Thursday, March 1, 2007

Americas Next Top Model: An Analysis of Feminine and Masculine (or lack there of?), and their Respective Norms

As I sit in front of my T.V., flipping through the channels, Tyra Banks at her fullest and most voluptuous (wow she looks good!) catches my attention while steppin' with Phi Beta Sigma, Fraternity Incorporated, shouting commands at 15 somewhat pretty girls, all wearing army fatigues and wife beaters sporting "ANTM" across the chest. Some have long hair, some have short hair, but they all have one thing in common. The courage and drive to be critisized to no end about everything that shouldn't matter with regard to a healthy self image; their looks.

This aspect of the particular reality show i chose to analyze completely encompasses what the "ideal" feminine prototype should be as according to our current standards of living and consumerism.

The masculine component of this post is much more difficult to identify and define, simply because the masculinity (or lack there of) is portrayed much differently than what would be expected (if it can be seen by the lay couch potato at all.) In fact those you would expect to be masculine (the only men involved in the show, whom include Ms. J Alexander and Jay Manuel, both of whom happen to be homosexual) act more towards the feminine ideal rather than the masculine ideal, most if not all of the time.

Although this show seems to be geared towards women, considering the majority of advertising and product placement focuses on consumer goods that would typically appeal to the "modern-day housewife" aka tampons, makeup, std vaccines, teeth whitening gum, hair products, and every day tips to please your man better (do they really think we don't know how to do that?) The fact that there are pretty girls (or what the "high fashion" world considers to be pretty aka prepubescent boy ((ewwww))) prancing around in little outfits appeals to the male sex drive, which is a common factor in most TV shows and advertisements geared towards men. It's hard to notice but every once in a while a SUV commercial or Insurance scam will peep through every once in a while. Typically TV shows that have middle class white men as their target audience have exceeding amounts of image based advertising, focusing primarily on sex, followed by sports, violence, and cars for example. (Fiske)

It is obvious that this show is searching for the ultimate feminine woman and basically using her to sell and/or endorse products, which can be connected to the idea that there is a need to sell increasing amounts of "nonessential" goods in a comprehensive contemporary marketplace (Jhally) . She will be an idol of all idols; with all the necessary qualities and characteristics to be a great, wonderful, chameleon, liked by everyone, all the time, no matter what.