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The Agency

Infiltrating the modeling industry like no other television series has, "The Agency" takes a stark look at the men and women, who search for, mold, scold and comfort raw, young beauties -- all in an effort to groom the world's most marketable people. The series is not just about glamour. It's about the harsh realities of a business in which millions of dollars are at stake daily, and the competition for landing high-end models and campaigns can lead to both euphoric victories and bitter defeats. Created by VH1 a programming and MTV network, The Agency airs on VH1 Tuesdays at 9:00.

The show is targeted towards a young adult and teen audience. Many of the commercials are clothing and beauty based. The show gives many women the false perception of what women should look and act like. Therefore, advertising companies take advantage of the message of what a beautiful woman is and advertise clothing, make-up, perfume, purses, accessories, shoes, anything a woman would buy to make themselves feel that they are more attractive.

After researching the show I found it funny that the agency, Wilhelmina Models, states on there website that this modeling agency represents talent ranging from super-star men and women, to full figured women. However, throughout the whole episode I watched I did not see one “full figured� women.
This show is very good at showing what media portrays as the ultimate and most attractive figure. In the episode I watched you could see the already signed models, which of course fit that stereotype of tall and obscenely skinny. However, I got to see a lot of the models trying out for the agency and most declined for ridiculous reasons. There was a scene where ten girls were lined up and each had to go in front a panel of judges who would determine if they would receive a career with the agency. It was horrible when all you heard out of the judges for the first three girls were “bunny face,� “big nose,� and “horrible skin.� The judges were utterly humiliating to these girls because they did not have what they consider the perfect body.
The agency has what they call the “high-end board� which is used to find high end fashion models. Becky, one of the leaders of this board, describe a model as having a canoe chin, wide nose, and she is nothing special. Becky does not follow the gender roles; she is brutally honest, cusses, speaks in a deep voice, and does and says what she wants. However, she takes it way to far and basically put down and humiliated every model she was looking at. Fredrick Schick elaborates on the interpersonal dynamics of humiliation. “He argues that a defining characteristic of the process is that the victim is made passive and conscious of the humiliating act, while perpetrators must be aware of the victim’s condition and derive satisfaction from it: being somehow disempowered is basic to every humiliation. But it must be a disempowerment forced on the subject’s attention (humiliation essay).�
You could really see the gender and class roles played out in this show. The white rich male was the president of the company and all the photographers featured were males. Mainly the people in charge of telling the models what to do were white privileged males. Laurel Richardson states, “These verbal practices are consistent with the gender stereotypes that we encounter in everyday life. Women are thought to be a part of man, nonautonomous, dependent, relegated to roles that require few skills, characteristically incompetent and immature, sexual objects, best defined in terms of their relations with men.�(Gender Stereotyping in the English language, pg. 103) This quote shows perfectly that women are supposed to do what men want and tell them and they are basically just their for men to look at them as sexual objects. This was represented almost perfectly in the show “The Agency.�
I found it very striking when one of the male models was told he needed to gain weight and bulk up if he wanted to go on casting calls. There is just one good weight for both men and women, if you are to skinny you are called anorexic or bulimic and if you are too heavy you are called fat. This show really showed me that reality TV puts out a false impression for all the young men and women trying to feel good about themselves and feeling they have to take drastic measures to get there so called “perfect body.�