Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

Sex, Bugs, and Isabella Rossellini: The Making and Marketing of Green Porno

Academic journal article Women's Studies Quarterly

Sex, Bugs, and Isabella Rossellini: The Making and Marketing of Green Porno

Article excerpt

Under the rubric of sustainability, companies of every stripe have bent over backward trying to paint themselves "green" in the hope of appearing environmentally responsible. In today s culture, "going green" is being used as a tool to package and promote everything from energy to entertainment. The paradox of this is hard to escape: marketing is fundamentally about growth; sustainability is not (jhally 2002). This conundrum becomes ever more complex when you add celebrity media, and sex into the mix, which is exactly what the Sundance Channel did with the creation and distribution of a series of short films called Green Porno.

Green Porno is a series of eighteen short films conceived, written, codirected by, and starring Isabella Rossellini, the independent film actress and face of Lancôme. Created under the auspices of the environmentally progressive Sundance Channel and designed to be watched in snippets for consumption on YouTube and on mobile devices, Green Porno represents an intriguing new foray into both independent film and environmental markets ( What makes these films both unique and odd, though thoroughly entertaining (as evidenced by their four million views) is the appearance of Ms. Rossellini dressed as a bee, an earthworm, a praying mantis, and several other insects as well as sea creatures, presenting numerous, varied, and oftentimes hilarious acts of sex as performed in the animal kingdom.

In this essay I seek to analyze Green Porno as a means of approaching the interrelationships of sex, stardom, environmentalism/green marketing, and new digital media technologies. Originally intended as a means for the Sundance Channel to both go green and get involved in producing films for the third and fourth screens, Green Porno was created as an experiment for viewing on cell phones, iPods, and computers.1 By integrating contemporary ideas of art, environmentalism, and celebrity Green Porno also reimagines what it means to "go green" in an increasingly mobile and global context. Investigating how these short films were produced, exhibited, and marketed for digital media platforms, I will explore how the discourses of stardom, sex, and environmentalism converge at the margins of the small screen in Green Porno.

This will be done using a several-pronged approach. First, I will provide the background behind the making and marketing of Green Porno. Second, I will examine this series within the broader context of the Sundance Channel (the films' producers) and environmental marketing. Next, I will discuss the changing media environment within which these films were produced, with a particular focus on green marketing in relation to fourth-screen and new-media technologies. Then, I will show how Green Porno is constructed via Isabella Rossellini s star image and celebrity status. And, finally, I will draw on feminist and queer theory as a means of analyzing the ways in which Rossellini s body is intertwined with sex, gender, and environmentalism in Green Porno.

A Brief Look at Green Porno

Including such creatures as dragonflies, spiders, barnacles, shrimp, and whales, Green Porno is a series of one-minute shorts featuring bugs and marine animals communicating, reproducing, and having sex. Selecting the most unusual sexual practices of animals for her shorts, Isabella Rossellini creates short stories explaining their bizarre and sometimes scandalous sexualities. Both informative and entertaining, Green Porno includes animals present in our daily lives such as bees and snails, as well as other animals (such as limpets and earthworms) because they are hermaphrodites or omnisexual.

In each short, Rossellini opens by saying, "IfI were a ..." fly, snail, starfish, and so on. She describes her body, eyes, length, dominant or unusual features (such as number of legs, or sticky toes), and sexual organs. Then, she narrates the peculiar and bizarre ways in which these creatures have sex. …

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