Tyra Banks: Role Model for Women?

As we bid farewell to 2009, we look forward to a new year – one without (of all things) the Tyra Banks show! 


This week Banks announced she’d be ending her show after five seasons in the Spring of 2010.

If you’ve ever sat through an episode of the Tyra Banks Show you understand my excitement at the show’s end but I must admit (full disclosure) that I loathe Tyra Banks. I think she is egotistical, hypocritical, and to be honest, a bit off her rocker.

What I find most infuriating about Banks, however, are her often misguided “rah-rah women,” “you-go-girl” charades. 

Let’s not forget the “bathing suit incident.”

After several paparazzi pictures of an unflattering Banks in a swimsuit surfaced back in 2007 and rumors began circulating that she’d gained weight, Banks took to her TV show to show America that she was proud of her body. Appearing on TV in the same pictured swimsuit, Banks gave an “inspired,” tearful speech of her body telling haters to “kiss my fat ass.” The women in the audience cheered and gave Banks a standing ovation. 

For two years Banks maintained her pride in her “curvier” shape, but then in 2009 she shed 30 pounds and this time dedicated an entire show to her weight loss success secrets. 

In an interview with People Magazine, Banks said: “I feel good about my curves and my imperfections – my booty, my boobs, my thighs – I embrace it all. Now I really can say … kiss my fit – and still fat – ass.”
If you’ve seen pictures of the trimmed down model you know her ass is far from fat. If you ask me she wasn’t fat with the 30 “extra” pounds but what happened to make her change her mind? When did the 30 pounds that were once happily accepted as part of who she was become so undesirable? 

In her infamous “kiss my fat ass” speech Banks claimed: “If I had lower self-esteem I would probably be starving myself right now.”

Well, what happened to that self-esteem? Where did it go and more importantly why did it go away?

From defending her fuller figure to gushing over her svelte new shape, Banks’ body war is a classic example of her misguided attempts to be the positive role model she so desires to be for women and girls.

I realize this is only one incident in the career of a woman spanning many years, but for me it was one of those “Seriously?” “Are you kidding me moments” that stuck.

I know that Banks has also made strides in incorporating “plus-size” models in her other hit show America’s Next Top Model which can be seen as a positive step, but having one token “plus-size” model among a sea of size zero contestants isn’t the best approach to accepting and appreciating fuller figured women.

On the plus side, I’m a big fan of Banks’ Tzone camp for girls which empowers girls to be “fierce, focused, and in control of their futures.” But as it turns out, the camps are no longer offered and Tzone is now a grant-making foundation so that’s a wash.

With the end of her talk show in sight, Banks has revealed the launch of Bankable Studios, a NY film production company which aims to bring “positive images of women to the big screen” and “redefine beauty for women in film.”
These goals sound too good to be true and with Banks running the show that frankly may be the case.

Honestly, I’m hesitant to exude any excitement on this new project but hope that Banks will use this opportunity to demonstrate some consistency in her attempts to provide the world with a wider (no pun intended) definition of beauty – we certainly need it.

I just hope this isn’t another “one step forward, two steps back” moment. That we don’t need.

Pictures courtesy of People and Life & Style magazines.


Roberto MARINI
Roberto MARINIabout a year ago

a model cn be considered like an object.

Roberto MARINI
Roberto MARINIabout a year ago

a model may be considered like a object in our moder society

Jo S.
Jo S.1 years ago

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

DeannaGiggles JustBecause
Deanna Zimmerman6 years ago

"to find an idol in the media, is like finding a whole basket of eating disorders, self-esteem problems and competition."

Again, if you never watch tv, how could you possibly know? And how could you decide which celebrities (who, btw, ARE real people, thrown into the spotlight of public scutiny), how could you decide which of them anyone of us is allowed to choose as an idol?

The question is whether TYRA is a role model for women. You can only answer that with any semblence of reason if you actually know all she's done over the years.

Is is unreasonable to expecet a role model to never make mistakes? - YES. Tyra is human, just like us.
Is it unreasonable to expect Trya to present herself in the most flattering manner at all times? - YES. Tyra isn't being paid to have a certain look every waking hour. She is allowed to travel and even wear a bathing suit on a bigger body than she's used to having, without being ridiculed for being human.

Oprah and Ellen are wonderful role models. Barbara Walters, and the rest of "The View." are great. Regis and Kelly are great role models.

People... role models are people you look up to and want to emulate, according to what you know about them. I would love to see more people finding the Greorge Clooney in themselves, or the Oprah/Ellen inside themselves.

What a classier world this would be.

DeannaGiggles JustBecause
Deanna Zimmerman6 years ago

If you don't watch tv, then why should anyone believe you when you say " it is 99.9% empty junk."?

Animal Planet-junk?
Childrens learning programs-junk?
Planet Green-junk?
Sports channels-junk?
Art channels-junk?
Travel channel-junk?
Food Network-junk?
Discovery Channel-junk? (except for Sarah Palin's gig - GROSS)
National Geographic-junk?

You must have an extremely low opinion of home-bound people, whose only source of exploration of the world are through channels like these, and those I haven't listed.

I feel sorry for you for being so elitist that you feel you can demean everyone else who watches tv, simply because you have the ability to choose a different path for yourself.

LOL, I have always enjoyed Jon & Kate Plus 8 (now Kat Plus 8) becasue even as a kid, I was fascinated with multiples. And when I grew up and eventually found out that I could never give birth, I became even more enamored with watching other people's children (hoping to adopt someday).

I love watching the children grow up and interact with each other and the world around them. It's something I will never get close to in my personal life. So it isn't junk for me.It's partially filling a very hurt empty spot in my life, and making it hurt just a little less.

But, according to you, I am dissatisfied with the fact that I don't have children; and you are correct. Why do YOU have a problem with that truth?

Monica M.
Past Member 6 years ago

to find an idol in the media, is like finding a whole basket of eating disorders, self-esteem problems and competition.

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