Here's where feminism gets all slinky

March 11, 2007|By EDWARD WYATT | EDWARD WYATT,New York Times News Service

LOS ANGELES -- Parents looking for role models for teenage daughters: Finally there is a show for you.

Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll, which made its premiere last week on the CW network, may look like just another reality show with attractive, slinkily dressed women preening for the camera in the hope of a shot at stardom.

But Pussycat Dolls Present is about female empowerment, the show's producers explained to television writers here in January.

"Everything the Pussycat Dolls are is everything that I've developed myself into being," said rap star Lil' Kim, who is a judge on the show and who served a prison sentence for lying to a federal grand jury about a shooting outside a radio station.

For the uninitiated, the Pussycat Dolls are a singing group whose six members slither through music videos dressed like Barbie's nasty cousins. In their best-known song they ask the musical question: "Don't-cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?"

When one reporter said his 17-year-old daughter saw the group as a giant step backward for women, the Pussycat Dolls' founder, Robin Antin, became defensive, invoking female role models who follow the Dolls.

"There's a reason why people like Scarlett Johansson, Gwen Stefani, Cameron Diaz have all been so interested in what Pussycat Dolls is all about," she said. "They feel that it is empowering to get up there and dress up like a Doll. It's fun, and it's something that every girl in the world -- she may think one thing, but I think inside every girl in the world wants to do it."

Executive producer McG added: "Being a step backwards for women suggests it's in the service of men. Under no circumstances is this in the service of men."

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