m talking about when I say essay — offers an illustration of Jennifer’s post:

“Not long ago, I found myself sitting at the edge of a field with a bear and thirty or forty thousand very angry bees. The bear was there because of the bees. The bees were there because of me, and why I was there was a question I found myself unable to answer precisely.”

This is intelligent, sexy writing. The natural world isn’t separate from us, but we often treat it as “other.” So when a writer says with an air of danger that she’s hanging out with 30K bees and a bear, but offers that titilating mystery that she doesn’t know why, it makes me want to know more. Writing (or another medium, like video) that puts you in the environment that we so blithly ignore is sexy — it gets your attention, it makes you want to be there. Or at least, it does that for a bee geek like me.

Jen Humphrey

Comment by jenh

So the real question is should the environment be the shy, mysterious type or should we push it out there as the bold and beautiful? Nature is both, both quiet and full of secrets, yet bright and shockingly pronounced – if you don’t believe me just think of a male vs. female cardinal : bright red and round to brown with subtle hues of hidden pink feathers and small. Everybody has their own type, so its important to represent nature as sexy on different levels, too.

Jennifer Kongs

Comment by jkongs




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