Friday, October 30, 2009

ENTERTAINMENT OP-ED: Tyra Banks puts on a show and show's off her ignorance

So Tyra Banks and her "America's Next Top Model" crew decided to plaster colored skin creams all over their contestant's faces in an effort to make them look, as one contestant put it, "so exotic." Some are calling it a return of the hated blackface. Others argue it's just acting. All wonder if it's going to even be a controversy.

I've detested this show since it was first a twinkle in the WB/CW's eye so nothing they do that's offensive or controversial really surprises me since I find the whole concept and industry behind high-end fashion modeling offensive and degrading, but this is just astounding because for all my hate on Tyra Banks and the fact that young women actually eat her superficial crap up, I kind of figured that she and her peers were just working with what they've got and are savvy enough to use society's obsession to their advantage, but this just makes them flat out stupid, in my opinion.

I mean, really? How does this not ruffle anyone on set's glittered feathers? Is such acceptance of such ignorance and consumerism over humanity really so pervasive? Heck, as noted in EW, they even mixed up racial identity with national and cultural identity, telling the aspiring models that Hawaii's a melting pot of races so they're each going to portray a jumble of Greek/Mexican, Moroccan/Russian, Botswana/Polynesian, Tibetan/whatever individuals.

Shows like Ugly Betty try to show the intelligence and thought process behind fashion shoots, the covering of all bases and being smart about it. These showrunners didn't even bother, reducing Native Americans to an eagle-staring people and Tibet to a stereotype of tranquility and oppression.

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