Friday, 6 March 2009

ANTM debrief #2: A 'big' girl made it

And so ends another gripping season of ANTM. During the final, three things in particular struck me:

- Tyra's face actually appeared superimposed on an image of the Mona Lisa. Does it get more egotistical than that?
- Paula's input into the show consisted entirely of being mean to the models for no real reason.
- A so-called plus-sized model made it.

In past 'cycles' of ANTM, the judges have been quite open about the fact there's not a big market for 'big girls' in the modeling industry. I always got the sense these models were included as a form of tokenism. I wonder what's changed?

The cynic in me suggests that ANTM is trying to 'push the boundaries' in some feeble way - a trend to be continued in the next cycle, which features a transgender model. If I were even more cynical, I might suggest that Tyra has been led to endorse larger, curvier women because she's become one herself. (ANTM's commitment to diversity doesn't run too deep, I suspect. There's still no place in it for older women, for example, and I don't imagine we'll ever see a model in a wheelchair or one who looks like she's has children.)

The thing that disturbed me most about the cycle of ANTM is that Whitney actually began to look large to me, particularly when she was counterposed against the tiny Fatima. When the vast majority of women you see on TV are very thin, it warps your perception. If that's happening to self-aware, cynical old feminist me, what's it doing to my seven-year-old daughter?


Pauline said...

I've just hosted a 6 year old irls birthday party for my daughter. Hardenly any food got eaten. My daughter advised it was because "its fattening" - even though it was the things she'd asked for. There are some very "sophisticated" 6 year odls about. I was quite shocked

Julie said...

Thanks for writing about this, I saw about half of it but missed the end.

I hadn't seen it before and I was really surprised by my own reaction when I first saw Whitney. I had one part of my brain telling me she was big and another part telling me she wasn't. She was standing between Fatima and Anya, and perhaps that was a big part of it. I certainly noticed that Fatima was incredibly incredibly thin, but quite a long time after I noticed Whitney's relative largeness.

When Tyra said "You remind me of me..." I laughed, thinking of the last thread last weekend!

The ex-expat said...

The depressing thing is Whitney is about my size, if not a little bit smaller. Oi vey.

Violet said...

Every time I looked at Whitney the only "fat" I could see was in her face, and only because her face is slightly rounded. I was glad she won because the other girl sounded really thick.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, was that an accent?? She did have the most unfortunate speaking voice.

Danielle said...

Anya is from Hawai'i.

Julie said...

That puts Whitney in a more real world context for me the e-e, thanks.

Has anyone seen that Colleen's Real Girls thing (maybe it was called something else?) which was on One a while back? It was about getting more normal sized women modelling jobs. I only saw part of one episode, but I quite liked how it focused on women being fine the way they are. I've been very disappointed to see Trinny and Susannah now promoting a slimming agent, as they had always been about dressing for the body you have now, rather than making a new one.

Julie said...

Anya is from Hawai'i.
Does that makes her more or less like Obama than John Key? ;-)