Photo by: Luis Trinh/NBC
This season of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ has largely been a letdown, but last night’s episode was a strong exception, as it rose some serious issues about gender roles and the LGBT movement. In an assignment to create a marketing campaign for Kawaski motorcycles, the men’s team created a left-of-center product, which saw a naked Carson Kressley atop a bike, along with a drag queen, and Vince Neil holding a Yorkie. When Kressley and Boy George proposed the idea, it became immediately clear that some men were uncomfortable, notably MMA fighter Chael Sonnen. Though he mostly kept quiet, his facial expressions spoke volumes. A joke made by Jon Lovitz about an “overhug” with Kressley also indicated his latent discomfort. While I don’t think it’s helpful to place blame on a straight man’s discomfort around drag queens and homosexuals, society is evolving, and they should too.
As for the gender issues, things took a turn for the worse when David Charvet resisted his wife’s request to ride on the back of the motorcycle for “macho” reasons, and he predictably received a world of hurt on twitter the following day, such as “Way to go, David Charvet. Throwing a fit over a pic makes you look like a bigger bitch than if you’d just ridden bitch.” Charvet then subsequently liked a fan comment, which said, “I can’t even read this fembot crap anymore, how programmed are people? Men being men is now not only frowned upon, but engendered.” Burke held firm in defending her man,which disturbed me even more. According to Brooke Burke, because her husband would not ride in the back in real life, the shot would be “inauthentic.” Arnold Schwarzenegger rightfully responded, indicating he’d have zero issue with riding behind Burke on a bike. His comment is a specific jab at David Charvet, because if The Terminator doesn’t subscribe to gender stereotypes, David Charvet certainly should not. I understand that Burke was in an impossible position, because she’s loyal to her husband and certainly cannot bad mouth him in public. In fact, she should have known him better and never suggested the shot in the first place, so as not to expose his hidden sexism. And while I enjoy the social media firestorm Charvet is receiving, I know it won’t move the needle and will only serve to make him defensive. No matter what our age, we can still learn, evolve, and change, and Charvet is no exception. Perhaps he can see this episode, understand the changing times, and realize that in today’s world, “tradition” is no excuse for sexism. Furthermore, a man whose comfortable with a woman taking the lead, is far more masculine than a man who is not.