Monday, October 18, 2004

Hot or Not

What's with Bravo and gay men? I'm not complaining; it's pretty cool. Okay, I take that back. If you read the rest of this post, it does contain a pretty substantial complaint. That's why the "About" section of my blog reads the way it does.

First it was Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which, while not really doing a heck of a lot to shatter stereotypes about gay men, lets more of America take a peek into how people can actually invite gay men into their homes and lives without dropping dead of AIDS or getting sodomized or something.

Queer Eye having taken a hiatus, Bravo has taken to presenting us with Manhunt, basically the gay counterpart to Tyra Banks' America's Next Top Model. It's billed as "The Search for America's Most Gorgeous Male Model." Okay okay okay, Manhunt isn't actually gay, but it's all about a bunch of half-naked guys running around doing little more than, well, looking good. I've only seen one episode so far, but I'd have to say the scorecard reads something like Entertainment value: 3; Eye Candy 9.5. (Why do I have a song from A Chorus Line running through my head now? Well, never mind.)

So I'm looking at the Bravo TV / Manhunt site now, to confirm something that's kinda bugged me for a bit, and I was right: There is a serious lack of men of color on this show. Of the 20 featured men under "The Models" (we're talking the ones with 1" x 1" photos of them posted), my count is one identifiable black man (Ron) plus one other one who looks non-white, though I can't place whether he's Hispanic or light-skinned African-American man. There are zero identifiably Asian men in this crew.

Under the "Other Models" heading -- a smaller set of photos, and in black and white -- I guess these guys are ones who just didn't make the cut -- I count two more black men, of ten. Again, no Asians.

Keep in mind, I may be wrong... some of these guys may have some Asian blood in them. But none of them are identifiably Asian. If they're Asian, they're mixed-race.

And I'm totally raging about this.

It's awful to have "the search for America's most gorgeous male model" without even remotely thinking that an Asian man might possibly be considered attractive. And that only three black men make the cut for possible attractiveness (although only one in the apparently Elite Twenty).

Don't get me wrong, most of the guys on the show are, in fact, really hot, and few would ever find themselves kicked out of my bed. But come on. Does it have to so overwhelmingly lily-white? In a diverse society like America, can't we acknowledge that the White Man does not hold the monopoly on physical attractiveness?

Oh, and don't get me started on how a room filled with 20 men primping and prepping and working out 9 hours a day somehow doesn't include a single gay man. Women complain that we have all the hot ones on our team. Someone forgot to send that memo to the casting people at Manhunt.

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