Thursday, December 1, 2011

Next Top Nothing

In our enlightened age of women’s rights and equal opportunity, it’s hard to believe there is such a competition as America’s Next Top Model

Or that it’s endorsed by scores of sponsors and celebrities.

The pseudo-reality tv show was created by Tyra Bank – or at least by her PR agency who must have thought it a smart business move. And how right they were. 

Her production company, Bankable Productions (apt name choice), has spread the competition and programme to Australia, Canada, Britain and Ireland. Quite the lucrative little franchise.

The show is aired on prime time television in Australia and their Facebook page boasts a following of nearly 5 million. 

Since when did 5 million individuals start to think that the objectification of women was a thing to ‘like’? When did we start to think that modeling was all about conformity rather than creativity? 

That women across the globe are lending their support to the objectification of a select group of other women proves how far we have fallen from an earlier equality with men.

It is truly mind-numbing to sit through even 5 minutes of the show. Never mind an enter episode. And it would be comical if it were not so tragic and offensive.

In past seasons, contestants have been made to participate in lesbian photo shoots, size 8 hopefuls have been told they are too fat and women have been forced to portray brawling and abuse, making a mockery of real abuse crime.

In the 2007 season of America’s Next Top Model, one potential posed with “MY CHOICE” sprawled across her naked midriff and is styled in what looks like a back alley.

The show took the glorification of violence to a new level, again in 2007, with the modeling of crime scene shoots for all contestants. The girls were asked to play dead in a shoot which effectively glamorised murder and made it imperative to play dead while still looking sexy. 

Because everyone needs to look sexy after they’ve been decapitated, thrown off a building or had their organs removed. 

In a recent survey of eight hundred British teens aged between 11 and 16, 50% of girls said they compared their bodies to those of television personalities, and that they would be willing to take diet pills or laxatives to lose weight. The survey comes off the back of revelations earlier this year that 5 year olds are being hospitalized with severe anorexia.(1)

With this kind of toxic entertainment lingering on, communities shouldn’t wonder at such frightening survey results.

© Eva Whiteley 2011