Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Original Title Was "TMI"

Kendra Wilkinson Baskett is an author. That’s right. She was a stripper. Then she was a Playboy bunny. Then she moved in with Hugh Hefner as the third of his “girlfriends.” Then she was the star of a reality show. Then she was the star of a very personal video. Then she was the star of another reality show. AND NOW SHE’S AN AUTHOR. Sorry to yell, but, come on. Why do reality stars write books? Listen, we already know too much about you from that reality TV show you’re on, okay? There was no reason at all for me to care about Kendra's book. I wasn't planning to read it. I hadn't thought much about it. As far as I was concerned, there was every reason to laugh and scoff at Kendra’s book, but no reason to pay it any mind.

I really wish I hadn’t paid it any mind.

I read a lot of blogs. It’s part of my job. I read, and I write. So when something happens that catches the attention of celebrity bloggers, I usually read about it multiple times. Different writers have different information, and it’s always interesting to get different points of view on an issue or event. Today I read probably five articles about Kendra’s book, Sliding Into Home; evidently she started her press blitz this morning. As a result, today I read, probably five times, Kendra’s very direct description of her first intimate encounter with Hugh Hefner, an experience she shared with a group of girls. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that the story is haunting me. And I'm not haunted by what you might expect. It's not, “Eww, Hef is old and gross and I don’t want to think about that.” I mean, yeah, that, too, but what really gets me is Kendra’s very matter-of-fact description about a group act designed to initiate women into some sort of…job. Right? I mean, that’s what happened, isn’t it? It gets worse when Kendra explains how she decided to “go upstairs to Hef’s room” that day. “It seemed like every other girl was going, and if I didn’t it would be weird,” she writes. Well, Kendra, actually, what’s weird is being intimate with a dozen women and a much older man you’ve just met for a job interview. Kendra wants us to know, though, that where some might see sexual harassment, she saw bliss. "The next morning…I felt special, loved, and pretty. Isn’t that all a girl really wants out of a boyfriend?” she writes. Sure, Kendra. That’s all.

The Hef “party” story is clearly every blogger’s favorite salacious excerpt from Kendra’s tell-all tome, but it only ties for the title of most depressing excerpt. It shares that crown with Kendra’s description of how she went from drug-abusing mess to happy, healthy, confident Kendra. She was saved from a life of abusing herself by…wait for it…stripping! She writes, “For the first time in my life I felt sexy and powerful. I was the top earner in that club. But I thought I’d do even better if I were bigger…I had my dream boobs and business was good!” Dream boobs, people. Dream. Boobs. Once you read this excerpt, the other makes perfect sense, right? I mean, when one’s first experience of being sexy and powerful is working as a stripper, then the most logical career choice is, in fact, concubine.

To be fair, I haven't read the book. But the excerpts scare me. It scares me that the book is being presented as a juicy memoir when it sounds more like a sad story that perpetuates dangerous ideas. Plus, the book's release comes only weeks after Kendra's video scandal died down. On top of the fact that the moral of her story seems to involve prostitution making dreams come true, it's Kendra overkill. It's just too much of one person to be put on public display. It's creepy, people. Think about it.
 I’m not saying that Kendra should be ashamed of her past, and I am not asserting that she is a bad person. Kendra, you seem like a nice enough girl, but, come on. Don’t glorify stripping and selling your body. That's not good for anybody. At the very least, spare us the naked Hef stories, okay?

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