I learned from the Announcements section of AVEN that the Tyra Banks Show (that's a daytime talk show headed by that lady from America's Next Top Model) wants to do a feature on asexuality.
My immediate gut reaction was, "NOOO, MONTEL! NOOO!"
But my eternally hopeful self is thinking that maybe this won't be so bad. Although I've always found Tyra kind of forced as a host, her show did win an Emmy this year. She's had shows dealing with race that seem fairly controversial for daytime TV, and I respect her for doing that. She also did a show (although I didn't see it) about transwomen that was sympathetic. However, the transwomen profiled were from the film Trantasia, in which these women are competing in a pageant in order to get a gig as a Vegas showgirl. So while Tyra may have been supportive of these particular outsiders, they come from a common background of participation in entertainment sold by beauty and sex appeal. Modeling, which was and is Tyra's major avocation, is all about using sexuality to enhance the image of products. Will she really relate to people who eschew sex althogether?
Maybe I'm overemphasizing Tyra's involvement in this, and she's just reading cue cards written by a crack team of Anthony Bogaert's research minions. I really don't know, and I remain highly skeptical of any publicity that isn't controlled by asexuals themselves. I think that we have to be careful of letting people with no stake in our issues write our stories, which is why I'm adamant about generating all this content here.
If it hasn't become painfully apparent, I'm not a member of the "any press is good press" school. But if a major TV show wants to cover you, how are you supposed to say "no" without looking like you're afraid or have nothing to talk about? And even though we've gotten national press, most people still have no idea what asexuality is (or worse, they have major misconceptions). Would it even be wise to say no? Mass media is the best way to educate large numbers of people quickly-- if it's done right. Once we're known, we can't be unknown. But myths and stereotypes seem harder to undo than blank slates. If the only thing you knew about asexuality was the Montel show, would you have a negative impression? I honestly can't say, because I can't imagine not knowing what I now know. But I'm pretty sure it would leave you with more questions than answers.
So, what do you think? Will Tyra's attempt be better than others have been?