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tedibear's avatar

Is it just me or do makeover shows seem to choose people who aren't actually unattractive?

Asked by tedibear (19304points) July 25th, 2011

I’m home today and just watched “What Not to Wear.” I’ve watched it quite a bit in the past and have seen two shows with a person who was truly overweight and one of those had a rather plain face. (Even when they were done with hair and makeup.) Otherwise, they’ve all been people who just needed to be shown how to use makeup and dress correctly for their body shape. None of them have been plain or truly unattractive, just canvases waiting to be painted on. This strikes me as a bit misleading. As though anyone could have this happen for them.

(Obviously, I’m not including “Extreme Makeover” which used to be on ABC. They typically used people who wanted cosmetic surgery and needed serious dental work.)

Thoughts? Opinions?

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16 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

My god, that show is wretchedness and I can’t stop watching it. It is ALL about conforming people to what properly gendered and properly sexy people are supposed to look like. They make fun of any non-conformity and will interrogate people until they ‘confess’ to actually hate who they are inside even when they don’t feel there is anything wrong with them or their beliefs. I tell you, one episode of that show and I can teach a whole course on gender politics.Okar, rant over. As for your actual q, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me, they often make them look uglier.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Yep. It’s misleading. I’m easily hooked on makeover shows, though. Always have been. Thank goodness I don’t have cable.

Mariah's avatar

Well, I do think that teaching people how to use makeup and dress “correctly” (as if there is only one correct way – please) for their body type and appropriately for their age is the main intention of the show, not necessarily finding “ugly” people and seeing how attractive they can make them, so I don’t really have a problem with that.

However, I agree with Simone’s sentiment about the show, and I have seen several episodes in which the people didn’t dress badly, they just had an unusual sense of style that was unique and interesting, and the hosts just beat that out of them. Sad, really.

marinelife's avatar

You are so right. They take people who just have a few cosmetic things wrong with their look.

tedibear's avatar

Yes, one of the things that “WNTW” definitely does is to not let people have a unique sense of style. I’ve also watched “How Do I Look” and there seems to be a little more leeway, but then again there are three different people picking possible outfits and styles.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – If that was a rant, it was a well-written, thoughtful rant! You made me think of something that never dawned on me before. But, you’re right, they don’t get that not everyone wants to conform. Nor should they conform!

This is interesting. I hope others will chime in, too.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I also completely agree that there is at least some degree of belittling involved in every makeover show. They can’t make you over until they’ve beaten down your self esteem, first. That really bugs me.

woodcutter's avatar

You gotta give them something to work with. They aren’t magicians. The really ugly people are just fucked.

picante's avatar

I’ve long held the opinion that greatly improved teeth and hair take care of 90% of any “makeover.” Wtih respect to “What Not to Wear”—sure, it’s just another TV show and has very little resemblence to anyone living or dead ;-) Put ‘em in a pretty skirt and give ‘em some lipstick, and voila!

Have you seen “How to Look Good Naked”? That’s my fave of this genre.

Zaku's avatar

Yes! I often find the people look fine (and are often quite attractive to me) before the “makeover”, and most or all of the changes for the makeover actually turn me off.

I am often aghast at how well such conditioning sinks in to some people. I know some children who sometimes exclaim at a TV show or movie on TV, “Oh my god! Why are they so ugly?” at people who look fine to me, or even at Hollywood actors who are not made up to be Hollywood’s ideal in that particular film or scene. It’s pretty scary, though it’s interesting that they don’t tend to react that way to people they meet in person.

And, I agree with all of what Simone_De_Beauvoir said.

tedibear's avatar

@woodcutter – Why can’t they show the “really ugly” people ways that might let them work better. Show them how to find a fun, funky, individual style that would show off who they are.

@picante – I wanted to see that, but it never seemed to be on when I could watch it. And that was before we had the DVR.

picante's avatar

@tedibear, “How to Look Good Naked” is an interesting approach to low self-esteem. Unlike “What Not to Wear,” where they brainwash you into thinking you’re broken, the clients on “Naked” seem to be suffering from real self-esteem issues. Now, you’re going to see a good deal of the standard issue makeover devices, but you’ll also see some (in my opinion) interesting psychological coaching. The final goal of the episodes is to have the woman who has suffered with a poor body image model naked in front of a crowd. I find it fascinating, but others may be offput.

woodcutter's avatar

@tedibear It might be hard to find volunteers to go on a show on TV just because they are butt ugly. I mean what would the auditions be like, a race to the bottom? And these stylists want to also look good. I don’t think these people will do anything good for their careers.

anartist's avatar

That’s show business.

Pandora's avatar

I think its usually about the clothing for the body type and for their profession. On some of these shows they show people who are struggling to get employment. Then you look at what they are wearing and you don’t have to guess why they are still unemployed or can’t get that promotion. Most of the people they tend to pick are people who seem to dress sloppy, like they rolled out of bed and through on clothes you wouldn’t even wear to a gym.
I agree most of them are not ugly but I really hate some of the hair styles they pick for some of their people. Some of the hairstyles or color, really do not flatter the persons face. The person can be a blond and they may color their hair to a horrible mousy brown. Or they have a round face and they give them a round cut making their head look like a bowling ball.
Or they have a large forehead and they give them a side bang and all you can notice is how big the forehead is on the side.
Or they are tan and give them a ash blond color that matches their skin color and they look very washed out and tired.
They really need to take a vote and not just let the hair stylist pick. Apparently a lot of hair stylist on these shows are more concerned with showing pretty hair instead of a flattering look.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Maybe it’s me but I tend to see most people as not unattractive, just in need of a little this or that. For the show’s ratings I’m sure they want to pick people that look as average as possible in the not-unattractive spectrum to appeal to the broadest viewer base.

When I watch those kinds of shows, I want to see people who look like my mom or coworkers turned in nattier groomed versions of my mom or co workers instead of transforming them into celebrity look alikes.

anartist's avatar

Really, candidates always have “good bones,” reasonably thick hair, and aren’t overweight.

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