Do television debuts of controversial topics mark some sort of wider social acceptance and progression? This Cycle 11 of the very popular television series, “America’s Next Top Model” has its first transgendered woman, Isis King, competing in the context. While I have not watched the new season yet, I think that Tyra and the CW are attempting to make significant strides in the struggle of the social recognition and inclusion of transgendered people. I first found out about Isis King in an article titled, “A new twist for ‘America’s Next Top Model’” on the New York Times website.
If you now anything about Tyra or have seen her talk show, you know that she has a propensity for boldness and drama to attract an audience. She also does the craziest things to portray herself as a real person and gain personal connections with people through the public eye. Tyra represents a new age publicity…appeal to people through what makes them people and not by always being the high profiled model that she is. With that said, whether or not Tyra positions Isis King on the show to be the emblem of controversy for publicity sake or because she is truly concerned with transgender issues is beside the point. The point is that on television will be broadcasted the social and physical transformation of Isis to a woman through scenes of her injecting female hormones and being challenged by the social milieu that comes with the label of being trans. For a show that is widely watched across the nation and a hit amongst many adolescent girls, college-age and adult women, presenting transgender issues could hopefully be educational enlightenment to people unfamiliar with transgendered people or bias towards them. Bringing personal transgender issues into the public space through the experience of one individual in a world of ultra feminized models will illuminate Isis’ personal obstacles and also biased attitudes towards her. Take a look at the article and try to catch an episode of Top Model to see how the show honestly portrays Isis’ transformation and struggles or manipulates and exploits transgender issues. Draw an opinion and I’ll do the same next time I catch an episode.