Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Alyssa Milano, "Teen Steam" and the Male Gaze

Ugh. F*ckin' guys. Too much of this video is thinly veiled, soft-core exploitation. Too much of it is also a boring workout that she doesn't even do. Skip to 4:05 to see the former.

And for the latter, check out 2:30 in this clip:

Since the makers of the video didn't spend much time developing the actual workout, I'll do the same and spend a minute (predictably) kvetching about the (predictable) teen sexifying going on. She was only 15 when this was made!

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, based on some of Milano's mid-'90s movie titles:

Somewhere in her child-star journey, someone convinced her that having dudes want to wank to you is a strong foundation for a career. So build on that she did, shaping the non-mint-chocolate Milano brand into   perky underage sexual availability. 

And I swear, I don't come to all this tsk-tsking lightly. I was pretty excited to slap this video up and be all, "Hey! The '90s! Alyssa Milano working out with her girlfriends in bicycle shorts! She's so kewt." And she is so cute. She's kind and competent, explaining the moves well (even if she uses the word "diagonally" incorrectly and often) and addressing the viewer like a friend. But the ulterior motives of her corporate masters are just too visible, and they're distracting. The title says it all: who names a workout video Teen Steam and isn't appealing more to horny males than the girls who might actually exercise to it?

Blah blah patriarchy blah. I'm boring myself with this post. Let's forget the whole video ever existed except for the end, when she snaps her fingers to make a boy disappear -- symbolically rejecting all the male-gaze b.s. heaped upon her -- and gets sassy in the studio bobbing her head and singing her theme song. Doing her thang in the booth, "teen steam" is healthily worked-out adolescent angst, not some lunkhead studio exec's wet dream. Let's remember her this way. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Jane Fonda, Part 1

We've checked out a bunch of celebrity workout videos here at World of Sass, but Jane Fonda is the real deal. She's the urtext. She blazed the trail, showing scores of poor, ignored C-listers that one day, they too might be able to aerobicize their way back to top (of the B-list, at least). There was Barbarella and Nine to Five; there was that whole "Hanoi Jane" thing, which, oof; but for most of humanity, Jane Fonda = workout lady. Her debut offering, Jane Fonda's Workout (1981) exploded its sass all over pop culture, turning home fitness from a burgeoning trend into a "Let's Get Physical" frenzy and becoming the top-grossing home video of its time. She is the prototypical '80s big-hair leotarded sweatmongerer. Her total catalog includes 26 workout videos, and her most recent one was released in 2012. Lady is 75 years old.

Today we're doing part one of a gifsploration of Jane Fonda's NEW Workout (1985). Once I got started making gifs, I quickly went overboard, because the looks and moves in this video are . . . stupendous. Giving me LIFE. I mean, come on:

Turning that visor OUT.

And that's not even the whole outfit. Behold:

Serving hi-cut LSU realness.

Anyway, the video has beginner and advanced levels, and all these are from the beginner's. It's a 35-minute workout with about 10 minutes (not enough) of light-to-moderate cardio and some serious toning work. We start with some light stretches to wake the body up. . . 

love this guy.

He's a big strong man!

I'm afraid I didn't pay much (any) attention to Jane in my gif-making because she's kinda boring for the first half of the video. She's a dece instructor -- though her cuing is always a little behind -- and of course she looks fabulous, but she's pretty blah until the floor exercises start, and then watch out. Suggestive pelvic curls on a mat are for movie stars, it seems. Working up a sweat with some jumping-jack variations? That's yeoman's work, so Jane shifts the focus to adorable Kelly Kapowksi doppelganger Leslie, who breaks into lip-synced song with the rousing "Do It."

Leslie, she's perky. Even though Fonda tries to fool the audience into believing she's actually singing --she tells viewers, "If you can sing along, you know you're breathing correctly!" -- Leslie puts on her button-nosed game face, adjusts the hot-pink ribbon around her softly teased bangs, and sells the shit out of that "Eye of the Tiger" redux. 

There's so much! More! To you than meets the eye. There's so much! More! To you, you're gonna try, she mouths. And once your giggles start to subside, you start thinking, "She's right. There is so much li-ving, li-ving, li-ving, li-ving, living to dooooooooooo!"

I could watch her do this all day.

Then, after making sweet, tiny-waisted Leslie "sing" her song, Fonda has her lead the cardio section -- and I'll be damned if it ain't just good ol' BPM-raising fun. It cycles through pretty much all the basic aerobic moves. . . 

So many leg warmers!

. . . and then brings in some totally silly hoedown stuff that, if you commit to it, will give you the benefits of both aerobic activity and laughing yoga

High fives for everyoooooone!

Also, Leslie's hot-pink bottoms have this weird vulva-like thing in the front that flaps around. Somehow I felt this was worth mentioning.

After the aerobic peak, Leslie takes the tempo down and sings "Do It" again. From there on out, it's Fonda's time to shine, which I'll cover in the next chapter of this immensely important anthropological study.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Hi, Hanna

Here's Hanna. I just met her and don't know her story, but man can she rock a tan and a day-glo leotard.

Speaking of leotards, did you know that feminism killed them? 

Anyway, I want to get to know you more, Hanna. I find your semi-joyless delivery and loud sense of style intriguing. But it's the weekend, and it's gorgeous out, so I'll leave you in your dishwater-colored studio and check in with ya later.

Just watch out, though, because someone is definitely creeping on you in that plant. 

Are you gonna be ok by yourself?

Cool. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wahly World

Here's some I-Love-the-'90s eye candy to get your britches buzzing. Marky Mark takes a break from his busy pants-dropping schedule to plant a celebrity tree show us all how he keeps himself so swole. I can't find  many good clips of the actual workout, but the intro here allows Wahlberg to flex his acting skills, still in their infancy (pre-Renaissance Man) but eager to grow into Academy Award material. Mark's trainer/cousin/cuz disturbs his shirtless slumber to get him up for their workout. Mr. Sleepyhead makes a big show of getting out of bed and struggling to put on his workout clothes -- he's so sleepy! working out takes sacrifice! -- and then he's in the studio with his bros, explaining the workout with some very poor posture on display.

If you like a strong dash of douchitude with your workout -- if you want to ogle a famous beefcake as he somewhat-charmingly sneers in the general direction of the entire world -- you will not be disappointed.

Feel the vibrations.