It’s been discussed time and time again on countless message boards, website threads, and blogs alike. Hell, even my friends as casual viewers have proposed it amidst one of our weekly “endurances” (it can no longer be called “viewings”) of Tyra Banks’ America’s Next Top Model. What they all say is simple; replace the tears, sob stories, and aggressively “real” (i.e., within the context of reality show “real”; crying, backstabbing, and all around bitchery) conflict the show loves so much with the tanned-and-toned physique of 14 male competitors instead. But, while giving a presentation at the University of Pittsburgh (attended by yours truly), fashion/television personality and America’s Next Top Model creative director Jay Manuel put to rest one of the most heavily contested rumors in the 9-year old show’s history.
A male version of the usually all-female reality competition is “probably not something we would do” according to the 39-year old Canada native who, in response to a question on the topic from a member of the audience, provided rationale for that decision that may surprise you.
Manuel says that the discussion at the round table of one of Tyra Banks’ production meetings (…shit your pants a little? The thought alone is ominous enough) revolves around the appeal of the show’s all-female contestants to not only the target audience of 18-49 year old females, but rather to their male “partners” (alright, “boyfriends,” “husbands,” “apparent television slave,” etc.) who are “forced” to watch the show by their daintier half.
Manuel says countless males come up to him on the street and tell him they know him from the show they’re “forced” to watch by their ladyfriends, saying they enjoy looking at the scantily clad bodies but, as every good “bro” would have you believe, are in NO WAY (AT ALL!!) interested in ANY of the fashionable aspects of the show whatsoever. So, Top Model not only solidifies itself as secondary foreplay for all the heterosexual couples out there, but also as a dazzlingly charming alternative to the “no sex tonight, guess I’ll just masturbate in the shower” that’d no doubt occur as punishment. Surely the legacy Banks and company sought after off the inaugural cycle nearly a decade ago (only about 5 years in Mr. Jay time; seriously guys, the man is going on 40 and has the youthful complexion of a gerber baby’s ass…dipped in the containing jar’s mashed carrot content for coloring, of course)
Despite Manuel’s insistence that a core part of the viewers of Top Model are straight men (again, who knew?) who would be alienated by watching shirtless men for an hour (44 minutes with commercials, guys, and about 55% of that dedicated to
God Banks, so it’s not ALL bad), he also cited the failure of other male modeling competitions like Manhunt as a model for an all-male Top Model‘s projected failure.
“Are men really as interesting to watch in a competitive aspect like that?” he asked the audience (i.e.; men are boring). What he really meant to say was “Unless you want to watch an hour-long brofest punctuated by the most desperate self promotional tactics on the face of the earth, you’ll take your ANTM-xploitation and its mass murder of feminism as long as we continue to skullfuck it down your throat.”