A few months ago, I became aware of the programme ‘Take Me Out’, mostly because of a million tweets with the hashtag #nolikeynolighty every Saturday night, so I decided to check out what is was all about. For those of you who have never seen it, Wikipedia explains it a lot better than I can:
The objective of the show is for a man to gain a date with one of thirty single women. The women stand on stage underneath thirty white lights, each with a button in front of them. A single man is then brought on stage via the ‘Love Lift’ and tries to woo the women in a series of rounds, playing a prerecorded dating video, displaying a skill (such as dancing or playing a musical instrument), or playing another video in which the man’s friends or family reveal more about him. At any point during the rounds, the women can press the button in front of them to turn off their light (their area of the stage will turn red if they do so). If, at the end of three rounds, there are still lights left on, the bachelor will turn off all but two of the remaining lights himself. He will then have a chance to ask one question to the last two women, before choosing which woman he wants to go on a date with by turning off one more light. If the man is left with 2 lights at the end of round 3, then he will just ask his question to the two remaining women and if there is only 1 light left at the end of round 3 then he will go on a date with that girl without asking them his question.
For a while, I really enjoyed watching it. I got involved with the Tweeting and even had something I said retweeted by Leah (one of the 30 girls at the time) when I said she had a head like a fifty pence piece. I was being bitchy, but she seemed to take it in good humour, so it’s all good. I loved seeing the dates, mostly because (as was the curse of Blind Date) they’d usually get to their date destination and realise they had NOTHING to talk about (I have a morbid fascination for awkwardness, I think) and I even started to get to know the contestants who’d been hanging around dateless for a while. It seemed like Saturday night telly from when I was a kid – all that was missing was an hour of Gladiators beforehand!
A couple of weeks ago, though, Husband made an small, innocuous comment that really got me thinking about the show and I’ve not watched it since because of it. He said “Imagine if this show was the other way around?”
What he meant was, imagine if there were 30 blokes and one woman choosing instead.
At the moment, they have one lad come on at a time and the girls make salacious comments, pass judgement on the bloke, watch him perform like a circus animal in some cases and basically treat him like a piece of meat.
So. Imagine if it was the other way around. 30 men, sizing up a single girl, making her jump through hoops deciding whether or not she was good enough for them. Would you still watch it? Or would the whole situation not seem a bit intimidating, belittling, degrading?
Maybe I’m taking it all a bit too seriously – most of the people on the show are young, single, out for a good time and just want a chance of a free short break and to be on telly. In that respect, I get it, I do. But there is a real issue of inequality going on here. The format of the show is obviously very deliberate in that the man has to do the hard part so that it doesn’t seem distasteful or misogynistic, but what is it they say about the goose and the gander? Why is it okay for men to humiliate themselves but not women? Isn’t it funny how most people know the word ‘misogyny’ but far less know about ‘misandry’. **
I’ve written before about how equality goes both ways, or at least it should, and I think in this case the bosses of ITV need to drag themselves out of the dark ages. I can’t watch the show any more without having hallucinations where there’s 30 lionesses on stage fighting over one gazelle in a clown costume, it’s just too cringe-worthy.
What do you think? Am I taking it too seriously, or is this type of sexism a button-pusher for you too?
**Ironically, the WordPress dictionary didn’t even recognise that word…
(I’m linking this up with Mummy Barrow’s Ranty Friday Linky)