Thursday, March 1, 2007

“Ladies, Crowd Around Your Man”: An Analysis of Femininity in Flavor of Love

As mentioned in the previous post the main focal point of Flavor of Love is the competition between the girls. When New York is reintroduced to the show, the girls seemingly stop battling each other and unite against the common threat. New York in herself is a character, walking onto the set and immediately engaging in “signs of affection” with Flav saying “your eyes ain’t playing tricks, this is mad love right here.” The show then rolls a montage of the previous season in which New York is fighting with every girl in the house, waving weapons around and knocking a girl down after being spit on. Flav says he brought New York back into the house to help him choose his eliminations, which she describes as “weeding out the crazies and the uglies.”

An important interaction with the girls happens when Krazy confronts Beatuful about having a cold sore, which in a house with seven women (now eight) all engaging in intimate acts with the same man, is a big health concern, however not the epidemic the show made it appear to be. Beatuful said herself, “its not like I have AIDS or anything.” Meanwhile, New York is doing her best to help Flav decide by climbing into bed with him and spending the night.

All of the girls in the house are under 30 years old, making them at least 17 years Flav’s junior, showing our society’s obsession with youth as a prerequisite for beauty, at least for women. This episode put beauty in the eye of the beholder: New York. New York was in charge of dressing the girls for a photo shoot for URB magazine. Some phrases she used to describe the girls were “gutter-butt,” “a fairy princess… that resides at the gates of hell,” and that she was unimpressed with all of the girls because they were “scared, intimidated, and just lacked true femininity.”

The best example of bias between masculinity and femininity in the show were the attacks on Nibblz. Nibblz honestly told Flav that she was an adult entertainer and he said he didn’t know how to work her into his family. Nibblz replied, “People seem to think that just because I’m sexual I’m sleeping with everybody.” So while Flav tries to think of how to explain dating an erotic dancer to his family, uncomfortable by her overt sexuality, he busies himself by being sexual with six other girls at the same time.

At the photo shoot, New York manages to get into fights with 3 of the girls referring to one of the only white cast members as “white trash” and tells her she looks like she works at a soup kitchen, and then runs from the room crying because of her still present feelings for Flav. She manages to calm down long enough to critique each girl, meanwhile the girls inside return to attacking each other. Flav seems to be the mediator of each and every fight because his mere presence seems to subdue the girls in an almost paternal manner.

In eliminations Flav removed Nibblz for her sexuality and Beatuful for her shyness (“but the cold sore might’ve has something to do with it”). Nibblz commented on her own elimination saying, “I didn’t sign up to be a role model, I signed up to be a lover. Flav missed out on a good f*ck.” Flav then reinstated New York into the competition which caused Buckwild to quit saying “if someone touches my body I’m going to lay them out and I’m on parole so I can’t be around that b*tch.” Essentially the ideologies championed by the show are submissive women who are sexual but not admittedly so, devoted solely to their man, Flav.