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Monday, November 27, 2006

Sexism and racism on The Amazing Race

Just some quick thoughts on the Race, after watching last night's episode (spoilers ahead).

Every team has professed some level of dislike for the Beauty Queens. The Addicts don't seem to have as much animosity toward them as Rob and Kimberly and (Kar)lyn, but it is clear no one likes them. And the hatred really seems out of proportion with anything the Queens have done. Let's think about their transgressions up until this point.

Sure, they haven't aligned themselves with any other team. But until recently, neither had the Addicts or Rob and Kimberly. They run their own race and are super-competitive. But so what? It's a race: they should be really competitive. And even if not all teams chose to play that way (see The Cho Bros.), surely one can't be annoyed when a team decides they really want to win the race, right? Have they sabotaged any other teams? No. Have they lied to anyone? Not that I can remember? Have they broken any Race rules? Nope. In fact, I can't think of anything they have done while running the Race that is even questionable. So what gives?

I chalk a lot of it up to sexism. The Beauty Queens know they are a really strong team, and they don't make a secret of it. They are very confident. They are totally unapologetic about wanting to win not only the whole Race, but every leg that they can. If they were a male team, I think that no one would bat an eyelash. In fact, they would be applauded for being good racers. But coming from two blonde beauty pageant winners, the other teams decide their confidence is cockiness and their competitiveness is in some way nasty, and they are therefore vilified.

Of course, I'm rooting for them to win the whole thing. It's great seeing a team of two women excel in the Race. Sure, (Kar)lyn have also gotten this far and are also women, but they have run a very different race than the Beauty Queens. The Queens haven't ridden on anyone's coattails. They haven't expected other teams to help them. They haven't exhibited (Kar)lyn's passive-aggressive behavior (i.e., complaining when the Cho Bros. stopped to ask for directions sixteen times, but not attempting to get their own directions). And they aren't hypocrites. For the first half of last night's episode, (Kar)lyn went on about how they wanted to yeild the Beauty Queens. But when the Queens beat them to the mat and yeiled (Kar)lyn, (Kar)lyn complained about how it showed "poor character" when the Queens yeilded them. Oh, and unlike (Kar)lyn, the Beauty Queens don't think a higher power wants them in the race. So I'm definitely not cheering for (Kar)lyn.

I admit that I wouldn't be sad if the Addicts won the whole thing either, but it would be great to see two women win. However, the Beauty Queens do have one habit I really don't like. They call (Kar)lyn "The Sistahs." Whenever they do, I cringe. It just sounds very racist. And I wonder what they are thinking when they do this. They know they are going to be shown on television. And they must know how racist they sound. And yet they continue to do this. Bailey thinks that it is possible (Kar)lyn has called themselves "the sistahs" off-camera, and the Beauty Queens are merely copying them. I hope Bailey is right, because I do lose a little love for the Beauty Queens every time they use the term.

Finally, some props to (Kar)lyn for running a really strong leg. They were in first at one point, which was the first time in the entire race they had been the first team to get a clue. In fact, they have been bottom-dwellers for so long that Rob and Kimberly assumed that the Beauty Queens had been the first team to get to the clue, never even considering the possibility that (Kar)lyn could have done so. And they also managed to get past being yeilded and end up in second place. Good for them. But I hope they go home next week.

Two episodes left. I'm very excited! I'm hoping that the Beauty Queens manage to overcome the potential 30 minute penalty, and that James doesn't continue being the weaker Addict (he was the only competitor who had trouble getting a flag in yesterday's challenge, and just always seems to struggle, much to Tyler's chagrin).

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Blogger Laura Holt said...

You know how much I hate the Beauty Queens, so I won't go into it (which is not to say I love anyone else). But note that Rob and Kim, who haven't shown the most sensitivity, do NOT refer to (Kar)lyn as "Tha Sistahs" but rather to them as Team Alabama. Like EVERYONE ELSE in the race. Which makes me think that this is NOT something that (Kar)lyn came up with themselves. Or if they did, it was a one time comment and not a persistent identifier since no one else picked up on it. Either way it makes me cringe and I hate them.

11/27/2006 3:43 PM  
Blogger Samantha Baker said...

Yes, those were two of my comments as well from this week's episode. I know they would not be looked at as negatively if they were men, it's very threatening for them to be so competative and confident. But the racism is so annoying, I can't imagine why they think that would be a good thing to say. As for favorites to win, I must say I would only be disappointed if Rob and Kim won, although he's showing a little more promise in not being as asshole as much.

11/28/2006 11:00 AM  
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