Popular Culture Review Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer 2017 - Page 102

the cultural fabric of her society. Due to the fact that “The fetishisation of the body through makeup and adornment creates a seductive sexuality that is not grounded in real sexuality,” Baudrillard hypothesizes that women in the modern world have no awareness of themselves as sexual beings outside of simulated reality (Dant 507). For instance, red lipstick exudes sexuality because women are told that this given shade of a banal cosmetic item is synonymous with erotic desire. Women are deemed to be sexy by pledging their allegiance to a preexisting model designed to create colossal profits. In reference to the revenue generated by simulations, Baudrillard declares, “Le corps fait vendre. La beauté fait vendre. L’érotisme fait vendre” ‘The body sells. Beauty sells. Eroticism sells’ (La Société de consommation 211). “The Hobbit” profoundly destabilizes the viewer because it serves as a reminder that consumer society has commodified everything including human corporality. Anything can be sold and disseminated to the masses as an idealistic image. For Lisa, the dire repercussions of this phenomenon cannot be overstated. Her body is no longer her own because it has been reduced to an ironic caricature made available to the highest bidder or to the most popular boy in class. In a society where symbolic exchange is void of any real meaning, signs eclipse the real. Lisa is now a simulated object of carnal desire that is drowning in an abyss of other insignificant objects to which people despondently attach their hopes and dreams. This young girl has been stripped of her very humanity. The only semblance of an existence that Lisa will ever know is watching an artificial image of herself flicker across digital screens. This utopian representation is so utterly divorced from reality that it can only lead to ontological emptiness and despair. For Baudrillard, this existential angst reinforces the economic system by compelling the subject to continue to search for happiness and meaning in the endless acquisition of insignificant signs in malls, department stores, and shopping centers. As Alex Cline underscores, “the material values of commodities are largely unimportant, when compared to their symbolic and structural values […] The capitalism of the code attempted to induce existential crises amongst its subjects; to get them to change their job, partner or lifestyle on a regular basis and become fanatical consumers of media, the nectar of simulation” (n.p.). When her relationship with Clyde inevitably crumbles, Lisa will have to seek solace in the same exact signs of sexuality that conceal genuine female eroticism. Given the ubiquity of the code that appears to have permeated all aspects of the modern lifestyle, Lisa will have no choice but to 97