Extreme Makeover as a Reality Show

“Recently, televised ‘makeovers’ – in which a member of the public is plucked from obscurity and transformed, by virtue of clever hair, make-up and style consultants, into a glamorous creature – have become popular. Makeovers have now become almost ubiquitous, with a rash of television programmes portraying the results of makeovers not only on a personal appearance but also on their homes, gardens and even their cooking skills. Documentaries that follow the progress of raw recruits into shining professionals also reflect the concept of change and metamorphosis inherent in makeovers” (Gillen, 2001). Playing to the modern culture’s Cinderella dream for a better future and our insecurities regarding who and what we are in relation to the rest of society, the consumer culture both reflects and magnifies a need for constant change through the use of this type of programming.It is through our outward appearances that we project who and what we are to other people. Studies have continuously shown that people dress a certain way and acquire certain things to try to evince an attitude of belonging to a particular subset of individuals who embody their ideals. With these outward appearances in hand, we can walk up to the ‘in-crowd’ and proclaim ourselves a member. Regardless of how much an individual resembles the idealized images portrayed on movies and in television programs, there is a clear and consistent message that the average viewer sitting at home is never ‘good enough’ to present themselves to the society they feel they should be a part of. “Indeed Smith (1990) believes that women view their bodies as ‘objects of work’ requiring attention and upkeep in order to operate well and promote the desired effect” (Gillen 2001). Because the modern-day ideals have established impossible standards of beauty and lifestyle, these reality shows have evolved as apseudo means of evening up the odds.