Thursday, April 7, 2011

War...what is it good for?

It was quite the scene on America's Next Top Model last night. I for one was shocked at Brittany's behaviour on the set of the Ford photo shoot, and I found the wheels in my head turning like crazy with my opinions about the incident - so much so that I felt I had to share.

(unfortunately I couldn't find a good video, so those of you that didn't see it may be a tad lost as to what I'm talking about, but sorry it's too much to explain)

I also felt I had to share because I feel there is a good lesson here that can be applied to everyday life. The models and the setting can serve as a metaphor for something everyone (in my opinion) should keep in mind.

Look, I dislike Alexandria as much as everyone else does - she is bossy, full of herself and sucks up to the judges - and I certainly understand the urge to call people like that out (I think we all have known people we would like to punch in the face). But the fact is, no matter what your feelings are about somebody, there is a time and place for voicing those opinions. The time and place is NOT your place of work or in any kind of setting where you are being closely analyzed and watched. And the time and place is CERTAINLY not in front of your boss, supervisor, or other important person (which, in this case, was photographer and judge, Nigel Barker). In fact, that is the last person you should be having immature yelling matches in front of. If you feel that you must confront the person that you have issues with, at least do it in private.

You know what happens when you have an angry confrontation with someone in front of other people? It doesn't call that person out so much as it makes YOU look like an idiot. It makes you look like an impulsive, crazy, irrational person. Instead of making you look like the bigger person, it stoops you down to the other person's level. I'm not saying that a confrontation like this does NOT make the other person look bad, but it also makes YOU look bad, and why would you want that?

I am probably not a good person to judge others when it comes to confrontation and the proper way of doing it because I'm the most non-confrontational person ever. I am very shy about calling people out and in most cases will not say anything, even if I really want to. However, part of the reason I do not confront people even if I want to is because I do not necessarily feel that confrontation is helpful in all situations. And I feel that even if confrontation will be helpful in a situation, that there is a certain way it should be done.

Aside from it being done in private, I think it helps if a confrontation is done civilly. In fact, I don't really like the word "confrontation" for that reason - if a situation is "confrontational" it inherently implies anger and aggression. It conjures up the image of a pair of guests on an episode of Jerry Springer - faces inches apart, mouths wide open and flapping rapidly, wild eyes, arms flapping up and down and fingers wagging. I don't know about you, but I find that to be a rather scary and intimidating image.

You know what Microsoft Word lists as synonyms for "confrontation"? Argument, disagreement, quarrel, altercation, war of words, conflict, row, opposition, resistance, defiance. I prefer the word "discussion", whose synonyms are listed as follows: conversation, debate, argument, dialogue, talk, chat. Now, do those synonyms not sound less scary to you?!

My point is, discussing a problem you have with another person does not have to be angry. There is a way to discuss such things in a way that is straightforward and lets them know that you are frustrated, while also staying calm. You can state your case in a clear, articulate way and ultimately get your point across more clearly and avoid a lot of misunderstanding. The thing is, yelling and anger only invites more yelling and more anger and it is pretty tough to bring an angry yelling match to a happy conclusion. However, the same is true for calm and rationale - they invite more calm and more rationale. Obviously, some people are going to get angry with what you say whether you say it calmly or not, but the difference there is that it will only be THEM making an ass of themselves instead of both of you. You will look positively saintly next to their volatility. Either that or the other person is not going to change anyway or even care about your opinion of them. Either way, you will have made your point and kept your dignity intact at the same time.

Plus, lets be honest you will get a great laugh from seeing their face turn bright red and their spit fly.

I admit, I respect people who can confront others in an assertive yet articulate way because I have a lot of trouble with that, and that's another part of the reason why I generally don't confront people - when I do, my emotions start to well up and I start rambling, turning red and sputtering as a result. In most cases, it's just better for me to not get into it. However, I will never respect people who choose to unload their frustrations in an angry and public way - I will just continue to shake my head in disbelief at their behaviour and be convinced that they are starved for attention and/or extremely conceited.

This is pretty much what I was doing all last night while watching the antics on ANTM unfold. The crappy thing is, I like Brittany a lot and she is one of my favourite girls on the show this year. However, I lost a lot of respect for her because of this incident, and it's clear that the judges and the other girls did too (did anyone else notice how NO ONE backed Brittany up when she finally did confront Alexandria? Funny how that happens-the other girls obviously know how to keep their feelings to themselves). That is HUGE, especially when it comes to a career like modelling which is based in large part on reputation. And HELLO?! You are supposed to be a role model! What kind of message are you sending to young girls who watch you? It's bad enough that models make young girls feel fat and ugly, lets not add to that by justifying unprofessional behaviour too.

I totally agree with everything Tyra told her (even though Tyra frankly annoys me a lot of the time), but I also agree that she should be given a second chance because another thing I believe is that someone should not be judged on one decision or incident, but by their overall "body of work".

We make mistakes - we get angry and don't think rationally, we use poor judgment and say things we don't mean, that's part of being a human being. Lord knows I have gotten upset over silly things millions of times before, put my foot in my mouth only to feel like a huge douche and/or moron later. But the key is to learn from these mistakes and not make poor decisions like this a trend. Freaking out angrily and publicly once is one thing - doing it on the daily is a whole other issue. I just hope Brittany learned a lesson from all of this.

The  bottom line is: The way I see it, when in doubt, keep your mouth shut.


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