by KATIE FOUND
Channel Seven’s reality show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? … I mean, Beauty and the Geek Australia, has one-upped itself on the sexist front this season.
The show is constructed as a social experiment: 10 female ”beauties” and 10 male ”geeks” live together in a mansion. They pair up and participate in weekly challenges that test their academic and social skills.
What tends to happen – as evidenced in previous seasons – is that the ”beauties” help the ”geeks” become more socially comfortable, while the geeks help the beauties become more intellectually comfortable. Together, they combat insecurities, expand comfort zones, establish friendships with people they wouldn’t usually associate with, and evolve into more well-rounded human beings.
The emphasis on this facet of the show is embarrassing, and the beauties’ reaction to it even more so. The 10 young women were reduced to giggling, gasping schoolgirls when Bernard Curry, the host, revealed the twist in the first episode.
”Money does make guys a little bit more attractive”, pronounced one beauty. ”I like presents, so I really wanted the millionaire so he could buy me cool presents,” said another. According to one beauty, a chorus of ”I got dibs” echoed throughout the mansion following the announcement.
Though squealing girls embarking on a treasure hunt may make for good television, the inclusion of a ”millionaire geek” renders the social experiment useless. There is no way that it can lead to accurate or relevant findings if half of the participants are more interested in finding and seducing a rich nerd than the task at hand. The sound effect, ”Cha-ching!” is much too loud to concentrate on anything else, anyway.
In the third episode, the secret millionaire geek was revealed. It happened during a challenge in which the beauties and the geeks attempted to break the world record for the longest hug. In reaction to the confession, a beauty quipped, ”You’ve got a millionaire’s arms around you; dream come true, isn’t it?”
When the rest of the participants found out, more gasps and squeals ensued. One beauty posed the question, ”Do you reckon some of the other girls in the house will change, knowing that he’s a millionaire now?” to which another replied, ”I think that every girl has that fantasy of marrying a rich man.”