Danica McKellar described her Maxim pictures as “little girl sexy.” It was March 19th on Access Hollywood while promoting her upcoming appearance on Dancing with the Stars.
My blood was already boiling because host Billy Bush called Emilia Clarke on Game of Thrones “Queen Khaleesi.” Khaleesi is not her name, it’s her title. Why do they let him talk?
But Danica is smart, as everyone inevitably points out. She knows how to do math. Barbie once told me “math is hard.” Rest assured, though, Danica is not so smart that men don’t want to fuck her.
Some photos popped up onscreen: McKellar posing on an unmade bed in underwear and knee-high stiletto boots, her pinkie nervously between her teeth as if to say, “I’m just a virgin. You’re not going to hurt a wittle sex kitty wike me, are ya big boy?”
What fun captioning those pictures.
“McKellar helps us solve for (se)X!”
“McKellar’s sexiness has no LIMIT!” (too much Calculus?)
Our society simultaneously condemns pedophilia and sexualizes children. Treats girls on the verge of legal adulthood or puberty as tantalizing treats (remember the countdown to the Olson twins’ 18th birthday? Brittney Spears in a Catholic school uniform? Salma Hayek as a stripper in Dogma wearing ponytails and sucking her thumb?). The responsibility is then placed squarely on the girl: Do not encourage bad behavior, because “boys will be boys” and “modest is hottest.” Even the prohibition of them is exploitative. Look, but don’t touch. Take a really, really good look. Here, we’ll give you some pictures.
You want to know what nauseates me? Someone is going to find my blog now from Googling “sexy little girl.” Do you feel sick? Me too. What are we doing about it?
I am glad that smarter women than I devote themselves full-time to this problem. I have a small suggestion:
Don’t describe little girls as sexy.
If you hear someone else do it, correct them, like so: “I’m sure you didn’t mean to say ‘little girl sexy.’ I think you meant ‘inexperienced, young, but enthusiastically-willing woman’ sexy.”
Lust for women is normal and healthy. The sickness is lust directed toward girls. Fetishizing them.
I’m not going full Jezebel.com on you, I promise. Words are my game. Denotations and connotations. I want to change the language. As George Carlin so hilariously said, if poor people no longer live in slums, but “the economically disadvantaged occupy substandard housing in the inner cities,” then fertile young women who like to wear boots to bed can eagerly consent to sex without being tricked or misled. Or portrayed as girls.
Men are allowed to desire young, sexually mature, consenting women, but there must be no ambiguity about her age in the images or in the language.
“Girls” are children. Women want sex, but the word “woman” has connotations beyond sexual objectification. Women can have power. Girls cannot. They can only have a version of it called “Grrrl Power” which is absolutely adorable.
It’s too late for Danica McKellar not to pose for Maxim Magazine as an underage girl being trafficked for prostitution. She can’t unsay her undoubtedly careless words describing the images. “Math is hawt” sells her books. Marketing’s point of view is the male gaze, whether it’s sexually objectifying the teacher or the school girl. To me, though, the message is “It’s okay to be good at math as long as you’re sexy, look good in your underwear, and objectify yourself.”
I watched women in my generation buy into the wholesale lie that feminism is not owning your sexuality, but selling it. In The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey’s character says the best trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist. Well, the second best was convincing poor white people that helping rich white people get richer is going to benefit poor white people. And a close third is convincing tweens, teens, and twentysomethings that posting naked pictures of yourself on the internet is Female Empowerment.
Here’s your English lesson from Mrs. Odie: the “Either-Or” Fallacy. It goes like this. My sexualized image is going to end up on the internet anyway, so I would rather put it there myself and own it. Which begs the question, “Is your sexualized image going to end up on the internet anyway?”
Sex sells, but it isn’t the only thing that sells. Tina Fey isn’t naked on the cover of Bossypants. It’s like women don’t even think to question the belief that a woman’s worth comes down to her fuckability.
Since celebrities and models can refuse to wear fur, they can refuse to pose as sexualized children. And going naked isn’t the only alternative.
It’s a start. From there, maybe we can figure out how to make women realize that being good at math will make us far more powerful than posing in underwear ever will. I want my daughters to value themselves and be valued for their humanity, not their youth. Their humanity is not temporary. Or for sale.
And it’s Queen Daenarys Targaryan OR Khaleesi, Billy Bush. Not both. Because she is not only the rightful heir of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros but also the Dothraki queen. A very powerful woman, indeed.