I’m sitting here watching the American version, and guess what? It sucks. What a shock. America has copied dozens, maybe hundreds of sitcoms, variety shows and now reality TV from the British, and they never get it right. By the time they’re done consulting demographics polls instead of injecting original thought, they lose what made the show good in the first place. Gee, go figure.
The first makeover I saw this morning resulted in the woman looking exactly as good as she looked before. They cut and colored her hair – it looked the same. They redressed her – it looked the same. If she came out of it feeling better about how she looked, I’m glad about that because I swear it’s how you feel you look that matters, not how you actually look. But these hosts can’t make mannequins look hot. They have less understanding of how to psych women into trying new things than the hosts on the British version. Then again, the new things they’re suggesting aren’t flattering as what the British hosts come up with.
The reason I’m posting about here is that the episode I’m watching right now involves a young woman – Jennifer – with enormous natural breasts. She wears her clothes too tight for two reasons. First: off-the-rack clothes just aren’t designed to fit both normal shoulders and large breasts, and she has to cut and pin together most of her clothes to get them fitting at all. Second: to show off her breasts. Her friends and family are concerned she’s making the wrong “first impression” by dressing so sexy when she’s actually very intelligent and educated. She tries to explain to them that no matter how she dresses, her breasts will be the first thing anyone notices. But neither the family nor the hosts get it.
I’ve had friends with large breasts. There’s a general psychology that goes with this trait, just as there’s a general psychology for people who are unusually tall, short, etc. A woman with large breasts used to be a young girl with large breasts. By the time she’s 14, she’s learned that men and women alike have an irrational unconscious assumption that she’s a trashy slut, as if she grew her chest that way on purpose to invite sexual attention. Out of shame, or the embarrassment of being forced to consider sexual issues before her brain is ready for it, or even an abject fear of being raped by a man who assumes the size of her breasts are a personal come-on for him, she will likely wear enormous shirts to hide the breasts. This makes her look fat. She may also gain weight, because that’s a natural defense mechanism for insecure teens who want to hide themselves.
Jennifer remarks that she used to be fat, and has worked hard to overcome it. My guess? She went through all the normal embarrassment girls experience when their breasts are the first things people see on them, and she’s overcome her embarrassment by embracing “the girls”. But all the hosts care about is calling less attention to her chest. They’re not looking at the whole woman: like everyone else, they’re obsessed with the twins, and treating them as something to be ashamed of. It’s no wonder Jennifer is resistant to their ideas. These alleged pros are as infantile as everyone else.
Conversely, the hair stylist really does her a favor. He takes out her hair extensions, which gave her long, limp locks, and cuts her natural hair to have some layers around her face, and some lift and body. Guess what happens? Suddenly you notice her face before her chest, instead of the other way around. The haircut has emphasized her lovely face to the point that it distracts you from the breasts. And Jennifer seemed to appreciate the difference as well.
It’s not that she couldn’t dress better. In fact, there were one or two outfits the hosts came up with that I thought worked for her. The problem is that the hosts are stuffy East Coast snots who want to convert every woman to a conservative, church-going sort of look, substituting their taste for hers. The British hosts want to help women find the best way to express themselves as individuals.
If that’s not a darn good metaphor for global attitudes toward women, I don’t know what is.