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Americas Next Top Model Research Assignment

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The show that I choose to do my research assignment on was Americas Next Top Model, a reality show on UPN. This is like the third season of the show I believe, and basically, what the concept is that there are 12 girls, ranging in age from 18 to mid 20's. There are six Caucasian women, four African-Americans, and two Hispanics in the cast. They are all shipped off to; I believe it was Los Angeles, and have to live in the same house. It was your stereotypical reality show setup, with their being a challenge during the middle of the show, and then a panel of "experts" at the end votes someone off.

I read two studies that I believe will coincide with this show rather well. The first was a study done by Paul Hamburg entitled "The Media and Eating Disorders, who is must vulnerable?" published in the Harvard Medical School Journal. Hamburg's findings show that the media markets to people's desires. He says that the ideals that the media reproduces are completely absurd and out of line with real life, and because of this, its customers keep coming back because they desire stuff they cannot obtain. I figured that this study would be good for this show, because there was going to be beautiful girls on this program, and that many women watching probably would desire to be a pretty as them, so they loved to watch. The second piece of literature I chose to use was a study done by Amy R. Malkin called "Women and weight: gendered messages on magazine covers" that was published in Sex Roles: A Journal of Research. This study basically says that having extremely beautiful women on TV is a bad thing because it raises the standard of beauty for the normal woman. So, I guess that means that men will not give the average lady the time of day because they have seen way hotter chicks on T.V. This study definitely applies to this program.

The social world portrayed is a very beautiful one. Everyone seen on screen is a beautiful person, even the photographers, who are guys, seem to be well-sculpted body builders. It also portrays a very rich world as well, even though the girls are supposed to be broke just trying to find a job. At one point one of the girls even said, " 20 dollars for a tank top-you cannot

beat that...Oh wait, its 52 dollars instead of 25, I read it wrong-ah well-still cannot

beat the price." Here is a girl who is supposed to be poor, but yet she thinks that paying 52 dollars for a tank top is a steal. It sends the message that poor is still pretty rich. It also portrays the world as full of skinny women, and that every one is very elegant and fashionable. It also showed that the world is very diverse, and because a black female is the host of the show, that there are minorities in important positions, which is a good thing.

The values taught in this show where that it is very important to always be prettier then your peers, no matter at what cost, and that the better you look, the more money you will eventually make. The show claimed that the winners in life where the ones who were the most beautiful while the losers where the ones who where ugly, weren't sexy, and didn't understand "fashion sense." Different ethnic and social groups were portrayed very stereotypically, such as the crazy black women and the loud, big nosed, New York Jewish Lady.

The commercials contradicted my hypothesis for the most part. I think that the commercials were a combination of who the actual audience was, and what they were trying to portray. That being said, I believe the actual audience is young girls and stay at home moms, who are, and this sounds bad, but both overweight and not very pretty. So, I would say, about three fourths of the commercials were for fast food places and for other household items such a cereal and diapers, while the other forth more resembled the show with items such as credit cards, body washes, and cell phones. However, in all the commercials, there were two types of people, they were either attractive people, or mothers who were in very good shape. There were absolutely no fat people in the commercials, at least any of the national commercials. The local commercials were a different story. It seemed very odd for them to be placed during this show. They were really not directed a females in any way, and basically would probably not appeal to the people who were watching this program. The local commercials were



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