*Actual quote from male “Shot at Love” contestant
Thea asked me to blog about this one and I have to be honest, I don’t even know where to begin.
For the good of the blog, I just sat down and watched an entire episode of a new reality show on MTV called “A Shot at Love,” and that’s a half an hour of my life I’ll never get back. The premise of the show is described in the Toronto Star today:
A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, you see, is one of those dating shows … with a twist. The suitors vying for Tila’s fickle affections include “16 gorgeous straight guys!” and “16 hot lesbians!”“Each week I’m going to kick their asses to the curb one by one until the right man or woman is left standing,” Tila promises, with typical gentility.
(Tila Tequila is a famous person, by the way. That and she uses the show as a vehicle to “out” herself; “I haven’t even told my parents yet,” she says during the premiere.)
And yes, it is just as awful as you would assume, exploiting every “women are for the male gaze” stereotype of female sexuality possible, screaming “hot lesbian!” at every turn, dressing all the contestants in bathing suits and touting itself as “the ultimate battle of the sexes!” The men are forced to walk in high heels and get waxes, while there’s gratuitous shots of “lesbian man hate” (cause they’re rarely referred to as women, just as “lesbians”) The men come up with gems like “I’ve never been with an Asian chick before, but I love Chinese food” when they’re not continuously beating the crap out of eachother. There’s even a couple of virgins in the mix, to exploit the cultural facilnation with sexualizing virginity.
The entire show is based on a “boys are like this/girls are like this” dichotomy, with a little (okay, a lot of)”let’s watch girls kissing” thrown in. And if you were wondering, yes - all of the lesbians are of the stereotypical “for the male gaze/straight porn” variety, and if they weren’t “lipstick” enough (Tila’s words, not mine) they were gone by the end of the first show. Actual quote: “I think that a butchy girl is so creepy. Good god.”
In the opening show (before the male and female contestants become aware of eachother) one female contestant naively states “this is a groundbreaking show about lesbian love.” No such luck. This show is not about bringing homosexuality or bisexuality into the mainstream to create understanding or tolerance. Far from it, folks. You name a female sexual stereotype and this show is utilizing it for exploitive entertainment value:
Officially, Tila is a model, a singer, an aspiring actor. Unofficially, she’s an ethereal manifestation of blunt-force promotion in our age of grassroots celebrity and online narcissism: she exists because she can. She exists to make money from our fascination. Because as we see tonight, even her sexuality is a commodity to be sold.