How to Look Good Naked

Lifetime recently gave us the opportunity to watch a sneak peak of their upcoming show, “How to Look Good Naked.” Let me state up front: they didn’t ask for a review (although I suspect that was their hope, to stir up buzz for the show), they didn’t pay for a review, and I have no incentive to give a review, positive or negative. But I’ve been curious to see if this show, which purports to teach women who aren’t size zero to love the way they look, would deliver.

Short answer: it does. I’m not sure if what I saw online will be precisely what’s shown on TV, But speaking as a woman who has a lot in common with the candidate on this episode, I came away from it with a positive feeling.

The host, Carson Kressley, spends five days with a thirty-two year old woman named Lela who’s been dieting since she was twelve. She’s convinced that in order to feel beautiful, she must lose forty pounds. Without losing that weight, she sees no point in attempting to find herself beautiful. It’s an absolute requirement in her mind. (I know the feeling.)

Carson confronts this belief by projecting a headless image of Lela’s body onto a building in Santa Monica and asking people what they think of it. Men notice her “great rack”, her shapely legs, her curves. Women talk about how she looks gorgeous and “that’s how real women look.” And they sound sincere (and why not? We all know real people are a lot less picky than fashion gurus). Carson points out that she’s spent twenty years trying to be someone else – twenty years she could’ve spent being herself.

Message #1: She doesn’t look as bad as she thinks. Her weight is not unhealthy, and it’s not ugly.

He begins by teaching her some dressing tips. First, she needs the right size and style of bra to support her breasts and avoid creating rolls on her back. Then she needs to avoid fashion trends and find styles and cuts and prints that suit her. She goes from looking “fine” to looking “hot” in the time it takes to put on a different outfit.

Message #2: The clothes should be tailored to the woman, not the woman to the clothes. Lela’s lived twenty years thinking the reason clothes didn’t flatter her was her fault, not the fault of some useless lazy fashion designer (who probably employs children in third-world countries to cut fabric).

Next comes a new haircut and makeup job. Then it’s time for a photo shoot in the nude (in which she’s never really exposed). She lays on her stomach, breasts and hips hidden from the camera. The idea is to get her posing unapologetically without clothes on, without darkness to hide her.

I did not see the show as reinforcing the idea that women need to be beautiful (while men can look quite unattractive and become national leaders). I saw it as suggesting we are entitled to feel beautiful, whether or not we meet arbitrary fashion standards. I also didn’t see the show as pandering to the male gaze; I saw it as empowering a woman to have her own gaze, to see the beauty in herself and project it through her attitude.

One caveat: the only thing “wrong” (from the fashion industry’s perspective) with Lela was her size. She was white, with great skin and nice hair. Will the show do as well with a woman of color? A woman with bad acne? From the commercials, it looks like at least one woman of color will be featured; we’ll just have to wait and see how that goes. Whether or not they’ll address issues other than size, I don’t know. Still, I thought I’d die before anyone acknowledged “fat” does not equal “ugly and undeserving of success or love”, so even if it’s just one step in the right direction, it’s a start.

t’ll take more than one episode, but I think there’s potential here to put a dent in the message that women who fail to meet arbitrary size standards are not entitled to self-confidence about how they look.

Comments

  1. Bill Diamond says

    FYI, Bill has been banned for trolling, but I’ve left his comments so you can see why. In the end, he claimed he was neither the producer Bill Diamond, nor the Maine State Senator and/or blogger and/or whatever. I’m sure they’ll be happy to hear that. ;)

    This show is the ultimate in irony. It’s the unstated message of shows like this that although you are “beautiful just the way you are” you have to do this and this and this because you’re just not good enough the way you actually are. For instance… you have to get a more appropriate bra, so you don’t create rolls of your fat. You need to hide that fat back of yours. Also your clothes aren’t good for your figure. They need to be replaced. They’re just not very flattering. In other words, they show the “flaws” in your figure. Oh and your hair… yes, that has to be changed too. It’s not enough to have clean and healthy hair. You need a stylist to blowout your hair. And your skin? Well, we can just cover it up with some thick foundation. See? You are perfect just the way you are!

    Oh… now let’s take some “naked” photographs hiding just about all your “problem” areas.

    Isn’t it the ultimate in irony that in the movement to be beautiful by being yourself you actually have to change and hide so much of yourself?

    By the way, you state this show was not pandering to the male gaze yet male perspectives were provided to the subject as proof that she was beautiful? Can you explain why this whole segment was not simply omitted or instead focused entirely on women’s perspectives? The focus clearly was not on making her “hot” but still… why even give any justification using male perspectives?

  2. says

    No, it wasn’t about covering flaws; it was about preventing bad fashion from making her look bad. We are eternally pushed to buy clothes that don’t flatter us, and made to feel guilty for not having “the figure” that would look good in those clothes. He was showing her that fashion is full of misogynistic bullshit, and she can overcome that and find her own style, in which she looked great. As for the hair: again, what’s wrong with anyone, male or female, finding a style that suits them? I wish more men bothered to, honestly.

    I don’t know where you got “thick foundation” – there were lots of comments about her “great skin” and there was no emphasis about the makeup.

    By the way, you state this show was not pandering to the male gaze yet male perspectives were provided to the subject as proof that she was beautiful?

    Sorry – as many women were asked as men. I accidentally edited that out while revising the article last night, and I’ve edited it to include this fact.

  3. Bill Diamond says

    First, she needs the right size and style of bra to support her breasts and avoid creating rolls on her back.

    The clothes should be tailored to the woman, not the woman to the clothes.

    She lays on her stomach, breasts and hips hidden from the camera. The idea is to get her posing unapologetically without clothes on, without darkness to hide her.

    Every one of your quotes in this post I see as covering up flaws. Especially the one about being photographed naked! That’s like saying “We’ll do a nude photo shoot but from the neck up! See! Everybody things you look great naked!” As for general fashion, you hear it all the time about choosing fashion that is tailored to the woman. For example, do this if you don’t have a waist (have a boyish figure). Do this if you have short legs. Do this if you have a small chest. What is the point of this advice? To draw attention away or to “normalize” the parts of your body that don’t fit the standards! You can say the clothes are more “flattering” or they “suit your body” but the underlying message is always that showing the true shape of your body is not flattering. Either create something that isn’t there… or hide something that is there.

    A woman with bad acne?

    Maybe your subject was the one woman out of 100 who has perfect skin every day of the month. The other 99 that don’t have perfect skin. I’m sure if they do this show long enough, there will be plenty of people not with bad acne but just not smooth skin. It’s just a result of being human, being in the sun, aging.

    By the way, is the “misogynistic bullshit” of the fashion industry perpetrated by men or women? And exlusively against men or women and do men have misandry because of the messages sent to men about their figures and fashion? Just curious on your perspective. Also do you know whether or not your clothing is made in a sweatshop? Do you research all the brands?

    As for the hair: again, what’s wrong with anyone, male or female, finding a style that suits them? I wish more men bothered to, honestly.

    Maybe they’re happy exactly they way they are! The thing about hair is that it is and effort made entirely about what someone else things of you. It’s an image you are trying to present of yourself to others because you aren’t able to see your own hair as often as others see it. When you look into a mirror and fix your hair so you look “nice” it’s about continuing to presenting the image of yourself to others. Having some hair out of place would present a certain image to others. So I’m sorry that you don’t think clean and health men’s hair is very “stylish” but I think it does suit most men just the way they have it: clean and healthy.

    (while men can look quite unattractive and become national leaders)

    I’m not sure how to understand this quote. The primary message about the emphasis on Hillary’s looks is obvious but I’m curious about the secondary message. You don’t mean to say that natural human aging of the men is unattractive, right? Wrinkles and all? Surely you’re not looking at their clothing, you’re mainly taking about their faces being unattractive? And is this in theory or do you find the older men unattactive?

    Still, I thought I’d die before anyone acknowledged “fat” does not equal “ugly and undeserving of success or love”, so even if it’s just one step in the right direction, it’s a start.

    The message is everywhere! Try watching the Tyra Banks show, Oprah, or any fashion makeover shows. They been around certainly more than 5-10 years with this message. Plus-sized models have been discussed in the media for many, many years. Or the magazine BBW which if you’re not aware is a lifestyle and fashion magazine for larger women and stands for “Big Beautiful Women” and has been published since 1979.

  4. says

    What is the point of this advice? To draw attention away or to “normalize” the parts of your body that don’t fit the standards! You can say the clothes are more “flattering” or they “suit your body” but the underlying message is always that showing the true shape of your body is not flattering. Either create someone that isn’t there… or hide something that is there.

    Hmm…I saw it more as “emphasizing the positive” than “concealing the negative”. The point they were aiming for is that “you can be beautiful, you have good features”, rather than “because you have one so-called-‘bad’ feature, you’re ugly”, which is what society usually projects.
    You seem to be looking for the eradication of standards of beauty altogether…which, I’m afraid, is probably an unrealistic goal (at least for now). What’s wrong with starting small?

    By the way, is the “misogynistic bullshit” of the fashion industry perpetrated by men or women? And exlusively against men or women and do men have misandry because of the messages sent to men about their figures and fashion?

    Both…but it’s done in a setting created by a male-dominated power group. And while it’s not done exclusively against women, you’d have to be willfully blind not to realize it’s done about ten times as much to women as to men.
    What messages exactly are sent to men about their “figures” and fashion? Because the only messages I see constantly is that any guy can get hot women…doesn’t matter if he’s old, fat, bald, ugly, or dresses badly. Whereas the last movie I saw that suggested that a heavily overweight woman could get a decent guy was…”Shallow Hal”. And Jack Black isn’t exactly a hot guy.

    Seriously…the messages about guys’ fashion are so subtle/nonexistent that I got married before I got any decent fashion tips on what makes me look good. The message I got growing up was pretty much what you said…if it’s clean and comfortable, you’re fine.

    Maybe they’re happy exactly they way they are!

    Then fine…and good for them. I think the whole point is that they’re not happy how they are…and that rather than change them to meet an arbitrary standard, help them to become happy with who they are.
    Granted, there will be some modification of dress/style…but it will be a change to emphasize their own beauty, not to make them fit a “standard mold” of beauty that they probably won’t be able to.

    The thing about hair is that it is and effort made entirely about what someone else things of you.

    Speaking as a man, I mostly do my hair for 2 people: myself and my wife. I like to feel I look good, and I like to feel she thinks I look good. Is that wrong?
    For that matter, let’s say I did it just so that women would find me attractive. Is there something wrong with wanting to be found attractive? Doing your hair (for a guy, especially, but even for a woman) is a lot less “body modification” then seems in vogue these days…compared to botox, plastic surgery, corsets, and even high heels, I’d say it’s pretty mild.
    When I’ve got this show telling women how to do their hair, and another one (The Swan?) telling them to have surgical alterations to their body, which one is more about making women “happy with who they are”?

    You don’t mean to say that natural human aging of the men is unattractive, right? Wrinkles and all? Surely you’re not looking at their clothing, you’re mainly taking about their faces being unattractive? And is this in theory or do you find the older men unattactive?

    Beta can answer this one for herself, but in case you were looking for general opinions, yes, I find aging generally unattractive for both men and women (with individual exceptions, of course). I think she was referring to the fact that in society, older men are much more likely to be seen as “attractive” relative to their younger peers than older women are likely to be seen as “attractive” compared to THEIR younger peers. There is a double standard at work…in men, youth is not as key a factor in assessing attractiveness. Hell, even older women who are still considered attractive are generally considered so because they look younger than they are.

    As for your last point, while the message is out there somewhere, it is being drowned by the exact opposite message (skinny = sexy, fat women are ugly) presented by every other form of media. In contrast to the things you mentioned, try pretty much most of network TV, Vogue, Cosmo, Maxim, FHM, etc. etc. Yes, there are exceptions…but they are exceptions to a very large body of normative messages. The message that “fat doesn’t mean ugly” is a long way from everywhere.

  5. Tessa says

    Maybe they’re happy exactly they way they are!

    And yet clearly this woman wasn’t happy as she was. Maybe she should have been; maybe we all should be. But that doesn’t change the fact that we’re not, and if a new hair-cut and wardrobe managed to make a real, positive difference in this woman’s life without her having to do something truly drastic and horrific like starving herself or letting a surgeon slice her up, then I can’t really see that as a bad thing. A less that ideal thing? Sure. But we can say that about a heck of a lot of things in this world.

    And as to the nude photoshoot, I can tell you that regardless of how I feel about my boobs or my ass, I probably wouldn’t want them shown on national TV; I think you’re misinterpreting the purpose behind concealing some very private parts of her body in the photoshoot.

  6. MaggieCat says

    For instance… you have to get a more appropriate bra, so you don’t create rolls of your fat. You need to hide that fat back of yours. Also your clothes aren’t good for your figure. They need to be replaced. They’re just not very flattering. In other words, they show the “flaws” in your figure.

    Although I haven’t seen this show yet, given A)What BetaCandy described and B) How Carson Kressley usually operates, it’s not about hiding the “flaws” but eliminating clothes that are creating flaws you don’t have all on their own. Believe me that I’ve seen it happen a million times; very thin friend of mine wearing the wrong bra? Rolls on her back that make her look like Quasimodo. Me personally with a narrow waist and a large bust dealing with those freaking empire-waisted peasant tops that were in when I was in high school? Looked 7 months pregnant. While ads and magazines that are trying to sell you a product the focus of a message that says you must buy this this and this in order to be “in”. When there’s an actual person involved with trying to help an individual change their look, the focus (in good cases) is what will make that person look the best in a good basic silhouette that’s practical and can be updated with small things that are trendy that can be replaced every season without changing the core.

    That’s the big secret of the fashion industry that nobody wants to let the public in on- clamoring to make women think they need a whole new wardrobe every six months regardless of how it does or doesn’t suit their own body and personality unless they want to look out of style, when in reality you get a hell of a lot further finding basics that make you look and feel good and confident then adding in small (inexpensive, easily replaceable) things that make it look current. But obviously that doesn’t help the bottom line, so while like 80% of designers actually do that in their own lives, their marketing departments won’t let them tell you to do that. There’s a reason the classic Chanel suit is still in style: it looks really flattering on a lot of body types, all you have to do is update the fabric.

    A lot of fashion does revolve around the idea that you need to conform to whatever’s “in” at the moment, it’s just that now women are expected to change their basic body structure to fit into it rather than just buying clothes that create an impression. I’d like to hope that things like this might encourage some women to get off that damn ferris wheel, because it isn’t going anywhere.

  7. says

    I think everyone else answered Bill’s questions at least as well as I could have, but I’ll address my comment about ugly male politicians with this:

    Age has nothing to do with it. George Bush is just not a good-looking man, and never was. Nor was his father. Some people think Clinton and JFK were cute, but I doubt anyone would put their looks anywhere near the league of movie stars. And Reagan, who was a movie star? B-list both for looks and talent.

    But that didn’t stop any of these men from running a large wealthy nation because the public perceives men as having value for reasons other than their sex appeal.

  8. says

    Additional note about the bras: the show mentioned that 85% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. This is because there’s a whole different conception of how to clothe men and women. Men buy suits, and the tailoring is included. Women go to buy bras and can’t even get proper assistance in determining their size because stores don’t employ anyone who will do it. Because the vast majority of women have been trained not to feel entitled to that level of customer service.

    Personally, I realized from several remarks the bra-fitter made that my own bras don’t fit, and this is information I’m very glad to have because the bras I’ve been wearing make me feel hunched over, and I couldn’t figure out why. As soon as the malls aren’t swarming with people returning gifts, I’m off to demand a proper fitting from someone at a foundations store, no matter if they can’t be bothered or want to act (as Victoria’s Secret employees have done to my friends) like I have no right to enter their store unless I’m a size zero.

    Oh, and Bill? If you actually read the site, you’d know that yes, I do try to ascertain who’s using sweatshop labor and avoid spending money there. I find it’s impossible to determine for sure who’s doing it, but I try.

  9. Tessa says

    …the show mentioned that 85% of women are wearing the wrong bra size

    *Nodnods* Exactly. And as I was graphically reminded this morning when I was given a bra as a gift, bras in the wrong size are really frigging uncomfortable. If you’re wearing a bra that doesn’t fit you, you’re probably in some pain (ow, pinching! Damn it, that was a pretty bra, too). The same goes for clothes.

    And a significant number of women tend to buy all sorts of clothes in the wrong size (whether because they’re uncomfortable with the number on the tag, or think they’re bigger than they are, or any number of other reasons), and that’s not comfortable either. Since I haven’t seen it either, I can’t say for sure, but I’d guess that the show was at least in part dedicated to helping this woman find clothes that fit her properly so that she wouldn’t just look better, but would actually feel more comfortable too.

  10. Bill Diamond says

    So many comments! :) Let’s try to find principles behind them and clarify the noise:

    Hmm…I saw it more as “emphasizing the positive” than “concealing the negative”. The point they were aiming for is that “you can be beautiful, you have good features”, rather than “because you have one so-called-’bad’ feature, you’re ugly”, which is what society usually projects.
    You seem to be looking for the eradication of standards of beauty altogether…which, I’m afraid, is probably an unrealistic goal (at least for now). What’s wrong with starting small?

    I am looking at principles here. You can put lipstick on a pig and say that it has beautiful lips but it is still a pig. The principles are the same. The whole transformation is to give a different image from reality. As long as people do not recognize that they are in fact constantly judging people for their fashion and look, why does a temporary fix matter? That is my criticism. I’d much rather see a show that emphasizes achievement. Achievement in education, achievement in relationships, achievement in life goals rather than achievement in physical beauty.

    You seem to be looking for the eradication of standards of beauty altogether…which, I’m afraid, is probably an unrealistic goal (at least for now). What’s wrong with starting small?

    I’m not saying eradication of standards of beauty is the goal. I am simply trying to understand how we can say people are beautiful if they have to change their reality in order to be beautiful. Is this simply about making the person feel good about themselves? I think therapy would be more appropriate than a change of clothes.

    What messages exactly are sent to men about their “figures” and fashion? Because the only messages I see constantly is that any guy can get hot women…doesn’t matter if he’s old, fat, bald, ugly, or dresses badly. Whereas the last movie I saw that suggested that a heavily overweight woman could get a decent guy was…”Shallow Hal”. And Jack Black isn’t exactly a hot guy.

    Shallow Hal wasn’t exactly scoring with hot women either… Maybe you’ve oblivious to the messages of the media. Good for you. You apparently don’t think Tyra Banks and Oprah and The View are mainstream network TV. So I don’t know what media you’ve been watching.

    By the way, talking about Vogue, Cosmo, Maxim, FHM in the same sentence is very odd. Maxim and FHM are for heterosexual men. Vogue, Cosmo for heterosexual women. Why do Maxim and FHM show attractive women? Because heterosexual men are genetically (and hormonally) predisposed to enjoy looking at women. In particular the body types are probably related to genetic preferences much like sexual orientation is most likely genetic and pre-birth hormonal. Why do Vogue and Cosmo have attractive women? I guess you’ll have to ask the women about that.

    When I’ve got this show telling women how to do their hair, and another one (The Swan?) telling them to have surgical alterations to their body, which one is more about making women “happy with who they are”?

    It’s the same message. That’s what I’m saying. You need to change something about yourself to reach this beauty standard. 100 years ago hair coloring might’ve been impossible or if it was possible if probably could’ve burned your scalp off as it was being experimented. Maybe in 100 years, changing the shape of your nose will be done through nanomachines and is not surgery. Will your answer about surgical alterations change when changing the shape of your nose isn’t surgical? I know my argument won’t change. It will stand the test of time.

    Tessa Says:

    And yet clearly this woman wasn’t happy as she was.

    I was referring to men and BetaCandy’s remark that she wishes men would cater to style. If men are happy the way they are, why does BetaCandy wish they would pay attention more to style? She doesn’t seem to want to answer. Instead she hides under the responses of her “readers”.

    I think you’re misinterpreting the purpose behind concealing some very private parts of her body in the photoshoot.

    Maybe in some Islamic countries a stomach is a very private part but I don’t consider a photoshoot naked if all that is photographed are lower legs, arms and neck/head. As BetaCandy stated, the subject was laying on her stomach. there are many artful ways to take nude photographs without showing private parts.

    BetaCandy since you are the one the one making statements… I’d prefer your responses. You are making the arguments and that’s why I asked you the questions, not your readers. And I’ll know you’ll stick around here to answer just as a matter of intellectual honesty. What is unattractive about Bush? Ears too far out? Teeth too small? Strange looking smirk/smile? Hair should be colored? Looks too much like a chimpanzee? ;) What would it take for Bush to become beautiful? Is it simply not possible?

    I didn’t read the site back in February where in one comment over the last 10 months you mentioned in a couple sentences about VS using child labor. If it was such an important issue to you I’d figure you would mention it more! If you had read about VS before you wouldn’t have bought from their line of bras. Since your bras apparently fitted, that means they weren’t necessarily made by “useless lazy fashion designers” but rather designers with an eye for fashion and fit with a corporation who decided to manufacture overseas without high standards of labor practices. Sorry, there just seems to be so much loaded words in your response as if they were tied together but in reality, they are not! Now I’m not sure even if VS uses child labor because some web searches allude but frankly are inconclusive.

    So BetaCandy, the numerous topics on the Oprah and the Tyra Banks show, the View or a magazine (BBW) that has been running for close to 30 years is not sufficient to say that someone acknowledges that big can still be beautiful? Maybe if you had “actually read” or actually watch media you would see that the media is not all you make it out to be. By the way apparently the Ford modeling agency has had a plus-sized model group for the last 25 years.

    I suspect BetaCandy’s feelings about being ignored in VS are not so much about not being a size 0. Comparing tailoring of suits to buying bras is completely ridiculous. A bra is $35 and every possible size is available on the rack and each bra is also typically adjustable in a small range. Not only that, bras will vary in size between manufacturer. Not every 36C is equal. Should a woman expect a 15 minute custom fitting for every bra style and manufacturer? Maybe she can demand it… but it doesn’t make business sense. A bra would have to be priced at $100 to make up for the cost of all this custom fitting. A suit without tailoring will go for easily $500. With tailoring a decent suit can cost over $1000. Frankly when you go to buy a suit, the measuring takes a whole 2 minutes. In the case where there’s not a perfect fit, they might have a tailor do alterations. Only a custom made suit costing greater than $5000 will entail the kind of time, measuring and attention that you might see in movies. Not only that, except for a dedicated men’s store where they sell suits, forget about getting properly measured for a suit at normal stores. The only comparison that is even remotely comparable is being fitting for a wedding gown.

    Unfortunately for people like Tessa, their gift giver was well intentioned but how can someone buy a bra as a gift that fits when women who try on the bras themselves can’t even find one that fits without professional help. It’s their bodies, I’d expect they would figure these things out.

  11. says

    Let’s try to find principles behind them and clarify the noise:

    Oh, yes, let’s.

    Speaking of noise….

    I was referring to men and BetaCandy’s remark that she wishes men would cater to style….why does BetaCandy wish they would pay attention more to style?

    Yeah, well, you weren’t terribly clear about that, were you?

    BetaCandy:

    As for the hair: again, what’s wrong with anyone, male or female, finding a style that suits them? I wish more men bothered to, honestly.

    You:

    Maybe they’re happy exactly they way they are.

    Which makes this:

    She doesn’t seem to want to answer. Instead she hides under the responses of her “readers.”

    Effing ridiculous.

    Excuse us, but BetaCandy mentioned both men and women, and the default around here is not that women have to be specifically mentioned in every sentence to be considered part of the conversation. In fact, considering the clearly stated focus of the site, I’d say it’s almost the opposite. So you might want to make fewer assumptions and other noise in your own responses before you go around accusing people of being afraid to answer your question – especially when said question borders on derailment.

    (And “readers” is in quotes? Really? What exactly is the logic behind that bit of gratuitous punctuation?)

    The thing (sic) about hair is that it is and
    (sic) effort made entirely about what someone else things (sic) of you.

    Um, no. Often it’s because one just likes it that way. And sometimes it’s because other people enjoy it that way in ways that aren’t really related to looks, exactly. I adore Matthew Gray Gubler’s disheveled bob not so much because it looks cute (although it does, imo) but because it looks like it would be really fun to…yeah, I’ll stop there.

    Which brings me to my answer to the question you took so long to clarify:

    I can’t speak for BetaCandy, but I wish men would think more about style not because I care about looks, but because men seem to care so more about looking good to other men (ie, manly enough) rather than looking sexually appealing or even comfortable (despite numerous protestations otherwise).

    There’s a reason why my (second) favorite line from Clueless is:

    So okay, I don’t want to be a traitor to my generation and all, but I don’t get how guys dress today. I mean, come on, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants and take their greasy hair – ew – and cover it up with a backwards cap and like, we’re expected to swoon? I don’t think so.

    It’s not because I think that men should choose looking good over other practical choices, it’s that 1) the double standard in who is supposed to spend time on looking good is so obvious that even Cher feels the need to remark upon it and 2) it’s also obviously not true that men don’t choose their clothes only for comfort. I fail to see how pants that keep falling down are comfortable. They also aren’t sexy or attractive (imo). What they are is stylish – which means they make them look cool to other guys. I’d argue that they are stylish precisely because it’s a very unsexy look.

    I wish men would think about style more in part because I am a selfish bitch with hormones who likes looking at sexy men

    I also wish they would because I am increasingly annoyed with the people that argue that women aren’t visually stimulated – and do so without taking into account that men don’t try to be visually stimulating to women in even the slightest fraction of the way women try to be for men.

    In the end, though, I also wish they would because I think that the reasons they don’t often have as much to do with the patriarchy limiting their choices – by telling them that doing so makes them womanly or weak – than it has to do with the choices they do make being practical or comfortable.

  12. says

    And I’ll know you’ll stick around here to answer just as a matter of intellectual honesty.

    There’s no intellectual honesty in your comments, though. You’re just twisting words, ignoring that your questions have been asked and answered, and spinning things one way and then another just to dominate the thread.

    I have better things to do than answer all your disingenuous questions. You should look for better things to do than to spend so much time commenting in a thread you can’t be bothered to read.

    Example: you ask why I don’t mention sweatshop labor more often. That’s because this is not a blog about the issue of sweatshop labor. Either you don’t have the mental capacity to grasp simplicities like this, or you’re full of shit.

    And suggesting people should go to therapy over how the fashion industry’s PR makes them feel, rather than learn to ignore the messages and bend fashion to our will instead of letting it bend us to their? Rubbish. Again, either you don’t get very simple concepts, or you’re just here to stir up trouble.

    Whatever the case, welcome to the moderation queue.

    And for anyone who wondered, what Mickle said regarding men developing style. I DO want to see “the beauty standard” eradicated, but I see nothing wrong with individuals coming up with their OWN personal looks and styles. To me, how I choose to style my hair or whether I wear makeup has fuckall to do with making others like how I look – I look the way I’m in the mood to look and it’s an expression of my artistic temperament.

  13. Nenena says

    Oh heck. I was just going to drop by and comment to say “That sounds like an awesome show!” but then got caught up in reading this comments thread instead. ;) Having read Bill’s complaints, though, I still remained convinced that this sounds like a wonderful show.

    And having a bra and clothes that fit isn’t just about looking good for men. Everyone else has said this already, but having the right bra and clothes means avoiding ETERNAL OUCH all over your body. Especially the bra. Nothing hurts more than a bra that’s the wrong size and/or cut. A bra that makes rolls of fat on your back hurts. That’s a damn good enough reason to get a different one.

    Yeah, I know, I’m very late to the party and already repeating what everyone else said. ;)

  14. Bill Diamond says

    Thank you for adding me to the moderation queue. I’m glad you share the same censorship practices as your fellow right wing bloggers. Never answering questions and instead simply ignoring the poster.
  15. says

    And Bill, thank YOU for coming here and acting like a narcissist. This thread is not your personal soapbox. Your questions have been answered by others in almost precisely the way I’d have answered myself, and rather than retype the same things, I just owned their answers. In any case, no one is entitled to demand answers from anyone in this thread, not even me.

    If this is how you treat other bloggers – demanding that they allow YOU to direct the course of discussion by acting as interrogator – no wonder they “censor” you.

    By the way, which Bill Diamond are you claiming to be?

  16. Bill Diamond says

    Here’s a small list of things not answered: Why is “temporary” modification okay to achieve beauty? Doesn’t beauty come from within? Why are Tyra Banks, Oprah and The View not mainstream media. Why is Bush ugly? Why is bra sizing comparable to being fitted for a suit?

    Unless your readers have telepathy, I think you BetaCandy are the only one that can answer these questions.

    As for being a narcissist? I’m not the one with a blog. Also I’m keeping my name and actual email on your site instead of faking names… If you want to censor me, go ahead. If your arguments were sound and logical, I wouldn’t have to be here.

  17. says

    I asked you which Bill Diamond you’re purporting to be – the one who blogs at Huffington Post, the Maine Senator, or what – and you didn’t answer that (I think I know why). But I’ll be really generous and answer the rest of your questions before banning you.

    Why is “temporary” modification okay to achieve beauty?

    Why is it not?

    Doesn’t beauty come from within?

    Depends who you ask, doesn’t it?

    Why are Tyra Banks, Oprah and The View not mainstream media.

    They are, but that has nothing to do with the post. Trolling: the attempt to derail a thread onto a topic YOU’D like to talk about. Reason for banning.

    Why is Bush ugly?

    Why should I sit around and attempt to analyze this for you? His looks just strike me as ugly.

    Why is bra sizing comparable to being fitted for a suit?

    Because fitting clothes is similar to fitting clothes. God, you were absent the day they passed out brains, weren’t you?

    As for being a narcissist? I’m not the one with a blog.

    No, you’re the one who thinks he’s ENTITLED to blow his complete ill-founded opinions on webspace that someone else is paying for. You actually ought to make a donation at this point for the bandwidth you’ve wasted.

    Also I’m keeping my name and actual email on your site instead of faking names…

    My real name is readily available on the authors page. I don’t use it on every post because I’m not a blowhard who feels the need to attach her full name to everything she writes.

    If your arguments were sound and logical, I wouldn’t have to be here.

    And if you weren’t obsessed with my site here, LOL, you’d have found something better to do with your day.

  18. says

    Bill is banned, folks. Reason: while the rest of us are here for a group discussion, in which perhaps not every point we make will be addressed and we just have to live with that, Bill thinks the whole discussion is about Bill getting his questions answered.

    Enjoy the rest of the thread.

  19. says

    Oh, wait, I just figured it out. You’re claiming to be this loser, right?

    Bill Diamond Productions

    Clearly, your goal here is to just keep everyone posting. So, is that on behalf of Lifetime – like, you’re working for them and trying to keep the buzz going? Or you hate them because they don’t give you the time of day?

    Well, now I have to troll blather your comments because it’s clear you came here with an agenda that did not belong in my space.

  20. says

    I know I shouldn’t feed trolls, etc., etc., but I’m just cracking up over the “fake names” bit. WTF? It’s not even remotely hard to connect “real” names with several of us (about the authors page, anyone?), and even if we weren’t using our real names, pseudonymity isn’t the same as anonymity, for fuck’s sake. Names are fluid, even off the internets.

  21. Tessa says

    All troll-arguing aside, I really look forward to watching this, and I hope it catches on and continues in the vein you’ve described here. It sounds like it could be one of the rare reality shows that doesn’t make me want to beat my head against a wall. :)

  22. Mecha says

    Personally, I wish I did know how to make myself look better from a more objective point of view. My PoV is somewhat distorted.

    (I won’t be able to watch the show anyway. It’s on Fridays, and I have yet to get my HD card set up.)

    -Mecha

  23. says

    After further thought on the real name issue:

    Kathy Sierra.

    Just don’t ever go there with me. There is nothing inauthentic about protecting your name and real life persona (physical body, financial access, etc.) from whoever might happen by your website and turn out to be a lunatic.

  24. Tessa says

    Seriously – the question of “authenticity” in the case of internet pseudonyms strikes me as completely bizarre, especially considering their ubiquity. Am I less authentic for using just my first name and not my last? Would my comments carry less weight if I posted with one of my online pseudonyms instead? Inquiring minds want to know!

  25. says

    What do you mean by objective, Mecha? Just someone’s opinion other than your own?

    Not to derail or anything, but this (and earlier comments…actually, good ol’ Bill did put a decent thought into my head) got me wondering about something. Is there an “objective” standard of human beauty? Of masculine and/or feminine beauty, for that matter?

    I haven’t had enough time to mull it over, but my gut is telling me that, while we obviously can’t account for the individual tastes of millions of people, we can see general trends. But don’t those trends tend to vary immensely by societal influence? If you look at standards of beauty in different times and cultures, they’ve varied considerably.

    So where does a standard of beauty come from? How do we (as human beings) come to arrive at our views of “that is an attractive man/woman”? What does attractive even mean, for that matter? And what can/should we do about it?

  26. Mecha says

    Beta: Basically. I mean, if you think about the shows, there is a component which is ‘feel good about how you look’, but there is ALSO a component which is ‘make it so that others can figure out that you look good.’ I mean, I feel fine about myself, mostly? But do I think that other people think I look good? No chance in hell. That’s what I mean by objective. I realize that it is all subjective to a point, but if you accept that someone can generally look good, then there has to be some sort of objective set of criteria that you can use to get into that box, or at least close. As opposed to on the other side of the street.

    What Jay was talking about gets at that. Clearly, everyone is subjective about their standards, formed by society or no. There’s no seeming real absolute objective standard, but there’s trends and standards that generally work. From colors to what sort of shirt or pants or skirt to wear for your body type. Etc, etc, etc.

    The colors example is a good one. I don’t remember anyone telling me what colors go together. If it weren’t for people commenting on it explicitly and everywhere, I’d probably never know, but even then they don’t say what colors go together. That is the case with pretty much everything. There are clearly rules and standards and things that work, and nobody tells you about them. And looking them up is not always easy.

    Also, the Kathy Sierra thing is very, very sick. I’m imagining you (Beta) missed the Jade Raymond thing recently (which is not quite the same but still a nasty example of people being horrible in the gaming realm. ) People. Che.

    -Mecha

  27. says

    Is there an “objective” standard of human beauty? Of masculine and/or feminine beauty, for that matter?

    Personally, I’ve never thought so. I get what Mecha is saying about there being rules of fashion and so on. But even those change. Even theories of what colors go together can change.

    But as for faces and body types, I’ve never understood the idea that there’s a real standard. I mean, let’s look at men. I don’t like the pretty boy look, but some women do. The very thing they crave, I pull away from. If there’s a “standard”, then which woman is behaving in a “non-standard” fashion?

    Or do you mean something else?

    Mecha, I did miss Jade Raymond. I’m finding links that say “I don’t know what all the hubbub was” but can’t seem to find the original hubbub. If you have a link or feel like summarizing it here for me, I’d like to hear.

  28. Tessa says

    I definitely don’t feel there’s an objective standard of beauty; there’s far too much variation across time and culture, not to mention within a single group for us to be able to point at any particular trait and say “Lo, attractiveness!”. I’m also not fond of the bullshit popular evo-psych just-so stories about how our measures of attractiveness developed; they always seem based more on current standards of beauty (as defined by a media that refuses to present anyone who doesn’t fit the right cookie-cutter ideal) than on what people actually are/have been attracted to.

  29. Mecha says

    I’m personally talking about something at the more basic level. For example, the discussions that people had above about the wrong bra making people look bad (and also uncomfortable)? Who tells you that? How do you figure that out? What if you don’t care yourself about the looks part, or don’t think it looks bad, but everyone else in the world pretty much does? Shouldn’t that be information that’s worth knowing? Or at least that someone can tell you so you can make a rational decision on it?

    The extreme case of this is someone who seems slovenly or ugly not because of anything they really are, but simply because they don’t understand what other people could find attractive about them, or what could be done to make them be attractive. It’s very similar to the show in concept, but as I said, there’s the ‘self’ concept, and the ‘others’ concept. When ‘self looks good’ and ‘others think self looks good’ are heavily linked (usually in the case of women, where they internalize society’s judgemnets upon them and others) then it’s easier to get at them. When they’re not, you get a lot of freedom, but you also might not comprehend that people really do think you look like crap, and react to you in that way. I’m sorta feeling this out, so if it’s rambling, well, you know me, aheh.

    As to the Jade thing, I can summarize, although even I missed it by a few days. Revena may have a better bead on it (I haven’t read the Iris forums in a while, I can’t imagine it didn’t get discussed there.)

    The short of it is that Jade, who was the lead developer for a high budget high profile (and therefore highly promoted) game, is a woman who happens to be attractive. Her game also had a lot of people say it was really great, and others say it was really awful. So someone of the second opinion made a flash webcomic in which she was depicted giving blowjobs for good reviews. Ubisoft reacted against the website that linked it, and cue the free speech vs sexism wars (as per the Kathy discussion but without the death threats.) Also people talking about how ‘clearly she was putting herself out there and trying to use sex appeal to sell the game, so she brought this upon herself.’

    Ah, here’s the Iris Forums link: http://forums.theirisnetwork.org/viewtopic.php?t=835

    -Mecha

  30. Tessa says

    For me the “uncomfortable” trumps the “not attractive” concern. The fact that a bra that fits properly tends to also create a line that many people in our culture would consider more attractive as well as feeling much, much better is something I would think of more as a bonus than a necessity. If bras that most people thought didn’t look good were comfortable/supportive/etc., and bras that people thought were attractive were painful, then I’d wear the former, and to hell with the beauty standard.

    Most people would prefer to wear clothing that fits them properly, because it also feels better; in my experience, the reason that many people don’t wear clothing (particularly bras) that fits properly isn’t because they simply don’t care to, but because they’ve been taught that things like bras can’t be comfortable (my Mum, for one, was convinced that all bras were pinch-y/constrict-y, etc., until I took her in for a proper fitting and got her to try on pretty much every style in the store until we found one that she actually found more comfortable than not wearing one at all).

    I think it’s very important to make sure that people know that their clothing shouldn’t cause them discomfort, and that if it is, it’s the fault of the clothing and not their bodies. This at least in part comes back to what betacandy was saying about fittings; women should be able to expect the same level of service when they buy clothing as men do, and in many cases that includes careful fittings by trained staff familiar with a variety of body-types, and alterations to ensure the best possible fit.

  31. says

    Again, I may be missing what you’re talking about, Mecha, but.

    On “What Not to Wear”, they often take women who just sort of don’t get that clothes can be used to flatter one’s figure or face or skin tone and teach them what works for their body. But it’s still based on transient fashion rules. For example, they’re always telling short women to wear heels (one of my few gripes with the show) so their legs will look longer. This presupposes that everyone prefers longer legs. While men have certainly been conditioned to do so, I dunno if it’s true. I’m quite short, used to never ever wear heels, and I consistently seem to attract attention from tall, cute men as if, you know, I’m attractive and stuff, which I can’t possibly be since I didn’t wear heels so I’d meet the height standard. ;)

    HOWEVER… while I don’t think there’s ONE objective right answer to what clothes would look best on Mecha and why, I totally can see the value in getting several opinions from people who seem qualified. It’s kind of like, there’s no single answer to what color scheme you should paint your house, but if 16 interior designers who don’t all agree with each other on everything DO agree that painting the bedroom red is a bad idea, then I’d go with that.

    Myself, I’d love to have some film costumers work with me on my wardrobe, because I think some of them have the most incredible sense of precisely how to flatter various body types.

    Re: Jade Raymond. Yeesh. Thanks. I struggled to find something constructive to say here, but in vain.

  32. says

    I’m also not fond of the bullshit popular evo-psych just-so stories about how our measures of attractiveness developed; they always seem based more on current standards of beauty (as defined by a media that refuses to present anyone who doesn’t fit the right cookie-cutter ideal) than on what people actually are/have been attracted to.

    No kidding! And they always just happen to be racist and classist, too.

    I just found this:

    http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/13226/

    Which neatly sums up the trouble with the beauty standard the media sets for us. (Which may not yet be what Jay means, precisely – we’ll see.)

  33. Miriam says

    I dislike ill fitting bras. However, I haven’t been able to find a fitting one in years. Due to material sensitivities I really need to find a tailor/seamstress to make my bras from scratch. Even if I have to pay $100 a bra. :(

    As far as ill fitting clothes go, those are unacceptable to me. I have always ignored what is fashionable and gone with what looks good on me. Due to my curves, my best look is an A-line dress with zero frills and a slight V-neck. I can stop traffic in an outfit like that. :) Even if I am wearing tennis shoes under the dress. :)

    When I feel that I look good in the mirror that day, I walk more confidently.

  34. Tessa says

    And they always just happen to be racist and classist, too.

    Oh lord, yeah. Isn’t it funny how it always turns out that skinny blonde white women with volley-ball boobs are just “naturally” more attractive (regardless of the fact that that’s a body type that would have been virtually if not literally non-existent for much of human development, not to mention the fact that some 95% of people in the world wouldn’t even have had a concept of blonde hair for millenia, and yet somehow were attracted to each other). *Eyeroll*

    However, I haven’t been able to find a fitting one in years.

    You know, I’ve been finding bra fits worse and worse – it used to be that I could order a nice one in my size from the internet, it would arrive, and the fit would be perfect. Now the sizings seem to have gone completely random; I’ll order several, all from the same bloody company – a couple will fit, and the rest will be too big/too small/too completely odd fitting. It’s getting pretty damn frustrating! We need some sort of underwear revolution; maybe if I decide this whole philosophy thing isn’t for me I’ll start a lingerie company. ;)

  35. sbg says

    I caught this show on Friday, and I really appreciated it. I’d like for it to be longer than 1/2 hour, though – due to the time constraints and editing, the impact this process made on the woman wasn’t as powerful as it could have been, I think.

  36. Mecha says

    I saw it on Friday too (it looks like they’re re-showing it late enough that I can catch it) and what Beta said sounds right. From my point of view, it was the large number of interesting perception exercises was interesting. Having her place herself in a row of women, and having her place it 6 inches larger than it was, showing how the same woman, wearing 3 different outfits, was considered by her to be more or less attractive. I recognized it very clearly as a ‘break the mental conditioning’ thing.

    There were a lot of women in underwear on that show (from the main makeoveree to the various comparison models), but there really wasn’t particularly much pandering. Most of it was… I want to say clinical, but I’m not sure that’s the right word. Detached, I guess. The fact that the man they’re using is so flaming that he makes OOC Takei look straight also can be a bit disarming.

    The editing thing SBG brought up seems like a big deal too. I’m wondering if they have enough content for an hour, but I’m also thinking they have more than for a half hour. There were a number of montage sequences to try to get the impression of things done (like the shopping, or the makevoers), maybe they’ll scale down a bit on those once the thing’s established. As well as scaling down on the reality-show like ‘And I think you should do this photo shoot naked’ *dun dun dun* cuts at the commercials. Or maybe not. I don’t watch enough makeover shows to know if that fades away. ;)

    -Mecha

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