Entertainment » Culture

Bad Girls and the Gays Who Love Them

by Keith Price
Friday Jul 18, 2014

Since the beginning of time, we have witnessed the evolution and the ultimate celebration of the "bad girl." In Biblical times, we turn to Eve, mother of us all, but ultimately she is the person held responsible for getting herself and Adam kicked out of paradise. We will never forgive Delilah for stripping Sampson of his power with one haircut. It seems that both of these women used their powers of persuasion to take things away from men. In the early days of the FBI, Bonnie Parker - of the infamous crime duo, Bonnie and Clyde - along with Arizona Donnie Barker, aka Ma Barker, were notorious murderers and bank robbers who cared little of what anyone thought of them, and men feared them. Certainly a gun in the hand makes anyone equally capable of causing fear.

Once the world of entertainment began to capture the images of bad girls, the journey to tell those stories became a rewarding challenge. Donna Summer made a hit out of them. Faye Dunaway's portrayal of Bonnie Parker in the 1967 classic Bonnie and Clyde put her on the map as a star. Charlize Theron became an international sensation after her chilling portrayal of lesbian and serial killer Aileen Wournos. Do you even remember my favorite bad girl, The Bad Seed's Rhoda Penmark? She murdered her classmate for a penmanship medal that was supposed to be hers. She set her gardener on fire because he threatened to expose her secret dark side, and Rhoda was only 8 years old. For the musical fans, one cannot deny the power of "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago. Every woman in the line confesses that her homicidal energy was focused
on the man that did her wrong - except the Polish woman, whose only
understandable words are "Not Guilty." In any case, do any of these images actually help move women forward?

Today, as the line between fiction and reality continue to blur, we see that bad girl behavior curries more favor, exposure, and financial rewards. If you don't believe me, just ask Snooki, any "real housewife" of any city, the "basketball wives," or go directly to Oxygen's Bad Girls Club. These shows seemingly have brought nothing profound to our society for women, except for making weave-pulling, name-calling, cat fights, and table-throwing de
rigueur. It is also creating a whole new generation of folks who believe that this behavior is how one becomes rich and famous in our society.

Now that the second season of Netflix's Orange Is the New Black has started, it is clear that this show has taken the country by storm. It
shows the lives of women in prison while darting between funny and serious. These women are up to all kinds of shenanigans that certainly would classify them as bad girls, but unlike those housewives of wherever, their impact on our society has been quite different. This show has made a major impact on the culture by challenging beliefs and causing meaningful discussions about sexuality, gender identity, and race relations, all with a touch of pathos and huge dose of humor. Lea Delaria, aka Big Boo, once said that some young man walked up to her and said how much he loved her on the show; a few years earlier, she said, that kid might have tried to bash her. Juilliard graduate Danielle Brooks, aka Tasty, says that her involvement in this show magnifies some of the real hardships of women of color outside and behind bars. Laverne Cox, most recently seen on the cover of Time, had an open discussion about her life as a transgender black female and brought attention to what was coined by the magazine as the "Transgender Tipping Point." These are things that might not have happened if these fictional "bad girls" did not do what they are doing. So love them or hate them, from the beginning of time, bad girls have scared us, made us think - and some of them are making a real difference. Viva la bad girls!


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