Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Tyra Banks Says She Has No "List"
So I was watching the Tyra show yesterday and I wish I had recorded parts of it to play back for this discussion. Half the time when I watch I cringe or find myself shaking my head (and turn it off). Other times I think she covers topics of great interest. No, I don't have to watch but I see Tyra struggling to elevate her consciousness and do something of value. Either way Tyra always finds a way of interjecting her own personal history and projects that onto her guests. I'm not sure if it's narcissism or naivete, but she does have a platform with which to do great harm or benefit. I don't think she's intentionally trying to introduce negative influences but we all harbor a perspective viewpoint that may need to be reexamined. Specifically in relation to the quality of the lives of Black women and girls and finding our place in this world.
This episode featured two women who were the subject of a focus group evaluation of the status of their lives. The group members were split amongst people that knew the person and strangers. Now I like the concept of women being able to get a no-holds bar assessment. Of course due to time constraints and other factors it wasn't a complete evaluation of all aspects and it failed to offer long term solutions so as to wrap things up within the hour format. It could certainly be seen as a good start though.
One of the women featured was a young Black woman who wanted to be married. She was attractive but I thought her desire for landing a husband by the age of 30 wasn't realistic when she is currently 29. She didn't state her education background or current occupation either. She mentioned an affinity for designer goods. I thought she was a little unpolished socially and immature but certainly not unappealing. What I found interesting was the way the Black male in the stranger group reacted with such hostility towards the woman's desire for a partner and her requirements.
See she had a list. She wanted this future husband to have a job that paid a six-figure income, to have a nice car, a house and other things. Though the focus was a bit superficial I would go so far as to say she doesn't specifically know what she wants from a more grounded or spiritual perspective and went for the easily recognizable traits you can point to that would indicate a suitable mate.
So this guy objected specifically to the income requirement and labeled her a gold digger. He then went on to say she was beyond gold and jumped to platinum! It was a bit ridiculous, because I got the impression that he was reacting more to his own sense of inadequacy than anything she had to say. I could literally see him counting pennies in his head and coming up 20 cents short of a dollar.
He had to tear the woman down to boost himself. In the earlier segment he had been equally critical about the first guest featured who had gained weight and she was white. Tyra then aptly pointed out that he was in fact overweight himself, but he claimed he'd take it as an impetus to make changes in his own life. Excuses. Excuses. Excuses.
What was wrong with the Black woman wanting a man who could adequately provide for a family and why would anyone object so strenuously to her seeking out the best she can get? It was even suggested that she was reaching beyond her 'place' by wanting that. Then Tyra mentioned that though she'd made 'some' money she didn't have a list when it came to seeking out a man for a relationship. She said her friends have teased her about picking men beneath her (though she didn't word it that way). This is where I'd get upset with Tyra for reinforcing outdated models of behavior, because she's still single herself and has mentioned some past relationships with other unsuitable men she's dated.
In fact this was a nice lesson to learn though it was so easy to miss. When we have no requirements we end up with less than what we deserve - or nothing at all.