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)
20 thoughts on “Take Me Out – Misandry Gone Mad?”
I see it differently. I think that this is very sexist and degrading to women and is the type of show that would have been made in the 70’s. I thought things had moved on but women being displayed like they are in a cattle market seems like we have gone backward’s in the fight for equality especially when the women are obviously way superior to the men in every way.
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Only watched in once, and ITV doesn’t really get a fair press in this household anyway, but it was horrible. The fact that there is mutual degradation of men and women actually doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that they routinely find enough people that are WILLING to put themselves up for this kind of humiliation. It reminds me of those awful Club 18-30 holidays where people are forced to pretend to perform sex acts on strangers, how you can think that little of yourself is beyond me.
i used to work in television production and ITV brands itself as ‘aspirational’, they really need to revise their brief on that one I think.
Aspirational? REALLY? That is a complete and utter joke.
Jeremy Kyle, Loose Women, Towie, Take Me Out? Maybe that shit is aspirational to a certain set of society but not to anyone with a modicum of intelligence or decency, surely? I won’t deny the entertainment factor that there is in car-crash TV but there’s nothing aspirational about it.
YES! YES! I was thinking the exact same thing when I was watching it a week or two ago! Why is it not in turns, first half blokes, second half women? It actually shocked me when the penny dropped that they don’t have a woman versus 30 blokes. And absolutely, equality works both ways, not just the way that benefits women more or shows them in a more flattering light.
Amazeballs post Jayne 😉
*blushes* Thank you, for reading and commenting too.
Is it always one-sided? Do they not swap over each time and have 30 girls and 1 fella then 1 girl and 30 fellas? At least that would level out the prejudicial content of it but it still sounds like a pathetic format for a gameshow.
Who the hell willingly goes on crap like that?
Interesting you say about misandry though Jayne, I was just mulling over a few blogs about ‘feminism’ and girls ‘coming out as feminists’ the other day and it got me thinking about how much their notions of feminism are so misplaced and misguided that in fact they tend towards a more misandric sexism than any variant of good of fashioned feminism.
As ever, great post Jayne. You are by far one of my favourite bloggers.
You’re so right, people think that feminism equates to man-hating and that could not be more wrong. How can you hear a word like ‘equality’ and still think that means one type of person being treated better than another?
And thanks Caz, you don’t know how much that means to me 🙂
My daughters love this programme, I can’t stand it! I spend a while not letting them watch it and then for a while we used to watch it together. What I found was that we were all tempted into making horrible, bitchy comments about not only the men, but the women too…..I didn’t think that this was a good thing to be encouraging in my children and felt pretty horrid about doing it myself (so easy to find fault with most of the people on there!). Thankfully they shifted the time slot to later in the evening so we rarely watch it nowadays. Great post!
I completely agree, I can be catty at times but Husband and I would watch this and spend the ENTIRE show being vile about people we’ve never met before. Not a good look.
I’ve only watched it a couple of times and I admit that I’ve never looked at it that way. To be honest I always thought it was more degrading to women. It takes someone pretty desperate to compete like that for a date and makes our gender look pathetic. In the end it is the guy who gets the final say so although the women don’t have to play videos or show their special skills they do still have to do everything they can to make themselves appear desirable, and the guy will still make his crude judgements just as they do. The reality is that it’s really the women competing for a date, it’s just set up to look like it’s the guy as like you say, they wouldn’t get away with it if they didn’t.
The guy does get the final say, but only if any of the women has deigned to leave their light on. I’ve seen blokes get a blackout just because they phone their mum too often. It’s belittle to the men but you’re right in a way, it makes women look like judgemental, grasping bitches.
Agree wholeheartedly. The main reason I don’t watch it. That, and it’s shit.
Succinct as ever, Ms. Sutton. LOVE IT!
I thought the very same thing when I used to watch it occasionally. It’s just degrading, to the men and to the women involved. It’s when the media dress this sort of shizzle up in the name of ‘light hearted fun’ that knobs me off.
I’m with you on this one sista!
I know we had Blind Date back in the day but there’s something so much more desperate and distasteful about TEN TIMES the amount of women all vying for one date with one bloke.
It’s funny you wrote about this as Anthony and I (the t’other half) had this exact conversation. We do watch it but usually just for a bit of banter. I think if it were the other way round the sad fact is… it just wouldn’t happen! Anthony thinks they should do a Christmas special where it was the other way around and I agree. If it did air, it would simply attract certain types of women who had watched the show and know what they are letting themselves in for. Or as people tend to call the “thicked skinned”. I guess it’s not that dis-similar to blind date where people make prats of themselves (again, my opinion) in order to impress the opposite sex live on TV?
Agreed, just once to see how it works would be better than nothing. The contestants are clearly thick skinned though, if someone tweeted that I had a head like a 50p piece, I’d be mortified, not RT-ing it! But yeah, the whole show is based around humiliation in varying degrees and it’s pretty grim to watch at times.
I don’t watch it mainly because I find it a pointless show, but I totally get where you’re coming from. If it was the other way round I don’t think it would have taken off like it has, but it also worries me that there are women so desperate to go on the show and wait around for weeks for a possible date.
You’re so right, the whole show reeks of desperation and it’s quite uncomfortable to watch at times.