Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Girls gone wild: what happens on the bus happens all across America

Posted By on Tue, Sep 7, 2010 at 10:30 AM

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“We completely forgot about the girls in the shower,” yelled the DJ at Platinum Showgirls.

The three naked women in the glass shower were still using each others' breasts as loofahs even though the crowd was concentrated on the drama unfolding on the main stage. Would the petite blonde give in to the DJ's coaxing and the crowd's chanting for her to take it off?

I arrived at Platinum Showgirls two hours before the Girls Gone Wild (GGW) event started, giving me plenty of time to reflect on the GGW video playing on mute behind the bar. The video featured 15-minute segments of women slowly stripping on the GGW bus. Compared to hardcore porn or the live girls at Platinum, I couldn't understand the phenomenon that was GGW. Whether it's successful because it's an introduction to porn for college students, or a product that can be aired with on-demand networks, or a way to finally see that wild girl from your high school naked,  GGW must be doing something right. Its empire continues to grow, including a magazine, two buses searching for beautiful women all across America, an on-demand show on hd.net, and even its own Caribbean island.


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Chris Redburn, aka DJ Red, got involved with GGW after inviting the bus to a club where he worked in Michigan. He's also behind the GGW theme song "Go Wild." In contrast to typical recording artists, Redburn is surprisingly business-minded and blunt, especially when it comes to what GGW is looking for. GGW isn't interested in the "stripper look." His crew wanted to capture the hot college-girl-next-door type who seems like she normally wouldn't do this sort of thing. However, considering the event took place at a fully nude bar, the stripper type is exactly what showed up.

When a frat-house worth of college guys filled Platinum, four of the club's dancers paraded through the door dressed in street clothes and trailed by two cameramen. The club DJ, Redburn, and Bubba the Love Sponge's producer, Spiceboy, all had mics to instigate the action. When they asked to see tits, these women obliged. When they mentioned the empty shower stall to the left of the stage, three of the four began to lather up.

Asked whether the crew denies unattractive or older women, Redburn said, “We don’t. If a girl wants to get on the bus and do her thing, we let her, but we're not going to use the footage."

Two cameramen had infiltrated the club to capture the action, but one soon retreated to film private sessions with women on the bus. This cameraman was gone the entire night. I had assumed the crew harnessed the power of free liquor to get women to strip or perform sex acts. While this may have been the case at other locations, Platinum Showgirls doesn't have a liquor license.

“This is the first show I’ve done without alcohol,” Redburn said. "So we'll see what happens.”

It turns out alcohol isn't a vital part of the GGW equation. The cameramen merely interviewed women, told them how hot they were, and invited them back to the bus. For extra coaxing, the crew could also offer cash.

“Ninety percent of the girls don’t want money,”Redburn said, and from what I saw this was true.

Many of the women in attendance came with a purpose. Exactly what that purpose was, I'm not sure. While waiting for the show to start, I could accurately predict which would volunteer to get on stage. They were the attractive college-aged women who came early and waited quietly with their male companions. Maybe they just wanted to watch the show, but along with the DJ, the cameramen and the entire crowd, we all assumed that no attractive woman would show up to a GGW event if she didn't want to participate.

Volunteers were pulled onstage, flanked by clusters of professional skin artists. While these dancers knew what they were doing and were well versed at telling horny men no, the amateurs often looked less than comfortable. One petite blonde from eastern Europe was repeatedly called out by the DJ who also made fun of her boyfriend for not sharing her with the rest of the club. Finally a bouncer carried her onstage. After much coaxing from the men with microphones and the crowd, and a thumbs up from her boyfriend, she did go topless. But, as is the tendency at strip clubs, the crowd just wanted more.

During the oil wrestling matches, the question of consent became more slippery. If one woman is pinned, does she really have a choice if her opponent  rips off her top or inserts a finger as the DJ suggests? None of the volunteers had microphones. The three commentators would suggest something like deep-throating a banana, and the crowd would get revved up to see this before anyone asked the volunteers if they were comfortable with it. Mix in the pressure of the crowd and the excitement of being center stage, and the women consented more than they said no. The amateurs' biggest guardians were the professional dancers who would conference with the volunteers before each act, then motion to the DJ whether the new women were okay with a certain act or not.

Instead of bananas, the DJ suggested that surely something a bit more lifelike could be produced from the Pink Pony sex shop next door. Soon, an amateur was wearing a strap-on while a dancer performed fellatio on the purple phallus. These two women refused to do anything more explicit, but as was the case the entire night, when one woman refused, another was ready to volunteer. This was how the newly 18-year-old Brazilian blonde dancer named Rio stepped into the shower with another performer who looked comfortable wearing the strap-on.

After this scene, Redburn redirected the action to the main stage for a wet t-shirt contest. It was 1 o’clock and they were hyping the party until 6 a.m.. I decided to leave, doubting it could get much more wild, though I was probably wrong.

“Attendance is a little low,” Chris told me while volunteers lined up onstage, “but the entertainment value — Jesus — I’ve never seen that happen before.”

Still completely naked, Rio hopped up to a guy reviewing the contents of his camera phone. “Did you get that?” she asked excitedly.

While many may still believe GGW exploits women, consider the counter example. Would you feel as sympathetic for men who are filmed naked on the bus? I would argue that an 18-year-old female is much more sexually aware and difficult to exploit than an 18-year-old male, and yet I doubt few would believe that guys who agree to be filmed jacking off are being exploited. This situation is not hypothetical. An attractive camera woman interviewed the men in attendance, searching for guys who would get naked on the bus for Guys Gone Wild.

“I’ll get on that bus and jack off,” the bartender told the camera woman. “Hell, yeah.”

Males were also being used as props for the performers to demonstrate their lap dancing abilities or as lube applicators for the oil wrestlers. If you don't think these men are being manipulated, then you can't say that the women are being exploited.

Part of why so many people question the ethics of GGW is because it's unclear what women get out of the deal.

"The same girls that come to these things are the same girls who go to spring break and flash their tits to drivers on the ride down," said Redburn.

For him, GGW is a traveling spring break — albeit the kind of spring break glamorized on movies like Piranha 3D; it's a venue for women to sow their wild oats or feel the rush of being lusted after by a room full of men. Perhaps a few hoped to use their GGW appearance on their modeling resume. While performers aren’t paid royalties, some are flown out to California for photo shoots, some are featured in the magazine, and others are asked to help host future events.

Then there's the question of what their parents will think. The volunteers I spoke with weren't worried about their parents. Sure, their performances could be viewed as acts of rebellion, but I think their nonchalant attitude is more a side effect of the information age. These women were born into a world with porn at their fingertips, where sexting and sex tapes are common dating practices. With the Internet becoming saturated with sexual content, perhaps employers who Google potential employees' names won't be shocked when they find provocative images. I can only hope this is the case, as I too have cast my lot with the likes of GGW models; my name is attached to hundreds of sex stories I've written. Is there really a difference between these women using their body to gain recognition and me writing about them for the same purpose?


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