Thursday, March 13, 2008

America's Next Top Model... Holy Cow!

Hi, my name is feministgal and I'm an ANTM-aholic.

Seriously. America's Next Top Model (for all you non-acronym folk) is currently and has been for quite some time (cough:10 seasons now:cough) my secret vice. I don't get enthralled in tabliods or have secret randevous with TMZ.com... I just can't get over ANTM. Secretly, it's because I have a hardcore crush on Tyra and her fierce self. So i watch ANTM and rarely feel guilty doing it. That is, until this season. Usually one or two things each cycle push me over the edge enough to write a letter, bitch about it, or girlcott whatever "product" they were using in the photoshoot that week. This season however, is off to an especially brutal start. There have only been 4 episodes so far but Tyra has already managed to:


1. Pose the girls as homeless people in the streets of NY, among actual homeless people...


2. Cast a thin, very fit, not at all "plus size" model as her token plus size model of the cycle...


3. Pull off a photo shoot where the girls are dressed in raw meat, modeling among meat, and holding meat...


I'll focus on numero tres. The meat episode is troubling for a number of reasons. Firstly, it's really disgusting. Secondly, it's absolutely wasteful and inhumane. Thirdly, it acts as a methaphor for woman = piece of meat. What disturbs me most is the wastefulness.



The girls were sent to New York's meat packing district and dressed up in bras and panties made of beef. No joke. They were sewn together pieces of dead cow. Come on, tell me you aren't troubled by that. Even the biggest carnivore should gag a bit. They used meat hooks and swinging carcasses as props while they sat on buckets of raw beef. In light of America's current beef situation and waterboarding cows ANTM should be incredibly embarrassed for this episode. What did they do with all that beef after they were done with the shoot? Was it discarded? Probably... i mean, they used it as props. Were the sewn together pieces of raw meat given to soup kitchens? Probably not. They were probably tossed in the garbage. I won't even "get on my high horse" and talk about why eating mass produced meat is disgusting, inhumane, and unsustainable but I will absolutely point out how wasteful that episode was. I wish they had given all that food to NY's homeless population, whom they just posed with two episodes ago, instead of wasting it on costumes and accessories. Ew.


Last season i was impressed with ANTM's intentions and efforts to "Go Green" but they absolutely ruined it for me with this disgustingly wasteful and inhumane episode. Anyone else have a secret fetish for ANTM? Anyone else more than a bit skeeved?

8 comments:

therapydoc said...

I never saw this show. Sounds like I'm, uh, missing something.

Heather said...

Yes, yes, yes. I am ashamed to say this is one of the only shows I find entertaining on TV. And yes, it is disturbing that I find it so entertaining given what they celebrate...

GottabeMe said...

I can't stand Tyra Banks. I do give her props for standing up to the people who said she was fat, and her five minutes of "the media gives girls a bad body image".

But she annoys the living crap out of me. No doubt she thought the meat photo shoot was very deep, insightful and ironic.

PhD in Yogurtry said...

my son is a big fan of this ANTM. i watch it with him occasionally. i find myself drawn in but only so much time for escapist tv. my own reality show addiction is Project Runway. was anyone else pulling for jillian? my son's favorite was christian. at least one of us was happy at the show's end.

Christine said...

There are truly a bunch of idiots working at this show to even consider doing a homeless or beef shoot. Are they completely out of creative ideas or does the fashion industry's representation of women marginalized regardless of subject?

Dark Daughta said...

Hi,
I'm new here. I was just reading over what you'd posted and got to this one. The meat thing is awful on so many different levels...all of which you've covered. So I won't go there. I tried watching this show about two or three (was it?) years ago. There was a bald, attitudinal, out, Black queer woman on the show who was forthright and powerful. The veiled homophobia in the house was killer. I was watching with my partner's mother who is also a Black feminist. We gazed on horrified as Tyra and her minions humiliated, completely emotionally and psychologically reduced down to the size of an amoeba, this woman, who was then kicked off the show in tears....unh that was my first and last episode. Now, I'll glance as I surf by. But that episode attacked me at a core level that doesn't usually happen for me as I'm a pretty seasoned cynical pop culture junkie. sigh...it was...difficult...I remember and this is a few years later. I'm not really down with that kind of competition. As a Black, fatty, mouth, resistant to pleasing or performing, queer, femme, I've been on the wrong end of those sorts of competitions real time way too many times.

That's my two cents. Thanks for this post.

FeministGal said...

Dark Daughta,
I think i know exactly the woman you are talking about - i loved her. Found her totally refreshing on a show run almost exclusively on gender roles - it was a shame to see her go, especially the way she did. I'm sorry it hurt you so personally and i do know what you mean about being on the wrong end of this sort of thing in "real time" - i guess that's the price we all pay for being "mouthy," "snarky," "blunt" or the countless other things people will call us instead of "honest" and "refreshing"

Thanks for checking out my blog :)

Dark Daughta said...

Oh, you're welcome, feminist gal. Hope you don't mind if I keep poking around. Feel free to visit with me at will.