Even construction shows need babes

I wrote yesterday about why I hate the double beauty standard which holds that even PTA moms on TV must be played by supermodels whether they can act or not while male characters can be played by almost any skilled actor. Today I want to give you one of the more bizarre examples of the phenomenon:

Roger HazardA&E’s “Sell This House”, and “Move This House” in which designer Roger Hazard helps people make little touches and changes that make a big difference in their homes. Here’s the picture A&E puts on the shows website of skilled, talented Roger who’s really good at his work, just like a man should be. He’s not a bad-looking guy, and he certainly has enough personality and competence that women and men alike can enjoy him on screen.
Tanya MemmeConversely, here’s A&E’s picture of the show’s hostess, Tanya Memme. A&E’s website does mention in passing Tanya’s rather respectable background as a dancer and actress, and the fact that she’s a good negotiator, but the pivotal sentenced, placed where the skimming eye just can’t miss it at the top of the second paragraph, is: “From the beginning, there was never any doubt that she was destined for a career in front of the camera.” That’s what’s important, you see.The fact that Tanya’s family was in construction and she knows what she’s talking about – that gets mentioned on other sites, but not A&E. The fact that Tanya won a Miss World Canada crown but gave it back because she wanted to pursue dancing and acting on a serious level – not what A&E wants us to know about her. Roger is described as someone with a passion for his work, who’s taken on challenges, who has extensive experience. Tanya, on the other hand, fulfills a nurturing female role: she “helps homeowners through the challenge of handing all of their worldly possessions and the design of their new home over to the show’s team”. Aww, how sweet.

Now, I’ll grant that Tanya is the host and Roger is the talent, so the comparison may seem uneven. And I’ll stop making it just as soon as I see a show with an ordinary-looking woman as the talent, and a hot young male babe as the host.

Don’t get me wrong: Tanya is smart, knowledgeable and confident. You get the definite sense that her success is not looks-dependant. In fact, it doesn’t bother me that much that A&E cast a beautiful woman instead of one more ordinary-looking; what does bug the hell out of me is that she’s always in full make-up and expensive clothes even when she’s mixing paint and moving furniture, while the family next to her is all jeans, t-shirts and mussed hair. It’s just stupid. Here’s a woman who probably looks better after cleaning her garage than 90% of us would with a professional makeover, but that’s still not good enough for A&E. Nah, she also has to be coiffed to the 9′s. For a freakin’ do it yourself remodeling show.

“Move This House’s” user comments on IMDB? “Tanya’s a babe!” Now that’s the audience A&E’s after! He goes on to point out that Tanya’s not just “window dressing”, that she works on the houses, too. But the most important thing about her is that she’s capable of inspiring boners. What a relief! With all this erectile dysfunction function medication about, I guess American men must need all the babes they can get. (And yes, that was sarcasm.)

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