American Idol: all those good old American conservative values, including rampant sexism
My mother is the queen of bad television. Thus, it was no surprise to find her watching American Idol when I finished my shift tonight. The season kicked off in our hometown, so it was amusing to watch Seacrest suffer in the Phoenix sun.
As usual, the judges made it plain that they’re the same old sexist, homophobic, fat-hating idiots. Fat girls were demonized. A gay teenager with an amazing voice was told that his voice didn’t match his “look” (you know, that gay look. Ewww homo cooties!). And last, but not least, we had this:
Yes, that is a girl fully made up in a bikini and high heels. What is she doing? She’s auditioning for the squeaky clean American Idol contest on the most conservative network ever, FOX!
Oh silly, when I say FOX is conservative, I don’t mean in the sense that women need to be silent and covered. I mean in the sense that women need to be seen, belittled, objectified, and treated like meat:
It’s pretty plain that the girl is a decent singer, but not fantastic. If anyone who wasn’t a perfect fit for the pornoriffic model of “femininity” tried to audition in a bikini, they would be demonized for being fat and ugly, regardless of their voice. What happens here, though, is Simon and Randy—pigs that they are—immediately voice their approval and give her a yes.
Why? Well, she pleases them. She is sexually attractive and willing to bare it all for men in charge; what’s not to like? This sends a horrendous message. American Idol is an extremely popular show, and one of its biggest target audiences is teenage and preteen girls. The last thing they need is another message telling them how sex appeal is more important than personality, talent, and their ambition.
Witness the how newer judge, Kara DioGuardi, has to qualify her critique of her with the disclaimer, “I’m not saying this because you’re a pretty girl…” Because, honestly, we all know that women are just a collection of holes, sexy fat deposits, and beauty products. If one woman is critiquing another women, it must be because she’s hotter than her and she’s jealous!
Not that Kara is the hero of this: far from it. After Bikini Girl rudely throws the judge’s critique back in her face (Simon and Randy laugh, because they don’t care about people disrespecting the female judges after they’ve already made up their minds: you please my dick, you’re in!)—a huge no-no of talent competitions—Kara calls her a “bitch” and asks her to “come back naked next time”. Very nice. At this point, I’m cringing, knowing that now every man in America thinks that the new judge is a bitter old harpy, and deciding whether or not to masturbate in the bathroom during commerical over the thought of them having a cat fight.
Poor Paula, on the other hand, just sits there and says nothing. She interjects a time or two that the girl isn’t up to par, but she’s quickly shut up by Randy and Simon’s great approval of masturbation fodder and Kara’s self destructive display of her own brand of misogyny (yeah, calling another woman a bitch is not cool, even if she is asking for it).
In the end, the girl goes to Hollywood, even though two of the four judges were against it. Why? Well, because teh menz are in charge and teh menz want more boner material! Now, before we cut to commercial, let’s play the parts where you get to see Bikini Girl’s ass twice more, followed by a montage of her jumping up and down.
Right there, in five minutes, is about the sickest, most destructive sexist message I think I’ve seen all week. Talent is meaningless. Just show the men in charge your boobies and that’s all you need to do! Who cares if you insult the female judge of your audition? Who cares if two out of your four judges don’t like you? Hey, you’re hot, and teh menz approve! Jump up and down some more for the camera. That’s a good girl.
Now, before all you women out there think that you can go out and win American Idol if you just take it all off, check yourself. Do you look like a porn star? Are you perfectly groomed and possess a Dude Nation approved body? Just good old self-confidence and vocal talent alone will not do. Make sure that you’re perfectly attractive, vapid, and willing to crush your own will to reflect everyone else’s, or the sexpot act will crash and burn. You see, it’s not about enjoying your body, it’s about how much others enjoy your looking at your body. What, like you expected some respect and recognition of your humanity?
As long as you please Simon and Randy’s dicks, you can even get away with being a subpar singer and insulting your judge. FOX wants you to know, women and girls of America, that’s not about talent, poise, ambition, intelligence, and individuality. You are a woman, and therefore the only things that matter are how hot you are, how far you’re willing to go to please other people with your body, and if the men in charge like it when you twirl around and show off your ass.
Now, remind me again: why is feminism needed?