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ONLY A PIECE OF PAPER

Dreamed 1980/12/15 by Chris Wayan

I'm visiting local folksinger Kate Wolf. She plays me a new song she's writing, about images of sexy women being used to sell things, in ads:

Only a piece of paper,
how did a paper matter so much?
Do you still like ME?
Ain't I a woman, without
a piece of paper?
Your eyes are full of paper--
I'm over here!

I'm not pretty as a picture!
I'm not pretty as a picture!

How can I compete
with her perfect paper ass?
Will you treat me like
A black girl in Joburg without her pass?

1999 NOTE

For years I vaguely recalled this dream as being an anti-porn song; but when I finally reread it, I found my memory had completely distorted it! Kate was very specific: her song was about fashion ads.

And it's true. The sexual tease in ads is worse than porn, for it's anonymous and backgrounded. Erotica, even porn, is an imaginary window framing a subject who at least is taken seriously--a fantasy character is established and the viewer sees a sex object as an imaginary lover. But in fashion ads, the model's character must be bland and subdued: no name, no strong emotions or actions to upstage the product. You're just a skin coathanger. Ads are MORE objectifying than porn!

But capitalism has way better-paid lawyers than pornographers, so you won't be hearing that viewpoint in the mainstream any time soon...



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