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My london bridge wanna go down

I wasn’t able to actually view a television show by virtue of not having cable and not wanting to afford an iTunes rendition of crappy TV. However, I was able to view clips from certain websites, and was provided a synopsis of what was going on in some former episodes of the British version’s “What Not To Wear?. In the American version, two fashionistas surprise an ugly old maid with the chance to go on the shopping spree of a lifetime. While this obviously has its offenses, the Brit’s version gives a slight twist that to me is hilarious.

The Title: Doesn’t this title just give you that itchy annoyance…like a valley girl’s vocal chords? It’s simple, it’s blunt, and it screams offensive. In itself, the title of the show alienates the viewer, and almost forcibly turns your own critiques inwardly: quietly wondering, “what shouldn’t I wear?? What not to wear. Say that tree times over and I’m quite sure anyone could understand the obvious connotations this show will share.
The Hosts: While surfing along on the website, attempting to gather all information possible, I was greeted by two caring faces clutching mannequins, and only strutting the hottest dangly earrings. I find out that the hosts of this show are model Lisa Butcher, and singer Mica Paris.
The Twist: So here’s the hilarious part, the UK ‘programmes’ of “What Not To Wear? feature various themes ranging from widowers to post-mastectomy to former teenage mums. Here, our hosts attempt to revitalize confidence in these women by dressing them up. Don’t quite see the hilarity? We’ll get into that.
The Boring Stuff: This version of the show is a BBC production, which is rooted in the UK. Their show is under the heading “Lifestyle?, which, based on the surrounding links, is produced for women with an emphasis on health and style. The site, and this particular show seem to be attracting a female crowd of their mid-20 to 50’s.
Focusing on the teenage mothers program, the website gives the viewer personal information about a couple of ladies who participated. In this, they allow you to find out that their teenage pregnancy apparently allowed their bodies to “balloon? and for them to lose track of their own self-image. So, our hosts will nobly take a stance against self-consciousness, and make these women confident!
I think it’s a bit unfair from the get go to have a model and singer giving advice about beauty. Becoming a part of the public eye in terms of looks isn’t for everybody, that’s why modeling seems like such another world to most of us. Perhaps this perception is why we automatically give these hosts clout. We perceive beauty as it’s shown to us. In today’s mass-media culture, we are constantly being bombarded with shallow interpretations, and misrepresentations of what beauty is and should be. Opposite to what is perceived as beauty, there is ugly. We learn to perceive these hosts as what beauty is, and next to them, the woman who we’re told needs fixing, is ugly.
Moreover, this show attempts to professionalize the critique of style and looks. Using language that is unique only to that particular field, it becomes gibberish to anyone not versed in cuts, and styles. With this professionalization of a field comes a new respect for it. No longer are we looking at these hosts as cute girls who know how to dress themselves, now we are seeing fashion as a science. There is a constant patronization of the participant that comes with teaching her of this field, that is fashion. So, why do we put so much emphasis on style, and why do we grant women (with no impressive career) empowerment in this (shallow) social hierarchy?
In order to understand this social complex, we always have to go back to roots. Must we be reminded, however, that fashion, style, and it’s relation to the female has been changing and progressing over time? It’s such a foggy progression, but with a cynical lens, it’s quite clear that it is a prevalent ideal in modern society. Unfortunately, style is generally synonymous to slender, which “What Not To Wear? is sure to point out. As mentioned earlier, they emphasize the women’s weight as a ballooning effect during their pregnancy. Here, there is an obvious parallel between weight and fashion. In Joan Jacobs Brumberg’s article, “Fasting Girls: The Emerging Ideal of Slenderness in American Culture?, she creates a fascinating point in regards to the roots of slenderness in the fashion industry. She says that the standardization of sizing in the 1920’s “…put increased emphasis on personal body size and gave legitimacy to the idea of a normative size range.? Now that makes sense.
Putting that annoying little twist into perspective now, we can draw an even broader parallel. Somehow, the creator’s of this show, and assumedly the hosts attest that looking better than you did will emancipate you from the scourge of life. Somehow this makeup and dress will put courage onto your skin, further injecting itself into your blood stream, flowing throughout your body, and will purge itself into an outward glow of confidence and vitality. Perhaps this was a bit verbose, but at least we can now understand how ridiculous this thematic TV show is.
Somehow it got into the minds of contemporary society that confidence is equivalent to looking good. It’s true, when I’m feeling hot, I feel hot. I don’t think there is actually any biological reasoning for this, though. It’s purely a social perception that is embedded through media and other subversive notions. Clearly, as I’m sure we all have seen, media has an intense effect on who we are and how we act. The participants in this show willingly obliged to being made over because they wanted to have more confidence in their self-image. I dare say, however, this “self-help? is established through outside influence…perhaps, a process of self-normalizing? Debra L. Gimlin talks of female normality specifically in the field of plastic surgery in her article, “Cosmetic Surgery: Paying for Your Beauty?. She argues that while women are not necessarily looking for beauty in cosmetic surgery, they are instead “…responding to highly restrictive notions of normality and the “normal? self…?

Comments

The description of being beautiful seems to have been put by the society as having those looks or body of a model or celebrities. This actually causes problems to some women because it lowers their self esteem thinking that they are not beautiful because they have not achieved the standard which loses their confidence as well.

There are many ways on how to gain confidence without trying to look like those models or celebrities. You can gain confidence by helping other people or doing good deeds. But I think one should put in mind first that she or he is beautiful even if she/he doesn't have the looks of the model or celebrity.

Somehow, this kind of show makes some person feel that they are not beautiful.