Sure, Haley Scarnato isn't the best singer on American Idol. She has probably only gotten this far because of her looks. Everyone knows this. But still, is it necessary for Simon Cowell to mock her, week after week, with flippantly sexist comments about her appearance? Last night when it was Cowell's turn to comment on her performance he just shrugged, feigned exasperation, and said "well, you've got great legs".

It's true, and his larger point that she isn't delivering awesome performances is also true, but he says this every week and seems unwilling to give her honest, helpful criticism anymore. It's funny to be sarcastic and caustic sometimes, but when you're that way all the time, at the same person, it gets old and mean. The look on Haley's face when Cowell made the comment showed that she was really wounded, not so much because she thinks she's the best singer ever, but because she wants to be taken seriously and seen as more than a piece of meat. I know what it's like to be made fun of for my appearance, and it's especially hard to shrug off when you're already vulnerable to judgment. Haley gets on the stage every week knowing that Cowell is going to dismiss her, deride her, and mock her appearance rather than help her with her singing, and it must be getting tiresome and painful. I hope she stands up for herself next time and reminds Cowell that she's in a singing competition and that he should restrict his comments to her vocal ability.

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