More ranting at TV from Monkey.
Football. It doesn’t matter which kind – soccer, superbowl, or Aussie rules – it’s jealously guarded as the preserve of males, both to watch and to play. Women – we all know – can’t kick a ball, can’t catch a ball, throw like girls, and don’t know the offside rule. Well, all that has now changed, thanks to the LIngerie Superbowl. As the name suggests, this is football, played by women, dressed in their underwear. Yes, you heard me – gaze at a pitch full of near-naked beauties grappling with a ball. You might even get to see one of the players have her bra ripped off in the struggle, and run down the field, tits a-bounce, to score a topless touchdown. (This happened last week.) Would someone like to tell me when normal telly turned into one long soft porn spectacle aimed at the heterosexual male (or some socially constructed version thereof)? The equation WOMAN = SEX is writ large all across our screens, no matter which channel we turn to. You wanna be a footballer, little girl? Fine, but you’ve got to have model looks, bronzed skin, large breasts, long shiny hair, and you’ve got to play in your undies. You want to be a singer? Ok, but you need to take off most of your clothes and writhe around like a stripper. Want to be a news presenter? Sure – just keep yourself looking young and lovely. No-one wants to see some old hag reading the news. And don’t get me started on ‘Girls Gone Wild’. Hasn’t anyone heard of female talent? – Oh hang on, that means ‘attractive women’ (at least in some parts of the UK). One step forward, two steps backwards, people.
The first in a series of posts where Monkey rants at TV.
I’ve watched my fair share of dating shows over the years and none has really qualified as highbrow entertainment, but MTV’s latest offering – That’s Amore – really breaks through the wrong side of the trash barrier. It’s been a while since I’ve seen anything this offensive (and as a seasoned nethead, I see a lot of offensive things). The concept will be familiar to those acquainted with your average dating show: X number of attractive young women move into a big house where they vy for the attention of one man, and perform tasks to either win a date or be removed from the competition. The number of contestants is whittled down week by week, until only one attractive young woman remains, and wins the man. Or some money. Or some money to go on a date with the man. So far, so run-of-the-mill. But That’s Amore takes it to a whole other level. Treading a fine line between mainstream TV entertainment and soft porn (oh wait, there’s still a difference?), That’s Amore is less dating show and more Lads’ Mag wankfest. The young women on That’s Amore embody the worst of a certain kind of stereotypically feminine behaviour. They shriek at each other, call each other ‘bitch’, say mean things about each other behind each other’s backs, all the while trying their hardest to impress ‘Domenico’ – the man-prize on offer at the end of the competition. The ‘challenges’ set before the bitching beauties include such gems as ‘dressing up in a sexy French maid-style outfit and cooking a chicken’, then ‘cleaning the kitchen as sexily as possible’ (cue, lots of pouting, and crawling on work surfaces with arses thrust skyward), and ‘diving into a pool of meatballs and spaghetti whilst wearing bikini bottoms and t-shirt’, which initiated a wrestling match between two of the contestants. Determined to win Domenico’s affections, a few of them have resorted to dirty tactics, which include waiting until all the other women have left the vast bedroom they share, then sneaking into Domenico’s sleeping-quarters for a morning romp in his bed. Perhaps these people are not real. Perhaps they are all actors. (I fervently wish that were so.) But real or staged, the show is a disgrace. We like to think our behaviour is freely chosen, but – heavy issues about what counts as freedom aside – that’s not strictly true. More often than not, we do what the cathode ray tube tells us. If TV says it’s normal to do x, we do x. I, for one, would prefer TV not to be telling women that it’s normal or ok to pitch yourself against other women in a degrading scuffle for male attention. I would also prefer TV not to be telling women that the way to win the man is to take part in some plastic, Hefnerised version of female sexuality that involves sexy maid outfits, bronzed tans, and housework. Finally, TV, if you’re listening, you can stop telling men to expect women to engage in bikini-clad catfights to win their affections. Life is not one big scene from Porky’s. Jeesh, people.
Friends and admirers of Val Plumwood might like to know that a blogsite for her has been started with updates re her funeral and memorial service arrangements (she still has not been buried due to complications surrounding private burials), and spaces for people to post tributes, memories, and information about her work.