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Peak Year: 2002

Pop tarts without the record deal. Since 1998, Joe Francis‘ low-budget porn enterprise has convinced thousands of drunk spring-breakers to reveal their genitals to creeps across America for only a Girls Gone Wild t-shirt in return. Francis’ skeezy business inspired a decade of amateur sex tapes, which, in turn, made amateur celebrities—-Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian both received a significant fame bump when their sexcapades went viral. Francis fends off accusations that he’s exploiting women by forcing every unpaid amateur featured on Girls Gone Wild to sign a release form. But the decade’s proliferation of amateur porn has convinced some enthusiasts that images of naked women are always fair game for public consumption—-whether or not the sex object is a willing participant in the dissemination. Now, everything from Carrie Prejean‘s private masturbation tape to Erin Andrews‘ nonconsensual naked stalking video to exhaustive coverage of inadvertent nipple slips is fodder for internet porn.

Ambassadors: Paris, Kim, The girls of Girls Gone Wild

Uniform: Oh, you know.

Activities: Attempting to achieve sexual liberation for women through pleasing men.




Peak Year: 2003

Women—-from Pam Grier to Grace Jones to Sarah Connor—-have been kicking ass on-screen for decades. In the aughts, ass-kickers from Buffy to the Bride to Lara Croft further explored the intersection of femininity and female physical power. Croft—-a character that required gorgeous celebrity Angelina Jolie to wear falsies to measure up to the character’s infamous chest—-was a sex object through and through, while Buffy worked to subvert the on-screen image of the helpless, petite blond. The Bride, from Quentin Tarantino‘s Kill Bill, provided a clusterfuck of gory / feminine imagery, from the Bride’s near-death in her maternity wedding dress to a pregnancy test turned death-match.

Ambassadors: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Bride in Kill Bill

Uniform: Leather, bodysuits.

Activities: Fighting demons, exacting revenge



Peak Year: 2005


The extreme popularity of the materialistic and frivolous Sex & the City girls has inspired some to see the television series (and subsequent film spin-off) as a harbinger of doom for the entire female gender. Alyssa Rosenberg (and Simon Pegg*) havedeftly argued that Sex & the City is Star Wars for women, but with shoes instead of light-sabers—-it’s a fantasy world, not a sign of the Apocalypse. But despite the obvious feminine escapism embodied by Carrie Bradshaw and her sex-obsessed, marriage-ready, Manolo-wearing, brunch-eating, Cosmo-swilling coterie of overgrown city girls, there are some women who take the lifestyle to heart—-the ones that bid $19,000 on a Sex & the City tour and audibly squeal over the cavernous dimensions of Carrie’s closet.


Ambassadors: The women of Sex & The City

Uniform: Fancy shoes, fashionable (?) tutus.

Activities: Drinking, brunching, and fucking.