My Eye on Queer Eye

I don't watch a lot of television and I'm the first to admit that I'm not very up to date with the trends on it. However, lately that seems to be a good thing as television, traditionally the media of pop culture, has steadily grown worse and worse.

But the trend I consider the most disturbing is the trend of makeover shows. These shows, an extension of the ongoing trend of unscripted television (I refuse to call it reality TV anymore), disturb me in a way that no other show has been able to.

While these types of shows are hardly new, they've literally been around since the beginnings of television, they've been on a constant quest to one up themselves and progress to newer heights or dig to deeper depths depending on how you look at it.

That's why these shows have gone from offering makeovers to those who desire it to going out and trying to save the “terminally unhip” and those with no sense of style. Most of these shows now rely on friends and family to set up someone to go on the show, usually someone that dresses in a way that others feel is repulsive and needs to be fixed.

While this seems like harmless fun and perhaps a good joke, the problem that I see is that most of these poor suckers already have a style of their own, it just happens that their friends, family and the rest of the in vogue world doesn't seem to approve of it. Be it style based upon comfort, outdoors apparel or whatever, these people dress their bodies and design their homes as they want them to be and the way they feel the happiest. If they wanted to be up to date with modern trends, they'd either do it themselves or seek out help on their own.

If you need proof of this, just watch one of the “return” shows where they go back and visit old victims. You'll discover that many, if not most, have reverted back to their old ways either in whole or in part. You'd think if the makeover was what they wanted and needed that they'd have stuck with the program.

The truth is that this frightens me. Where once being out of touch with style and following your own lead simply got you odd looks and the occasional chuckle, now it can make you the subject of a half-hour nationally syndicated program. It's as if society, which has always despised iconoclasts and individuals, has now dedicated large blocks of television time to rehabilitating people that made the horrible mistake of following their own lead when it comes to clothing or their decorations.

To be blunt, I'm not playing. I'm know that I'm out of touch with fashion and that my black clothing would be great fodder for “What Not to Wear” or “Queer Eye” but anyone who has the gall to set me up for one of these shows is going to get a pair of boots clean up their, well, you get the idea.

Let's be honest with ourselves. These shows are little more than an exercise in conformity and what little individual expression that is allowed in it is both tightly controlled and regulated. When you consider the power that television could have to promote creativity and expression, it's pitiful to see it used to showcase herd mentality so blatantly.

Of course, I shouldn't act shocked. Television has been the primary weapon of pop culture for as long as it has been around. It just used to be that it had the decency of slipping its conformity-driven message into slick commercials or under the surface in entertaining shows. Now it just slaps us in the face with it.

It's so flagrant it's disturbing and while it's hard to deny the entertainment value of the show, after all, change is inherently dramatic, it's the ethical values I have to question.

After all, do we really want a society where everyone follows the same trends and looks, dresses and decorates the same way? We don't, but marketers do and that's exactly why these shows exist, to please marketers. The fact that you and millions of others find it interesting, that's just an added bonus.

Keep that in mind the next time you sit down to another makeover show, I think you'll see what I mean.

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17 Responses to My Eye on Queer Eye

  1. milena says:

    i totally agree. i find that sometimes im in the same situations with my friends but i tell them that thier fashion aint any better and besides if i only like to wear dark colors then it their problem not mine. to go along with that if marketers want to change our "style" then maybe they need to stop supplying the out of fashion clothes that i still so conviently find.

  2. Spyder says:

    It seems as though the whole "reality tv" thing had gotten out of hand to the extremes. Flipping thru channels i come upon "Kids survivor" advertisement. The announcer is giving this sick little spiel "friend ships will be destroyed, promises will be broken…" and flashing images of these ten year olds sobbing uncontrollably or getting into fist fights. If this is reality i have been somewhere else all my life because it isn't the kind of thing i grew up to expect.

  3. elise says:

    Most of tv today is so far out there, and a lot of people don't even see it. I disconnected my cable 7 yrs ago,…and to see tv now makes me sad. The people i know and love have transfromed themself unknowingly (i have too) by watching excessive amounts of BS programs. It teaches us to reject reality (and our inner values/morals) and accept the "tv world". Not just infecting our choosen style or self-esteem, but our concept of love, carreer, morals and, basic social interactions. Not to mention it being a huge waste of valueable time! Some tv is very useful though ….

  4. Vera says:

    i hate reality T.V shows like what not to wear for only a few reasons. 1.they hosts odnt have great style 2. the people set up cameras in change rooms without the persons permission and 3 my mother watched the show adn now wants me to start wearing bright happy colors and nice form fittin skirts. thank you but black is my favorite color and i havent worn a skirt since grade 3. i very much agree that if the people wanted to have a makeover they would have gone to get it themselves. if i was evr put on one of those shows i'd demand any " secreat footage of myself and sue the people for invading my privacy .

  5. Toadstool says:

    I agree with what all of you are saying. This reality television is getting to a point where we are loosing our true identities and conforming to what everyone else wants. As I sit here at school, typing this, I look aroung the room and see all of these poor bastards here wearing all of this expensive clothing, and it makes them look like they have no idea what actual style is. The girls around here wear these shirts that my little sister could fit into, and my parents would have a fit about it! (she is 8 by the way) My point is, all of this reality T.V. bs is degrading to everyone who watches it.

  6. Vivi says:

    Once, while talking to a friend of mine, she explained about a new reality-type show where they take a "total train wreck and rehabilitate them", as she put it. At first, I thought she was talking about a documentary show tracking the progress of a recovering druggie or something like that.Then I found out that it's a makeover show where they take a healthy-looking, comfortable woman and turn her into the anorexic female-like creatures sprawled across magazines I see every day. Whatever happened to "Be you" ladies and gentlemen? Sad. Very sad.

  7. Gigi says:

    First of all, these programs shouldn't be called "reality" programs because the participant's behaviour is inevitably affected by the knowing that it'll be watched by thousands of people, making it no totally real.Controlled behaviour is not real.
    About the trends set by these programs: One of the traits I'm most proud of is my originality. I'm not a follower. I consider myself a person with a great imagination, eager to exploit my creativity an not follow others'.
    Finally, I greatly treasure my privacy and expect others to do the same. This is one of the main reasons I dislike this type of programs.

  8. R.R says:

    I hate reality TV. I won't watch it. There is nothing real about it. I would never let some makeover person change my style or cut my hair to their liking. NO WAY! They take a bunch of exibitionists and call them real.. I wish they would quit taking shows like Boston Public off to put on some new crap reality show. Sad to say sometimes that Boston Public is probably closer to reality than any of those reality shows.. (except for the hook lady storyline)

    (I'd wear black but my blond Chow sheds too much)

  9. ShadowedLight says:

    for the shear entertaing value of the show they might be worth something if for no other reason then for a shear laugh value. however i despise the fact they they turn orginal people into mindless automatons. i mean what would they say if some "freaks" as they call them turned normal people in "freaks" then for no other reason then because they thought it wasn't "cool"
    the only reality shows that i enjoy are those ones having some value
    shows like
    Moster Garage and Monster House
    Junkyard Wars
    Airline
    Trading Spaces
    at least in those shows the majority of the people seem to want the change that is happening or i am learning something of value

  10. Lycosidae says:

    That was good. Reality TV really is not "reality" at all; just a way for ignorant people to put themselves in the limelight. These makeover shows try to promote conformity in a non-subliminal way. It's basically telling people that being different is a bad thing and that we should all look alike. I find it quite hilarious that people are actually interested in these types of programs. My best friend's mother is an extreme Survivor fan and I fail to see it's purpose as well.

  11. Andrea says:

    Well, I actually like "Queer Eye…", what you say is true… but I still like the show, So, I guess I'm one of the targets that's been sucked in. lol

  12. Sinsade says:

    To anyone who reads this,
    Please, turn off your t.v. Read the news. Read between the lines. Read a book and invoke the ancient rite of imagination.
    Raven, thank you for seeing. Let no other being dictate your potential.

  13. Q says:

    Well I for one agree with you. Personaly I could never stand watching those shows. It seemed like they were just takeing people and shall we say, abuseing there own way? What is wrong with likeing old bell bottoms and whearing platforum shoes? ALl I can say is what my fav. tee shirt says "I'm big your small, have a nice day!" Puts the point across don't it?

  14. darkrain says:

    I have an extreem dislike for reality tv.
    (although I admit I do watch it.)I believ that if someone wantewd to be changed, they would have done it themselfs.I've never watched "Surviver" because even the advertisement make me mad, although I do get a good laugh at hoe stupid it is.

  15. Isis says:

    This is at least part of the reason i no longer watch TV. too much "reality Bs, and too many commercials. We should boycott it >.>

  16. Hugh says:

    Even I who is studying TV Production now, I can't stand those shows. Tv could be put to much better use then showing how many morans live in this great land of ours.

  17. Akeba Copeland says:

    dear writer,
    I totally argee with your column and also feel deeply saddened by the encourgement of conformity on TV. I, myself, do not watch much televison because the quality of the programming that is being presented "for my viewing pleasure." It's nice to see that there are people in the world who do not feel compelled to watch the garbage that is passed off as entertainment these days. I tip my hat to you.
    -akeba

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