I was going to include this in my Chapter 10 installment, but decided it deserved its own entry.
In this novel, every girl wants to become a model. All girls and women are all obsessed with fashion and their appearance. If they say differently, they're lying or hypocrites (like Dylan or the protestors at T-DOD). The second the cameras come on or a Modelland Scout appears, they show their true colors: they want Modelland just as much as everyone else does.
The men have different ambitions: being a politician, a designer, a dancer . . . But the girls and women are all the same. They may get other jobs, but only because their dreams of going to Modelland were crushed.
Maybe it's just Tyra Banks wish fulfillment: a world where everyone wants to be like her. A world where everyone cares about her and obsesses about how wonderful holding her profession is. A world where people like me see her as more than "that model who was in the Hannah Montana Movie". But it comes across as incredibly sexist.
In this world, women are judged solely on physical appearance. You want to be famous and you're a girl? You better be pretty, because models are the only famous ones. And if you aren't good enough, you might just go crazy and commit suicide. Because not becoming a model is so devastating that it will drive you insane.
And the models themselves? They get superpowers, but they don't use them to help people or for the greater good. Slave child labor is common and accepted. No one lifts a finger. The people with super powers are too busy monopolizing runways, appearing on magazine covers, and using psychic powers to make people want to buy things. They're just as vapid and obsessed with appearance as every other girl in the story.
Tookie seems different at first glance. But only because she's been described as ugly. She still wants to go to Modelland like everyone else. She was willing to abandon her only friend the instant an opportunity to go to Modelland presents itself. She feels guilty afterwards, but her actions speak much more loudly than her words.
Why let an ugly girl go to Modelland, though? Maybe the book is building up to an Aesop about beauty being on the inside. But I seriously doubt it.
It's obvious that Tookie getting into Modelland was either a fluke of her getting the SMIZE, or she's going to have a "beautiful all along" story arc. Maybe both.
I'm hoping the story will get better. That it will prove me wrong. That I'm just judging it too harshly, and it will quit treating all women and girls as some hive mind. But I'm not holding my breath.