Thursday, May 15, 2008

Back on Track, Reality TV Style

Here be ANTM spoilers!

Phew! Finals are over, and I am free to blog regularly again. Until I go to France. And then to camp. So, enjoy the increase of posts while it lasts!

What moves me to write tonight is really a great source of shame for me. You see, I watch America's Next Top Model. I watch: 5% out of true interest, 20% because my housemate watches it, 35% to understand Rich's recaps (but I'd read them anyway, the reading predated the watching), and 40% to feel weekly as if I am in some trippy alternate reality in which Tyra Banks makes sense.

Anyway, tonight was the finale and plus-sized model Whitney took it. I was excited, though I liked all the girls in the final three, Whitney would be the best "spokes model", if you rule out the theory that Anya is so damn cute you'd buy anything she was holding. Whitney's also the first plus-sized model to ever win, which is something. It was feeling like they just always cast a token fat girl for no reason. She went into a speech at the end of the show about how hard growing up not super-thin has been, and the judges had a generally fat-positive (though cheesy, always cheesy) message, saying instead of "plus-sized" or "full-figured" all she should be called is "beautiful". Sweet.

But! An anonymous source told Rich, that Whitney may have been a plant (funny enough, a theory he put forth about the full-figured model last season), and photos on livejournal's ohnotheydidnt of a much slimmer Whitney support. I shouldn't be surprised. Reality TV and ethics don't mix.
However, I'm downright bothered, not because Whitney got the prize- plant or not, she's a good model, and like I said, the best spokes model, and putting to rest the idea that fat girls can't win on this show was a fine gesture. But, if it was truly fixed (in the always-planned-that-this-girl-is-going-to-win way, not the gain-some-weight-and you'll-be-a-good-plus-sized-girl way), I'm bothered that the other top two, specifically, didn't get the prize, and by extension that chance at being the "inspiration" that Whitney is (maybe?) for big girls. If you don't follow the show, both Fatima and Anya, the other finalists, were born outside of the United States. Anya was born in Russia and raised in Hawaii, and Fatima is a refugee from Somalia who currently resides in Massachusetts. So, if this was a fixed win, the message to me reads as kind of "Fat girls CAN make it! But not too fat! And with help! Help that immigrant/refugee women don't get!"
Buuuuut if it's not fixed at all, yay Whitney and everything!

I also post because that ONTD entry features a lot of other models, including my second favorite girl from Cycle 10, Lauren! My first favorite is Kimberly by default, because she's a local girl and because she went all "oh wait I have ethics" in the first episode (though they were more "buying expensive stuff is stupid" ethics than "this industry is wasteful and demeaning and capitalism is evil" ethics, I take what I can get), something I expected Lauren to do when I first saw her punk ass. Alas, no, she stuck with it, but was too delightfully awkward to make it all the way. This photo further captured my heart, of course.
Lauren rocks the pit hair:

Oh, the very vision of beauty.
My secret sources (message boards) tell me that Kimya Dawson has written a song about hairy armpits, avaliable very soon on her album for kids, Alphabutt, which I'm so stoked for. If you're down with hairy armpits, you're pretty much down with me.

Tyra Banks = not down with me.

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