America’s Next Top Model, Afghani-style

Imagine models dressed prudishly in jackets and long pants strutting their stuff on a low-budget TV would hardly seem the stuff of controversy to most of us, but in the Middle East, it has the potential to raise a few eyebrows. It’s true — a version of America’s Top Model has now hit the most unlikely of places: Afghanistan. Of all the bits of American culture to adopt, they just had to pick that one. Yep, we’re so proud.

So I’m wondering — does this version of the hit show include the characteristic catfights? The verbal backlash from Tyra? No, they don’t need criticism from each other or the judges — technically, the show directly violates the teachings of Islam. But in forward-thinking Mazar-i-Sharif, few objected to the program — particularly the young folks.

Still, it’s a step ahead for this zealously conservative country, and I guess on some level it’s nice that girls in Afghanistan are being recognized for their beauty — after all, Americans didn’t write the book on beauty.