WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND…

Top Model’s beautiful corpses: the nexus of reality TV misogyny and ad industry ideology

jpozners Icon Posted by Jennifer L Pozner

March 22nd, 2007

Ain’t nothin’ hotter than a dead girl. That’s the take-away message from this week’s episode of America’s Next Top Model, in which Tyra “I care so much about my girls” Banks & co. created the most brazen bit of ad-industry misogyny ever to grace the reality TV genre: an entire episode presenting a gaggle of underfed model wannabes as the mutilated, mangled and murdered epitome of beauty.

I’m so disgusted by the photos that I refuse to give them extra visual traction on this blog - but do click over to Zap2it’s photo gallery if you’d like to see for yourself how ANTM gives new definition to the phrase “suicide girls.” The lithe lot of ‘em are arrayed in awkward, broken poses, splayed out in cold concrete corridors, lifeless limbs positioned bloodily, just so, at the bottom of staircases, bathtubs and back alleys, mimicking their demise via stabbing, shooting, electrocution, drowning, poisoning, strangulation, decapitation and organ theft (!), to judges’ comments of “Gorgeous!” “Fantastic!” “Amazing!” “Absolutely beautiful!” and, of my favorite, “Death becomes you, young lady!”

For decades, media critics such as pioneering advertising theorist Jean Kilbourne have argued that ad imagery equating gruesome violence against women with beauty and glamour works to dehumanize women, making such acts in real life not only more palatable and less shocking, but even aspirational. ANTM’s pretty-as-a-picture crime-scene challenge epitomized the worst of an insidious industry trend that, ahem, just won’t die.

The “beautiful corpses” episode of Top Model (a series that traffics in bottom-feeder humiliation, objectification and degradation of women in the name of fashion, fun and beauty for the deep profit of integrated marketers such as Cover Girl and Seventeen magazine) serves as sharp reminder that what millions of reality TV viewers believe is harmless fluff… is anything but. ANTM is less a “guilty pleasure,” as TV Guide and infotainment shows have called it, than it is a cynical CW cashcow guilty of making product placers, and Tyra Banks, rich at the expense of not only the self-esteem of the few hungry (in every sense) young strivers appearing in the modeling competition, but of the millions of girls and women, boys and men, who watch the show uncritically, learning that unhealthily underweight, Brazilian-waxed waifs can only achieve the ultimate in beauty when they appear to be erotically, provocatively maimed and murdered (as they were this week), self-abusive (as when models were made to pose as bulimics mid-purge last season), corpses (as they were during a prior season when the challenge involved posing in caskets lowered into open graves in a cemetery).

Since 2001, I’ve been monitoring the deep-seated bigotry against women in the reality TV genre, especially in the modeling and cosmetic surgery series such as the competitive farces and the butchered-for-beauty gorefests of Top Model and The Swan. In articles (such as “The Unreal World” for Ms. magazine and “Triumph of the Shill: Reality TV Lets Marketers Write the Script“) and in multi-media presentations on the college lecture circuit (such as “Bachelor Babes, Bridezillas & Husband-Hunting Harems: Decoding Reality TV’s Twisted Fairy Tales” - email info[at]wimnonline.org if you’d like to bring this lecture to your community), I’ve been arguing that we need to pay critical attention to the reality TV genre’s function as the cultural arm of the current political backlash against women’s rights.

Some of what deserves deconstruction is subtle — say, the way adult women in reality TV are constantly infantilized, only called “girls” regardless of age, never referred to as “women” — but much of what passes for entertainment in this genre couldn’t be more a more blatant nexus of the worst of the ad industry’s long-held hostility toward women coupled with corporate media’s ever-present pursuit of the almighty dollar. This misogyny has been manifesting itself in print for years as advertising’s fetishization of images of beautifully beaten, raped, drugged, tortured and murdered girls… today, advertisers are advancing these same backwards notions in 3-D, in the name of “reality,” their product placement bucks allowing them to influence and sometimes even control the dialog, sets, themes and plotlines of primetime’s most popular “unscripted” programs.

This is deeply dangerous to our culture, as I wrote in Bitchmagazine:

Advertising is profoundly manipulative at its core. Its imagery strives to deprive us of realistic ideas about love, beauty, health, money, work, childhood, and more in an attempt to convince us that only products can bring us true joy; numerous studies show that the more ads we view, the worse we feel about ourselves. How much worse will this psychological exploitation become when woven directly into our narratives?

Again, do contact WIMN if you’d like me to bring a discussion of gender roles in reality TV to your campus or community group.

And, if you notice noteworthy tidbits in any reality TV shows you watch that you think deserve comment, please let me know. If you can provide DVD or VHS copies of the shows you’re commenting on, all the better — I might be able to use them for an upcoming book I’m planning on this topic.

Thoughts on Top Model? Share them in the comments field.

68 Responses to “Top Model’s beautiful corpses: the nexus of reality TV misogyny and ad industry ideology”

  1. Linwood Comeau
    July 7th, 2013 16:56

    I cling on to listening to the newscast lecture about receiving boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the finest site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i acquire some?

  2. Fidel Hamby
    July 10th, 2013 08:14

    Livy, shut up and stop being such a drama queen. It’s zooming in and making things seem more important and intellectual than they are ( illusion ).. Common sense, simple answer.

  3. dirty hobby
    September 2nd, 2013 16:00

    ShyBrunette is now online on diystage dCIRet scu tits ass private porn my dirty hobby ass babe

  4. skórynaturalne
    September 3rd, 2013 02:41

    I was recommended this blog by means of my
    cousin. I am no longer sure whether or not this
    submit is written by way of him as no one else know such specific approximately my
    trouble. You are wonderful! Thank you!

  5. hit me
    September 3rd, 2013 17:58

    Yu kno jus how ta handle me, no mydirtyhobby Amateursex baby yu got stamina

  6. Transport Chiny
    September 10th, 2013 04:45

    I am just commenting to let you understand of the great encounter our child developed browsing your blog. She discovered a wide variety of pieces, with the inclusion of how it is like to have a wonderful giving mood to let other individuals easily fully grasp some complex subject areas. You really exceeded visitors’ expectations. I appreciate you for giving such practical, healthy, explanatory and unique thoughts on this topic to Ethel.

  7. Montaz Anten
    September 10th, 2013 09:03

    Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the web the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while people consider worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  8. chemical suppliers
    September 25th, 2013 00:48

    I’m taking a look forward on your subsequent publish, I’ll try to get the cling of it!

  9. chemical suppliers
    September 25th, 2013 01:03

    Though I do not necessarily concur with the idea in totality, I regard your point of view.

  10. chemical suppliers
    October 2nd, 2013 01:23

    I think I’ve read about this somewhere else.

  11. beauty salon equipment for sale in cape town
    October 17th, 2013 18:27

    Those who do notice, will usually strike up a conversation about
    either the stroller or your Bichon. We provide payment by all
    major credit cards and check online. The Lord of the Rings:
    The Motion Picture Trilogy Extended Edition on Blu-ray includes a
    collectible 6-character trilogy figurine set on-pack.

  12. Dino Riner
    October 29th, 2013 10:30

    supposing that you are rookie to domain name checker then you are genuinely a Domainbie

  13. Website
    December 30th, 2013 13:01

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this brilliant blog!
    I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking
    and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to brand new updates and will share this website with
    my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  14. cigarette électronique pas cher
    January 5th, 2014 06:28

    Batterie, cartouche et e-liquide sont les éléments indispensables de la cigarette électronique. A noter que plus la ecig est de taille importante, plus la batterie aura une longue autonomie. les cartouches de liquide, véritable coeur du système, peuvent être réutilisées et remplies de nombreuses fois de e-liquide.

  15. submit a site
    January 31st, 2014 08:32

    There are actually a number of details like that to take into consideration. That may be a great point to deliver up. I offer the thoughts above as common inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you deliver up where an important thing can be working in sincere good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I’m certain that your job is clearly recognized as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impression of just a second’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  16. website advertising companies
    February 1st, 2014 03:08

    Thanks for sharing superb informations. Your site is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this website. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the info I already searched everywhere and simply could not come across. What an ideal web-site.

  17. laptop for sale
    February 1st, 2014 04:40

    One more thing is that when searching for a good internet electronics store, look for online stores that are continually updated, always keeping up-to-date with the newest products, the perfect deals, and also helpful information on product or service. This will make certain you are handling a shop which stays over the competition and provide you what you should need to make knowledgeable, well-informed electronics buying. Thanks for the important tips I have learned through your blog.

  18. best seo services company
    February 1st, 2014 05:59

    Hello would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  19. Distance Education
    March 9th, 2014 20:09

    Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your web site is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you¡¦ve on this web site. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched everywhere and simply could not come across. What an ideal website.

  20. Continuing Education
    March 10th, 2014 20:21

    hi!,I love your writing so so much! proportion we communicate more about your post on AOL? I need an expert on this area to unravel my problem. May be that’s you! Having a look forward to see you.

  21. Kitchen Table Set
    March 18th, 2014 00:30

    Good write-up, I am regular visitor of one¡¦s site, maintain up the nice operate, and It’s going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

  22. BusinessInsurance
    March 23rd, 2014 23:28

    I just wanted to develop a small note to express gratitude to you for the superb advice you are posting at this website. My time intensive internet research has now been recognized with wonderful knowledge to talk about with my relatives. I would say that we website visitors are undoubtedly endowed to live in a very good website with very many wonderful professionals with helpful tips and hints. I feel rather lucky to have come across your entire web page and look forward to tons of more awesome minutes reading here. Thank you once more for all the details.

  23. atomiseur ce4
    April 17th, 2014 05:39

    Thank you for having published this web site. I say simply that it is rare to find some web like this, i.e. which offers advice on your situation. Thanks for having me agree among the members, I am very honoured. I was good looking sites with this kind of principles but far from it.

  24. Cheap Kids Mavericks Navy jerseys uk
    April 20th, 2014 18:20

    Only $18 ladies Bobcats Jerseys, 100% striched guarantee and fine online service for you.

  25. recharge cigarette électronique paris
    May 27th, 2014 06:06

    Kindly additionally consult with my site =). We could have a hyperlink trade arrangement among us!

  26. Watch The 100 Season Online
    May 28th, 2014 11:30

    Watch The 100 Season Online

    WIMN’s Voices » Top Model’s beautiful corpses: the nexus of reality TV misogyny and ad industry ideology

  27. how to make skin and hair beautiful
    June 8th, 2014 21:21

    This is a really good tip particularly to those new to
    the blogosphere. Brief but very precise
    information… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!

  28. personal injury claim
    June 27th, 2014 10:02

    Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working
    with? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but
    I’m having a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.

    The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and
    I’m looking for something unique. P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  29. iphone 5 portable charger with cable
    June 28th, 2014 01:36

    Nice blog! Are you using Wordpress as your main blogging platform? I ask this because your blog looks a a little different than other blogs I visit.

  30. home design
    July 4th, 2014 01:14

    I have read some good stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to create such a great informative site.

  31. Marcela
    August 22nd, 2014 13:37

    Here is my web page - site (Marcela)

  32. bramy olsztyn
    August 26th, 2014 09:31

    Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice whilst you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog website? The account helped me a applicable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered vibrant transparent idea

  33. Adfly Auto Clicker
    September 1st, 2014 14:14

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to grasp so much approximately this, like yyou wrote the guide in it or something.

    I feel that you could do with some percent too force the message
    house a little bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic
    blog. A gret read. I will definitely be back.

    Feel free to surf to my site - Adfly Auto Clicker

  34. search engine advertising
    September 20th, 2014 17:27

    The task of a games programmer, it was put together a website and online search engine
    optimization marketing experience there needs to be able to change elements from these two problems at
    once. Thus you have black background. One way that centres around the world, but images can be a successful career path.

    my web-site - search engine advertising

  35. Carlota
    September 22nd, 2014 11:54

    It all boils down to injury or illness contractor was caused by
    flood water damage remediation at property.
    Most roofing contractors is akin to paying government workers.
    In most jurisdictions, court records are expensive; therefore,
    looking at your door soliciting work. This way you can do is pay for.
    Traditionally, consumers and contractors who have acquired plenty of good general contractor,
    a degree.

    Look at my weblog; homepage (Carlota)

  36. Pueraria Mirifica
    September 22nd, 2014 19:50

    Some truly choice posts on this web site , saved to bookmarks .

  37. Kort
    September 22nd, 2014 22:56


    WIMN’s Voices » Top Model’s beautiful corpses: the nexus of reality TV misogyny and ad industry ideology

  38. Natural Skin Care
    September 24th, 2014 20:22

    I not to mention my friends came reading the excellent techniques located on the blog and then suddenly developed an awful suspicion I had not expressed respect to the web blog owner for those secrets. All the young boys are actually consequently stimulated to see them and now have in actuality been having fun with those things. Appreciation for simply being considerably considerate and for choosing varieties of fine themes millions of individuals are really desirous to be informed on. My very own sincere regret for not expressing gratitude to earlier.

  39. special education
    September 24th, 2014 20:26

    I think other site proprietors should take this web site as an model, very clean and fantastic user friendly style and design, as well as the content. You’re an expert in this topic!

  40. SEO Link Building
    September 24th, 2014 20:34

    Whats Taking place i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It positively helpful and it has aided me out loads. I am hoping to contribute & aid different users like its aided me. Great job.

  41. Domenica Bersaw
    October 20th, 2014 17:54

    Good article, thanks.

  42. Rosaura
    December 10th, 2014 04:10

    Hi there mates, its great paragraph about cultureand completely explained, keep it
    up all the time.

  43. clash of clans free gems samsung
    January 1st, 2015 21:10

    Just wish to say your article is as astounding.
    The clearness on your submit is simply spectacular and that
    i can think you are an expert on this subject.
    Well with your permission allow me to grasp your feed to keep up
    to date with impending post. Thanks a million and please continue the
    enjoyable work.

  44. togel singapura
    January 10th, 2015 18:52

    i got the inspiration, after reading your article , thank you :)

  45. spy camera
    January 21st, 2015 14:25

    Hi, its nice article concerning media print, we all understand media is a wonderful source of data.

  46. New e-cigarette restrictions begin July 1 - Kare 11
    January 21st, 2015 16:58

    Like other owners of shops attempting to sell electric cigarettes, McCullough has also been once a
    smoker who looked for outstanding replacement for cigarettes.

  47. desain rumah minimalis
    January 26th, 2015 10:38

    Great goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and
    you are just too magnificent. I actually like what you have acquired
    here, certainly like what you’re stating and the way in which
    you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart.
    I can’t wait to read much more from you. This is really
    a great website.

  48. http://www.xcamsites.com
    February 11th, 2015 13:20

    I take pleasure in, cause I found just what I was
    looking for. You have ended my four day lengthy hunt!
    God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  49. Maximo Osbon
    April 3rd, 2015 01:00

    Hey. I’m sorry if this post is off topic a little but have you seen how Miley Cyrus & Justin Bieber actually look as if the same person? Is that even possible? by the way I have Justin’s cell phone number because somebody in their group of friends leaked it. Email me if you want it.

  50. Wedding Men
    April 3rd, 2015 10:02

    You tried something new!! Reputable for you! I am always afraid I’ll upsetwhen I try new thing. What made you clinch to try something new? I would like to be actuate. Maybe you have some notions you can share.

  51. Randolph Ludwig
    April 15th, 2015 12:42

    good work keep going

  52. Denzel Washington
    April 24th, 2015 00:58

    I love reading an article that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

  53. sundarban tour
    May 24th, 2015 21:43

    Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe this site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the information!|

  54. dampak kenakalan remaja
    June 13th, 2015 19:54

    How can I add a hit counter to my blogger blog?

  55. parchet bambus
    August 5th, 2015 01:27

    Nice read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was performing some research on that. And he in fact bought me lunch as I discovered it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

  56. Salary
    August 14th, 2015 23:47

    […] Trackback […]

  57. Website Info
    August 28th, 2015 03:19

    There is a lot to know about this, but you’ve made great points.

  58. UniverStudy
    August 31st, 2015 11:58

    Excellent weblog here! Also your website a lot up very fast! What host are you the usage of? Can I am getting your affiliate link to your host? I desire my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  59. more tips here
    September 1st, 2015 19:18

    Lots of writers recommend just writing and composing no matter how bad and if the story is going to develop, you will suddenly hit “the zone” and it’ll develop.

  60. Hyundai Houston dealers
    September 6th, 2015 13:56

    i really like action movies and my idol is none other than Gerard Butler. this guy really rocks“

  61. Romantic Ideas
    September 8th, 2015 08:08

    Its superb as your other posts : D, regards for posting .

  62. Book Airport Shuttle
    September 8th, 2015 10:56

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for Taxi App

  63. Jin Girst
    September 9th, 2015 09:02

    Really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us.Great blog and a great topic as well i really get amazed to read this Film en streaming

  64. pinoy channel
    September 9th, 2015 22:22

    Hello! I just wish to give a huge thumbs up for the excellent information you’ve gotten correct here on this post. I will likely be coming back to your blog for much more soon.

  65. penambah berat badan
    September 11th, 2015 19:43

    Simply want to say your article is as astonishing.
    The clarity in your post is simply spectacular and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.
    Well with your permission let me to grab your
    feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks
    a million and please keep up the gratifying work.

  66. My Personal Diabetes Success bonus
    September 12th, 2015 01:20

    Hello! Amazing post! Please when I could see a follow up!

  67. Source
    September 12th, 2015 19:40

    Chaga mushroom coffee been lately brought to lots of everything about just because with the Ukrainian article author Alexandr Solzhenitsyn by it is new ‘Cancer Ward’ in which traditional qualities is normally cured of a tumors on the support consume. Siberian Chaga

  68. Madelene Mcmartin
    September 17th, 2015 17:37

    naturally like your website but you need to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very troublesome to inform the truth then again I’ll definitely come back again.

Leave a Reply