Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Thanks for being ugly

There is a TV show in America, copied from the UK I believe, called Big Brother. The premise is a group of about 15 people are locked in a house together. The last one standing after 3 months of competitions and voting wins $500,000.

This year, the show has recieved much more attention than usual due to the nasty racist/ homophobic/ mysogynistic comments of several participants. Clips have been shown over and over on public media with evidence. I'm not going to link them, you can search for yourself if you want to. Or you can take my word for it that really nasty stuff was said.

 It's been an eye-opener for me to see that there really are still people in this country who speak and act like that. However, the ugly persists beyond. One contestant was adopted and another contestant has been taunting her with comments such as "at least my mother wanted me".

*#*# SCREECH #*#*

Well there you go. It just got personal.

I watch Big Brother with my daughters, and it occured to me I had a mine full of gold laying under all that horseshit.

It happens so often to kids, especially girls, where just one mean girl can make things horrible for another girl. Two or three mean girls working together can make a strong, self confident child into a shriveled, scarred mess. And so as a society we have these sayings designed to make it better.

Beauty comes from within.
Beauty is only skin deep.
It's more important to be pretty on the inside than the outside.
What's important is how you see yourself.
Beauty doesn't last forever.

As girls become teenagers, their bodies become awkward and betray them with acne and periods. Suddenly appearance is much more important. We share other brilliant sayings.

None of it matters after high school.
The "popular" kids wind up being boring adults.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
It's part of growing up.
She'll be ugly and fat when she's 30.
What comes around goes around.

Most of the sayings really are true, and I am a big believer in karma- what comes around goes around.

But really? Any kid with a handful of working brain cells will perceive the pant load. Even peripheral exposure to the media reinforces what kids already know- pretty is important. Pretty is more desirable.  Pretty girls are models and stars. They are on TV and in magazines. They get all the attention. Girls don't look at the woman with the lawnmower haircut wearing a frumper and strive to imitate her. They want to sparkle and shine!

It so truly does not matter in the moment that the mean girl might go on to have a crappy life in some abstract future. 

Back at the TV show, my girls noticed how one group of women was horribly mean to a few other contestents. 3 people of non-Caucasian ethnicity and a non-heterosexual man were the targets.  The mean group has been made up of attractive, outgoing, (and unfortunately) articulate women. Beautifully done hair and make up, club dresses and party clothes. Confident and self assured. Nastier than a salvage yard snake.

Even in the beginning, when edited airings of the show portrayed false congeniality, my girls picked up on the tension. They rooted for the picked on and underdogs. This is good.

It's all lent a rare opportunity to see ugliness occur live, and watch consequences appear.  Two of the women have been fired from their real-world jobs because of their televised behavior. I can watch with my daughters and point out- see her? She is a beauty-pageant coordinator, like on Toddlers and Tiara's. She's pretty isn't she? Her body is in great shape and she wears beautiful clothes, right? But none of it matters. She's ugly on the inside. Ugly. She says mean, nasty things to other women and tries to make them feel bad, on purpose.

You know what else? She's been fired from her job. She doesn't even know it yet because she's still in the house game. Her bosses watch the show and see how ugly she is on the inside and now she doesn't have a job.

That other woman- the other mean one? She wants to be a model, or on TV and you know what happened? She is fired too. She hasn't just used ugly words, she has done  hateful things. It doesn't matter how pretty you are on the outside if your heart is ugly. If your spirit is nasty, good things won't happen.


Genea had been invited to a birthday party and was delerious with happiness looking forward to it. A few days ago, the girl told her she couldn't come. We don't know why, but obviously Genea has been devastated. To her credit, she is still being nice to the kid. That blows me away.

Now it's possible that one of the mean girls is going to win the show. And I can take that and use it as well. Sometimes the nasty ones make it to the top- they do, no use denying it. But her ugly spirit has caused her to lose something very very important to her.

What's on the inside really does count.


  1. Yikes. What a horrific show and what horrible people.

  2. I'm glad you were able to get some positive messages from all that hatred. How sad that we need to teach our kids these things.

  3. That does sound dreadful - but, sadly - a lot like girls in 3rd through 6th grade!

    Yes; beauty does seem to "matter"....I'm glad in this case the "beautiful ones" are somehow being "found out".

    Our culture is especially bad at desiring "beauty" (someone's idea of it, anyway.) Watch British TV and you can actually keep the characters separated in your mind because they actually look like REAL PEOPLE...a whole array of attractiveness is apparently acceptable.

  4. So, none of the mean women won!
    It is awful that people do this. Though most of the nastiness was on the internet feed, enough came through on the televised show.
    Waiting to see what happens next....

  5. Big Brother was originally Australian. I apologise on behalf of my nation m(__)m Good on you for finding a positive out of it!

  6. I did not know that! Well, I'm sure you are not personally responsible :)

  7. Essie, it's lovely that your daughter is still nice to the mean girl who uninvited her. And it's sad shows like Big Brother even exist. But, it's great that you've turned it into a teaching experience. Good on you!

  8. It is lovely, isn't it? Kind of blew me away. I'm not sure I could be as gracious.
    The show is usually family friendly-ish, and most of the crap was on the after show feeds. But I was floored with the adoption comments- they came out of nowhere and I had to think fast!

  9. I was watching the show when that nasty comment was made to the adopted woman. Next thing I knew I was standing in front of my TV screaming and spitting with fury. And the stupid blonde who wants to model? Well she claims she never said those things, that they were taken out of context, and that is just how people in Texas talk. All of her comments were aired in a live stream feed, no editing. She did say them and they were in context. And heck no people in Texas do NOT talk like that! Served her right when she accidentally drank her finger nail polish remover. Karma!

  10. I know! They are making a lot of excuses when they should all be saying- we are SO SORRY we were jackasses!
    Yeah and good luck denying you said it, lol. There is that whole TV show thing with the 24 hour filming!

  11. Minor detail, but Big Brother is originally from the Netherlands. The only reason I know that is that back in the winter of 2002/2003 I had to watch a week of television the way an average 7th grader in Hungary did, and alas, that involved the trainwreck that was Big Brother and it's local clone on a different channel.

    1. AHA! That sounds right now that you mention it. It sure spread fast huh? LOL


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