Rewatching America's Next Top Model Showed Progress Toward Equal Acceptance

If we were to ask people around our college’s campus about societal progress towards acceptance of all people, I would expect to receive mixed reviews.

Negative views of our society today are merited. I don’t think I have to go into the specifics, but if you ever watch the news, scroll through Twitter, or read a New York Times’ Morning Briefing, you get where I’m coming from. 

However, at the most unsuspecting moment, while watching cycle 11 of America’s Next Top Model (ANTM will never get old, am I right?) last night with my roommates, I realized that what was happening in the show would never be aired today.

Just between you and me, America’s Next Top Model will always be one of my TV reality guilty pleasures. Tyra Banks’ godlike presence that guides normal girls to stardom, while having to complete both glamorous and sometimes ridiculous challenges will never get old! As a viewer since the age of around twelve, it is safe to say that I have learned a whole lot of pointless things for someone who does not have any plans of entering the modeling world anytime soon.

One of lessons Tyra drills into her contestant’s head is that in the modeling world you must have some tough skin. Rejection is a commonality that every star faces before success. Never would I think this show would resonate with me in connection to how I view the progression of our society.

Sounds a bit ridiculous right? Hang with me here, because as I watched the reruns of cycle 11, that aired in 2008, I could not believe what I was hearing from the contestants. Eleven years have gone by since then and I was shocked that the producers of this show allowed this content to even be aired. The base of the drama that was occurring between the contestants stemmed from a contestant named Isis, who was transgendered. As awful that the other girls’ rejection and appalling comments were to watch, I was left with a positive conclusion about the progress of society.

If this situation was aired in 2019, it would be simply unacceptable. From this observation I concluded that we are moving from rejection and towards acceptance. Personally, I don’t think this would ever be allowed today, and that speaks towards our integrity of acceptance. The small revelation gives me high hopes that as more time progresses, we can come to full acceptance as a whole.