Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How to Look Good Naked at Others Expense

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I watched two episodes of Lifetimes new series How to Look Good Naked (and like most interesting shows on television, it is a remake of a British show similarly titled). As far as make over shows, its definitely a step in the right direction. The basic idea is the fabulously funny and flamboyant Carson Kressley (of Queer Eye fame) helps pretty curvaceous woman feel confident in their bodies when society tells them they shouldn’t be. Note that I mentioned pretty woman. So far in the series all the woman have had very pretty faces. Heavy or Skinny there isn’t much you can do if your visage looks like it was shaped with a box cutter.

The show starts with Carson putting a giant headless photo of the woman sporting only undies up on the side of a building and asking passerby’s what they think of her. The answers range from “Hot!” to “That’s what a real woman looks like!” In one episode, the woman being taught to look good naked points out the fact that the show probably edited out the hurtful comments, but the fact remains a lot of people did say nice things about her. It is also definitely true that these woman do reflect more average ideals of women's sensuality then the models and porn stars that are on constant display from normal media (Yes. I subject myself to a constant display of porn stars.) That’s really the best part of this show. It’s o.k. not to be rail thin. It’s o.k to have arms that wiggle a little when you wave. It’s more than o.k. It’s normal.

The show then buys the woman new bras. Apparently the biggest problem for woman today is that everyone of them is wearing the wrong bra. I got to admit it did help them a lot. Some weird bulges and ripples that were happening before disappeared with a size increase. Did you know that the strap is only supposed to support ten percent of a boob's weight? Well, its some number like that. Anyway my point is I’ll be glad to support the rest of it for you. Am I right fellas?

Sorry. I’m reviewing a Lifetime show. I’m allowed one guy moment. Back to business.

New clothes, make up, and hair, and the lady is ready for her fashion shoot. What’s that Carson? You want her to do it naked!?! Shut your fucking mouth! What? She’ll only be naked in the sense that she won’t be wearing anything underneath the fabric that covers the naughty bits, just like clothing would? Oh, o.k. then. So far in the two episodes I’ve seen the “naked” photo shoots had a woman lying on a bed with sheets, and a woman sitting on a chair covered in sheets. I just wonder how many different ways the show will be able to think of to make them tastefully not naked. I’m calling it here folks, beach shoot holding beach balls. Oh yeah, what about the crotch…hmm... a seagull flyin by?

Now to get to my major complaint. The program is about showing women to accept their bodies the way they are because you don’t have to look like a model to be sexy. To help do this they line up 6 other women in order of waist size (also wearing just undies). The main woman has to examine them and place herself in the line. She always places herself at the larger end of the scale. This is when Carson tells her that she is way wrong and should be all the way at smaller end! The woman looks stunned and smiles happily in her new place. She wasn’t as fat as she thought she was and hence can feel good about herself. Wait a minute. What about the woman who is at the end of the line? Should she feel bad about herself because she isn’t as small as the other woman? Will she need her own show where even larger woman are made to stand in line for her? For such a great show this one part seems a major oversight. The only reason why being smaller makes the woman feel better is because of the notion that skinnier is better which is exactly what the rest of the half hour tries to put an end to. I mean, add a couple more women to the smaller side of the line and we have poor self esteem all over again.

But in the end the show accomplishes what it sets out to do, and the women they make over are more confident and for once, happy with themselves the way the are. Confident enough in fact, to ask people staring at a giant nudesque photo of themselves “Do I look good naked.” To which I would answer "I wouldn't know. You are wearing a sheet in the picture. Do you have something where I can see your crotch. Perhaps while you are making eye contact with the camera."

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