One of the unfortunate side effects of my new TV is that my wife also uses it. As luck would have it, the TV is in the same room as the computer. That means that if I'm on the computer and she's watching TV, whatever girly crap she's watching, I'm subjected to as well, be it a Lifetime movie, American Idol, some shit about Paris Hilton, or, as was the case yesterday, an 8 fucking hour marathon of the entire second season of America's Next Top Model. Yes that's right, my wife could've been knitting me a sweater or making me a meatloaf, but instead she spent the whole fucking day watching America's Next Top Model.
At first I thought "Oh shit, I get to listen to a bunch of stupid skanky bimbos talk about their waistline and runway walk all day." But the longer it went on, the more disturbing it got, and not for the reasons I thought. The more I heard, the more I couldn't believe the kind of message it was sending to women and girls. No wonder they're so fucked up.
First, there was the ambivalent view on women and sexuality and the expectations thereof. It was like they couldn't decide what was not slutty enough, too slutty, or just the right degree of slutty. First, the season's opening show had a photo shoot in which the girls were all required to get completely naked, let some men they'd never seen before cover their naked bodies with makeup, then go on national television wearing nothing but that makeup. One of the girls, who happened to be a wife and mother, refused to do the shoot because of her belief that it was unladylike and ethically wrong. At the judging, she was criticized and ridiculed by the judges for taking a moral stand and refusing to do what she believed was wrong, including one judge who rolled her eyes at her and couldn't have been more disgusted as she said "Oh I get it, it's a religion thing isn't it?" During the judges' deliberation one judge even admitted that in the modeling field, a girl would be warned ahead of time that accepting a job would require her to get naked, whereas these girls were given no warning until they showed up at the shoot and were told to get their clothes off to let some strange men rub makeup on their naked bodies and go on national television. She was, however, the first contestant dismissed because the judges were disappointed with her refusal to get naked on TV. Just before they slammed the door shut on her they did, however, tell her they respected her decision as a wife and mother so they wouldn't feel guilty about it. Mind you, she was chosen for elimination over another contestant who showed up over two hours later for that photo shoot. So the lesson here is that it is okay to be over two hours late for a job, but it is unacceptable to have a sense of modesty and to stand up for what you believe in.
But to make sure you don't get the wrong idea and think it's okay to be slutty, not to worry. One of the next couple girls to be eliminated was sent home for having big boobs and looking more like a Playboy pinup than a model.
But to make sure you don't get the wrong idea and think it's wrong to be slutty they did another nude photo shoot.
But to make sure you don't think it's okay to be slutty they criticized a girl for dressing like a prostitute. You see, because dressing slutty makes you look like a prostitute. Being naked on TV is classy.
But to make sure you don't think it's wrong to be slutty they then had another nude photo shoot. Only this time it was done in pairs with girl-on-girl shots the likes of which I guarantee you will never see in Playboy. Hustler maybe, but not Playboy.
You see what I'm getting at? They couldn't seem to decide what is sexy and what is slutty. But one thing was made clear, if you don't happen to agree with whatever the hell they think at that point in time, you are wrong and you are either a hooker or a stuck-up Jesus-freak prude who is less desirable to work with than someone who shows up for work two hours late. Why women are encouraged to be "sexier" is beyond me. Being sexy (which is the Hollywood term for what us normal people call slutty) can get you into a lot of trouble, because the kind of men you attract are not the kind you want to carat. Or you're only attracting them for a one-night stand or a booty call. If you dress like a whore, show off a lot of skin, move in a provocative manner, or get naked with people you barely know, men are not going to trust you or respect you. Speaking as a man, there is a kind of chick you hook up with, and a kind of chick you date and eventually marry. Rarely does anyone fall into both categories.
In addition to the ambivalent view on sexuality, the show constantly reinforced that you have to look one specific way with no room for deviation. The audience was constantly reminded that beauty is not in the eyes of the beholder. They were reminded that there is one specific standard of beauty and if you don't meet that, you aren't good enough. Girls who weren't anorexic were constantly referred to as "plus-size." See, I thought "plus-size" meant overweight, but apparently I was wrong, because these girls were in no way overweight. They just weren't anorexic. Therefore, they were constantly reminded of the fact that their healthy weight was "plus-size" and they were promptly eliminated. Why people in Hollywood continue to push the skinny image onto us is beyond me. Frankly, I think skinny chicks are gross. I don't want to go near some chick who looks like spreading her legs will cause her to tear right up the middle. Or one who looks like she's going to blow away at the first heavy wind. But that's how all the girls the judges described as "beautiful" looked. They were disgusting, anorexic sluts. Let me tell you, there is nothing that I as a man find attractive about a woman with an eating disorder. Skinny is gross, but what's even worse are the bulimic ones who purge and then their breath always smells like vomit. Nothing is a bigger turnoff than vomit-breath.
And then there was the short girl, who was 5'7". She was reminded every single week in the judging segment that she was too short. It didn't matter what she had done or how good her photo shoot went, every single week it came down to her height. Short is not beautiful, just as being a healthy weight is not beautiful. In order to be beautiful, you must be at least six feet tall and your weight must be in the double digits. Oh and the hair. Yeah, they forced everyone to get a haircut also because a lot of them had hair that was too long and it wasn't beautiful. So yeah, six feet tall, anorexic, with short dykey hair. And small boobs. I think that about covers it.
And who is feeding our culture's girls and young women the idea that to be beautiful you must be six feet tall, 99 pounds or less, and have short dykey hair and small boobs? It isn't the men. A lot of us (or even most of us) think skinny chicks are ugly. A lot of us (or most of us) think short girls are cute. And most of us think long hair looks better on women. We're not the ones pushing these beauty images onto you. It's other women. People have been complaining about this for years, but they're misplacing the blame. It's always blamed on men, adult industries, male-oriented entertainment, and teen-oriented entertainment like MTV. But the fact is, it isn't just those sources, and some of those sources don't even push those images. The ones that seem to be the most damaging are that way because they come from the least-expected sources. My wife wasn't watching MTV or the Playboy channel, she was watching Oxygen, a network devoted to women's programming. The show is hosted by Tyra Banks, a well respected, influential, and often emulated woman. Of course some of her judges are technically men, but they make Clay Aiken look like Bruce Willis, so they don't really count anyway.
The fact is, these unrealistic (and largely unattainable) culturally-imposed norms are coming from women. Why they are doing this to themselves is beyond me. As a result, we have a culture of girls who, from an early age, are mind-fucked into believing that they have to look a certain way and dress a certain way and show a certain amount of skin. Then these girls grow up into teenagers and women and as a result they make stupid decisions with men, they have no self-respect for themselves or their bodies, they have low self-esteem, they develop eating disorders, they get STD's, or they become unwed mothers. Don't get me wrong, men do our share of stupid shit that causes those things, too. But the fact is, we all know men are stupid when it comes to sex. We think with our penises and do stupid things that causes the spread of STD's and unwed pregnancy. Women are far more level-headed about sex and sometimes we men need women to save us from ourselves. But right now there's too many women out there letting men do whatever the hell our penises tell us to do because these women have low self-respect or low self-esteem because of the images they are fed from such a young age. How many STD's or how many unwed pregnancies is it going to take for Hollywood to realize what's going on and instead teach a new generation of girls to respect themselves and to believe that they can be beautiful no matter what their height, weight, or bust size is?
The fact is, if I went on national TV and said to the young women of this country "If you want to be beautiful, you have to be x height, y weight, with z bra size," I would be called a chauvinist pig (and rightfully so) and nobody would listen to me. Why is it any different when Tyra Banks goes on TV and says the same exact thing?
I guess the moral of this story is I need to make my wife watch TV in another room.