Wednesday, March 28, 2007

America's Next Top Controversy:
ANTM Features "Murdered" Models

From the Huffington Post courtesy of AlterNet:

Here's an item to make even the most hardened feminist weep in her latte: Last week's episode of America's Next Top Model featured a photoshoot in which the perennially waifish contestants were made up and posed to look like blood-spattered and mangled corpses. The causes of the graphic-but-always-photogenic deaths ranged from stabbing to strangulation to shooting to semi-decapitation.


Jennifer Pozner over at Women In Media & News offered this insight about the show (which she described as "a series that traffics in bottom-feeder humiliation, objectification and degradation of women in the name of fashion, fun and beauty for the deep profit of integrated marketers"):

For decades, media critics such as pioneering advertising theorist Jean Kilbourne have argued that ad imagery equating gruesome violence against women with beauty and glamour works to dehumanize women, making such acts in real life not only more palatable and less shocking, but even aspirational. ANTM's pretty-as-a-picture crime-scene challenge epitomized the worst of an insidious industry trend that, ahem, just won't die.
Click here for the rest.

Yeah. I actually got to see a moment or two of this episode. Not that I'm into the show or anything--for that matter, not that I'm into any reality TV at all. I was flipping around channels and saw these really hot models lying in pools of blood, and was pretty grossed out. Call me old fashioned, but I really hate the mixing of my sexual objectifying with extreme violence. It was a major turn-off, so I quickly watched something else, which, if it were a less gruesome night, I probably would have done anyway, but only after gawking at the hot babes for a few minutes. Anyway, I didn't think much about it afterwards. After all, high fashion was pushing "heroin chic" only a few years ago, and anorexia and cocaine abuse are also big parts of the industry, so I just chalked it up to how fucking stupid the world of haute couture is. The feminist angle totally evaded me. Probably because I'm a man. But these feminist writers are absolutely right to be outraged. This is waaaay fucked up, and I'm truly bothered by the fact that I was so accepting of it. Okay, I didn't really accept it, but you know what I mean. The point is that most Americans simply take in stride what the weirdos on TV offer us.

And, increasingly, they're offering us some truly heinous shit.