Friday, September 26, 2008

Tyra Banks: Sociopath?

Should Tyra Banks be added to our closet sociopath wishlist? According to one observer, yes:
Why do I think Tyra has no empathy? Well, for example, she often does rating stunts on her talk show wherein she’ll dress up as somebody she’s not (homeless person, stripper, a man) and she’ll be utterly astounded at how this new character she’s portraying sees the world. I mean, the closest I’ve ever been to being homeless is being locked out of my apartment for a few hours, but if you asked me whether or not being homeless sucks, I would vote yes. I can imagine how degrading it must be to beg for food, how difficult it must be to live on the streets or even in shelters, and how heart-wrenching it must be to have your world turned upside down and live by a whole new set of rules.

But T. Banks? She can’t imagine it. When she pretended to be homeless for a day (seriously, a day), she was utterly astounded by the whole experience. In other words, until she actually experienced homelessness, it wasn’t real for her.
An (incorrect?) distinction between narcissism vs. sociopathy:
She’s not just a narcissist; Tyra Banks has absolutely no sense of empathy. Having no ability to empathize is what (many websites tell me) catapults someone from simple narcissism to sociopathy.
And the unexpectedly tolerant conclusion:
I’m not saying that Tyra’s going to go out and do something awful (other than her talk show, boom, rim shot!) to anybody. She’s not dangerous at all. In fact, what I am saying, is that all of the behavior that people chalk up to a variety of unflattering causes, well, it’s not Tyra’s fault.
Kudos to this friendly young man for his open-mindedness regarding sociopaths and their potential for good in this society.


  1. I think part of Tyra's problem is that she may be hiding her sexual orientation. Has she ever been linked to a man? I don't remember ever seeing photos of her dating a man. It would be hard for someone who spends most of their time mentoring young girls to "come out." She has spent most of her life in a kind of "cocoon" with other models. She was quite young when she started. I can't think of any other "supermodel" who isn't in the news dating one guy or another. But "real life" isn't something she knows much about. I do think she cares a great deal about the girls she works with in "America's Next Top Model," and the young one's that come to the camps she supports. She just cannot identify with most of their lives. She did not have a "childhood," like most of us. Not when you are in Paris modeling at 16!

  2. My sisters' friend used to work on the production staff of the Tyra Banks show. And oooh, I would hear STORIES! Tyra is definitely a sociopath. She is coached by the staff to fake a tear, show empathy, act surprised, show joy, etc. because she honestly doesn't know how to relate to people. Really bizarre...

    Or maybe it's Asperger's?

  3. I find it easier to dismiss her as feeble minded. However, based on how you've described Aspergers, I'd say that there is a good possibility that her lack of emotional understanding is closer to that. She is a strange duck and I would think if she were a true sociopath she would be a little more slick.

  4. 'Smizing.' 'Nuff said.

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