So, as previously predicted, I am now going to reverse my opinions on most of the girls (including, surprisingly, Samantha, who proved entirely unoffensive). I still love Isis and McKey. I now hate Clark and ShaRaun.
Warning: here be spoilers.
So, I wasn't expecting ANTM to treat their first transgender contestant with any sort of nuanced sensitivity, but nor was I really expecting (and this is my privilege showing, I guess) that so many of the other girls would be so gratuitously nasty. Isis is a woman. Isis has always been a woman. She wasn't legally born a woman, but she was a woman nevertheless. I'm not sure if I'd prefer to believe that the state of education in America (and probably here, too) is so dire that most people don't realise that, or that ANTM purposely brought in some very horrible girls. Over the course of Wednesday's two episodes, I heard "Isn't this supposed to be a competition for girls?" "Isis has no place in this competition", "that man", "drag queen" and "he/she". Actually, that last one comes from an infinitely more frightening sentence, which I am paraphrasing: "I come from a small town, and if a he/she walked down the street in my town, she'd get shot." And this, believe it or not, was said in defence of the bigotry shown towards Isis. I also heard a particularly odd comment about Isis needing to shave and sweat burning off body hair that I really didn't understand, so I'm assuming that ShaRaun is just an idiot. Thank fuck she's gone.
ANTM is my fluff show, my meaningless source of amusement. Tyra Banks always goes on about "controversial" photoshoots and "making the viewer uncomfortable", but this is the first time she's ever actually achieved it. I sincerely hope she has good intentions, though I worry. I know from experience and the Television Without Pity forums that some people will sympathise with Clark and ShaRaun and their bigotry. People are asking prurient questions about what Isis does with her penis (she's pre-op) and saying that of course it's reasonable to take the piss out of her for being trans! Like, hello, free speech! You know what would be a funny nickname? Guysis! Or S/He! Hahaha, aren't I clever? No, you're not. Shut the fuck up.
I am very firmly on Team Isis. Aside from the fact that it takes a lot of guts to come on a reality show and deal with horribly unpleasant people like these, she's also brilliant. She knows her stuff, and her picture was my favourite. She was about the only one who actually got the theme of her shoot, as opposed to standing in front of the appropriate background and prancing. Although, on that topic, "voting is sexy"? Really, Tyra? And what was up with the random "register to vote today" chorus from the judging panel? That might be one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen on this show, which is saying quite a lot.
I'm interested to see how the girls, the judges, and the editors handle this in upcoming episodes. I have to say, I'm not optimistic. Clark is already my least favourite contestant of all time - I am absolutely convinced that she's not just ignorant, knows exactly what she's doing and thinks it will help her in the competition to be a horrible bigoted asshole. It better bloody not, is all I can say.