Thursday, March 27, 2008

Real Beauty? Real bulls*@#t!

I remember the first Real World. And I remember the first Survivor and the first American Idol. We used to love watching Iron Chef and even gave American Iron Chef a once over. We tried Big Brother last week (pass) and even something called Here Comes the Newlyweds, which was fascinating in the way a train wreck is – you hope and pray everyone is ok, but you can’t take your eyes of the sheer destruction. I was surprisingly taken with Amazing Race and Top Chef is just great.

What all of these shows have in common is, or should be, the ability for the average viewer to relate in some way to the “real” people on the show. So here’s the one I DON’T get: America’s Next Top Model. Nope. Not one bit. Not at all. It repulses me – makes me sick. Not even in the train wreck kind of way – in the Port-a-Potty on a hot summer day kind of way.

Last week they ridiculed some poor, famished girl for having hair under her arms. Now I’m as big a fan of Mahotma’s Venus razor as the next American man. But they called her DIRTY. They called her GROSS. She said she had never shaved in her life and they said that’s disgusting. Since when was Tyra Banks named Empress of American Beauty Standards? Isn’t America all about diversity and the blending of cultures? The men on the show wear lipstick, glittered eyebrows and mullets. And that’s ok, but some underarm hair isn’t?

So now there’s 7 stick-thin girls left who disappear from view when they turn sideways – and 1 who’s a size 10: the “plus” size model. Hellooooooooooo? I know that Mahotma is a size 0 – and still is a size 0 even 4 months into her pregnancy – and that’s about all I know about sizes. But size 10 doesn’t exactly strike me as “plus.” Stay tuned next week: the preview shows some bitch wrinkling her nose at Ms. Plus and telling her she doesn’t design clothes for size 10’s.

Now here’s why I care. Because our beautiful, perfect princess, who doesn’t eat and ain't got back and is still in a size 3 diaper while her classmates are in a 5 or 6, is going to grow up being led to believe that she is less than perfect. Because Tyra Banks has determined what is and is not beautiful. And if it’s not her, it’s not beautiful.

Full disclaimer: MahotmaDaddy works for a company that sells, among other things, beauty products. I guess that makes me something of a hypocrite but such is corporate life. That said, I have to give Dove’s (the competition) Campaign for Real Beauty a ton of credit (even if it isn’t helping them to sell more products). What dad with a little girl isn’t brought to tears by the Dove Onslaught video? I just watched it for the 20th time and Mahotma is passing me a Kleenex.

The entire industry is the problem and the show is just a showcase. Underfed, overindulged, and delusional in thinking they somehow have the right to set the standards the rest of America must aspire to. The ironic part of it is that most of the industry is made of people who grew up “different” – gay, lesbian, artistic, brilliant, forward thinking, dorks, nerds and outsiders. And yet they go about their day trying to create clones of what they believe beauty to be, and even created their own “reality show” to perpetuate the myth. There’s nothing “real” about it. No more real than Tyra Banks and her sparkling eye-browed friend.


Anonymous said...

It's nice to know that men think about these things, too.
Thanks for the fresh (and refreshing!) perspective!

Anonymous said...

My 13 year old daughter watches this show regularly, much to the consternation of my wife and myself. We both believe that is demeans women and is not at all truthful in the way it pretends to be about modeling.
I have been a fashion and beauty photographer for many years and I must tell you that the things the girls are asked to do on this show have no relationship to the real world of modeling. They just make good t.v. watching. ( Much like the Fear Factor show really.) Also, don't believe that any of these girls will ever be America's next top model.

Matt said...

That show makes me cringe whenever I flip past it, in the fear that one of my kids would let themselves get judged by that cast of idiots someday.

Nice post.