3-D Review Television Show: America’s Next Top Model by: Allison Davis, CPYU Intern Background/Summary: This CW show, currently in its 10th cycle, follows a group of young female contestants, who each week battle through a series of challenges and photo shoots, learning the insides of the modeling business. The women are judged each week by a panel of seasoned veterans in the modeling industry including the shows producer and host Tyra Banks. The women are judged based on their appearance and potential for success in the industry. At the end of each show one contestant is eliminated and the remaining continue in the hopes of being named America’s Next Top Model and receiving a modeling contract with a modeling agency. The show’s following has grown significantly as past cycles have been picked up by MTV and VH1 and the cycles aired regularly. Discover: What is the message/worldview? • Each season the show takes thirteen untrained hopeful models and introduces them to the modeling industry. Throughout the season they learn how to walk a runway, pose for a photo, sell themselves to fashion designers, and balance the demands of traveling. At times the models are required to pose nude or provocatively with male models, promoting the idea that sex sells. • While exposing the competitive and stressful demands of the modeling world, the show promotes a shallow standard for individual worth as the contestants are valued almost exclusively for their physical appearance. Each week the contestants stand before the panel of judges and are critiqued on their body and dress. The judges evaluate the contestants’ performance based on how they appear in person and in their photo shoot. Everything from weight and height to hair and dress is criticized. • The show capitalizes on drama as it highlights catty arguments and rivalries through candid clips and confessional style interviews. Contestants rarely abstain from participating in gossip about other contestants. The contestants’ conversation also often serves to portray the “dumb model” persona. • While most contestants have the typically thin and tall model body type, occasionally they will feature a “plus size” model. These models are an average size, generally an 8-10, and encounter many more challenges than the other contestants. This extreme view that average is plus size promotes the negative body image already portrayed in the modeling industry. While the show does occasionally promote a healthy lifestyle working to counter the negative behavior that accompanies modeling such as eating disorders, it generally promotes the idea that being thin is a prerequisite for success. • The show glorifies the modeling industry and success is defined as being marketable and uniquely beautiful. The individual is exalted and vanity promoted. Discern: How does it stand in the light of the biblical message/worldview? • As image bearers of Christ we are to honor God with our bodies. This means showing proper respect for how God has made us. The sex sells attitude in the model house and on the sets of photo shoots in the show do little to uphold the integrity of the individual, and instead greatly discourage modesty. • While the drama captured in the “top model house” is entertaining it does not promote the standards for community that God sets forward in his Word. Conflict is not solved through gossip. • Our value should not be placed merely in how we look, but in our character. In everything we do it should be God that is honored not the individual. God does not measure success based on outward appearance, but He instead looks at the heart. God’s definition of beauty is not based merely on appearance. Decide: What do I do with it? • America’s Next Top Model serves as a perfect example of how our culture values and rewards societal standards of beauty. It exemplifies how in our fallen state we glorify fleeting beauty and overlook the development of character and integrity. • This show may generate conversation on society’s standard for beauty. Many of the house experiences may serve as examples of how not to resolve conflict. • Viewers may find that the addicting nature of the show and the entertainment value lead them to adopt unrealistic standards for beauty that cannot be met and leave them self-conscious and judgmental. For more 3-D Reviews from CPYU, or to find out more information on today’s youth culture, visit www.cpyu.org.