A bloggy friend of Erin’s posted about a TV show called How To Look Good Naked. I don’t have cable, and I didn’t know anything about this show. This blogger, Sarah, said the show basically relied on body image coaching to help women like their nude bodies, with no weight loss or surgery suggestions at all. I found this improbably thrilling news regarding a reality makeover show, so I looked it up on YouTube. This is from the American version (the original is British).
They just pointed out that plastic surgery doesn’t work? On TV? And they used their feelings to decide how to solve their personal distress? Yay hooray! The clips I found raise a ton problems for me, but wow, I am really happy to see this conversation happening on a mainstream makeover show.
- That blond mom clearly spends a lot of time grooming and performing “being pretty.”
- The show stars a man as the expert despite being about women’s body image.
- It’s safe to have this man see you in your underwear because he’s gay, but I don’t see anyone pointing out how that makes straight men’s expected behaviour quite obviously problematic. (Also in that clip, host Carsen casually equates strippers and low-class names, managing to bash both at once. There are other ways to make that joke, sir.)
- It focusses on a lot of external validation (mirrors, man host’s perspective, other people’s compliments).
- The show values looking conventionally femme and ‘sexy’ over feeling comfortable (external validation again).
- They have a half-assed acceptance of fat (don’t hide your fat… because that will make you look fatter).
- It demonstrates the conventionally feminine ambigious ‘no’ (giggle giggle smile) and seems to believe that coerced nudity is ok if one person really thinks it’s for the best.
- Obviously the producers just realized that “real beauty” will attract a valuable target demographic (thanks for that, Dove).
- Based only on these clips, they don’t seem to point out that your body has any endearing qualities besides the way it looks.
- The host looks like he’s had some work done himself.
And yet, I am still definitely pleased to see a rounded woman’s butt cellulite on screen in a positive context, hear someone make the basic point that clothes need to fit your body and not vice versa, and even see men touching each other fairly comfortably.
This is a very narrow discussion of body image, but it is at least in a direction that I value: unpacking all the crap that people said you should do and deciding for yourself. (My body and I are totally bff almost all the time anyway, so I’m not disappointed about the lack of new ground.)
It’s quite the comment on the state of TV that eliminating weight loss and surgery without discussing anything else is cause for celebration, but maybe these baby steps will make some room for a similar show that adds a couple of elements, and then a couple more. No weight loss, no surgery, and no dissing fat. Or getting to know your body without looking at it. Queer eye for the straight girl, finally, or a show where women come up with ways to enjoy their bodies without a host/star/authority at all. I dream.