Don’t Tell The Cliche Stereotype Channel 10

A couple of nights ago I wrote an open letter to Channel 10 about their new show ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’ .

Dear Channel 10,

I get it, times are tough, you’re struggling to keep your audiences in front of the television screens, selling advertising is difficult at the best of times, but with the onslaught of audiences migrating to the web, its more difficult then ever, but cramming rubbish down the throat of Australian audiences isn’t the answer. Your new show ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’, a syndicated series of the BBC namesake, is backwards, insulting and downright offensive.

This show portrays an inaccurate and backward stereotype of men in our society, a stereotype that I find outrageous. While your show hasn’t aired in Australia yet, your advertising campaign in the lead up to the show portrays men in a fashion that is inaccurate, misleading and offensive. Your simplistic attitude towards gender roles in society fails to represents the subjective, diverse and relative characteristics that shape the male gender, and to be blunt, helps propel a dangerous, misleading, counterfactual portrayal of men.

In a society that is bombarded with offensive portrayals of both genders, male and female, creating a show based on the entire premise that men can’t plan a wedding is a lacklustre and shortsighted grab at ratings.

While I appreciate that you do provide couples with $25,000 to have their dream wedding, the premise of your show undoes any good work you may do by donating this money – firstly, by creating spectacle and hype around a derogatory portrayal of men and secondly by contributing to the commodification of marriage, something that at its essence, should be centred around love.

Your website spurts out offensive lines such as ‘Will he (the groom) think that the voluptuous bridesmaids look great in lime green boob tube-style dresses?’ and ‘will he skimp on the reception by having it at the local pub?’ – these type of comments fail to accurately portray realistic attitudes of men, evidence of this being the long list of successful male event planners, designers and fashion entrepreneurs who have succeeded within the wedding, event planning and fashion industries.

I for one, think I could plan a wedding on par or even better than my girlfriend, this has nothing to do with my gender, or her gender, this has to do with my individual creative ability, work ethic and a whole host of other factors, too long to begin to mention – and apparently factors that the team at Channel 10 fail to recognise exist.

As someone who works and is educated in the creative industry, I have witnessed first hand the difficulty men have in adapting to roles that have been traditionally reserved for females, and while I definitely don’t put this inequality on par with any female rights movements of the past and present day (female rights being much more oppressed than any male rights) portraying males as unable to plan a wedding, based purely on their gender begins down a dangerous slope of sexism and gender inequality – something that both men and women in our society are actively trying to counteract.

Whether we like it or not, free-to-air television, and therefore Channel 10, has a role to play in shaping stereotypes and gender roles in our society. Channel 10 has a responsibility not only to reject any unfair, unrealistic and frankly offensive portrayals of gender, but also a responsibility to foster and encourage equality amongst gender role portrayals. By creating and running a show such as ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’ your spitting in the face of all those who have come before us and work tirelessly for equality amongst gender in our society.

While this might seem like a middle-class, white, male, crying fowl (in a lot of ways it is) the wider implications of spreading an inaccurate portrayal of male gender roles through our mainstream media outlets is almost terrifying to anyone with any sense of foresight. How long will it be before Channel 10 pitches it new shows on Lesbian DIY’ers, or Incompetent Female Mechanics, or The Gay Block?

I haven’t seen ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’ and very frankly I have zero interest in tuning in to watch it. If Channel 10 pulls a rabbit out of the hat and pulls off a show that doesn’t solely rely upon prehistoric and offensive stereotypes, I’ll be shocked.

Yours truly,

Will Fisher

Will is currently doing research on Adelaide print media. If you’re in Adelaide, fill out his survey here. Follow Will on Twitter and find out more about him at www.willfisher.com.au

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