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Columnist: Makeover show has gone too far

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I sat down the other evening to watch some music videos on VH1. Instead, I watched a reality-TV round-up of sorts that previewed all of the reality shows.

One of the first shows previewed was “Extreme Makeover” on ABC. I honestly thought it was a joke. I called my roommate into my room to watch the short preview. We just could not believe that this was a real show that was really going to be on television.

“Many people complain about the unrealistic expectations set for women in our society, and shows like this reinforce these stereotypes.”

“We’ll stop at nothing to turn ordinary into extraordinary” is the show’s slogan.

The hour-long show features two “makeovers,” and at the end, their new looks are presented to their friends and families.

The people are given plastic surgery, a nutritionist, stylists, trainers and fashion consultants to achieve their goal appearance.

What ever happened to the good, old-fashioned makeover where they buy you a new outfit, give you a haircut, manicure and put makeup on you?

Or even better, what about loving yourself for who you are? Just because society says that females should be 5 feet, 11 inches tall, 120 pounds and have size 36D breasts doesn’t mean that it’s achievable or even desirable for all.

Many people complain about the unrealistic expectations set for women in our society, and shows like this reinforce these stereotypes. They further the idea of the “perfect woman,” and all who do not meet the aforementioned criteria need not apply.

I do understand the desire to have plastic surgery to make yourself more attractive. If I said I hadn’t ever pondered some sort of plastic surgery, I’d be lying. And if someone was going to offer me free plastic surgery and all the things that these people are offered, I seriously would consider having some work done. On what, I don’t know, but I’m sure I could find something.

Although the only makeovers I saw were of women, the show’s Web site stated that David, a national guard officer from Farmville, Va., will be getting a makeover because he feels his looks kept him from being promoted to a recruiting officer. Out of the four people on the show so far, David is the only man.

In reading their biographies, he is also the only participant who gives an adequate explanation for his makeover.

Others, such as Melissa, gave reasons such as to “stun her friends at her 10-year high school reunion.”

The only makeover I could sympathize with was the one on Kine, a 29-year-old barber from Chicago whose lips were very large, almost bordering on a physical deformity. In this case I can understand the need and desire for plastic surgery. But in addition to a lip reduction operation, she also received abdomen liposuction and a breast lift.

But in the case of Tammy, a 40-year-old house mom from Florida, who basically was just getting old, I can not understand why someone would subject themselves to this.

When I think of the concept of this show, my jaw still drops, and when I tell people about it, their jaws drop, too. People seem to be both appalled and fascinated by this type of reality show.

A show like this would be great if they focused on people with life-long physical deformities and helped them through plastic surgery. But taking an already “normal” person and making them more attractive is too much.

This show simply furthers the idea that many, many people are very self-centered and place a high value on physical appearance.

What’s most disappointing for me is that this show will probably debut with ridiculous high ratings and be oh-so-popular.

If you’re interested in watching America’s moral standards decrease even further and reality TV slip yet another notch, “Extreme Makeover” airs at 9 p.m. Wednesdays.

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The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.
Columnist: Makeover show has gone too far