Constant teenage titillation

Which begs the question—how does it work?

The critics have a ready answer—a culture-wide race to the bottom, with several “bottoms” thrown in along the way. Sex sells. There’s something to this complaint. Virtue tends to lose to vice, particularly among those who view the vice as compellingly forbidden. To buy the A&F catalog, I visited a store filled with 12-year-old girls daring each other to buy short shorts and giggling about the spring break signs saying “Share your towel. Oil your neighbor. Remember her name.” Anonymous spring break flings are one thing for college students to be fantasizing about. They’re another thing entirely for the preteens who flock to A&F stores. The catalog is certainly part of the constant teenage titillation today’s culture provides, from the booty-shaking videos on MTV’s Total Request Live, to The Thong Song’s lyrics, to movies that sneak by with PG-13 ratings. Continue reading »

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