Men of the Porcine Variety

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.

Comments

  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    Brandy’s someone I’ve always kind of liked, despite her teenybop status earlier in her career. ;)

    I suspect you’ve described this just right. What happened to Brandy here happens to me all the time. I’ll comment that Britney Spears is lacking in vocal talent and only got where she is because of her oversexualized act, and men will admonish me, in the most patronizing way – usually for being jealous. Then they diss on actors like Ewan McGregor, even to the point of spreading lies about the actor’s personal life, and I’m supposed to take their criticisms seriously.

    To my ear, it’s the same as the male executive who unabashedly tells a female executive she should unbutton a few buttons, or wear a shorter skirt, just because it would look good on her or impress clients.

    I guess if men think there’s nothing wrong with giving a woman bonus points for looking sexy, they should stop complaining if we give them bonus points for being rich. There.

  2. sbg says

    I’ll comment that Britney Spears is lacking in vocal talent and only got where she is because of her oversexualized act, and men will admonish me, in the most patronizing way – usually for being jealous.

    Get out of my head. I was going to talk about the “you’re just jealous” remark in a future article. ;)

    And Britney Spears doesn’t have a good singing voice.

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    That was your head? Well, that explains the ever-shifting halluciongenic landscape. I thought it was just the heat. ;)

    Yeah, maybe everytime a man criticizes a politician he doesn’t agree with, we should say, “Oh, you’re just jealous because he’s got power and you don’t” and keep scoffing and never let him say his piece. Because that’s exactly the treatment I often get when making a legitimate criticism of a female star. It’s just this assumption that women are all about the cat-fighting and the shopping and the “blond moments”.

    And of course, not all guys are like this.

  4. SunlessNick says

    Interesting idea. Perhaps throw it at a guy who criticises Ewan MacGregor (to use your example). Or Ian McKellan.

  5. Jennifer Kesler says

    Oh, I already do that. ;)

    I do reserve that treatment for guys who’ve done the same for me. For that matter, I do it to women as well (yes, women dismiss each other’s opinions because, hello, we know very well just how little our opinions matter in society).

  6. Glaivester says

    I’ll comment that Britney Spears is lacking in vocal talent and only got where she is because of her oversexualized act, and men will admonish me, in the most patronizing way – usually for being jealous.

    If it makes you feel any better, I am one guy who’ll back you up on that.

    I actually have to admit that most of the so-called sex symbols I do not find very sexy. I don’t find Madonna’s videos all that sexy, nor Britney Spears’, nor Christina Aguilera’s.

  7. Jennifer Kesler says

    Thank you! I’ve talked to guys who just don’t find certain female sex symbols attractive, or find them attractive-looking but are turned off by their overly sexualized style.

    Unfortunately, neither of the judges on this show seem to think that way.

  8. scarlett says

    You wouldn’t believe how many clashes of opinion I’ve had with a close male friend (who is otherwise fairly open-minded) because I’ve had the gall to suggest his newest favorite scantily-clad twentysomething singer is only passably talented. Unless having a toned body and provocative dance moves counts as talent these days.

    Actually… reminds me of an exchange I had with him once. We’d made plans to have a big night out, and the night before he’d met a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend at a club who apparantly ‘danced like Beyonce’. After hearing all the way through dinner stupid anecdotes about this girl at the most random times, I said something like ‘look, if you’re so interested in her, I really would rather you had asked her out and cancelled on me then have the conversation evolve around her’.

    His reply? ‘Oh, are you jealous?’ Yep, because I have nothing better to do then be jealous of someone I’ve never met, have never even seen. God forbid I was after a conversation a little more stimulating then a sexy dancer.

    Hmmm, maybe he’s not as enlightened as I gave him credit…

    Alright, that’s my rant.

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