Last night on Amazing Race Canada, not only did my favorite Amazing Race team Jet and Dave get eliminated, they got eliminated doing a roadblock that showed how prevalent sexism still is.
The roadblock was busking, something that could have been exciting as contestants showed off some secret skills that they hadn’t divulged. Unfortunately due to either restrictions on what the contestants could do, or a lack of busking talent the challenge and the footage of it fell a little flat. Tim Sr showed off some basic juggling, Dave sang Row Row Row Your Boat and played with some devil sticks and Celina waved a ribbon around and hula hooped. All oft these things were equally generic, unimpressive and not entertaining. Jody told war stories which, while not really street performance friendly was authentic and unique. Despite this, Celina excelled at the challenge, starting last finishing first and making more money than she actually needed to. The reason for this?
Because she’s female and not bad looking.
While her talent she was showcasing was no greater than that of Tim Sr and Dave and probably less than Jody, Celina excelled at busking because she was female. The advantages of her gender were not lost on her, nor on anyone else. At the beginning she explains that she picked a hula hoop so people could look at her hips move around and her sister Vanessa reminds her to “push out the boobs”. Jet and Dave look at her and remark that “I would donate to that” and “She is shaking that moneymaker”. This speaks volumes of how gender roles and sexism are still extremely prevalent in society. While men’s rights activists may claim that this is an unfair advantage women have since it eludes to the fact that women can use their looks more lucratively than men can, in reality the fact that women are judged and valued so much for their appearance instead of their talent or skills is extremely detrimental. It is the reason that women are so self conscious about their body image and why oftentimes they have to spend a lot of time on their appearance. Instead of judging women on their education, skills, talent or work ethic women are constantly and sometimes solely being judged by their appearance and they are conscious of that.
The Blackberry Aftershow added to this sexism dubbing the busking challenge the “hot chick challenge”, and congratulating them for their success in it. While it was pretty clear that the girls didn’t win off of talent, naming the challenge this made it crystal clear that the girls managed to do so well at busking because they are female and attractive. Unlike racism or other forms of sexism, there is no need to pretend that females are judged and rewarded for how they look.
As much as Miley Cyrus twerking at the VMAs was a surprise and something that no one wanted to see, when women are celebrated and rewarded solely for shaking their moneymakers, it is easy to see how Miley’s performance came to be. In truth I feel that watching this busking roadblock would be equally as damaging and hard to explain to an impressionable young child as Miley’s VMA performance.