Source AP ©

Turkish version of reality show "Beauty and Geek" reinforces gender stereotypes

One contestant took opera star Luciano Pavarotti for Bill Gates, one other called U.S. President George W. Bush: "Clinton Bush."

Such blunders have so amused the nation that a Turkish version of the U.S. reality show "Beauty and the Geek" is set top television ratings.

But the show - which pairs socially inept, but intelligent men with beautiful but not-so-intelligent women - is also causing an uproar for reinforcing gender stereotypes. On Thursday, a government minister asked the country's television watchdog to force the program off the air, less than a week after it was first shown.

"It is the most vulgar public demonstration of gender discrimination that has appeared on television screens," Nimet Cubukcu, the minister in charge of women and family affairs, said in a letter to the watchdog, according to the state-run Anatolia news agency.

"It is an example of the negative and humiliating prejudice against women that is portrayed in the media," Cubukcu was quoted as saying. "Intelligence is attributed to men, beauty and stupidity are attributed to women."

The program is set to run for 10 weeks, with the contestant who shows the greatest transformation winning a cash prize.

In the first episode of the show, women contestants were asked to identify celebrities from photographs and were quizzed on their general knowledge. Elvis Presley was identified as the winner of the Eurovision song contest; To one contestant, the capital of Iraq was Lebanon.

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