Britain’s Missing Top Model

In this new reality show, eight women with “differing disabilities” will compete before a panel of judges to prove they have what it takes to be a mainstream model.


Is there something wrong with me or is there something wrong with this premise for a show?

On the one hand, I support the disability rights movement. On the other, I’m squeamish about any fetishistic appreciation of the disabled. It feels like exploitation to me, even when the disabled person is so willingly seeking the attention. One of the contestants on the show will be Debbi, who has recently posed for Playboy and says she’s met more men since she lost her arm than before. Here’s Debbi.

This whole thing is making me feel like a cunt for not celebrating the moxie or whatever it is that drives these disabled women. They’re kind of pissing me off, in fact. It’s like, I’m missing a toenail, so why don’t I try to be a foot model? Or, My voice has a limited range, so why don’t I compete to sing opera?

No, those are bad analogies. And that guy who “needs” to be paralyzed is going to be mad at me again.

Can anyone help me to articulate what is wrong with this show? Or if not that, what’s wrong with me?*

*No saying It’s because I’m a cunt, since I’ve already admitted it a million times.

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14 Responses to Britain’s Missing Top Model

  1. Because in many ways it is like pretty pictures of a naked child even when the child is an exhibitionist child. because there may be crazy perverts looking at the pictures. that’s the only analogy i can think of. because disabled people have suffered immense misfortunate and are vulnerable. And there are people who enjoy power and who find sexual satisfaction in looking at pictures of the maimed.
    I’m am sure there is like 1 in a million who think in such a terrible way. But the rest of us can probably just view it as the disabled trying to do something for themselves.
    if you really think about it, normal sized people and ugly people and fat people should also have a special modelling show. because ugly people and fat people are sort of disabled in the modelling industry as well.

  2. and realistically, what work will they get as a model? besides the shock value of seeing them… how many one shoulded tops can those girls model?

  3. Suebob says:

    My handicap in the modeling world is a fat ass and short, stubby legs. Maybe I could be up for next season?

  4. Kari says:

    So, because there may be somebody out there who gets off on looking at me, I shouldn’t go outside? appear on TV? make a living? put on a bathing suit? Sorry, but I don’t think other people’s sicknesses should determine what I get to do.

    Why does an armless model provide shock value? Because it’s not seen too often, and considered imperfect by conventional standards. Kinda like a black or asian model 50 years ago? Or two women kissing on TV 20 years ago. Bring on the shock value, I say. It’s about time some people had their worlds rocked.

    You don’t have to watch the show, if it makes you uncomfortable. But to tell these women they shouldn’t, for their own good … well.

  5. hammie says:

    Well, if you want to check out the carnival of NO! that is people with untreated mental health issues going on TV to compete; Check out the audition rounds of American Idol or America’s got Talent.

    As for that show. Hmm, it is a confrontation and perhaps desensitisation. Or perhaps it needs to be shown, so that next season a really hot looking, fit and healthy girl missing a limb can try out for that other monument to untreated mental health issues “America/Britain/Australian’s next top Catalogue Model”.

  6. Imelda Matt says:

    fuckity fuck the British are twisted! I don’t even want to know what debbi’s new gentleman callers ask her to do with that stump…or do i? I’m hoping for a runway challenge, not that’s good TV!

  7. Sister Wolf says:

    Kari, I’m not saying the women have no right to compete on this show. I’m trying to examine my response.

    My husband says “Why shouldn’t they get to make fools of themselves on reality TV just like everybody else?”

    I think Miss Wombat isolated the problem, ie they won’t get to be mainstream models. I don’t think it’s empowering. I think the producers are just giving the audience a ‘freak show’ while pretending to be inclusive.

  8. Lora says:

    “Reality” TV in general seems to be the problem here. It’s unbelievable what they will find to make a series out of and even more unbelievable that most of it develops an actual following.

    Practically all professions/jobs require BASIC QUALIFICATIONS. (your analogies made perfect sense) Not everybody has to do everything, it’s just thinning the herd. I apply the same rule to myself while trying to find a job or possible new career.

  9. Sonja says:

    your husband makes a point, I concede, but what the fuck?? i think it’s about the absolute dissolution of collective dignity. And it becomes more blatantly apparent every day, with every new twist on every old twisted commercial premise, however twisted it has all ready been revealed to be.

  10. Sonja says:

    ok but about your response. I personally feel that it is a modern day freak show disguised in equal opportunity rhetoric. so completely disgusting to me. are we calling this some kind of progress in human rights or something? But probably the people to ask about it are the people involved – the contestants on the show. can you ask them? I’m serious.

  11. enc says:

    I’m not sure what it is. Using one’s “differentness” to be “the same?”

    I’m not being very articulate here, either.

  12. julie says:

    I think Sonja hit the nail on the head. She lays out exactly what I felt when hearing about this show. I sort of have a gut reaction to it, that it just isn’t quite right.

  13. honeypants says:

    WHY hasn’t anyone mentioned Heather Mills yet???!!?!?!!! Surely her 15 minutes, and Dancing with the Stars appearance opened this door.

    And I thoroughly agree that it’s the modern day freak show pretending to be inclusive. Besides, if one of these women has SUCH an amazing face, why couldn’t she pursue a career that would involve modeling only her face, so that no one would even have to know she had a stump for an arm?

    I think the whole thing is pathetic. The people who watch it, the producers, and the sad women competing in it. It really won’t be long before a Running Man type “Death Game Show” gets on the air…

  14. MagPie says:

    I am a bit late on finding this blog but I feel compelled to add my two cents regardless. I myself only have one hand and I strongly disagree with your opinion of this show. I have never seen it but I get the gist. I see exactly where these women are coming from and why they would go on this show. I agree it may have exploitative motives but what reality show doesn’t? With missing a hand I know that a disability is automatically your identifier and label. It’s the first thing people notice and usually focus on. These women obviously want their beauty to seen over their disability. The world of modelling has a very skewed view of beauty we all know that…but they are powerful. The media controls our mental picture of what a woman should look like and are at fault for the millions of girls who feel ugly and inadequate. It is constantly pounded into our heads that perfection is beauty. Though I’m not a fan of reality shows it is becoming the most popular form of television and I can support a promotion for more realistic women to be representing us in the world of modeling. I do not think this show is the best way to go about it however and honestly I think the focal point of the show being that they are disabled just isolates them even more from real models….But how else could they do it? There are no other opportunities in modeling for them so why not? I think it is a step in the right direction. I am starting to see more realistic models now a days and I hope one day we could get to a point in society where a disabled woman could be a model without it being taboo or unconventional.

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