Sexist Danish TV Show Sparks International Outrage

Published: 10 May 2013

Region: Denmark

danish sexist showA Danish talk show, Blachman, has been widely criticised for being sexist and humiliating for women.

Aired on the Danish public service channel DR2, the show features a woman that silently undresses in a studio exposing her to two men’s judgement. In a dark studio, they critique out loud each part of her body at her presence.

Thomas Blachman, jazz musician and X-factor judge, is the host who gives the name to the show. He sits on a sofa and, together with another male guest, scrutinises the woman who stands up naked in front of them.

The show has faced harsh condemnations over the way it represents women.

Many campaigns have been launched to stop the airing of the show. The opinion-maker and blogger Lotte Hansen defined it “disgusting” and “an outrage.” Danish author Knud Romer commented saying “DR has produced a show that resembles a claustrophobic strip club which only serves to cement classic concepts of male dominance,” The Copenhagen Voice reports.

danish sexist show 2But Thomas Blachman resolutely defends his six-episode series. “The entire idea of the show is to let men talk about the bodies of naked women while the woman is standing right in front of them,” he said to the Daily Mail. “The female body thirsts for words. The words of a man. And they went for it.”

He also responded to criticism also saying that the show’s aim is to “stir discussion about the aesthetics of a female body without allowing the conversation to become pornographic or politically correct.”

But, as The Daily Telegraph columnist Emma Barnett points out, the conversation is made of only one point of view: the man’s one. Other than being merely judged for their physical appearance, women in the show are not allowed to talk.

Since before being broadcast, the TV programme had aroused very strong reactions and debates. The international media attention has now become so prominent that the last episode had English subtitles added on its web version.

Still, DR2 channel producer Sofia Fromberg is surprised by the vociferous uproar. “We have a program that reveals what men think about the female body. Quite honestly, what is wrong with that?” The Sun reports her saying.

Research, however, have revealed the negative impact of the beauty standards presented in the media. As the Huffington Post reports, “a 2005 study found that viewers felt higher anxiety about their own bodies after seeing body criticism on television, and research from 2004 found that young girls were likely to internalize the appearance ideals they see in the media.”