Once in a while, a show comes along that is so overtly sexist and blatantly misogynistic that it almost brings joy to feminists because it gives us hard evidence that our world is submerged in tons of nasty gender inequality. It makes sexism an undeniable fact rather than a concept that's up for debate. The show, called "Blachman," is so vulgar that I wonder if it's not a feminist conspiracy whose sole function is to prove how screwed up our view of women is.
The concept of the television program, which appears to have been thought up by a group of baked 14-year-old boys in their mom's basement, features two very mediocre looking and old "judges" evaluating the naked body of a silent woman. Unattractive aging men telling women what they think about their body? Kind of sounds like an X-rated version of my morning jog.
Thomas Blachman, who the show is named after, came up with the concept and will be joined by a "guest judge" every week. He has very humbly maintained that his show is "the work of a genius." Critics like Knud Romer have said, "It's more like a claustrophobic strip club which only serves to cement classic concepts of male dominance."
In a disgusting clip of the show (which has now been removed from YouTube), you see the two judges sitting back in a dark room as a woman disrobes. The host asks the subject: "Would you mind turning around for a moment ... because my friend is an ass-man," The Sun reports. If you're in the mood, here's the grotesque trailer.
As criticisms pour in, the producers continue to defend their sorry excuse for a show. Sofia Fromberg, a producer of the channel, told The Sun that the critics shouldn't be judging what is beneficial for women and men. "We have a program that reveals what men think about the female body. Quite honestly, what is wrong with that?" she said.
What's wrong with that is that we already know what men think about women's bodies. In fact, we hear way too much about it. It saturates our world. It certainly saturates mine.
Not a day goes by without a stranger letting me know what he thinks about my body. Street harassment is a regular occurrence for most women, and research backs me up. Some studies even have trouble finding subjects who haven't experienced street harassment, suggesting that most women have. From the guy in the subway who shamelessly stares at my ass, to the construction crew asking me to respond to their crude comments, to the bagel truck guy that looks down my shirt and tells me "I look nice today." And no, it hasn't all been positive. I've also been notified by people in my environment every time I've lost too much or put on too much weight. I've was also told I'm "hot but flat-chested" by my sports teammates in college. Women's bodies are heavily scrutinized. ALL the time.
As Imran Siddiquee at Miss Representation put it, "The whole entire world is critical of the way women look. Whether you are a supermodel, a teenager or even secretary of state, if you’re a female, there are people all around you ready to tell you how bad your body looks."
Would you want this guy to be judging your naked body? I didn't think so. Source: BT
In his defense, Blachman told the Daily Mail, "[T]he entire idea of the show is to let men talk about the bodies of naked women while the woman is standing right in front of them. The female body thirsts for words. The words of a man."
No, Blachman. Women's bodies do not crave words, because women's bodies are attached to women's brains, which can form thoughts for themselves thanks very much. Has it ever occurred to you that women might already be aware of their value and might not require your opinion to form their own?
We don't need a show that reinforces a social order in which men think they are entitled to women's bodies and that their opinions about them is valued or wanted. Unless you are my boyfriend or my gay hair dresser, you can keep your thoughts about my fabulous butt to yourself.
Why is it important that we talk about the narratives that this show reinforces? Because the entitlement it promotes can lead to violence.
Harassment is one peg in the ladder of abuse. Imran Siddiquee explains, "All the men in the world who feel entitled to women’s bodies, and feel entitled to have an opinion about those bodies, and sometimes even feel entitled to touch and hurt those bodies – they are the worst critics of women’s beauty. They are the ones who most often turn criticism into objectification, dehumanization and even violence."
Sure, the women in this show are voluntarily submitting themselves to the men's scrutiny. Their willingness is problematic. It's frankly frightening that a woman would want to participate in this kind of public humiliation. It's sad that we live in a world where women have come to crave male approval of their bodies. It's a shame that we have taught women that it's the only way to get proper validation.
Nonetheless, the fact that women are volunteers, does not make it acceptable. As I've said in a previous piece for Huffington Post, "We often wonder why women care about what men think about their bodies, but we rarely ask why men feel so compelled to voice that opinion in the first place. Whether it be negative or positive commentary, why are evaluations and judgements about women's bodies so prevalent and dominant in our culture? Instead of asking why women listen to these comments, shouldn't we ask why men keep making them?"
Why does Blachman want to judge a naked woman's body on live television, and why do producers think people want to consume this type of entertainment? That's the question we should really be asking.
More pressingly, why the hell would women care about the opinion of a man who looks like he uses a bowling ball shiner on his head every morning and whose friend looks like a decrepit toad? Who made them the authorities on women's bodies? I'm not saying it would be more acceptable if they were good-looking, but it's ironic that a show that is narrowlingly focused on evaluating attractivness, wouldn't put that same scrutinity on men. Oh right. That's just the world we live in.
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