Tired of the Bachelorette? ABC we got your next hit right here…

23 Jul

This find comes from Wrongingrights.blogspot.com:

BBC News reported last week that a Zambian television network “has launched a reality show to help former prostitutes find husbands.” Apparently, “helping” means competing 18 sex workers against each other at a battery of household chores while viewers vote on who will win a cash prize and an all-expenses-paid wedding.

As it happens, the BBC’s a little behind the news curve on this one. In fact, the show, called Ready for Marriage, just began its third season.  Its website boasts a list of goals for the new season ranging from HIV/AIDS education to “foster[ing] the consolidation of unity among the Zambian communities and cultures” to fighting global warming. According to The Post Online (Zambia), this year’s contestant pitch asked:

“Are you a young lady aged between 18-35 years and do you work as a prostitute, a hooker, or sex worker, or whatever you call yourself? And are you interested in changing your life around, are you interested in settling down to lead a decent and respectable and responsible life?”

So yes, it is a essentially a baking/popularity contest for sex workers in which the winner is rewarded with…  a wedding.

If you’re choking on the heteronormativity of it all, it might make you feel better to know that all of the contestants are given job and psychological counseling as well as start-up capital to launch their own (presumably non-prostitution-related) businesses. But you’re probably not going to feel better for long. According to PRI, the theme song goes a little something like this:

“I have regrets, I’ve mistakes in the past I’m not proud of, I’m so ashamed but I had no choice I had to survive. The world is cruel, so hard to survive. What do you do when there’s no one to turn to and understand what you’ve been through?”

Wow.

America are we falling behind in senseless sexist reality fare? Surely the producers of hobo-boxing can come up with something to compete. Maybe pit HIV sufferers against each other in the fight for drug-trial slots? (JZ)

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