A Lesbian In The Toolbox

22 Feb

Anyone familiar with VH1 (notorious for trashy yet addictive reality TV shows) can identify the channel’s Tool Academy series as one in which self-conscious, penis-whipped girlfriends bring their ‘macho-juiced-frat boy-dickhead-player-self loving-woman disrespecting’ boyfriends in to get straightened out and mend their relationships with one another.

This time around, season three of the Tool Academy has decided to change up the show’s premise a bitand blur the lines of stereotype by adding not one but two female tools to their roster.  Of the two lady tools, Courtney, christened the “Lady Lovin’ Tool”, has in fact been brought in by her girlfriend Cheron—marking the first gay couple to appear on the show.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Courtney acknowledges her groundbreaking debut:

“I’m also the first gay Tool, so to speak, and I’m representing a whole community of people. So not only am I gonna have the heterosexual community commenting on me, I’m gonna have my gay community viewing this person. I’m a little bit more anxious.”

On the very first episode of the season, Courtney shows her fellow tools that she’s meant to belong when she challenges the cocky but short pro-wrestler Chasyn to a match.  Courtney easily pins the guy, who by the end of the episode becomes the first tool to ever quit the show and leave his girlfriend, perhaps too ashamed about his public defeat at the hands of a girl.

In any case, with the inclusion of Courtney and fellow “Toolette” Jennavecia, the reality show’s bold move for this season brings up a couple of questions.  Why is it that the baggy-clothes wearing lesbian must be dubbed the “Lady Lovin’ Tool” while the skinny and scantily clad Jennavecia can simply be categorized as the “Toolette”? Do not all the guys on the show love flirting with women (and Jennavacia with men) as much as Courtney does? Why is it the case that because Courtney is the show’s resident lesbian that it must also become her defining label? And, does allowing Courtney to be a “tool” while Jennavacia must don the “-ette” suffix make it seem like that the producers see the lesbian as more of a masculine figure?

More importantly, in a definition straight from the etymology dictionary, the word “tool” was in fact first recorded in 1553 as a slang word meaning “penis”.  In our own vocabulary of today, we are generally inclined to identify any male who fits the category a “tool”—but when it comes to an awfully behaved female, she is usually deemed a “slut” or “bitch”. Thus the show begs us to reevaluate our verbal differentiation, and really rethink—can a woman in fact be a tool?


One Response to “A Lesbian In The Toolbox”


  1. VH1’s Trans-ition to a Big Ol’ Queer Channel « BLoGT: NYU's Queer Blog - March 10, 2010

    […] recently reported that VH1’s reality hit Tool Academy, with its stereotypical bros and their wimpy girlfriends, […]

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