Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sex Education via Reality TV

Make Me a Supermodel, America’s Next Top Model, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, The Bachelor and Bachelorette, The Bad Girls’ Club. What do all these shows have in common? They are giving our kids Sex Education via Reality TV.

Many teen girls are obsessed with becoming models, looking like models or with being considered desirable. Our magazines, movies and TV shows have taught them to be this way. And teen boys aren't totally unaffected either.

The contestants on these types of TV shows may know what they are in for when they sign up – but what about your kids watching TV? Some of the shows may initially be on late at night, but the stations replay the programs at many different times on other days of the week to draw more viewers.

On Bravo TV’s Make Me a Supermodel, Season One, the unusually beautiful contestants (males and females between the ages of 18-24) were directed to pose in near-nude, very seductive positions on a bed; in all combinations (including a requirement of girl/girl, boy/boy for those who were heterosexual), body parts touching, kissing, petting. They were prompted to become as sexually involved as possible.

One girl, rather self-conscious, had already been criticized in a previous episode for not wearing a thong and was intimidated into doing so for this episode.

For their runway appearance, they had to wear black leather bondage and discipline outfits and had to choose whether to be a submissive or a dominator. In the end, the models that went the furthest in both tests were congratulated while the more timid received poor reviews. All in the name of “this is how you become a top model.”

The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency on Oxygen (not currently being aired after its first three seasons) also had the requirement for the models to get naked for photo tests. Dickinson sent 4 males (some gay, some straight) to a photo shoot where they had to be ninety percent nude with black leather sado-masichism paraphernalia. On another episode, she ruthlessly criticized several models who auditioned from Models For Jesus, making fun of their faith and saying their careers would be stalled by their prudishness.

On ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, people are kissing multiple others in the same night, in hot tubs, scantily clad, and it is intimated that the finalists all have a night of sex. The shows claim they are strictly chaperoned, but teens at home may not know that. I've even heard adults question, "How they can have sex with so many people"? It's doubtful they do, but it is definitely suggested.

I can understand some photo shoots where models are artistically draped in thin materials. But there is modeling, there is art, and then there is just plain exploitation of our teens and young singles for the sake of the dollar.


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