Netflix’s new dating show says that appearance is not everything. Sexy beast ——But experts say that beauty is still superficial on TV.
The series premiered on Wednesday and is the latest in a series of gimmick-driven dating shows. In this case, the faces of the contestants are covered by super-realistic artificial limbs, making them look like various animals or fairy-tale creatures when dating.
Just like the previous Netflix hit Love is blind And the ABC series in 1965 Dating games, Contestants are divided by zones, Sexy beast Trying to convince the audience that appearance does not need to be a factor when falling in love.
But CBC News interviewed three experts and they said it was just a beautiful idea that obscured the truth about dating psychology, TV rules, and even the way pop culture handles race.
The dating show genre values ??appearance in its cast
The trend of recovery Cheryl Thompson, an assistant professor at the School of Creative Industries at Toronto Ryerson University, said this may be a response to the perception that reality shows are artificial.
“If you see a Bachelor, You know that really beautiful blondes might win,” Thompson said. “So it’s…trying to eliminate this superficial idea of ??the show, no no no, these people really fall in love with each other, and they The decision is not based solely on their appearance. “
But Toronto-based sexologist and podcast host Jessica O’Reilly told CBC News that hiding a contestant’s face is like Sexy beast It does not eliminate the potential to judge someone based on physical characteristics.
“This may be an interesting way of dating, but it won’t completely change our tendency to see appearances in the first place,” O’Reilly said in an email.
Sexy beast The level of makeup and prostheses, but this quirk only extends to their faces: contestants can still meet in person, talk up close and understand each other’s body behavior.
She said that facial expressions, body language, and eye contact are some things that prosthetic limbs can’t hide, all of which are part of building attraction and connection.
The psychology behind anonymous dating
Love is blind Last year was a huge success for Netflix, variety report In April 2020, the show has been watched by 30 million member families since its first five episodes premiered in February 2020.
Steve Jordens, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto Scarborough, said the show is reminiscent of the anonymity and liberating nature of Internet chat rooms.
But in real life, the risk is higher, he said.
Jordans said: “If you really don’t know who you are talking to, and you might be frightened by a person’s appearance, then I think there will be more fear.”
“So I think it’s a safe way, you know, to have a blind date, because it’s not as blind as a real blind date.”
O’Reilly said that most dating shows are cast based on European-centric beauty standards and non-disabled bodies.that method Many contestants are white or light-skinned, thin and young, with straight hair, blond hair and blue eyes.
“The idea that beauty, skin color, race, age, and body shape may become irrelevant is unrealistic,” she said.
“[Contestants] Talking about their appearance, mentioning their muscles, mentioning the fact that people only see their beauty, in some programming formats, [others] You can see their bodies. “
Raced contestants are eliminated from dating shows
These “blind” dating shows also appeared in a controversial period of reality TV shows, because viewers will notice the treatment of people of color in various series.
exist Love Island, United Kingdom, A show where contestants on the island must pair to “survive” and win cash prizes. A person of color is Last choice At the marriage ceremony of the show for six consecutive seasons.
And Rachel Lindsay, Bachelor Franchise, Criticized this play many times, Said that as the first black single girl on the show, she was portrayed as “an angry black woman.”
O’Reilly said that traditional dating shows often deliberately highlight stereotypes of slight aggression or open use of racism.
“It is embedded in casting, scripting, production and editing because racism is embedded in our culture,” she said.
“Obviously, we have recently seen more representatives in front of the camera, which is great, but who is at the table where the real decision is made-from the production team to the network director? The vast majority are still white.”
Thompson agrees with his research on media performance and visual culture related to black people.
“The contestants may change,” she said. “But the tone and the point are not.”