America’s Next Top Model: a toxic portrayal

When I was younger, I was absolutely obsessed with the television series known as America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), created by the highly celebrated and recognized model Tyra Banks. By younger, I’m guesstimating I began watching this show when I was about 12 or so, which are important developmental years. I couldn’t get enough of the shit, which, today, I can accurately label this show as being a pure exemplification of just that; shit.

I remember my mom and dad getting upset with me whenever I had ANTM playing on the television. I was unable to comprehend their hesitancy and reluctance, and eventual refusal, to allow me to watch the show, but in retrospect, it is rather apparent why they weren’t huge fans.

Fast-forward to now, and with a simple Google search of ANTM you will likely stumble across quite a few articles and informative texts arguing how toxic and damaging this show is to any and all viewers, though more specifically young girls. It might’ve taken a few years for someone to acknowledge this, but I’m damn glad they did.

Looking back, I’ll admit that I’m actually somewhat ashamed of ever being a fan of this show. Rather than celebrating its (typically) female contestants and providing them with a sense of support and encouragement as they immerse themselves in the cutthroat modelling industry, the judges on this show do the exact opposite. The majority of the show’s contents depict judges criticizing the models because of their appearance, forcing them to change their image to meet the judge’s conceptualization of what beauty is, frequently encouraging them to lose weight, and pushing them into situations they are visibly uncomfortable with.

ANTM is a poor excuse of a series that has the potential to depict a positive message and image to viewers but opts for the contrary. Simply put, it’s absolute shit.

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