I had one of those moments. You know those moments where you do something without thinking, and then wonder why you did it later only to realize it was on instinct? Yeah those. This happened to me Sunday after my bow tie day with the kids. Mcalynn is a sweetheart, and being in a house with two brothers she craves girl time, and all things feminine, so I let her watch television with me. My usual watches are Style Network or LogoTV as they usually hold show's that catch my interest. In preparations for the new season, RuPaul's Drag Race was on Logo and Style Network had a marathon of America's Next Top Model. I used to be a huge fan of ANTM so I was watching for a bit till Mcalynn started to approach the room, and as soon as I heard her I turned the channel away. After I did this I wondered to myself "Why didn't I let her watch ANTM? At least it has girls. Why did I make that switch?" It was later that evening that the reason hit me like a ton of bricks: I don't want her to look at that as a definition of what it means to be a woman.
Mcalynn is getting older, and she's in that delicate balance of womanhood and childhood where she's physically developing, but isn't mentally aware of what being a woman really means. For this reason my sister and I go out of our way to try and show her that a woman is a strong, confident, beautiful, and intelligent creature. Anything that tells her otherwise we tend to block out. For me ANTM falls under the category of one of those things she should avoid, and no it's not because the girls are skinny :P. What I feel is sort of toxic to her development is the sort of acquiescence to uncomfortable situations, and this unattainable perfection.
The models are constantly placed in situations that they may feel uncomfortable in and are told to "deal with it". I remember a model in a later season being eliminated for refusing to get nude for a photo shoot saying that she didn't want her son to see that later. I admired her determination and how she kept to her morals despite losing her position in the competition, but what I didn't want Mcalynn to see in that situation is "Oh she should have gotten naked, and tossed her morals aside to go further." A lot of models don't take nude photo's one of my personal favorites being Raquel Reed and it doesn't seem to have hurt her career any. I don't want Mcalynn to feel like her morals should be sacrificed to further herself in life.
There was also another season where the girls had to dance with 2 male models for a photo shoot and one of the male models decided to take advantage of the time to do a little heavy flirting. This "flirting" consisted of making lewd noises in the poor girls ear which I'm sure is an uncomfortable situation for most, and highly unprofessional. When the girl expressed distress, the mutual idea (at least amongst those I've discussed the show with) is that she should have dealt with it till after the shoot then complained. Sexual harassment is not cute, harmless flirting, or something to be ignored. The model was right to express her concern yet most people took from it that she was being unprofessional by stopping the shoot to protest being violated. I don't want Mcalynn to think that sexual harassment is okay in any situation.
While ANTM does an amazing job at showing us that models look like real people outside of photo shoots it also gives this sort of vibe that no matter how beautiful you are there is something wrong with you. ANTM usually deals in one type of model: high fashion. The high fashion body type and face is rare to have naturally, but ANTM expects all the contestants to apply to the standard. During critiques you hear things like "Oh you're pretty, but you're commercial pretty, and don't have the face for high fashion" "You're skinny, but not high fashion skinny. You need to work on your toning." "Oh you're pretty, but you're so short/have bad teeth/etc." There are plus size models, petite models, fit models, and so so many more. While I don't fault the show for focusing on one type (including the other's would make the casting time strenuous and not to mention the challenges. Yeesh.) I don't want Mcalynn to see that and think that this is the only standard or type of beauty.
Well that's all cleared out of my brain and off my chest. While I do enjoy the show I just think it's one of those things that she shouldn't see till she's able to take it all in with critical thinking and a grain of salt. It's my hope that one day Mcalynn will grow up to become a dynamite little lady, but till then I hope I can just take care of her and guide her up that scary slope into womanhood.