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tatu you?

So, my boss asked me to write about Tatu. And a post from biascut a while back got me thinking more about it. And I'd like to ask you all what you think.

With the current tabloid frenzy over the group, most of the fuss in the conservative media seems to come from the fact that the girls are (supposedly) lesbians, rather than the fact that they're dressing in disturbingly sexualized school-uniforms - after all, when Britney did that, it was equally sleazy, but no one made much of a fuss. It looks like much of the objections stem from some sort of homophobia rather than a horror at seeing overly sexualized images of young girls (the Sun just printed a piece comdemning the act as a paedophile creation, while printing about ten vaguely explicit photos of the girls themselves).

But there's the facy that Tatu's manager seems to be, without a doubt, a horrible old pervert who publically admits he wanted to attract an audience who are into underage girls. And the school uniforms and other elements of the project which highlight the girls' youth is, to me, absolutely vile. I'm interested in discussing whether it's possible to divorce the text from the subtext and view the likes of Tatu as queer-friendly; I'm not sure it is, but I do know it's not a black and white issue. As cangetmad pointed out, the very fact of seeing girls their own age kissing other girls in the media is a positive thing for young lesbians - but can that be separated from the fact that pervy old men are both creating the image and getting off on it? There's also the issue of whether the girls in Tatu are actually queer or not, and whether that makes a difference, politically and otherwise.

So tell me what you think, people. This is my unofficial survey so I may quote you as if you're part of a focus group or something (or by your names, if you feel like it). Help me, LJ-ers! You're my only hope! Well, you and the nice people from the Queer Studies course in UCD.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
froodie
Feb. 11th, 2003 04:14 am (UTC)
Judging from the ages admitted on a tatu fan forum (look, i researched!) ages range from 13-ish to early 20s usually, but there were a few 30+ people too.
Some of the people around 17 were 'out and proud' most didn't seem to make it an issue (i did only look at one thread on the forum, so i could be wrong)
i've never seen more than the pictures on the site.
I think that fact that they were created as objects for horribly old men to perv about means that the possibility of them being positive role models is quite slim... depending on the strength of their own characters how the media continue to portray them... it's up to you really :P
stellanova
Feb. 11th, 2003 04:37 am (UTC)
Ooh, could you post a link to that forum? I've found a few so far, but I'd like to see as many as possible.
froodie
Feb. 11th, 2003 06:11 am (UTC)
tatu
http://www.tatugirls.com/bboard/forum/
sorry, i didn't look very hard, it's the first return from google :)
good luck!
alicetiara
Feb. 11th, 2003 10:50 am (UTC)
Well....

Granted, TATU isn't terribly well known State-side yet, but I'm sure they will be, as MTV2 is playing the heck out of "Things She Said". Most of the kids on my friends list who have name-checked them are either queer themselves or queer friendly, and I know the band is reaching iconic status among a certain sub-group of queer girls (although the older and more political are bringing up the same questions you are here).

I think what people need to do is separate the creator's intent from the way the public is consuming the culture. Sure, the band was created to perv out older guys, although that seems like kind of a lame strategy to me. (Why they wouldn't just go buy some "Barely Legal" g-g porn instead? And I don't know that many older men who sit around listening to bubble-gum top 40, but maybe by "older" they mean "30".) However, I'm not seeing most kids even questioning that these girls are lesbians, and most of them are like, cool, a gay top 40 act. People will appropriate icons wherever they can, regardless of what the icon's own intentions may be (look at any not-out icon of gay culture, some of whom are not at all appreciative of their gay fans, and you'll see that-- I'm trying to think of a good example, but I'm not coming up with anything).

So overall I think they do more good than harm. Although I would love to see a representation of lesbianism (or any type of queer sexuality) in Top 40 that's not sexualized in a very specific, pornographic (as in they're appropriating pornographic girl-girl imagery) way, I'm not seeing that happening any time soon.

Plus, I kinda like their crappy Top 40 dance pablum. So shoot me.
stellanova
Feb. 12th, 2003 05:01 am (UTC)
Yeah, I like it too, in all its cheese-tastic glory. It's just the emphasis on their youth that freaks me out, really.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 24th, 2003 07:08 pm (UTC)
ambivalent
As ever. We have both the original Russian release and the US release of 200 miles an hour in the wrong lane or whatever it's called. I like it okay, although it's not replacing the stuff in top rotation. I haven't heard much about the girls themselves except for an interview here in Seattle where the blonde one made a crude reference to going cruising using language you can't use on the radio. But what little I do hear points to bisexual rather than lesbian.

I tend to take them more as they present themselves than how and why they were created. 17 year olds are highly sexualized, so I think yes they're playing it somewhat for shock value but I don't pay too much attention to it. I think even the manager is going for shock, since the audience of pervy old men into underage girls is a lot smaller than what I think they're really seeking. It's sensationalism of the "it doesn't matter what they say as long as they're talking about you" type.

And as ever, I like them better in their native language than in English. But I know I'm in the minority there. It's a little strident at times (geez that girl has a high pitched voice!) and maybe not ground breaking, but I like it better any Britney I've ever heard.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 25th, 2003 11:45 am (UTC)
Re: ambivalent
Sorry, I was distracted and forgot to put my name in. This is FishDreamer.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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