Sunday, March 08, 2009

America's Next Top Model: Lots of Skinny Girls Crying!

Based on the America's Next Top Model (ANTM) premiere, it looks like it is going to be an awesome season. We have a burn victim, a bootylicious Nascar driver's ex girlfriend, a snotty African, the requisite old chick (yes, 25 is downright elderly in modeling), a freaky-eyed girl, street preacher, and a bunch of skinny, tall waifs. And there were tears, oh yes, there were tears. As someone who has battled my weight since before I can remember, I LOVE seeing skinny girls cry. Love. It. Nothing is more entertaining to me. Except maybe if they are also ghetto-fabulous and have crazy green fluorescent coloured fake finger nails to boot. That is TV gold.

As always, it's really hard to say who will win, but my favourite is this week's photo winner, Freaky-Eyed-Allison. I think she could be very high fashion, the only challenge I can see is that she isn't really a Cover Girl material. I think her lipstick ad would look more like a teen horror flick poster. Especially since she has a weird nose bleed fetish (gross). The other model I like is Old-Chick-Celia. My favourite part of the night was when she and Snotty-African-Sandra almost got into it over who was going to sleep where. Thank goodness Street-Preacher-London stepped in and saved the day. She was right - Jesus wouldn't let her sleep on the floor for long.

Sexy Nigel Barker is back on the judging panel, as are snarky Paulina Porizkova and the two Jays. I am still trying to figure out how it is that Canadian Jay manages to get prettier each season. I think he must shellac his hair to get that ken doll effect. Tyra, of course, is as ridiculous as ever. Is it just me or does that pedestal she is standing on during judging get higher each season?

Next week features the model makeovers which means guaranteed tears as hair gets lopped off and weaves get pulled so tight that at least one girl will look like she got a bonus facelift. I can hardly wait.


  1. I know this is a couple of throwaway lines in your post, but it stung to the quick. So I'm going to pick up on it, and hopefully gently.

    I can remember when I started struggling with my weight. At 18, when I first started seriously struggling with depression. I went on to spend all but about two years of my twenties being significantly underweight, a side effect of the depression.

    At my lowest weight, my BMI was about that of supermodels. There are about two pictures extant of me from that time period. I look gaunt and haggard. Haunted. And skinny.

    So yeah, it's funny to watch these skinny girls be bitchy about stupid stuff and cry over the crazy bullshit on the show - I do it for sure - but I can damn well guarantee you that those girls are, have been, no more satisfied with their bodies than you are and have been.

    What bothers me here, though, is not the enjoyment of watching these particular skinny girls cry. It's the generic "skinny girls" as a category. I've seen this sentiment before, once too many times, obviously, and it makes me furious.

    I vividly remember being skinny enough that it was hard to open the doors at malls - they were too heavy and it took all my weight. I had to lie down after showers because they tired me out. I was not anorexic, but I was very, very sick. I cried a lot, though it seems unlikely you would have found it entertaining.

    Even now, when my life is much better, I'm still less than 10 hard-fucking-earned lbs over skinny. And I have to watch it, because when I get sad, I drop them. Fast.

    And I don't want to. When I'm skinny, I don't look as good, I don't feel as good about myself, I don't feel as physically present in my body.

    We each of us have it so hard with our own bodies; we all have our own struggles. Right now, my body is fit and healthy. It's a good body, from a pop culture perspective. And I can list you probably a dozen things I hate about it without trying.

    In fact, I have to remind myself daily that doing so is a bad idea.

    The problem is not the "skinny girls." Hiving us off and making us the other is the perfect way to spend your ire uselessly.

    All of this in my not so humble opinion, of course.

    I really hope that this doesn't come across as combative. It's just that I generally see this sentiment in venues where I can't respond. It's a common one. Which seems unfortunate as well as alienating to me.

  2. No problem, I totally don't take it personally and I get where you are coming from. Perhaps I should edit it to say "skinny, beautiful girls who audition for a tv show so they can act ridiculous and cry about stupid shit and be very entertaining".

    I don't take joy in people being sick and underweight. I do think there is a difference between being skinny and anorexic. I personally have someone very close to me who is under 100 lbs due to being a cancer survivor and she struggles everyday to try to gain weight. That's no fun for anyone, especially her. But I doubt my comments about ANTM would bother her. Sorry they hit home with you - no offence meant and I certainly would take no joy in your tears.

  3. I think that's the start of what bothered me, but it lead somewhere else. But I'm going to pick it up over on my blog, so as not to clog up your comments - and at this point, what I have to say strays pretty far from your original comment.

    Mostly, I'm glad you're writing more often, and I'm enjoying the Max updates, and admire your tenacity.

  4. Fair enough. Just as you have not experienced what it is like to be overweight in our weight-obsessed culture, I have no experience as to what it is like to be underweight. I always imagined that I would prefer to be too skinny than too fat, but who knows until you have walked a mile?

  5. Anonymous10:39 p.m.

    Most of us would run as fast as we can from this sort of competition. Sadly, these young women signed up for the judgment of mass media, including entertainment writers who poke fun at their tears. It seems to me that making fun of "skinny girls who cry" is simply a statement on the whole ridiculous enterprise in which they take part - and an industry that calls for an unhealthy weight.