Monday, November 12, 2007

Battle of the Sexes







The new MTV reality dating show A Shot At Love With Tila Tequlia is said to be the ultimate battle of sexes and goes where no dating show has gone before. This MTV show is different and more eye-catching then The Bachelor or The Bachelorette because it is about the hot bisexual cyber chick, Tila Tequila, trying to find true love. Tila is tired of being hurt by both men and women and is looking for love. She does not know if at the end she will be lesbian or straight. According to MTV, other shows as well as certain musicians and actress, such as One Tree Hill or Madonna, have flirted with and somewhat embraced it but bisexuality was still the “stuff of winks and nudges.” Tila Tequila hopes to thrust this taboo into the spotlight and prove to society that flaunting your sexuality should be... “fun.” However, this seems to be such a popular show not because finally bisexuality is becoming accepted by society but because Tila, an ideal feminine “subject” parades around in sexy scandalous outfit as 16 “boobalicious” lesbians and 16 “manly” hot men follow behind. Who will society fall for- the men or the women?



The Vietnamese bombshell is popular for her scandalous photos in Playboy and Rolling Stones, modeling on top of hot cars at model shows as well as even being the spokesmodel for Nintendo. However, she is most known for her impact on the cyber world of society. Tila Tequila has over 2 million friends on one the internets most popular website, Myspace; creating a whole new social world across “cyberspace.” Men and women of all ages are just obsessed with her. With society’s ever changing definition of femininity, Tila fits and actually resembles the most current status of femininity- porn starish and sexual. As the media portrays that feminine figure as super skinny yet big-boobed and breasted as well as overtly sexual, women find themselves looking more up to women such as Tila Tequila and playmates such as Holly from the Girls Next Door rather than Hillary Clinton or Condaliza Rice. Women want to have Tila’s sexual drive, her perfect butt and breasts, her hour-glass shape and even he “perfect smile.” Girls learn from these reality shows that what is most important about them is their perfume, their clothing, their bodies, their beauty. Women are feminine through the cloths they wear, the perfume they spray on and of course their outer beauty-their body. According to Jean Kilbourne “their ‘essence’ is their underwear” (Kilbourne 260). To be feminine, women must hold an “essence” like that of Tila. On the MTV website they have a blog for Tila Tequila and one girl who was only thirteen said that she looked up to Tila and wanted to be just like her. Only thirteen and looking up to a porn star rather a women about to possibly be the first female president.


Tila says she likes the soft touch of a women but the rough aggressiveness of a man. So if a man was too much of a “mamma’s boy” or if a woman was “too butch” they would be sent home. However, Tila has kept one “butch” lesbian and has kept one “scrawny foreigner” amongst a batch of “lipstick lesbians” and “macho men.” Danni is the butch lesbian and through out the show she seems to have developed a very unique connection with Tila Tequila. Unlike her relationships with the 15 other lipstick lesbians, Tila really enjoys Danni’s company and already considers her a “friend.” Is this all Danni the firefighter can be- a “friend.” On the other sex, Domenico, the silly Italian is always there to make Tila laugh. She doesn’t seem to have that love connection with him, however, he continues to make it through elimination just for laughs. Besides those two, the rest of the girls are mostly blonde and all have big butts and boobs while the other 15 are white males with “hot bods.” Through the first few episodes the black men and women slowly got eliminated because they just didn’t have that “special connection” with Tila. It is now halfway through the show and every single woman and man is white. She is very comfortable with sexuality and seems to use her sexuality as her guide to love. In the very first episode, Tila made all 16 girls put on their sexiest outfits and based on the sexiness of the outfit and “naughtyness” of their presentation, she decided who would be sent home. The girls with revealing lingerie or sexy cat outfits or just had mini cards covering their private parts made it through the first elimination. However, the girls who went for laughs over sexiness again just didn’t have that “special connection.” In all the episodes so far Tila has sexy revealing outfits for every activity that they did, such as a hot ref uniform for the “bi-athalon.” She provided outfits for the girls and guys to wear through out the competition too. For example, in the most recent episode, Tila has the girls and guys team up together in sponge bathing suits (obviously the girls are in thongs and the men are in speedo like suits) to wash off Tila’s very dirty cars. The guys who couldn’t do pull-ups on the car while they cleaned it with their “manlihood” were sent home and the girls who couldn’t wash the windows well enough with their boobs and butts as water poured down their bodies also did not make the cut. She also bunks them all in one giant bed, like one big orgy and even has a sex chamber with a stripper pole and tons of sex torture/pleasure toys. And going back to the collage below, Cosmopolitan defines sexy as having a “built- in stripper pole,” your own blog/webpage and even naming a man’s penis. Tila Tequila seems to fit that perfect and is falling more and more into that role model position of society’s new femininity- sexiness.



Even though this is suppose to be a “reality” show, there are many parts of the episodes that are probably influenced or “tweeked” by producers. The sixteen lesbians are always portrayed as bitchy, back-stabbing, slutty bitches. The producers probably love that 16 lesbians are living with each other because what does that mean- girl on girl hookups, “cheating” on Tila. For one lesbian she was kicked off the third or second episode because not only did she hook-up with a man but also another lesbian. Tila said she was too much of a player and was playing with her heart. However, nor the male or other girl that she hooked up were sent home. It was ok for the guy to kiss a girl because hell she was a lesbian. According to Jennifer Pozner’s Unreal World, because reality TV portrays women as whores, the networks can be considered their pimps, providing men with sexy singles (Pozner 97). In this case, MTV provides men with a chance to have a famous bisexual as well as 16 hot lesbians to flirt with. The girls always bring the catty drama to the episodes. The guys bring the over aggressiveness and roughness to the episodes. The prime example is when Ashley, a jealous southerner, lashes out and physically hurts another man after he finds out he is going home. Tila likes the girls for their emotional sensual side and the guys for their strength and testosterone however; she doesn’t want too much emotion or too much power. Pozner also said that producers love to deprive the cast from contact with the outside world and then ply them with alcohol as well to push them to unleash their “petty grievances” (Pozner 98). The cameras seem to follow the girls who walk around the house in thongs and bras and are always the first to catch the drama. They love to focus on Tila’s “prime assets.”



When you visit websites about the show, they all end there report with good luck wishes to Tila in finding her right man—or right girl, as if society is rooting for the men. Is Tila searching for her true love or society’s true love? The world will find out soon if she found her Mr. Right or Ms. Right.

Work Cited
Kilbourne, Jean. “The More You Subtract, The More You Add: Cutting Girls Down to Size.” Gender, Race, And Class in Media: 258-260. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. 2003: 2nd edition.

Pozner, Jennifer. “The Unreal World.” Learning Gender:96-99. Henley, Nancy, and Jo Freeman. “Becoming a Women in Our Society.”Learning Gender: Chapter 2.

“A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila.” MTV website.1-3. <http://www.mtv.com/>

2 comments:

Jessie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessie said...

Jill-
This post shows that you've definitely been interested in interrogating this show from multiple angles. Why not?
Given the shows transgressive of certain boundaries, but not with others, it makes for a figurative playground for these gender issues :O)
One area that I've noticed in the Tila posts has come up in yours as well... mainly in relation to the multiple frequently simultaneous paradoxical counter/hegemonic messages that are disseminated.

One issue with the analysis is the competing/conflicting messages about gender and sexuality. The current heteronormative cultural climate has incorporated a girl/girl fantasy into the normative sexual fantasy by men. The show certainly aids in this hegemonic fantasy that's rooted in heteronormative stereotypes. However, the women "competing" for Tila are all lesbian, with absolutely no desire to reinforce this stereotype for their male counterparts on the show or for the audience--here's a great example of the confrontation of a norm. Additionally, the show's depiction of Tila with each of the women in competition could be seen as a reinforcement of this same norm at various points. Therefore, the conflicting/competing messages are everywhere--it's important to try to grapple with this conflict in your analysis.
:o)

Overall, nice job with your posts for the blog project!