Monday, March 26, 2007

Death becomes her

It's just another idiotic reality show, right?

"America's Next Top Model" is a reallty show where would-be models compete by, I guess, "out-modeling" each other in a variety of scenarios. For instance, last week's theme was ice cream sundaes(!?). Although I'm not wild about the idea of women posing as inanimate objects, I can accept that there might be some creative merit in that kind of modeling challenge. But this week's theme, "Crime Scene Victims", far exceeds my limit of creative forgiveness.

In the Crime Scene Victims series, the 10 models pose in different murder scenarios -- poisoned, electrocuted, stabbed, thrown down stairs, and so on. Beautiful women clothed in silk, satin, bruises, gashes and streaming blood, with the sightlessly staring faces of the suddenly deceased. "What's great is you can also look beautiful in death," said one judge.

I'm sorry, but in a world where women are beaten (stabbed, shot etc.) to death on a daily basis, is there any particular reason to be glamourizing this? "You can also look beautiful in death" -- nothing, though, about the shit-kicking it took to get that way. Or the society that cares so little when it happens. No worries about a woman dying, as long as she looks good doing it. Is this misogyny, necrophilia, or both?

Maybe I'm taking it too seriously. But looking through the pictures of the models posing "dead" disturbed me, and on some basic level, insulted and hurt me. Because this isn't the stuff of fantasy-land, it's a daily reality for too many women. And the idea that it's something that's okay to act out and play with is the attitude that makes it so easy to kill women in the first place. The idea that women, especially a certain type of women, are disposable is the implicit suggestion of such frivolous use of violent death as a modeling exercise. All is not lost: at least we can look good lying on the top of the trash heap after some sick asshole strangles us.

(via andrew sullivan)