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'Celebrity Apprentice': Sorry, Clay. Lisa Doesn't Hate Dayana Because She's Beautiful

Apr 16, 2012 | 6:30am EDT

ALTI’m not a fan of Lisa Lampanelli. Though I can respect her crude brand of comedy, any goodwill I would have towards someone who has made a respectable living being known as “The Queen of Mean” has disappeared over the course of this season of Celebrity Apprentice. As I mentioned after last week’s installment of the NBC series, the comedian is brash, irrational, and so offensive, even a roast audience watching this season of Celebrity Apprentice would find her grossly unfunny. She’s TV’s ultimate mean girl, but lacks any ounce of charm that would make her watchable, much less likeable. Even reality TV public enemy No. 1 Omarosa was at least fun in her villainy.

But if there’s anything I dislike more than Lampanelli, it’s the belief that women dislike other women purely because of their looks. So while I found myself simply scoffing at Lampanelli’s disturbingly harsh treatment of Dayana Mendoza during last night’s show, I found myself fuming at Clay Aiken’s statements as to why the two had a longstanding feud: Lampanelli, said Aiken, is simply jealous of Mendoza’s “stunning beauty.”

There’s no doubt Mendoza is, in fact, a stunning beauty. But to allege that the comedian dislikes the former Miss USA because of her high cheekbones? Well, that is a sexist statement that might just force me to revoke my Claymate membership. (And I don’t want to have to do that, mostly because there isn’t enough time in my day to delete my shameful collection of Aiken tunes.) I’ll admit it might be difficult for an outsider like Aiken to truly understand why the comedian harbors such hatred towards the beauty queen. After all, Mendoza had won a challenge as Project Manager. But it’s offensive to women everywhere that he would automatically leap to looks, ignoring the intricacies of the women’s teams’ issues with the admirably willing, but disorganized contestant.

Lampanelli might hate Mendoza because the beauty queen is not an effective leader or because she offers up suggestions that typically do induce eye rolls. (And her staying power on the show might be confusing to someone who contribute far more to each challenge.) But let me set it up plain and simple for folks as shockingly clueless as Aiken: Women do not irrationally hate beautiful women. We are simply not that shallow. And Lampanelli, despite all of her flaws, is not that shallow. Sure, women could covet other women’s looks. We could appreciate another woman’s nice figure. But if I disliked every beautiful woman I saw, I would have no friends at all. And I’m guessing Lampanelli herself has plenty of gorgeous pals — just see Aubrey O’Day. 

I’d give Aiken a free pass if this were his first offense. (After all, I did wear his face on my t-shirt to season 2 of American Idols LIVE!) But, previously on the show, he claimed O’Day ganged up on Mendoza because of her looks. To accuse women of being so simple that they would vilify a woman only for their beauty is an allegation as offensive as any of Lampanelli’s pointless rants. Not to mention how it pigeonholes poor Mendoza — is she incapable of having any qualities besides her looks that would lead to her being disliked? Sorry, Aiken: She’s much more than a pretty face.

I’ll reiterate again that I’m not in any way defending Lampanelli’s behavior over the course of this season. In fact, her Latin “impression” during Stuffed and Unstrung rehearsal was downright despicable. But just as despicable is the belief that we hate women because they’re beautiful. Lampanelli might be the “Queen of Mean,” but Aiken is proving to be the “King of DeMean[ing Statements].” Okay, so that label didn’t quite work, but let’s just say that when you make Donald Trump look like the gentleman of Celebrity Apprentice, you know you’re doing something wrong.

Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard


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