By Angelica Bottaro
I’ve never really subscribed to reality television. The inauthentic air behind shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Britain’s Next Top Model irks me. These types of shows send out the wrong message to young women everywhere, and it’s a huge problem.
What’s even worse? The ghastly makeover show. Episodes take everyday women and transform them as if they were the ugly duckling just waiting for someone to come along and force them to grow up into the beautiful swan.
The truth is that these women don’t need clown paint and a new outfit to be valuable. They don’t need to lose weight, dress better for their body type, or dye their hair. These women have value that far surpasses what’s seen in the mirror.
The Makeover Show Spews Unrealistic Expectations
Little girls everywhere are still growing up with the standards that women my age were forced to swallow their whole lives. The expectations being that to be perceived as pretty, we had to fit into a certain stereotypical mould. The young and fit lass was going to have a better life than the one who enjoyed doughnuts and was inching towards her golden years. It was cut and dry, and none of us could escape it.
This led to a societal push to experiment with all things beauty, spend our hard-earned money on products that didn’t help and even consider surgery to keep up appearances. Before the cruel world crushed us with expectations, we ran in the dirt and smiled for no reason. We didn’t care if we had a little chub on our bellies, nor did we care if we looked silly in photographs. We were happy just being ourselves, because, without the crushing weight of what we’re supposed to look like, our self-esteem was safely tucked away in our strength of character.
Makeover shows depict nothing more than that widespread societal issue and spray out the poison of unfavourable comparisons and always trying to attain the unattainable.
They Take Away Our Strength
As a woman, I know that the best parts of me—the parts that get me through the rough patches—have nothing to do with my looks. These makeover shows spend an hour at a time telling me, and women everywhere, that the bad parts of our lives are not only our fault—but have everything to do with how we look.
If we’d only looked like the photoshopped girl on the cover of the magazine, more people would be attracted to us. And when people are sexually attracted to us, we’re much more likely to get what we want in every area of our lives. It’s all hogwash. The disease of telling a woman that the only thing responsible for making her life better is becoming more attractive eats away at her ability to flourish in her life, not the other way around.
Our Value Isn’t Confined To How Visually Appealing We Are
I don’t want to go all we-are-women-hear-us roar about this, but we are valuable regardless of whether or not we’re “pin-up attractive”. Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder after all, and all women are beautiful. We’re beautiful because of our humility, our grace, and more importantly, our virtues. None of those qualities are built on the back of our physical appearance, either.
These makeover shows always preach the whole self-love thing, and in the next breath tell the ‘guests’ on their show that it’s time to get rid of their horrendous style, preferred hairdo, and everything in between. They’re not guinea pigs, and yet they have no problem treating them as such. It’s the modern-day equivalent of telling women that our job is to be pretty and silent.
They’re Just Horrendously Unentertaining
From terrible hosts to over-acting, the entire thing is usually just wildly grotesque. I couldn’t imagine being the women in the chair getting worked on as if they’re not worthy enough. The time they have to spend listening to some C-list celebrity tell them they’re finally beautiful after forcibly changing them into an entirely different person is stomach-churning. It’s disgusting.
Of course, women are free to wear as much make-up as they like, get plastic surgery, and work-out and eat right. But that’s the point—women should be able to feel good about themselves no matter what they do. Whether they’re lounging on the couch eating their second bag of crisp with unkempt hair and dirty joggers or turning heads at the pub—it shouldn’t matter. Self-love shouldn’t be tied exclusively to how we look.
Personality, virtues, personal style whether it’s on-trend or not—these are the things that make us who we really are and where our value should be drawn from. Makeover shows are nothing more than perpetuated self-esteem crushers designed to diminish women as they are.
We’re not all perfect, but we are all beautiful, and we don’t need a cringy television producer to tell us so.