Holland’s next top model

I don’t watch these shows normally. I don’t even have a television. But the other day I saw an episode of ‘Holland’s next top model‘. My girlfriend made me do it (said Adam…).

For all those other idiots like me who never watch television: twelve girls join the program that offers them an opportunity for becoming a model. They have to do shoots (naturally) and all kinds of other ‘challenges’ in order to reach the finals. Oh and yes: every episode one of them is sent home. The program follows the girls as some get sent home and others manage to get to the next round: the expectations, the disappointments and the successes.

It’s challenges and contests that make up most of the show. The other part consists of long drawn out meetings with the jury at the end of the day, where the girls get told how well or how badly they performed, where their attitude is judged and where one of them is told she may go home. It’s basically the best proof of the Buddhist maxim that desire only leads to suffering. All the girls badly want to become models and as a result they all suffer, even the winners.

In the episode that I watched there were four girls left. They were in Brasil and their challenge was a capoeira lesson that seemed to last the entire day, at least to me. Figure that: dancing all day long in the blistering Brazilian sun. One of the contestants is a redhead (my girlfriends favorite by the way). She burns easily, and she knows she has to do a photoshoot the next day… Meanwhile some big guy, a Dutch capoeira-teacher, gives wanted and unwanted advice and worse: comments. Comments that will reappear at the end of the day, when the girls are ‘evaluated’. At the end of the capoeira-lesson there was some kind of contest between the girls: they had to do a solo capoeira-dance (or whatever it’s called in capoeira).

Usually the winner of a challenge or a contest gets some privilege. Those privileges are direly needed, as became apparent in the evening, when the girls were sent to a restaurant that served dishes that most resembled astronaut’s food. They managed not to puke. And then the big guy came along, told the winner of the capoeira-contest she could come with him to a nicer restaurant with real food and she could bring one, only one of her colleagues. Ah! I thought, here’s a fine test of character! But to my shock horror and surprise after some thought the girl picked one fellow contestant and left with the big guy to a restaurant at the beach where the wine cost 140 euro’s. Her two collegues were left to eat their astronaut’s food.

‘I would have so declined the offer and stayed with the others.’ I commented.

‘Oh no,’ my girlfriend said, ‘those girls have already been eliminated.’

And then it dawned on me: these are the morals of our times. Always choose what’s best for yourself. Never mind the others. They’ll have to fend for themselves. There is no ‘together’. Unless it serves your personal purposes of course. Cooperation is an activity that serves me, myself and I. A century ago these people would be called ‘libertines’, but nowadays freedom from others doesn’t have these pejorative connotations.

But still. If you observe the challenges and contests that our models-to-be have to endure, there’s only one lesson in it: do as you’re told, don’t have your own opinion (or at least: don’t vent it), don’t have any principles.

Oh, and by the way, the girl that was sent home in this episode was the one that didn’t want to take her knickers off during a shoot.

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