First and foremost, 'The X-Factor' is not something I choose to watch. Saying this, I seem to have watched a lot of it this year. Mostly this seems to have happened when spending time with friends; but what has surprised me is that even my friends who have been interested spectators have regularly been various shades of displeased to offended by the nouveaux Victorian freak show stereotyping which the producers seem to slather on with gay aplomb.
Irritatingly blasting into my semi-consciousness with (the what I wish is tongue in cheek, yet in my heart of hearts know is not) Verdi's 'Dies Irae', the show begins. And what a show it is.
Take for example, 'Diva Fever', who in the Manchester auditions came on to perform 'Let it be' by the Beatles, but barely had they started to harmonise, when Simon Cowell cuts their performance to dismiss them, grumbling 'You know, I honestly thought you guys were going to be more interesting than that'. Now these guys made no masquerade about their sexuality; but why should this be relevant to their performance? Turning the pressure up on my annoyance was Nicole Scherzinger's finger-clicking, ass-shaking, shameless cashing in on the pink pound, assuming that because they are attracted to members of the same sex, they were kinky, women respecting shopping buddies. Sex sells, but by god, so does sexuality.
Cowell goes on to asks for more of a show tune, which they plead to do, selling out not only their integrity, but the integrity of any aspiring homosexual contestants in the future, as they hurtle headlong into their very own pigeon hole, decorated with rainbow coloured disco balls (see last week's performance).
I often use this great woman in my arguments, but Simone de Beauvoir's 'Second Sex' remains as relevant today as when it was published. Although she argued her case in reference to gender in particular, the ties between gender and sexuality are inextricably tied, and it seems that even now, if you do not happen to be a man seeking available vagina, then you must be defined so far into 'the other' as to ignore any fragment of reality.
Oh and to top it all off, ITV chose to accompany their story with the hits of the Village People. Nice.