Friday, March 30, 2007

Violence is not Beautiful

Did you watch America's Next Top Model on Wednesday? Although I didn't watch it myself, I've heard a lot about it since it aired. The last episode of America's Next Top Model encouraged aspiring models to pose as "crime victims" -- women who had been murdered, who had overdosed on drugs, even one woman who'd had her organs removed. You can see the images, and the judge's commentary, here. But be warned: this is NOT beautiful, and you should get an adult's permission before you view the images.

These images send the message that being the victim of a crime is glamorous. But anyone who has suffered violence, or who has seen someone she loves suffer violence, knows that there is nothing sexy about it. It's devastating and it destroys lives. Over 1400 girls and women die as victims of violent assaults every year. This number should outrage us -- we should be asking, "Why does our society allow this to happen?" Studies show that kids exposed to violence in the media are MORE likely to commit violence against others and LESS likely to be sympathetic to REAL LIFE survivors of violence. Girls and women who suffer violence do not need a culture that is insensitive to their pain, and America's Next Top Model had no right to turn this nightmare into a fantasy.

If you're as angry as I am about this, PLEASE consider taking one of the following actions.

1. Contact the CW Network, the network that produces and airs America's Top Model

By email:

By snail mail:
The CW Network
Attn: President of Entertainment
4000 Warner Blvd.,
Burbank, CA 91522

By phone: 818-977-6878

2. Contact Tyra Banks, creator of America's Next Top Model:


Snail Mail:
Tyra Banks
c/o Studio Fan Mail
1122 S. Robertson Blvd #15
Los Angeles, CA 90035

Our friends at Domestic Violence Discussion have created a sample letter that can help you get started.

Sample letter (Feel free to personalize):

I am very disappointed with the episode of America's Next Top Model, which aired on Wednesday March 21, 2007.

The images of battered dead women are not only misogynistic but incredibly horrific. In a world that struggles daily with violence towards women, you exhibited the extremely poor judgment in glamorizing it. Have you ever seen a victim of a violent crime? Being a victim is definitely not as glamorous as was portrayed on America's Next Top Model.

I am outraged at how violence against women was trivialized. I think it is a deplorable way to get ratings. I will not watch your show and am encouraging my friends and family to do the same.

[Your name]

Our friends at Teen Voices are also speaking up about this. Let's show the media that glamorizing violence against women is NOT OK.


Anonymous said...

It's a modeling show, so some of the stuff they have to do may be really weird and un-natural. That's what the type of stuff you have to do to be a model, my sister is a model. It didn't really offend me, I thought the pics were really cool actually.

Anonymous said...

HOW SICK. There is NOTHING beautiful about violence against women.

If the models in these photos were male, I'm positive that there would be huge public outrage over the modeling industry's use of such extreme violence to market their products.

Unfortunately, our culture is far too desensitized to violence against women. But the same attitudes that dismiss these photos as "just art" are also dismissing the horror experienced by victims of rape, domestic violence, murder, or any other crime against women.

I'm disgusted.

Unschoolgirl said...

I am so disgusted. I cannot believe ANTM. I am already working on my letter to all those people.
That is just so horrible!
The people who come up with the ideas for photo shoots are sick.
And you don't look that great and glamorous when your dead. They all need serious help.
And to think that girls as young as 8 watch this show!
The producers were obviously not thinking of their viewers.

Anonymous said...

ANTM is a modeling show! They have to be able to model in any conditions. It's all part of their learning. These women are not promoting violence against women, or saying it's glamorous. Please think from your own perspective when reading these kinds of articles!