Last night, Amelia introduced me to a television show where fashion-forward harridans-in-training reject a stream of desperate men, shucking and jiving for their approval. These men were delivered to these reclining prima donnas via conveyor belt — a literal conveyor belt. As if they were stepping off an assembly line from the Freshly Scrubbed Emo Dude Factory.
ABC has aptly named this reality show/dating game “Conveyer Belt of Love.” Judging by her IMs, Amelia OMG LUVS this show and I imagine many millions of women do too. They tuned in and got off as vapid divas objectified equally bird-brained bimbros. Wielding signs that read “Interested” or “Not Interested,” these ladies licked their lips, wrinkled their noses, and rolled their eyes as dude after dude begged to be loved.Fair, right? I mean, I’ve done the same thing at strip clubs. Paid a premium to sit in creepy judgment of women. I’m a bad man. Amelia has done her best over the years to make me aware of how corrupting such little rituals can be. So I’ll return the favor: “Conveyor Belt of Love” is how feminism dies. It is lured from its moral high ground down to the gutter, where it will cease being a principled movement, and become just another club of humorless near-sighted hand-wringers.
Welcome! The keg is in the corner! Maybe an even playing field will help refine discussions about gender identity. For instance, power corrupts, no matter the genitals.
Yes, I know that men have done the same thing to women that “Conveyor Belt of Love” does to men. And, like, we’ve done it for thousands of years. But “tit for tat” is not a moral argument. That’s the problem with standards: When you have them, you’re also held to them. “Conveyor Belt of Love” is gross. Although it’s also a fairly accurate nightmare representation of what it feels like to be a dude in the dating world. There are many guys who grow frustrated, despondent, and even angry with dating because it feels like standing at the end of a conveyor belt, smiling, and waiting for a bored woman to feign interest or to cruelly broadcast her disinterest. “Boo-hoo” is also not a moral argument. Women don’t have the market cornered on insecurity.
Why are critics having brain aneurysms over MTV’s “Jersey Shore”? It’s possibly the most accurate portrayal of dumb-ass kids in their early 20s (or in The Situation’s case, mid-30s) in popular culture. Even their party hut is a realistic dump, instead of the expensive interior decoration porn of that network’s flagship reality series, “The Real World.” Those kids are trashy train wrecks totally lacking in deviousness. “Conveyor Belt of Love” is the real threat to modern civility. Snooki drunkenly chomping on some party dude’s face is a realistic depiction of contemporary sexual mores.
“Conveyor Belt of Love” is a cultural terminator sent from the future by sexist robot fratboys to destroy feminism and to ensure that gender equality happens on their terms – namely, everybody treats everybody like meat. Which might not be a bad thing.
I am so disappointed in you for introducing me to this show, Amelia. And I will continue to be disappointed next Monday, 10 p.m. (EST), on ABC.