Editor, the Gauntlet,
Re: "Parting Shots," Oct. 21, 2002.
After reading Jackie Panera's article on Christina Aguilera, I was left a little confused. Certainly I am used to reading criticism of America's pop icons typically centred around their attire and behavior, but in this article, Jackie Panera drew conclusions that although were refreshingly original, were way out in left field in terms of accuracy and reality. Panera wrote "[Christina Aguilera] is trying to turn a profit by exploiting women and children who are victims in Thailand's sex industry."
No, Christina is trying to turn a profit by exploiting herself, plain and simply, just as you later mentioned.
The sex trade in Thailand is abhorrent and there are many victims, but let's keep our anger on the radar screen. The perpetrators are not the Timberlakes, Spears's and Aguileras. It is the Johns, the pimps and the government. While we can blame pop music for superficial lyrics, bad fashion and outrageous rumours, it is not responsible nor related to issues in Thailand.
Panera continues, "In this video (which has been banned in Thailand)..." as if that is actually relevant? It is illegal to chew gum in Singapore and illegal to have an individual political thought in China. How the hell does Thailand banning the video prove anything? Panera writes after making reference to the provocative billboards allegedly promoting Thailand's sex trade, "Supposedly the singer had no knowledge as to what these Thai billboards promoted..." No she probably did not. In fact, she probably only saw these images after the video had been produced. How much input do you think Aguilera actually has in her videos? Do you think these were her ideas? Do you think Aguilera even thinks for herself? She has a team of producers, choreographers and pushers that call all the shots. She is a puppet in a big play that makes up the music industry. In essence, you have the correct dart board but the wrong slot.
Panera then makes reference to Thailand's problem with underage prostitution and sex trade. Well, you need not look to Thailand for these problems. Look in your own back yard. That's right, two Calgary teens aged 14 won the right to not be held in detention under the prevention of prostitution and numerous studies by Calgary Police vice units indicated girls start their careers in prostitution as young as 14.
Unfortunately, I don't think Aguilera or her handlers think the video was a "mistake." The fact that you wrote this article only helped sell records. In fact, I went and found the video after reading the article and am certain the message you derived from it is far fetched. How do you know Aguilera was not calling for reform in Thailand? Do you hate her and her attire and thus assume she is promoting the sex trade? By my view, there was no indication that she had any opinion on the sex trade in Thailand. It was a backdrop chosen arbitrarily by some cheese-ball producer.
"It is time for pop stars to become less concerned about their flat navels and more politically aware." No it is not. Pop stars are actually doing their jobs. It is time for politicians to become more politically aware, starting with the SU and George W. Bush. And regarding the fact that Christina seems to enjoy being exploited, maybe she does. Maybe she goes home every day to her multi-million dollar posh mansion and thinks it is so funny that she wears sexy clothing, dances around, flaunts her sexuality and has people writing articles about it in Canadian university newspapers. That's right; Aguilera likes the exploitation all the way to the bank.