I really do try to avoid making generalizations; they’re dangerous because they are just that – general statements about a place, thing or group of people that are undoubtedly diverse. Painting every single American with the same critical stroke is a bit unfair, for example, and calling men pigs makes a pretty big assumption that every man met will turn into a swine at some point.
Sometimes, though, the man vs. pig comparison about sums it up. If anything, it’s unfair to the pigs.
Lately, I’ve been so brain-sluggish after a full day of work that I just get home and veg out on the sofa. There’s nothing on TV, but I have it on for hours. Some time ago, I happened across America’s Got Talent, a gigantic opportunity for people to seek their fifteen seconds of fame. The judges are some British dude I don’t know, Brandy (singer), and David Hasselhoff. Whatever. I watched with half my attention until a contestant came on to showcase her talent. They made a point of telling us this woman had gone to college and had a business degree, but this talent was where her heart lay.
Her talent turned out to be stripping, which she proceeded to do in front of a live audience and on national TV. From the looks of it, she was an average stripper. I saw nothing that indicated she was stupendous at it. Brandy was horrified, and tried to buzz the woman off to make her stop before she had all her clothes off. After that finally happened, the judges got to have their say. Brandy expressed her horrification and indicated her belief the “talent” wasn’t really a talent, at which point both male judges admonished her and told her she was crazy; the contestant was clearly talented, hot and they loved everything about her. I think they went so far as to say they thought the woman should definitely come back and take more clothes off in front of them. Brandy’s criticism was ignored. The contestant was invited back.
I watched the show again last Tuesday (July 18). It’s the finals now. This time, a girl group performed, adequately, and Brandy again posed objections – one to their lack of chemistry as a group and the other regarding their attire. All three girls (16 and 17 year olds) all wore skimpy, very revealing clothing, and Brandy questioned whether or not that was the right look for them. Which resulted in an outcry from the male judges yet again. They saw nothing bothersome about young girls showing as much skin as they did, and in fact encouraged the sexiness.
I don’t know if I have properly described these situations. Perhaps they actually had to be watched to appreciate the complete disrespect the judges had, not only for the women on the stage but also for Brandy. They had no qualms objectifying the women on stage, especially once they learned of Brandy’s misgivings. Her concern and points actually seemed to prompt them to retaliate against her, to make her opinions look ridiculous and unfounded.
The whole thing made me uncomfortable and angry.