Posts Tagged ‘Reality TV’

Yep, it’s time for another one of my rants about my world. Wow, you just can’t beat television as a valuable source of material for rants. I’ve struck the mother lode with this medium.

First, it’s important to talk a little bit about “set precedents.” For years, Hollywood has given all of us “real women” an incredibly impossible ideal that all women need to strive for in order to achieve “perfect beauty”: a size 0 (that’s a “zero”, not an “O”, in case you’re also a blond, skinny, chick reading this right now).

Okay, before I start getting responses that accuse me of being sexist, ageist, “fattist” or whatever the latest PC term for overweight is, I will own up to my own figure. I am not, I repeat, NOT one of those women who fit into size 0 pants. If math serves me correctly here, I’m more of a size 14(ish). Bigger on the days I’m retaining water. Less on the days I drink more coffee. Needless to say, I’m “full bodied”. But, I can carry it off better than, say someone the size of a professional jockey. I’m tall. I used to be tall and thin, now I’m just tall. Genetics, aging, childbirth, and not watching my weight (because I no longer care) has added several unwanted, unneccesary pounds to my 5’10″(ish) height. I say “ish” because according to my doctor, I’ve shrunk. I think I was just slouching on that day she measured me.

I own my weight issues and certainly can’t do anything about my height issues. I just thought I’d put this out there so nobody could come back at me and say “Well, you can say all this because YOU don’t have anything to talk about!” (I’m also “blond”, so that argument goes out the window too, nyah!)

But, of course, I do have something to say. Ladies, it is time we take some things back — like weight issues and hair issues.

I saw a preview for the latest round of reality TV shows called “More to Love”, and this one looks like nothing more than an excuse to take the sting out of the word “fat” and soften it up with the euphemism: “real woman”. Are you kidding me?

The premise behind this concept is simple: a bachelor is searching for his “Miss Right” (sound familiar here?). But, with a twist. This time, the chubby chaser is looking for a–yes–they said it out loud, “real woman”. Translation: women somewhere in the 5′-5’6″ height range and between 175 – 215 lbs (rough estimate based on some quick calculations I made regarding circumference) As I once heard it said: “Just a hugging and a chalking I go”. I’m no math wizard here, but I know “fat” when I see it. And folks, these women are “fat”.

I don’t have a problem with the premise of the show. Fat women need love too. I totally support anyone who can find the love of their life — skinny, fat, pimply faced, etc. So long as they aren’t searching for an abusive, controlling, addicted, waste of a human being, who am I to argue or complain?

The problem I have is in the euphemistic and patronizing tone of the words “Real woman”. Come on, let’s call it like we see it. Am I any less “real” as a woman because I don’t weigh 215 (approximately) pounds? Am I less of a “real woman” because I was blessed with long legs and a short torso?

I have an entirely different definition of “real woman”, and it has nothing to do with weight or height, but everything to do with character:

1. A real woman isn’t afraid to leave the house without full make up on, uncombed hair or even an unshowered body.

2. A real woman isn’t afraid to put a worm on a hook, land the fish, kiss the first one for good luck, and pry the bloody hook from the fish’s mouth.

3. A real woman couldn’t tell you the difference between Donna Karan and Dolce Gabbana, but she can hogtie a calf, castrate a bull and chop a chord of wood, if need be — all before noon on a blistering summer day (or midnight on a frigid winter’s night).

4. A real woman doesn’t sit around and whine about her man’s failings, or the fact that she can’t find a decent man, or she’s too fat, too ugly, too poor, etc. She just works with what she has. If she decides to drop any weight, let’s hope it’s the man who doesn’t love her for who she is, not because he told her so.

5. A real woman doesn’t sit around comparing herself to other women. I get that Jennifer Aniston is a size 0. I accept that she is “knock-‘em-dead” gorgeous. She also has a personal trainer, most likely a professional chef, a stylist, personal shopper, etc. Her job is to BE gorgeous and she does it well.

6. A real woman doesn’t let society define or determine who she is, especially if these criteria are coming from a male-dominated industry.

These are just a few things I consider to be part of a real woman’s treasure trove of value. Notice nowhere in there did I say “a-real-woman-is-actually-a-fat-woman-upset-at-being-called-fat-who-is-really-just-trying-to-find-her-place-in-a-society-that-has-created-impossibly-unrealistic-expectations-of-beauty-and-worth.” However, I bet that’s the first thing the pitch people for this reality show said to the network producers as they were hauling out the contract to sign.

It’s time we stopped with all this nonsense about beauty and how it is defined. I, myself, could lose some pounds. As I said before, I own this statement. But, let’s drop the euphemisms and start calling it like we see it.  These women on this show are fat. If TV producers want to create a show called “Real Women”, then I say they search for more appropriate and fitting women to answer their audition calls– and sit back to see how many really do show up after all.

Because a real woman would have the confidence to say “No, I don’t need the spotlight of television to show the world how beautiful I know I am.”

Gay-MarriageSame sex marriage is one of today’s biggest hot buttons in the media. Nineteen states in the US have officially legalized it, while thirty-one remain either on the fence or continue to legislate against it. 

Personally, I believe it is only a matter of time before same-sex marriage is a universally accepted right in this country, and I have no problem with that. I look at this topic as something that doesn’t affect me personally, doesn’t harm me in anyway, so who am I to decide who can and cannot marry? 

What does bother me is the amount of organized religions out there worrying more about what two people who truly love each other do in the privacy of their homes than the way television programming has evolved. I’m talking about two new “reality shows” that blow all standards of decorum and morality right out of the water: Dating Naked and Marriage at First Sight.  Perhaps it is time the morality police step in and turn their attention and efforts towards making reality TV illegal. I’d vote in favor of that law.

Dating Naked pairs up couples and follows them as they, yes, spend time together in various dating situations – while entirely naked. That’s right, not a single stitch of clothing allowed between either of them, all captured in incredibly well-placed blurred out patches of video. Allegedly, this show is designed to remove all forms of inhibitions and concerns about body image and just let the men and women get to know each other’s “personalities”. Sounds like a reasonable premise, right?

I was curious about how this show got through the censors, so I spent five minutes watching two naked people sitting in a hot tub, getting to know each other. I noticed a few things right away:

There was an abundance of alcohol available to these couples (a few shots of tequila in and hell, I would probably be willing to do this show too!)

Every single naked person on the show was attractive, well built and wrinkle free. So, basically, under the age of 23. No wonder they have no body issues – they haven’t suffered from the effects of aging and gravity yet. Here’s a suggestion, try expanding your pool of qualified candidates to the middle aged crowd. Want reality? Show what childbirth, unemployment, work stress, improper diet and lack of exercise really does to the body. Now THAT I would watch, because I bet the conversations in the hot tub would be far more interesting than having to listen to some vacuous blonde warble “Soooo, like, I was thinking of getting a tattoo of my cat on my hip, like, right above my pelvis, because, that’s like, so ironic, it’s so close to, you know, my heh heh heh”. Quality scripting there, to be sure.

But, the morality violation didn’t end there. Some other brilliant set of producers and directors of reality TV decided it would be very entertaining to mess with the concept and definition of matrimony (Are you listening, all you Judgy McJudgersons? This part’s where you come in).

They assembled a group of professionals trained in the art of determining “human compatibility” (whatever the hell that means) and asked them to participate in a “little experiment about marriage” (translation: let’s f*ck with the traditional, biblical definition of marriage). As with any reality TV show, a casting call went out to single people everywhere who felt their lives were over because they hadn’t found “the perfect model –er, mate” and convinced them to sign up for a show called “Marriage at First Sight.” And guess what? That’s pretty much the whole show there. The chosen candidates were asked a series of questions (which we weren’t privy too), then the pairing off began. 

And that’s when I started watching. Because I couldn’t turn away from this future Divorce Court episode. Not for a million dollars.

Weddings were planned just like any other wedding ever gets planned: Bridezilla goes nuts, gets her dress picked out, flowers, beats a few of her bridesmaids into submission, prays her husband is “hot”, cries at her bachelorette party. Groom gets together with his groomsmen and they all drink themselves into a stupor while the men throw out questions and comments like, “Are you f*cking insane? You don’t even know this woman’s name! What if she’s an ugly fatty, are you going to go through with it? God, you could end up with a wife that sucks in bed!” Ah, another true American love story, all caught on camera.

The happy day arrives, and the couples are filmed as they get ready for their weddings. Remember, they haven’t even been told the names of their future spouses. When it is time for the vows, the “officiator” has to do one of these: “Do you….(looks down at the name written into the space marked ‘Insert name here’) Doug…take you (back to the script), Lisa…” while the bride and groom smile and giggle nervously, probably saying to themselves “Thank GOD her name isn’t Ethel!” “He definitely is not a Brad Pitt lookalike, I feel like I’ve been lied to”. Charmingly romantic.

The brief, secular, completely unemotional ceremony (unless you count the looks of sheer terror and WTF did I just agree to? spreading across their now ashen colored faces) ends with the couples being given a short, short time to back out (read: they aren’t allowed to back out, because that would be the end of the show. See what they did there?). Obviously, the desire to remain in the TV spotlight as the show follows them through the next five weeks of being newlyweds is stronger than their ability to think things through before making very important, and to some sacred, decisions about their lives.

hiking2Back to same-sex marriage, and the purpose of this post. It is obvious to me that same-sex marriage is a hot button due to the strongly held belief by Christian zealo- Christians that marriage should always be between a man and a woman because the bible says so. However, if one were to read the Old Testament, they would find numerous examples of marital infidelity, multiple wives, incestuous relationships, etc. So, the argument about the sanctity of marriage is rendered moot by the first few books of the very document used to support its own argument. 

Honestly, same-sex marriage is less of a threat to the sanctity of marriage than what I saw on TV: two total strangers, conscientiously deciding to choose fame and notoriety over dignity and integrity, agreeing to marry total strangers sight unseen. After all, isn’t this the definition of an arranged marriage, which still occur today in non-Christian based countries?

Man, I do love great, situational irony.

bigstock-woman-speaking-face-close-up-25371242-460x460

 

Readers:

I am taking a survey. Nominate one of the following for “most annoying sounds ever made”

A. A screeching infant or toddler

B. Fingernails on the chalkboard

C. A morning wake up alarm

D. Vocal fry

If you answered A, B, or C, that is only partially correct. If you answered D, that would be the best possible answer for this post, because that is the subject of today’s rant.

There is an epidemic sweeping this nation among girls aged 11 to…well, I’m not exactly sure what age — I’ve seen it in girls in my classroom to adult women on Reality TV shows. It is called “vocal fry” and it must be stopped.

For some reason, the annoying habit of inserting the word “like” into every third word of conversation has become so popular, nobody really notices, cares, or hears it being spoken, like, all the time. That would be the second most annoying sound ever, but this post is about vocal fry, not poor speech habits. Oh wait, maybe it is.

I once sat in my school’s staff room and mentally tried to count the number of “like”s spoken by someone who insisted be referred to as an “adult professional”. I will provide you with a snippet of her golden-throated eloquence:

My students arrrrrre, like, sooooo getting on my nerrrrrrrrrves, like, it’s so annnnoyyyying, eh eh eh

I lost count at 25. This speech pattern is coming from someone who was supposed to be trained in speaking in front of large crowds of people. And using “big girl” vocabulary while doing so. Yuck.

I can’t solely blame her for her speech patterns. Instead, I choose to blame most of the millenial women who have adapted this style of speech in a poor attempt to sound much more intellectual and sophisticated than they actually are. What they don’t realize about this speech pattern is that, in fact, it sounds totally obnoxious and makes them sound like they’re too lazy or tired to finish the sentence, so they peter out somewhere towards the end and just utter the last few syllables. Over and over again.

In case readers are still confused about this particular speech affectation, I have included a short video below that explains it perfectly. Give it a listen and if you’re a woman (or in smaller numbers, men), ask yourself “Do I really sound like this?” and fix it. If you’re a man ask yourself “Is this really the kind of woman I want to listen to daily for the rest of my life?” If so, be prepared for a lifetime of imposed silence because you really can’t tolerate that for more than ten minutes before you want to muzzle the girl. Trust me on this one.

Ladies, check yourselves. Stop with the vocal fry. It truly is the worst sound ever. And this is coming from someone who had to sit in front of a screaming child for two hours during a flight home from vacation. Trust me on this, too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjMKIH7ohGo