I am not sure what I can add to the outpouring of commentary relating to Channel Ten’s Yumi Stynes “oops” moment except, “what was she thinking?” I’m sorry the excuse that “this is what happens on live TV” is pretty lame and while Channel Ten and the Circle team have apologised to Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith for casting dispersions, I am lead to wonder how did we get here?
There is no doubt that female orientated talk shows have done a great deal to accelerate the progress of women in society. Over the years, those shows have raised awareness of a range of issues from sexual harassment, to domestic abuse, to sexual health and the list goes on. While I don’t expect every women’s program to deal with the heavy stuff, I am disappointed when, in the name of “entertainment” the women (and men) who host those programs feel the need to tap into the inappropriate.
Before you call me prudish or behind the times, I will confess to loving The Simpsons, The Chasers War and Little Britain to name a few in that genre, purely because they present their material with creativity. These programs say and do things that are so wrong they are funny.
To test whether my reaction was a function of my generation, I did canvass a few Gen Y’s about what they thought and clearly they were not impressed. “I was so disappointed to hear those comments about CPL Ben Roberts-Smith,” one Gen Yer commented, “People often say that stars set themselves up for criticism when they become famous but this guy just fought for his country and earnt himself recognition.”
I suppose what bothers me is the rising popularity of both men and women who behave badly because they know it will generate a media frenzy around their brand.
Years ago Madonna was such a woman who, through her songs and videos, expressed her own controversial views from female sexuality, to gays and religion. There is no doubt that at the time Madonna was on the cutting edge. Her songs were intended to both shock and awe her audiences – and I have no doubt, all in the name of self promotion. In spite of the criticism she copped all those years ago, today Madonna is mainstream when compared with some of the material that is presented in the media.
Coming from the Madonna generation, I must admit, I was a big fan. I was therefore not at all surprised to hear Gen Yers coming to the defense of their favorite celebrities, in particular the Kardashian crew who have emerged as the latest personal brand sensation – famous for just being famous or infamous as it were.
One Gen Yer commented,”Although I don’t know who Yumi is I know the Kardashian clan, and regardless of talent they’ve created a following for themselves appealing to a certain market so good for them! It’s not my thing, and I don’t admire Kim or any of her sisters but if anything above else I’d probably say congratulations on becoming famous for absolutely nothing.”
Another quipped, “I think it’s a poor reflection on society that Kim Kardashian’s famous but I think it’s because people watch her because they want her life. I actually have a lot of respect for her as a business woman – she’s found a way to capitalise on most aspects of her life and is constantly developing her personal brand.”
I have to say although I was relieved to hear that I had not entirely lost touch with the times, I am still bemused by the Kardashian thing. While Yumi may have no talent and the Kardashians may just be famous, I’d like to think that at least Madonna’s bad girl antics were an outlet for creativity and talent. Unfortunately, these days it seems neither of these attributes appear to be a prerequisite for success.
Madonna and Kim Kardashian images courtesy of cinemafestival / Shutterstock.com
Yumi Stynes image sourced from Getty Images