Women Strip, Men Judge Their Bodies on Danish TV Show

The male gaze will be televised

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Thomas Blachman, creator of the new Danish TV show Blachman, during an X-Factor press conference on March 12, 2012

A woman stands naked in a room under a harsh spotlight. She’s not allowed to speak, but must stand quietly while two men sit on the couch and assess her physical attributes as a camera zooms in and out on the body parts they are discussing. Sounds like a nightmare, but it’s actually a show on Danish television.

The show, Blachman, was named after its creator, Thomas Blachman, who is the Danish version of Simon Cowell, according to the Telegraph, as well as an award-winning jazz musician and judge on the local edition of The X Factor. Blachman purportedly created the show to get “men discussing the aesthetics of a female body without allowing the conversation to become pornographic or politically correct.” To foster such conversation, a series of women are invited on air to strip and be judged by Blachman and a male guest. The women featured on the program are of all shapes, ages and sizes, ranging from a 40-something teacher to an 85-year-old.

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The show, which airs on Denmark’s publicly funded television station, DR2, was met with widespread outrage from residents and was met with across-the-board criticism from local media outlets, including calls for the show to be canceled outright. Author Knud Romer called the show “a claustrophobic strip club which only serves to cement classic concepts of male dominance.” The outcry on Twitter and Facebook has been fast and furious as well.

Blachman doesn’t understand the criticism. He called those who don’t understand his genius “ungrateful,” and insisted that he is merely attempting to “stir discussion.” His producer, Sofia Fromberg, agrees with him. Fromberg, who works for DR2, seems to view the show as living up to Blachman’s vision of fomenting conversation, telling the Telegraph, “I am representing DR2, which is a society channel. Our main focus is what’s going on in society and we debate it.” She commented, “Here we have a program that reveals what men think about the female body. Quite honestly, what is wrong with that?”

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