Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Britain's Missing Top Model-First Impressions

are mixed. As regular readers of this blog may know I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about disability and attractiveness. For this reason I was delighted to hear about this show, and the desire to show that disability is no bar to beauty was clearly a motivating factor for many of the girls. I felt some sort of profound and inexplicable connection to a community I feel part of yet never have the chance to see.

Having said that, I found that the range of disabilities was disappointing, girls lacking a limb being
rather over represented. The feeling that there was no point in having a girl who's disability was not visible to me highlighted the lack of understanding on the part of the judges that the vast majority of disabilities are invisible with all sorts of problems inherent to that. With that in mind I have decided to include an old shot from my (very much younger, brief and limited) modelling days.

The attitude of the majority of the girls will hopefully go a long way to showing that disabled people are not the whining scroungers politicians and popular press so delight in portraying, but are in fact motivated, determined and hard working individuals.

The way so much focus was given to Jessica's upset over her condition was also deeply disappointing playing as it did to the mawkish image of disability as tragedy. All in all though it looks set to be a great series.


Trixie said...

I'll have to catch it next time! (was bloody well working, surprise surprise)

frogpondsrock said...

Thanks for all the support BG. It is nice to see your face and your shoulders lol..

cheers Kim

gemmak said...

Agreed..on all counts. I was concerned also that the 'obsession' with a visible disability might be more about 'viewing figures' than about the true issues but I will follow the show with interest in the hope that it does what it's advertising claims it hopes too.

Beautiful picture incidentally :o)

that northern bloke said...

you should have been in it yourself.x
*swoons again*

theresa said...

ill be honest i loved it untill the judges turned round and said it had to be a visible disabilty..that really put me of im going blind so does that mean i would be no good as a spokesperson cause you cant see im disabled

Casdok said...

I also agree with you, a good start. And if they do it again i definetly think you should apply!!

Unixman said...

I was also hoping for a more serious form of film making rather than a combination of Big Brother and The Apprentice ....

Mary said...

Not watching it. I saw a trailer. It was mostly about several young women sobbing, including the gritty "video diary" type format. That put me off.

I was told on the Ouch boards that there was a second trailer, available to view online, which was less about crying and more about the show. So I watched it. It had the crying but also some other stuff... that was the point at which I found out about the standing in a shop window in your skimpies, and the 100% nude photoshoot requirement.

And that totally put me off. I wouldn't be amused by able-bodied women being encouraged to do that for the sake of fame and I'm equally unamused about it in the context of disabled women. Having confidence in yourself and your body does not equate to getting 'em out for the lads. Nor does it equate to being prepared to sarifice all your dignity by being filmed while crying your heart out so it can be beamed into a million homes.

Dave said...

There's a few round here who wouldn't think twice about lopping off a limb if it bought them their 15 mins of fame.
Getting their kit off in public? What's the difference between a shop window and a shop doorway?
Plenty do that after a night on the town.

I did watch it and it was another cattlemarket docusoap. I agree with your comments about visible disability. Would you count the deaf one as disabled in the same way as the girl who'd lost a leg?
The limbless one looked too old to compete with the willowy 16 year olds we usually see in our mags

Nice picture though BG!

Mr. Nighttime said...

Well, if you think that is bad, you should have seen what happened here earlier this year. There is a show that has become a huge hit, "Dancing With The Stars." Earlier this year, Paul McCartney's now ex-wife was a contestant, and the brouhaha over her dancing with a prosthetic leg was, well, way over the top. Personally, I think they turned her into a freak instead of someone that was just there to participate in a contest.

Anonymous said...

You are gorgeous!

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Trixie: The joys of BBC is that we'll be watching repeats of this for the next year!

Kim: TY. I hope you're feeling a little better today, thinking of you x

GemmaK: Thank you! I can't decide if the judges obsession about visible disability is to do with viewing figures or a fundamental lack of understanding of the nature of disability? I guess we'll find out!

Northerner: Thank you my lovely, you're very kind! I'm far too old and far too short to be in anything like that though!

Theresa: Hello :) That's exactly how I felt about it, and the reason I put the photo up

Cas: TY, I'd consider it...but only if you went for the Carer's version ;)

Unixman: Considering the format I think it was about the best we could hope for..it's certainly a good start

Mary: Had you watched the full episode you'd have seen that there was very little crying in it and a great deal of the kind of grit and positivity the general public don't usually get to see in disabled people. It served to emphasise the dignity of the majority of these women as opposed to those on more typical modelling shows who scream, cry, shout and behave as badly as they can.
As for the underwear/nudity issue, to make statements about 'getting it out for the lads' shows IMHO a lack of understanding about modelling. I think it is a brave decision to include full nude shoots, and a vitally important step in portraying the sexuality and beauty of disabled women. It is also important to follow a similar format to other modelling shows, which do almost identical shoots.
We come into and leave the world naked, and all have essentially the same parts, concerns about keeping such things private are primarily religious constructs to attempt to impose a certain behaviour upon the population. To show the full beauty of these women to me seems an important step towards widening the idea of beauty beyond the current pre pubescent size 0 ideal.

Dave: Ty. I'm with you on this one, I've lost count of the number of times I've heard (always women) slating other women who choose to model nude or work in the sex industry and aside from the fact that as a minority group disabled people should know better than any other not to judge, it simply ends up coming across as jealousy.
I don't think it is possible to make those kind of comparisons about disability, as one of the girls pointed out on the show it depends a great deal upon environment.
I still find it disappointing that more complex disabilities were not featured, but all in it's own good time

MrN: I did vaguely see some of that show, but not the hype surrounding it. I thought the actual dancing Heather Mills did was excellent but overly simplistic in it's view of disability. Having said that there is bound to be a media driven fuss about such things in exactly the way there was about the portrayal of ethnic minorities or sexual difference until disability becomes common place in the media.

Anonymous: Thank you! It is a very old photo though!

cogidubnus said...

"Thank you! It is a very old photo though!"

OK hon, have it your own way, you WERE gorgeous...but I'm quite prepared, sight unseen, to bet good money you still are!

The seen/unseen disability thing works both ways doesn't it? The truth is, of course, that any form of disability is, in itself, totally irrelevant in this particular and limited scenario...

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Cogi: Thank you :) I will accept your compliment with the grace it was given this time!

Seen/unseen, it sure does! I'm not sure I understand what you mean by disability being irrelevant in this scenario? As in related to the modelling? I've got my fuzzy head on today ;)

j said...

Very pretty BG!

I missed this so I will see if they are showing it on iplayer. I have to admit I agree with dave about the possibility of people deliberately maiming themselves in order to be famous for 15 minutes.

Anonymous said...

You are gorgeous!
and probably even better with age
Jurid xx

BenefitScroungingScum said...

J: Thank you! It is on iplayer I think. I'm quite sure there are certain members of society who would disable themselves if they thought there was benefit in it, but I very much doubt this show would incite anyone to that!

Jurid: Thank you, as ever you know how to compliment a woman ;)