17 July 2008

Makeover Madness

Dear Mimi,

This is a note to yourself to remind you that you really want to write a blog entry about the makeover genre, particularly in regard to the new MtV competitive/how-to reality show From Gs to Gents in which, as Steel Closet describes it, "14 insecure machismo men G’s compete with each other in a battle of self-improvement to transform themselves into Gents. They will learn the manners and hobbies of a gentleman and the most improved G wins $100,000." Produced by Jamie Fox and hosted by Outkast's Fonzworth Bentley, it should be totally freakin' nuts. What is imagined to be gained in the transformation? What constitutes "gentlemanly" manners and style? By what criteria (aesthetic and ideological) are taste competencies going be judged, adjusted, shaped, and disciplined? It will also be fascinating to compare this show to the other makeover reality show aimed at men, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (which sought to sufficiently school straight men in the techniques of becoming better heterosexual partners for ladies), as well as the innumerable self-esteem programs aimed at "endangered" young men (mostly of color, mostly poor or working-class) that equate "lack of self-esteem" with pathologies of all sorts. Oh my god, there's so much to write about here. Maybe this weekend?

Best,

Mimi

P.S. What the fuck is wrong with the hipster asshole who decided to make and sell "Obama Is My Slave" t-shirts? (That's a rhetorical question.) He apparently believes that Obama is a Muslim, and thus "Obama=Hitler" (another t-shirt he makes and sells). As seen at Fashion Indie, Steel Closet, and Jezebel, among other sites.

P.P.S. A few days later, Gawker exposes the racist PR stunt ("black people are violent and can't take a joke") behind the reported assault of a woman wearing the "Obama Is My Slave" t-shirt.

7 comments:

timothy said...

Whoaaaa my god that shirt is so fucked up.

threadbared said...

At some of the sites I linked, you can read comments discussing the t-shirt dude's explanations for these slogans (given to the NY Post and MY Metro), in which he claims that they're a product of his "Jewish imagination." Apparently, this allows him to draw multiple connections between Obama and Hitler as dangerously messianic figures who will, implicitly, lead the masses to call for the destruction of the Jews.

red_swirl / ginevra said...

Not about the T-shirts, have you thought about the Trinny & Susannah style transformations of women, not men, and the way they almost say if you change your clothes you change your life?

slanderous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
slanderous said...

Yes, the notion that the transformation is more than "skin deep" (or fabric deep?) is totally a staple of the makeover genre! It's also supposed to be soul-stirring, life-changing, et cetera, so when a makeover subject/fashion victim resists the notion that "outer beauty" is necessarily connected to an "inner" one (or that being a "better person" necessarily means that they have to get rid of their flannels for a cardigan), they get accused of having an impoverished interior life, bad self-esteem, and so forth. It's pretty insidious, on many levels!

ripley said...

I totally know that asshole designer! when I lived in NY i went into his shop. He's off his rocker, anyway. And he was always really annoying.

slanderous said...

I see that he has made being annoying a lifetime achievement!