The winner of the controversial reality show Paradise Hotel was recently crowned. The show has received a lot of attention in social media, and throughout the show the participants have personified stereotypical gender roles. In fact, the participants have to a great extent mirrored today’s dominant gender roles, attributes and expected behaviour. Norms and values about what actions and behaviour are more acceptable than others become highly visible, especially when the contesters step outside of these rigid frames. Such actions have resulted in anger but also disappointment. One example of this was when some of the guys expressed their frustration about the girls’ refusal to engage in sexual activities with them. In a similar manner, the girls were utterly disappointed when a group of “nerds” entered the house. However, later in the show the girls got the opportunity to switch the “nerds” for “hunks”. And so they did, one by one.
The gender analysis do however tend to be one-sided; the male gender role is less problematized than the female. But Paradise Hotel also shows how guys are forced to keep up the “macho image”. The participants create distinct differences between the sexes, and demonstrate what should be expected from a guy respectively a girl. Furthermore, the contesters are depriving each other their right to the own sexuality. This is done not only by discussing each other’s sexual actions, but they also have no hesitation when it comes to commenting and assessing these actions.
The media will most likely, through shows such as Paradise Hotel, continue to exemplify and sometimes further manifest harmful stereotypes. In order to prevent this from happening more analysis and awareness are needed. Here, indifference is the biggest threat, stemming from lack of knowledge and discussion. Change will accordingly not happen by just switching off the television since the norms portrayed in the show also exist in “the real world”. There is indeed a risk that Paradise Hotel will shape attitudes and values that potentially could lead to harmful behaviours such as the purchase of sexual services and other forms of abuse. This is why dialogue and discussion are essential. It should also be noted that the media has a big responsibility when it comes to breaking harmful norms and fight sexism, manifestations of strictly defined gender roles and values that could lead to further destructive behaviour.
In today’s norm-controlled society, Realstars actively work on a broad level and has well-established connections with many high schools all around the country. Realstars holds lectures for both young people and corporations on sex trafficking, prostitution and sexuality. These issues are all correlated with people’s view on sex trafficking and perceptions of sexuality and gender roles. With this focus, we wish to encourage students to discuss and reflect upon expectations and attitudes in regards to sexuality. These school visits are thus not only an opportunity to break harmful myths but they also provide students with a chance to discuss these important subjects. By working with norms and attitudes we hope to achieve structural changes. We want to encourage young people to stand up for Fair Sex, to feel free in their own sexuality and allow for it to take on its own unique expression. Not until then can we call it Fair Sex.