There was a reality TV series, Outback Jack, which I’m embarrassed to say I watched from time to time, before I became an enlightened feminist and joined TLH. It was similar to shows like Average Joe and The Bachelor where women compete for a man’s affections. Except those women were competing for the man’s affections in the comfort of a nice house with private bedrooms and inner-spring mattresses. Outback Jack was set in the Australian outback.
Let me explain the Australian outback to you. In summer it has up to fifty-plus degree temperatures (and I’m talking celcius here), low humidity and, because it’s too desolate for Western Power to extend electricity to, there’s no air-conditioning. You sweat it out under the shade (where at least you don’t get sunburnt, though you still get dehyrated, and your skin and hair goes to hell for it). The dozen or so women of OJ get tricked into the show, being told they’d be taken to a grand sprawling manner when, in fact, they were dropped off in the middle of nowhere where there’s rocks, sand, more rocks and sand, and oh, did I forget to mention the rocks and sand?
And the fifty-plus temperatures. In celcius.
It was beyond my comprehension why these women stood for it. I mean, it was one thing to compete for a man’s attention when they had a private bedrooms with inner-spring mattresses and spa baths to go back to. It was entirely another when they were sleeping in tents on roll-out mattresses with mosquito nets so they didn’t get malaria. And because this is desert, it’s freezing cold at night, to go with the blistering heat of the day. These women traipsed around the outback in their determination to win a man. What the…?
To be fair, one women gave it up after a day and wanted to go home. Nothing was worth braving the Aussie outback for, and quite frankly, I didn’t blame her. I spent about a week there, and I wouldn’t go back. But what I don’t understand is why no-one else did. Who the hell spends week after week braving it in the scorching heat and freezing cold to win a man?
And to top it all off, they looked like they had hair and make-up artists to take care of them. As I said, it’s hot and dry; no way could those women have kept on looking fresh-faced and sleek-haired as they did without some serious professional help. So on top of putting women through hell for a man, they made every effort to make them look good in the process, when in fact they’d chosen one of the most hostile environments in which to look good in.
The show bothered me more then most shows in its genre because it shows women prepared to go through hell or high water – and believe me, the Australian outback covers both those – in order to win a man.
If it had been me, I would have been the woman who packed it in at the first opportunity.