The most chance meeting!
My flight to Aspen today was absolutely plagued with trouble. Oh my, you certainly know the feeling well and in between delays, broken plane parts, a reroute to Fort Collins before finally and miraculously being sent on to Aspen I read a story about how Monster Energy is being sued for sexual discrimination and wrote a story about it on my phone that I emailed to my partner and inspiration Derek Rielly just before second take-off.
Of course the piece segued into the iconic Monster Girl and how could it not? The young-ish spandex short/halter top enthusiasts are the lifeblood of the brand. Its consumer-facing heartbeat. I have seen them performing at all manner of action sport events, chatting up lonely fathers, shooting t-shirts from cannons, being “Monster” as it were. As for the energy drink, I have never even tasted it and never met anyone else who has either. But the Monster Girl, she springs eternal.
I wrote about the sexual discrimination lawsuit anyhow and when I say “wrote” mean cut and pasted a Business Insider article and then posted a picture of the Monster Girls on my Instagram account because, again, what is more Monster than the Monster Girl?
Three or four hours later, finally in Aspen and waiting for the luggage after yet another malfunction I heard “Is that Chas?” through the din. Next thing I knew I was chatting with THE Monster Madam, the woman responsible all the young-ish charges. She had seen my Instagram post and might have been slightly off-put that I was equating the Monster Girl with the sexual discrimination lawsuit. In her mind the two were entirely unrelated. She was only concerned that I was suggesting the Monster Girls had something to do with the lawsuits.
I explained that it was a) funny (most importantly) and b) a testament to her hard work as madam. I never think of the “claw” when I think about Monster. I never think about energy or even action sports. I think of the Monster Girl. She had elevated them all near Swoosh or Mickey Mouse status. She had created icons.
The fact that Monster’s particular American symbols play very much on the idea of sexual exploitation in the #metoo era was anyhow entirely beside the point (albeit funny). We parted after a good five minutes, me hammering on about how nobody has ever tasted Monster but everyone knows the Monster Girl. She passionately defending the Monster Girl and the Monster Girl’s un-involvement in the current legal challenges and it made me sad for a moment because where does it all go from here?
Has sexual exploitation lost its home?