There’s a reason why I don’t watch television (not about lactation, but worth reading anyway)

September 20th, 2007 by MamaBear

I don’t watch television like a normal person. I’m not aware of schedules, or of trendy shows that come out, unless I read about it somewhere (usually online) or if a close friend recommends it. This doesn’t mean I don’t watch. I love television shows: I pick and choose which ones to watch, and then I watch them when I want to, without commercials. I do this through the magic of the internet, awesome computer geekery, dvds, and dvrs (which are one of the best inventions ever).

The average child is exposed to 20,000 television commercials in a year. While I cannot eliminate all television commercials and their influence from my family’s life (sporting events are usually viewed live and, unfortunately, with commercials, though often muted), I think we do pretty well. This is a pretty insular existence, but one I’m happy to have (and one which I wouldn’t trade for the alternative). When I try to watch television with commercials, I am very quickly annoyed with (a) the constant, unceasing interruptions to the plot of whatever show I’m watching and (b) the sheer volume of crap I’m forced to watch of someone trying to sell me something I don’t need. It could be anything: a burger, some new gizmo that’ll promise to make my life easier, room deodorizer (probably the most useless product on the market today)… It doesn’t matter what the product is; years of living virtually commercial-free make going back to the banality of commercialized television insufferable.

This is all a preface to the video below.

So I am aware that there’s this show called America’s Next Top Model. I know, I know, this is the sort of statement that makes people say, “Well, duh,” because it’s been around for a while. It’s not one of the shows I watch. I watch a lot of shows, but this one doesn’t pass muster. Not that ANTM would have had much of a chance anyway at making it onto my (really long) short list of shows that I watch, but this video seals the deal for me. The video, in my opinion, is NOT appropriate for watching in front of children, and I don’t consider it safe for work either. It depicts battered models playing dead, complete with blood spatter and sexy poses. I don’t know who thought this was a good idea, the sexualizing of violence, and I don’t consider this “art.” Obviously “art” is in the eye of the beholder, and if this were to be found exclusively in a modern art museum, I’d think, “It’s distasteful, but it is in a museum, after all.” When you go to a museum, you expect to get shocked sometimes.

These pictures are NOT in a museum; they’re on a television show, a show which is probably watched by millions of little girls all over the country, aspiring models or merely fans of them. Normalizing these images only serves to perpetuate violence against women, with the added “bonus” that the women-to-be victims of the future might think the abuse is to be expected. After all, they’ve already become desensitized to seeing bloodied half-naked women in lingerie. Even when you’re getting beaten half to death you should look your very sexy best, don’t you know… Anything less would be criminal.

For more information, including how to take action, read “America’s Next Top Rape Victim.”

And while we’re on the subject of television, don’t even get me started about Kid Nation.

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3 Responses to “There’s a reason why I don’t watch television (not about lactation, but worth reading anyway)”

  1. Jennifer James Says:

    When our girls were little, we didn’t have a television at all. But then 9/11 happened. I was only able to get news coverage via the Internet. We had dial-up then so I couldn’t watch any of the streams. It was about three years before I saw the buildings come down in real time. Prior to that I had only seen pictures and heard the accounts on the radio. After 9/11 I said I would always have a TV in the house. Unfortunately for me, I love the tube, sports especially. Plus, I love reality TV. While we were without TV, reality TV really became big news. Now, my husband and I are both hooked on them.

  2. MamaBear Says:

    Jennifer,

    It’s the nature of the beast, unfortunately. Television is very addictive. As much as I hate commercials, for example, if I’m at someone else’s house and their t.v. is on, I have to make a conscious effort to not get sucked into watching them, even if they’re for the stupidest most useless products I wouldn’t buy in a million years. They’re designed to be attention-getting, and it works. It makes you look.

  3. JBT Says:

    I don’t want watch TV (although we have one) so this is news to me. I am so upset and disgusted. There is nothing sexy about violence. Unfortunately, shows like this one (plus CSI and other crime shows) routinely depict murder as something that happens to beautiful young women — and thus, a sign that one is just too hot for this world.

    Nothing will change until women REACT. We have to complain loudly to producers and advertisers and TURN THAT JUNK OFF. Let’s show our daughters what it looks like to live in a world where a women is valued for their hearts and minds — not just how “hot” she will look with 3-inch heels and a broken neck.

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