AOL News begs the question, “Does American Idol Have a Body Bias?”
Uh. . . yeah.
Simon Cowell really didn’t have to ask the infamous question, “Do we have a bigger stage this year?” following Mandisa Hundley’s performance for us to know that. Yes, American Idol has a body bias, but it’s only reflecting that of the culture. To be a female American idol, you have to look the part.
Fashion director of In Style magazine, Hal Rubenstein, reveals, "Whether it’s acting or anywhere, people do tend to want to look at pretty people first. . . . It is about packaging, especially nowadays." He goes on to say: “Does Britney have a great voice? Does Jessica? Who cares? Look what they look like. And it’s an unfair world: I think it’s more so for women than for men."
As the article mentions, Reuben won Idol and Luther Vandross achieved fame, despite their weight. But those are men, and there’s a different playing field. The standards are different for us.
Still, Rubenstein argues, "In the long run, talent does win out. Luther Vandross always struggled with a weight problem. Yet women would go to his concerts and faint from happiness. If you’ve got a great voice, you’ve got a great voice, and we will listen to anything you do."
True? Do men “faint from happiness” when listening to the voice of a fat female singer? Uh. . . who, exactly, are we talking about? Janet Jackson gained weight, as did Mariah Carey (though certainly not fat), and it seemed that recent interest in their careers was piqued only after they had lost the weight (and there seems to be greater interest in how they dropped the pounds than in their voices or concert dates). Who are our Luther Vandross equivalents?
If you’re a woman, you don’t get to be a pop icon, unless you have the look. And so, with open arms, we welcome to the music world Hillary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton, whose recent single, “Stars are Blind” is currently climbing the charts. Stars may be blind, as Paris notes, but unfortunately, the public is not.