TIME Television

The Real Problem With Sex Box Is That It’s Boring

WE tv

People are already getting worked up over WE tv's upcoming reality show Sex Box, where couples copulate on-air and then chat about it

WE tv caused a stir on Thursday when the cable channel — a subsidiary of AMC — announced that they had ordered a reality series called Sex Box to air in 2015.

Based on the U.K. series of the same name and produced by Relativity Television, Sex Box is billed as an “extreme therapy reality concept” where couples appear on television to discuss their relationship, before they head off to a camera-free, soundproof box where they — you guessed it — have sex. The couples then come out and, as per WE tv’s announcement, talk about their “experiences in the box and most intimate personal issues” with a panel of experts. Also, in front of a studio audience. Also, in front of everyone watching at home.

The idea behind the show is ostensibly that couples are more trusting and open post-coitus; therefore, they’re more able to communicate and work out their issues. In addition to the love hormones supposedly coursing through their bodies, a team of experts will be on hand to help — celebrity relationship psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish, clinical therapist and nationally certified sex therapist Dr. Chris Donaghue and Pastor Dr. Yvonne Capehart. But with its over-the-top premise and insistence that the sex take place in-studio, it’s really not surprising that the show has already been branded a “low point for reality television.

Yet if the show’s British godfather is any indication, Sex Box won’t be titillating or smutty or something to watch as a guilty pleasure. It’ll be boring.

While the logic might follow that couples are more open after they’ve had sex, it’s typically with one another — not so much with a host of strangers and millions of viewers. In the U.K. version of Sex Box, the couples — while all nice, chatty people — weren’t so overtaken by sex endorphins that they actually revealed anything vivid or shocking. It was all pretty tame, polite, slightly awkward at times and, overall, just dull. Not even the show’s panel could spice things up — and the U.K. version had Dan Savage as one of its experts.

So for all the voyeurs out there who are hoping to catch a glimpse of something risqué — or the pearl-clutchers looking for something to be outraged over — Sex Box probably isn’t for you. Who it is for, exactly, is anyone’s guess.

 

TIME

Why Your Fear of Looking Stupid Is Making You Look Stupid

New research indicates that we're all scared of asking for help and looking dumb. But we shouldn't be -- people find you more competent if you come to them for advice

Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to ask someone’s advice, but were worried you would look incompetent? Well, in the words of RuPaul, “Your fear of looking stupid is making you look stupid.”

In fact, a new report released this week by researchers from Harvard Business School and Wharton School suggests that RuPaul is on to something, (though, obviously, the researchers phrased it in a slightly more delicate fashion). The research, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Management Science, found that though many people are afraid to ask for advice — and risk looking incompetent — they’ve actually got it backwards. People who seek advice are likely to be thought of as more competent, at least by the people they’re asking.

The researchers came to that conclusion by conducting a series of studies. In the first, researchers tried to determine whether people are actually afraid of looking incompetent by telling participants to imagine that they needed advice from a co-worker. Some were then told that their hypothetical selves would actually seek advice and others were told they would not. Participants were then asked to rate how competent they thought their hypothetical co-worker found them. Turns out, the people who hypothetically asked for help felt that they would be viewed as less competent than those who didn’t.

Which is understandable, to an extent. Though the old adage says “there are no stupid questions,” anyone who has spent time on the snark-riddled internet knows that that’s not actually the case. Sometimes it feels wiser to shut up and muddle through, than risk looking like a complete fool.

Yet that’s where the new reasearch gets interesting. In the next study, researchers paired participants with an unseen partner that they could only communicate with over instant message. (Their partners did not actually exist; the messages sent were programmed by the researchers.) The participants were then asked to do a brain teaser, before handing the task off to their partner. Once they’d finished the task, they received a message from their “partner” that either read, “I hope it went well. Do you have any advice?” or “I hope it went well.” Later, when asked by the researchers, people rated the partners who asked for advice as being more competent than those who had simply wished them well. What’s more, the harder the brain teaser, the more competent the advice-seeking “partners” were rated.

Even more interesting, is that when the researchers asked participants to rate their own self-confidence after completing a task, the ones who had been asked for advice felt better about themselves than the ones who had not been asked.

The researchers concluded that people’s egos are boosted when they’re consulted and asked to dole out advice, which in turn leads them to think more highly of the people who’ve just boosted their egos.

Essentially, people are so flattered to be asked for advice that their heads swell a little and they think of themselves as smart; that reflects well on the advice-seeker who is in turn believed to be smart enough to recognize their game. So take our advice: the next time you’re itching to ask for help, do it.

TIME Television

BBC’s TV Chief Wants To See a Female Lead on Doctor Who

Doctor Who
Eleventh Doctor - Matt Smith
BBC/AP

The new season of "Doctor Who" is about to premiere, but many are wondering when a woman will be stepping into the role of the Time Lord.

After more than 30 season with a male lead on Doctor Who, many have said it’s time for a woman to take a turn as the Time Lord, including Helen Mirren. Now adding his voice to the chorus is BBC’s director of television, Danny Cohen.

Speaking at the annual Edinburgh TV Festival on Aug. 21, Cohen was asked whether he thought there would be a woman Doctor Who. His response? “I hope so,” though he also added that he wasn’t sure when that would happen.

The latest season of the sci-fi show is about to debut on Aug. 23, with actor Peter Capaldi in the role of the eponymous character. (Matt Smith played the Doctor in the previous season.) Capaldi, who is best known for his role in The Thick of It, was cast as the new lead in 2013 and appeared in last year’s Christmas special The Time of the Doctor.

Back in May, Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat said during a Q&A at the Hay Festival that if a woman did take on the role it wouldn’t be due to “political correctness.”

“It will not happen that somebody sits down and says we must turn the Doctor into a woman,” he said. “That is not how you cast the Doctor. A person will pop into the showrunner’s head and they’ll think. ‘Oh, my God, what if it was that person?’ And when that person is a woman, that’s the day it will happen.”

[THR]

TIME Opinion

Matthew Weiner Is Wrong. The Gender Wage Gap Is Real, Even In Hollywood

Matthew Weiner
Matthew Weiner Mike Pont—FilmMagic/Getty Images

In some ways, we're still living in a Mad Men world

In a recent interview, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner delved into a sensitive subject about the way women are treated on the job. No, he wasn’t talking about the women who work at Sterling Cooper circa 1969. He was talking about his fellow showrunners circa 2014, who don’t earn the same amount of money that he does.

“I don’t think that’s a gender issue,” Weiner said in a recent interview with HuffPost Live. “Jenji’s entitled to every dollar but you have to fight for it, male or female. No one gives you anything.”

The Jenji he was referring to is Jenji Kohan, the showrunner of Orange is the New Black, who recently spoke out about the gender wage gap in television to The Hollywood Reporter. From the THR‘s story:

“I don’t think I’m getting paid as much as the men in my position, still,” [Kohan] says, “and it’s extremely frustrating.”

Gender inequality has been a thorn in Kohan’s side since she was a young girl and her novelist mother told her that men were “funnier” and “better at this.” That Kohan’s own studio, Lionsgate, is paying Weiner a reported $30 million for Mad Men‘s final three seasons adds another layer of complexity. “It’s hard when one of your best friends is Matt,” she says, then carefully adds: “I don’t begrudge him for one second; it’s more of just, ‘Why am I not making that?'” (Lionsgate declined comment.)

It’s apparent from her comments that Kohan isn’t pulling in the same amount of money as Weiner, but is the Mad Men producer correct in his belief that gender had nothing to do with it? Considering that across the board full-time working women earn 77 percent of what their male counterparts make, is it really possible that this trend isn’t the case in showbiz? Sadly, no. While there aren’t hard, public figures for many of the people who work in the film and television industries, there is enough information out there that gives a strong indication that a discrepancy does, in fact, exist.

Weiner suggests in the HuffPo interview that if only Kohan was fighting for a higher salary — like he has throughout his career — than she’d be getting a bigger pay-check. But that logic falls flat when you consider the fact that Kohan likely has fought throughout her career, in ways that Weiner might not be able to imagine, to just get her foot in the door at all.

Kohan is repeatedly ranked among the best showrunners working right now, but she’s also one of a handful of women working in the field. Take a look at THR‘s list of the top 50 TV writer/producers of 2013: it features a total of 14 women on it, and many of them work as part of a team with a man. (Weiner and Kohan were both named.) If you’re part of a vast minority working in a hugely competitive industry, it’s likely that you already had to work pretty damn hard to be there. To suggest otherwise smacks of unacknowledged male privilege. What’s more, women who work in other male-dominated fields don’t make as much as the men they work with; to assume it’s different in the television and film industry seems absurd.

Just look to other areas of show business for a clearer idea. Women behind the camera in the film industry are also a tiny minority. According to San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film’s annual Celluloid Ceiling survey, women accounted for only 16 percent of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers and editors working on the 250 top-grossing films last year. That 16 percent is part of a pretty consistent trend in Hollywood. (The Celluloid Ceiling survey has been conducted every year since 1997.)

While many of the women in that tiny minority have worked on some pretty impressive films, it still hasn’t landed them in the realm of top-salaries. A Vanity Fair breakdown of Hollywood’s top-earners in 2011 looked at the incomes of actors, directors, producers and writers to see who landed in the top 50. Only six women in total made the list, and they were all actresses. The group didn’t include a single woman director or producer or writer.

Yet even where women do seem to be pulling in top, competitive salaries — namely, in front of the camera — they still aren’t earning as much as their male co-stars. Take this year’s Forbes list for the top 10 highest-earning actors and actresses. Collectively, the top 10 highest paid men made a whopping $419 million last year. Meanwhile, the top 10 highest paid women earned $226 million — just 54 percent of what Hollywood’s actors were pulling in. For as much buzz as Jennifer Lawrence gets — with an Oscar win, a devoted fan-base and a beloved franchise under her belt — she still made $12 million less in 2013 than her American Hustle co-star, Bradley Cooper. True, these women aren’t facing any financial hardships despite the gap, but what about the women in the lesser-paid areas of the industry?

When you have a minority of women working in the industry’s top positions — and they are saying and sometimes proving that they’re earning less — than, yes, it is a gender issue. Of course, as Weiner himself points out in his interview, showrunners’ salaries aren’t typically made public. Which is too bad. If the hard numbers were out there for everyone to see, perhaps the gender wage gap — and Jenji Kohan — wouldn’t be so easy to dismiss.

TIME Television

Watch The Teaser For American Horror Story: Freak Show

FX's anthology series is coming back for a fourth season in October

+ READ ARTICLE

Here’s your first glimpse of the upcoming season of American Horror Story.

FX’s horror anthology series is set to return with a fourth season, called Freak Show, on October 8. Set in Florida, in 1952, the season centers on a travelling carnival troupe which rolls into the town of Jupiter just before strange things begin to happen.

Returning cast members includes favorites such as Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson, Frances Conroy, Emma Roberts, Evan Peters and Gabourey Sidibe. Newcomers include Michael Chiklis, Wes Bentley, Finn Wittrock, John Carroll Lynch and Patti LaBelle. Jyoti Amge, the world’s smallest woman (pictured below with Lange in a Tweet from showrunner Ryan Murphy) is also set to appear, which has already been the source of some controversy.

TIME

Most Teenagers Believe Porn Is Damaging. Could Sex Ed Be The Answer?

Teen Computer
Getty Images

A new poll of teenagers in Britain shows that many think porn leads to unrealistic or damaging views about sex

The rise of online pornography has long worried researchers, feminists and parents about the toll easy access to graphic images would take on young people.

It turns out, young people are grappling with the same concerns. A poll released on Wednesday by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a British think tank, asked 500 18-year-olds about their views on pornography and its impact on their lives. The results aren’t pretty.

Most of the teens polled said that “accessing” pornography was common throughout their school years, with many starting around the ages of 13-15. And, according to the poll, a whopping 72 percent of 18-year-olds surveyed believe that pornography leads to unrealistic attitudes about sex, while 70 percent believe that pornography can have a damaging impact on young people’s views of sex or relationships.

Negative feelings about porn and its impact were more pronounced among teenage girls. Nearly 80 percent of the young women polled said that porn puts pressure on girls to look and act a certain way. Meanwhile, only 18 percent of the young men strongly agreed with the statement “pornography encourages society to view women as sex objects,” compared to 37 percent of young women. But the overall majority of teens — 66 percent of women and 49 percent of men — said they believed “it would be easier growing up if pornography was less easy to access for young people.”

“This new polling data shows that pornographic images are pervasive in teenagers’ lives and that young women in particular are acutely conscious of how damaging they can be,” said IPPR associate director, Dalia Ben-Galim, about the poll’s results. “It paints a worrying picture about the way online pornography is shaping the attitudes and behavior of young people.”

So what can we do about this issue? It should be noted that in the U.K., internet providers are now required to block explicit websites as a default — people who want to remove the blocks in order to view porn must opt in. Yet it’s obvious that teens are still finding access to pornography and it’s a cause for concern for many of them.

One way to address the concerns could be found in another question from IPPR’s poll. When asked, the vast majority of the teens polled — 86 percent — said they thought that “sex and relationship advice should be taught in schools.” Now some form of sex ed is already a part of British public school’s curriculum from the age of 11 onwards (though parents do have the right to withdraw their children from parts of the course), but perhaps these courses should be tailored to actually address what teens are seeing in pornography and the way it impacts their lives.

It’s also possible that by age 11, it’s already too late. Miranda Horvath, a psychology professor at Middlesex University in London who has done research on pornography, told the New York Times earlier this year that kids would benefit from some form of sexual education before they actually encounter pornography:

One of our recommendations is that children should be taught about relationships and sex at a young age… If we start teaching kids about equality and respect when they are 5 or 6 years old, by the time they encounter porn in their teens, they will be able to pick out and see the lack of respect and emotion that porn gives us. They’ll be better equipped to deal with what they are being presented with.

According to IPPR’s poll, teenagers are looking for help dealing with the pornography that clearly isn’t going away. It’s just up to educators and policymakers to listen to them.

TIME movies

Everything We Know About the Two Competing Jungle Book Films So Far

Idris Elba and Benedict Cumberbatch in the Jungle Book
Idris Elba and Benedict Cumberbatch will voice the tiger Shere Khan in their respective renditions of The Jungle Book. Getty Images (2)

As Idris Elba and Benedict Cumberbatch have both been tapped to voice the villainous tiger Shere Khan in competing versions of The Jungle Book, we break down everything we know about the two films

By now, you may have heard that Benedict Cumberbatch has been tapped to voice the tiger Shere Khan in Warner Bros. upcoming production of The Jungle Book.

But wait, you might also be thinking, isn’t Idris Elba doing the voice of Shere Khan in another upcoming production of the same title? The answer is yes — though it’s a different film altogether.

Both Warner Bros. and Disney are planning competing adaptations of the Rudyard Kipling classic story about an orphan boy named Mowgli who is raised by animals in the jungle. The two films are set to be released about a year apart and though the Warner Bros. version — which is said to be a relatively dark film, especially compared to the 1967 Disney animated classic — has only just recently landed its director, news of each production has been rolling in fast. In fact, The Hollywood Reporter has just named a whole slew of actors — including Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale — that have joined the Warner Bros. cast.

With all the big names being thrown around, it can all get confusing. That’s why we’re here to break down what we know about each film so far:

Disney

Director: Jon Favreau, best known for Swingers and the Iron Man films.
Mowgli: Neel Sethi, an adorable newcomer.
Shere Khan: Idris Elba, best known for his roles on The Wire and Luther.
Baloo: Bill Murray, best known for Ghostbusters, Wes Anderson films and crashing parties in Brooklyn.
King Louie: Christopher Walken, best known for Deer Hunter, his dance moves and “more cowbell.”
Kaa: Scarlett Johansson, best known for Lost in Translation, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and playing a superhero.
Bagheer: Ben Kingsley, who needs no introduction.
Raksha: Lupita Nyong’o, best known for 12 Years a Slave.
Release date: October 9, 2015

Warner Bros.

Director: Andy Serkis, best known for his roles in The Lord of the Rings and the new Planet of the Apes films, is making his directorial debut.
Mowgli: Rohan Chand, best known for his role in Bad Words.
Shere Khan: Benedict Cumberbatch, best known for playing any number of oddballs and misfits and making the internet swoon.
Baloo: Serkis, again.
Begheera: Christian Bale, best known for playing Batman.
Kaa: Cate Blanchett, best known for playing a queen and Blue Jasmine.
Nisha: Naomie Harris, best known for playing Eve Moneypenny in Skyfall and Winnie Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.
Release date: October 21, 2016

With all the big names that Warner Bros has just landed for its cast, the studio is indicating they’re ready to go head to head with Disney. So which version will come out on top? Only time and the laws of the jungle — that is, Hollywood — will tell.

TIME Music

The Video for Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” Is Finally Here

And it has a lot of twerking in it

+ READ ARTICLE

After weeks of teasers and promos and think pieces, Nicki Minaj has at last dropped the video for her track “Anaconda.”

The video (above) is a little NSFW — depending on where you work — but that’s not at all surprising for anyone who’s familiar with Minaj’s music. Featuring loads of twerking, sexual references and a cameo from Drake, the video for “Anaconda” is Minaj’s tribute to all the women who “ain’t missing no meals,” while also denouncing all “the skinny bitches in the club.” (It’s also sure to spawn countless articles on any and all of the following: female sexuality; sexual objectification; sexual objectification in hip-hop; and race.)

The track, which was released as a single on Aug. 4 and hit number one in iTunes shortly afterwards, takes its title from Sir Mix-a-lot’s “Baby Got Back,” which is also sampled in the song. “Ananconda” marks the second single from Minaj’s upcoming album The Pinkprint.

TIME Advertising

One Fashion Brand Takes the ‘No Photoshop Pledge,’ Who’s Next?

ModCloth is the first retailer to officially promise not to retouch its models, but its not the only company eschewing Photoshop

ModCloth has taken the pledge. The online fashion retailer became the first brand to officially pledge not to retouch its models by signing the Heroes Pledge for Advertisers agreement last week.

The pledge was created by group behind the bipartisan bill called The Truth in Advertising Act, which was introduced in March and asks the Federal Trade Commission to develop regulations regarding retouched advertisements.

By signing the pledge, which is self-regulated, ModCloth has effectively promised three things:

  • To do their best not to change the shape, size, proportion, color or remove or enhance the physical features, of the people in ads in post-production.
  • That if the company does make post-production changes to the people in their ads, they will add a “Truth In Advertising” label.
  • They will not run any ads that include retouched models in media where children under 13 might see them.

It’s not surprising that ModCloth chose to sign the pledge. The San Francisco-based company is known for its vintage-style clothing and accessories marketed to the younger set. “We’ve always believed in celebrating and showing real women in our marketing,” ModCloth chief marketing officer Nancy Ramamurthi told Today, noting that company hasn’t used professional models since its launch in 2002 and has never used Photoshop to retouch them. “It was a no-brainer to sign on and participate.”

Though ModCloth is the first retailer to sign the pledge, thankfully it isn’t alone when it comes to moving away from unrealistic perfection in their catalogues. Earlier this year Aerie, American Eagle’s lingerie brand, released ads that proclaimed, “No more retouching our girls and no more supermodels.” The words went with a series of ads featuring unretouched models complete with tattoos and normal, everyday folds and bulges. (Though they were all slim, young and beautiful…) The brand also redesigned its website to include a bra guide with each product modeled in every size to give the average customer an idea of how the garment would look on them — and not a size zero model.

“This is now our brand,” Aerie’s senior director of marketing Dana Seguin told Fast Company in January. “It’s not a seasonal campaign for us. It is now how we’re talking to our customers.”

And then there’s sportswear company Title Nine, which, unsurprisingly given its name, has a pro-woman outlook. The company uses athletes as their models and, according to the website’s model mission statement: “It’s our models that best represent who we are here at Title Nine. All are ordinary women capable of extraordinary things…. We hope as you look through our online store and our catalog, you’ll see a little bit of yourself in each picture.” Similarly, Betabrand used non-professional models in its spring campaign; instead, online retailer selected women who had PhDs or were doctorial candidates to model the clothes.

Considering that study after study has found that depictions of women in the media have an impact on the way women and girls feel about their own bodies, it’s heartening to know that some companies are taking care about their own portrayals of women’s bodies. But while it would be wonderful to see more companies sign the Heroes Pledge for Advertisers, it would be even more wonderful for such a campaign to be unnecessary.

TIME Music

Lady Gaga Unveils Cover Art For Duet Album With Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga arrive to their "Cheek To Cheek" taping at Jazz at Lincoln Center on July 28, 2014 in New York City.
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga arrive to their "Cheek To Cheek" taping at Jazz at Lincoln Center on July 28, 2014 in New York City. Kevin Mazur—Getty Images

The unlikely pair are putting out a jazz album of duets called "Cheek to Cheek" on September 23

Lady Gaga has revealed the cover art for her upcoming duet album with Tony Bennett. According to Gaga, the photo was taken by Steven Klein when the two singers were sharing a moment and “just standing there talking, laughing, singing.”

Bennett and Gaga first worked together on the duet track “The Lady Is a Tramp,” which appeared on Bennett’s 2011 album, Duets II. In 2012, Bennett revealed that the two would be teaming up for a whole album together. That album, called Cheek to Cheek, will be released on Sept. 23 and will feature renditions of classic songs such as “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” and “Sophisticated Lady.”

Gaga also tweeted the artwork for the album’s second single, “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” which was released Tuesday.

The album’s first single, “Anything Goes,” was released earlier this month, along with a video featuring footage of Gaga and Bennett recording in the studio:

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 45,401 other followers