By Sabira Khan, Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 17, 2011
Since its premiere in 2009, “Jersey Shore” has become an American pop culture sensation. But while GTL — the iconic motto of Gym, Tan and Laundry from the show — has entered the vernacular of the American public, few people have adopted it as a lifestyle like Screen Arts and Cultures Prof. Candace Moore.
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Moore, who gave the keynote address at a conference on “Jersey Shore” at the University of Chicago last month, has analyzed the impact of the show and even spent two weeks emulating “Guido” culture by working out, tanning and doing laundry extensively.
According to Moore, reality television shows like “Jersey Shore” offer insight into American culture and showcase current trends and methods of thinking — particularly in a society concerned with consumer ideals.
“I believe in really understanding our particular capitalistic culture through these productions, and I’m looking at the mode of production behind these TV shows, as well as the different ways in which they speak (to) culture, maybe even beyond the ways that they intend to,” Moore said.
Moore said the show makes statements about sexuality within a particular subset of American culture, as it focuses on a stereotyped, cultural group.
“I think reality shows have become increasingly concentrated on particular cultural groups, ethnic groups and regional groups, as well as groups organized around class,” she said. “With ‘Jersey Shore,’ when the show first started, the characters were presented as mostly from working class backgrounds and particularly Italian-Americans and living within New Jersey.”
Moore was particularly interested in Guido sexuality, in the way relationships are portrayed and the male characters’ sexual aggressiveness and dominance. She added that it appears to be more important for the males on the show to outperform others rather than to have “intimate or interesting sex.”
“What I talk about with Guido sexuality, it’s not just about how the Guidos on ‘Jersey Shore’ have sex, but particularly the idea that the male characters present such an excessive sexuality,” Moore said.
In order to better understand the perspectives of the male characters, Moore said last month she began following their regimen of working out, tanning and doing laundry every day for two straight weeks.
“I tried to take this onto my own body and showcase through this process how I will always fail or even be exiled from this particular masculinity,” Moore said.
Moore said she was interested in showing the difficulty of abiding by and adhering to the Guido culture in everyday life. She added that finding time in her busy schedule to follow the lifestyle was challenging.
“I’m interested in not just making fun of Guido sexuality, but also seeing what sort of labor GTL entails. I wanted to see how difficult this would be to take on,” Moore said.
Moore said she struggled the most with the tanning part of the regimen because she has fair skin and was concerned about getting skin cancer.