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.