Minority women are so commonly degraded that audiences became desensitized to the misogyny. Instead of internalizing scandalous depictions as flat, many minority women devalue us enough to play these “expected” societal roles. We ignore the domino effect the media has on society, (particularly on impressionable youth flipping channels to find a hero).While mainstream is equal opportunity with the visual sleaze pumped into today’s shows, minorities have less onscreen time. Every negative image counts.
“Conscious” hip hop artist Flavor Flav (William Drayton) hosted multiple shows degrading (mostly) minority women. How many ladies fought over the man whose salary parallels how loose they look on his show? Flav reinforced society’s black male is equal to or less than a dog equation.
Then, two-time Flav reject and infamous pre-elimination panty dropper New York (Tiffany Pollard) increased the onscreen ebony raunchiness quota. New York’s debuting show raked in 4.4 million viewers; the second season finale of Flav’s show brought in 7.5 million viewers according to sohh.com.
Through paid self-degradation, minorities virtually eliminate mainstream respect.
Do we play ourselves to pay ourselves?
Didn’t our mamas teach us better than that?
In New York’s case, that’s a resounding “no” because her mother, “Sister Patterson,” cashed in “helping” her seed select boy toys, each eagerly leeching their 15 minutes of fame from the “I Love New York” shows.
New York impeccably executed Black woman clichés. She was loud, vulgar, aggressive and hypersexual. These same stereotypes boosted the careers of her many flaxen haired counterparts into superstardom. (Britney and Paris to name a few.) I have yet to hear commendable commentary on New York.
Not to be outdone, Tila Tequila the Asian MySpace maven, also hosted a love-seeking reality show. She played into stereotypical ideals but was the anti-New York. As the slanted eyed, submissively meek sex pot, she went all dominatrix and bisexual to boot.
While watching this cultural buffoonery, I’m anxiously awaiting the Latina reality show “Vixen.” Where’s the Spanish-speaking mami dancing salsa and satisfying multiple chulos? What about the Navajo princess spearing animals during daylight and bringing the boys to her teepee at night?
We understand that with shows like Bret Michael’s “Rock of Love” (another aggressive knockoff of Flav’s shows), viewers can watch majority females degrade themselves, but we can also change the channel and catch many more instances of “wholesome” Whiteness. (One time for 7th Heaven reruns.)
Minorities, stop accepting stacks to do us like that. The psychological impact of these lackluster morals and the absence of functionality we see in reality television has yet to be seen. No other generation popularized as much staged “reality” as ours. Through demeaning ourselves, we sever cross cultural respect for generations to come.
Rather than issue two thumbs down to Tila, Flav and Tiffany only for embarrassing masses, we ought to watch the credits roll and mentally note the shows’ producers. Since these programs don’t appear to be leaving airwaves anytime soon, it’s our responsibility to discuss their impact (especially if we watch them). We have to combat labels and the glorification of the humiliation of women, especially of color.
If we don’t, who will?