Fellow Australians, be warned! A local version of the UK reality program Ladette to Lady will be hitting our screens in the very near future. In an article published in The Sunday Age, Peter Munro examines the controversial show while providing us with the eye-opening attitudes of some young women at a bar in Bundoora. The women interviewed for the article seem to have been strategically chosen to illustrate the type of participants that the Australian version of the program will most likely feature. For starters:
“We are real classy girls, but when you get a drink into us we are f–kin’, like, oh, my God, the dirtiest people ever,” says Lynda Evans, 18, waving an alcopop in the air. “Having fun is the main thing in life. Who cares if you can arrange flowers or bake a cake — you can buy cakes from a cake shop.”
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Ladette to Lady format, the program basically takes a bunch of ladettes – “foul-mouthed, loud and uncultured young [women]”, and transforms them into ‘ladies’.
Now, I’ve seen bits and pieces of the English series and the whole premise of the show really irks me. Essentially it’s just a platform for reinforcing seriously outdated notions of a woman’s role in society, thinly veiled as ratings-grabbing, shock value viewing. Munro explains:
Successful ladettes will be flown to an English finishing school, where they will study floristry, cooking, elocution and needlework.
Needlework? I’m sorry, what year is it again? He continues:
The finale will be a debutante ball, where the budding ladies will parade before young male suitors.
Once I’d finished cringing, I had a flashback to an excellent article that Catherine Deveny wrote for The Age about the tradition of the deb ball. In it, she compared girls at their ‘debs’ with cows in a saleyard. Enough said.
Don’t get me wrong- I think some of the behaviour that these young women are engaging in is cause for concern. But surely teaching them how to cross-stitch isn’t the answer.
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