How many guesses as to what their answer will be?
It's not like I can be shocked by anything reality TV-related anymore, but I can certainly predict exactly what new shows will be like as soon as I read the promo blurbs. And a new reality show called When Women Rule the World, coming soon from Fox and Rocket Science Laboratories (which brought us such craptacular concoctions of misogyny including Joe Millionaire, Married By America, Temptation Island and Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy), promises to be overtly political, anti-feminist backlash fare:
What if it was "a woman's world"? What if women made ALL the decisions? If men were their obedient subjects?
These questions and more will be explored when a group of strong, educated, independent women, tired of living in a man's world and each with a personal axe to grind, rule over a group of unsuspecting men used to calling the shots on WHEN WOMEN RULE THE WORLD.
The unscripted series will reveal how women and men react in a world where women are in charge and men are subservient, and each gender's ability to adapt to a new social order will be put to the test.
The participants will be brought to a remote, primitive location where the women will have the opportunity to "rule" as they build a newly formed society - one where there is no glass ceiling and no dressing to impress. For the men, their worlds of power and prestige are turned inside-out and upside-down. And for these women, turnabout is fair play!
In order to win, the men must accede to the women's every demand, 24/7. Here, women command and men obey. Over the series' duration, the men will be eliminated by the women until one last man is standing.
How will the men react? How will the women treat the men? Can women effectively rule society? Will the men learn what life is like for some women in today's world? Will this new society be a Utopia or a hell on earth? And in the end, who will be man enough to succeed in the new social order?
Rocket Science Laboratories, Inc.
Some quick translations, decoded via Jenn's Trusty Reality TV-Speak to Plain English Dictionary:
- "women with... a personal axe to grind" = women portrayed as the nasty, bitchqueen Feminazi of Rush Limbaugh's design (though the women themselves won't actually be feminists)
- "unsuspecting men used to calling the shots" = men cast specifically because they are likely to say regressive, patronizing, offensive things about women, and possibly prone toward behaving in domineering, controlling, maybe even abusive ways
- "men are subservient" = feminism, and the idea of eliminating external barriers to women's equality, won't result in equity for women but denigration, submission and lack of opportunity for men
"each gender's ability to adapt to a new social order will be put to the test" = traditional gender roles are innate, and this "social experiment" will result in chaos as both women and men have no idea how to handle reversal of their God-given roles of dominance and submission
- "a remote, primitive location" = flashback to Bill Maher being boiled in a cauldron in Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death
- "a newly formed society - one where there is no glass ceiling and no dressing to impress" = these are the only two forms of societal oppression women face... oh, and when the women choose to wear the revealing outfits the producers provide for them, they'll prove once and for all that women prefer to use their feminine wiles to get what they want, so those teeny-tiny Ally McBeal-esque micro-minis that women wear on reality shows like The Apprentice and such are not at all trivializing
- "men['s] worlds of power and prestige are turned inside-out" = up is down, night is day, cats and dogs living together - total anarchy! It's unnatural, I tell you - unnatural!!!!!
- "How will the women treat the men?" = like the dogs they are... which is why women shouldn't be given leadership roles in the real world - they wouldn't be able to handle it
- "How will the men react?" = Like any caged animals would
- "Can women effectively rule society?" = NO!!!
- "Will this new society be a Utopia or a hell on earth?" = That's an easy one...
- "who will be man enough to succeed" = a man, 'natch!
I'm taking the same thorough research approach with this reality TV book as I bring to all the news media analysis I do for Women In Media & News -- reading hundreds of articles in Nexis.com news database searches every time I do a critique of inaccuracy in trend stories, etc. -- which means that I need to watch endless amounts of mind-numbingly boring, exploitative, degrading and bigoted so-called "unscripted" programming.
I know, trust me I know. Before you offer to buy me some bourbon to help numb the pain, there's something I'd prefer from you, dear reader. Reality TV shows on DVD. Anyone have any? I'm looking for everything from box sets (ideal) to one-off episodes of any of the series listed below -- any others you might have on hand that might suggest. I currently have around five years worth of episodes -- probably thousands of hours -- of reality TV shows, but they're all on VHS tapes. Hundreds and hundreds of old, some even unmarked, hard to fast-forward through VHS tapes. They're difficult to work with, and it would be a huge boon to the research process & a great time saver if I had more of this stuff on DVD.
So, fess up. Anyone have a secret addiction to America's Next Top Model, American Idol, The Apprentice, The Bachelor or Age of Love? Did anyone's nerdy younger brother burn all the episodes of Are You Hot: The Search for America's Sexiest People onto DVD because he was too young to buy porn and it was an easy prime-time network substitute? Do any of you have a hook-up at Television Without Pity or any of those reality TV fan forum recap sites, where folks tape this stuff religiously?
If you have DVDs you can send, please be in touch. A partial list of reality TV shows I'm looking for is available here.
This post originally appeared at WIMN's Voices: A Group Blog on Women and the Media , a project of Women In Media & News, the national women's media analysis, education and advocacy group. To bring Jennifer L. Pozner to speak to your campus or community group, or to send her blog tips, email info [at] wimnonline [dot] org. To subscribe to WIMN's free media alert list, see the Action Center at http://www.wimnonline.org/action/