Thursday, May 13, 2010

Battle of the Bods

Ok so this is something that has been irking me for a long time now. There is this show called Battle of the Bods. I don't think it comes on anymore but its still played on hulu. I used to watch it all the time because frankly it's got scantily clad women, and what guy doesn't like that but seriously though I saw it recently and it infuriated me.

Let me just give you some background(click to see an episode). So basically it's a show where five women are judged by three men from "one being hot to five being not". So the women come out and try to put themselves in the same order that the men put them. So the first round is their faces, so they all fight over positions and then finally settle in to their respective numbers. Then the host tells them how many they got right and they win five hundred dollars for each girl in the right position. So that's the gist. In the second round the women get to choose what body part will be rated and the third round is a rating of the entire girl as a whole.

Ok so I have so many issues with this show. Part of me thinks I am taking it all too seriously but I think it is little things like this that keep the public psyche as fucked up as it is. So all of the girls come out and look at each other and basically they all have to fight and argue for who belongs where. "My eyes are bluer," "well my hair is cuter," it's always the same. So then each girl takes a position on one of the numbers and then the host comes and tells them how many they got wrong and then before they go to the next round she tells them to line up in their rightful place. PAUSE. Did anyone else just catch that? So not only are the women made to parade around for the men in their lingerie and fight over who looks best, after they make their decision the host comes and corrects them saying no no no ladies you only got one right, now line up the way you should, or rather line up the way men tell you to. So who gives a damn how you think you look, you belong here, not there. It's absolutely ridiculous I can hardly type, I'm so angry. Then to add to the general theme, the women are paid for each right answer. They are essentially being trained, the same way you train a dog, with reward and punishment. If you line up the way you should we'll pay you, if not, you get nothing but embarrassment.

It goes deeper for me though. I not only look at the male/female aspect but also the racial undertones. In every group of five girls there is always at least one minority, nine times out of ten a black girl. I am black male, and I am attracted to black females. I love them, I think they are the most gorgeous creatures on Earth. So whenever I watch in my mind I am almost always putting her first. However in the show the black girl is almost always in the bottom. When the other girls are debating and arguing, the black girl's rating is never up for discussion because she just knows where she belongs. I never really noticed that before. They argue over who's legs are longer, or who's eyes are bluer, or who's hair is straighter, but the black girl is not included. She is five. Sometimes a really strong women will fight in the first round thinking hey I have a pretty face and she is more often than not out voted and exiled to the bottom spot, then when the guy's rating confirms that of the other girls, she fights no more and just assumes her position at the bottom in each successive round. I think it's absolutely crazy really.

So once I started noticing all these thing I started watching it more. Except now I was almost studying. What was really playing out on this show? Then I started thinking who's opinions are these? Surely the three men don't represent all men. Funny I thought that because each episode, has a different group of men judge. So one episode maybe be judges that are musicians, or judges that are construction workers. So in watching I realized that no matter what the group of judges, their perception of beauty never reflected my own. Even when the groups included black men the black women were still rated last. I couldn't understand it. Is there no demographic that appreciates the beauty of a black women? Again, I find myself getting to the point where I can hardly even think. What the hell! I mean who made these rules that we are all slaves to? I say we because I know on some level this must tie into me somehow. I find myself cheering for the black women almost praying that they be ranked high because I fear for what it may do to their confidence. See but even then I'm feeding into it again, because why should her confidence depend on where three random guys rank her?

I have no idea, but this show really pisses me off and I had to write about it. It's been off the air for awhile now, it randomly popped upon hulu and that's how I rediscovered it. Strange how much you can change in a couple years.

Oh wait one more thing I just have to say. Okay so like I said there are three rounds in which the women rate themselves and then are corrected and put in the right position. Then after the third round the men do the same. So the men come out and the women attempt to guess what order the men will place themselves in. If the women guess all three correct they win an extra $2500. So most would say oh well see the women get to turn the tables and it all pans out, but I disagree. the men come out and rate themselves one through three and the women try to guess. Although what remains constant is the fact that the men still wield the power. if the women guess the wrong order they lose the $2500. So not only do he men dictate which women are attractive, they also dictate which men are attractive. You thought he was hotter than me, well you're wrong you be attracted to this guy with this body, etc. So women essentially have no say in who they are attracted to, how attractive they are, or frankly anything for that matter.

Is that not crazy!? I don't know it hit me so hard that I actually got up and turned on my computer so I could write about it because I couldn't sleep. I have truly never sexism or racism this powerful before. The thing that gets me is the fact that it is right in plain sight. It is not at all hidden, it is literally right there for all to see. Actually in one of the episodes while judging one of the men says something like "wow I feel really sexist right now". He looks at the other guys then snickers and says "eh whatever" and continues.

Yo I honestly don't even know what to say about this. I'm so pissed. SOOOO pissed. Food for thought I guess. Sometimes it's enough to be aware but knowing that doesn't make it any easier.

My children will be beautiful, and I will tell them that everyday, that's all I can say.


  1. Sooo, I just watched an episode and I still stand by what I said, but I'm more pissed that this show exists in the first place. Like, when they did the interviews with the women they were all like "we're only in this for the money" but I think they probably walked away with a new kind of self-image of themselves. And what makes me mad is the fact that they're on the show in the first place. They put themselves into a situation where they were confident about themselves then possibly [self] destroyed that image.

    This show forces the women to rank themselves according to what society sees as attractive and I think the women are just as much to blame as the men. I don't know any respectable women that would go out and partake in something like this. I mean, even supermodels can't live up to every man's expectations. I think all the women who were on the show were pretty and I guarantee if someone like me went on there, my self-image would just be completely shot by the time the show was done.

    Oh, and yeah I saw the racial stuff in it this episode she was in the bottom two all times but once I think.

    Awful show...that's all I really have to say.

  2. How ridiculous... Reality tv sometimes goes a tad bit overboard.

  3. I just watched this show for the first time and the race thing was the first thing I noticed. You can pretty much predict the ranking based on how "white" the girl is. I'm a white female but I think black women are gorgeous, and the black women on this show are definitely prettier than many of the white women ranked above them. Ridiculous.

  4. Just found this show on Hulu and it appalls me on so many levels. I noticed that the black girl is always ranked last as well. The blondes always put themselves first. All your observations were very on point and very disturbing. I noticed as well, everything you pointed out. Did you also notice has the host is always putting herself down as well as overdoing it with the sexual innuendos? She should feel like crap at the end of the day, and I can't see how she doesn't. As a women in the world, this angers me and I worry about my future daughter/s.

  5. I only ended up on your blog here because I was watching the show on Hulu and, after a couple of episodes waiting to see if the seemingly blatant racial prejudice would vanish (which needless to say it did not), I googled "battle of the bods racist" and this blog post popped up. So here I am. And I couldn't agree more with what you say on both the counts of sexism and racism. Truly disturbing, that this show exists and was not called out--especially for the racism. I just came here from episode 4 or something, when the first black male finally showed up amongst the men and then it turns out there was no black woman in the group!! Unbelievable.