exciting, informative, snarky, and very likely fabricated tales of life as an american expat in london

it takes courage to enjoy it

by Jen at 4:10 pm on 9.01.2008 | 6 Comments
filed under: like a fish needs a bicycle

although our television is usually on, i don’t actually watch it very often. even less often do i make the time to sit down and watch a specific programme… but for the past season i’ve found myself making a point of making time to watch “how to look good naked”.

at first blush, it looks like a standard makeover show – women unhappy with their looks getting professional advice and new haircuts. but what makes this programme unique and worthwhile, (rather than just another hour long advert for increasing the profits of the beauty industry at the expense of women’s self-esteem), is that the entire message throughout the show is *not* about changing how you look, but about changing how you feel.

yes, you read that right. there are no endorsements for plastic surgery, no discussions about dieting, not even a suggestion for healthy exercise. the women learn to feel good about themselves, just as they are – lumps, bumps, and all. throughout the programme, women of all sizes parade around in nothing more than their cotton underwear, and the climax of the show consists of a segment where the woman takes part in a naked photo shoot.

if that idea doesn’t sound like the standard recipe for successful television, you’d usually be right. in a day and age where reality makeover shows find success by focusing almost exclusively on making people look younger, thinner, and artificially enhanced, the idea that you can be beautiful without changing a single thing – that in fact you already *are* beautiful and just don’t know it yet – is so singular as to be revolutionary.

part of the reason i love the show, is that it makes me feel happier and more confident in my *own* body – and i would hazard to guess that its popularity is based in working exactly the same magic for others. there’s always a huge smile on my face at the end of the show when the woman (who sometimes hasn’t even let her own husband see her naked) is strutting her stuff in her altogether in front of a giant crowd of people – there is something so uplifting about seeing a woman full of spirit and self-assurance, it *is* beautiful. and granted, there is still some emphasis on makeup and “foundation garments” as part of a way to enhance one’s overall appearance, (so it’s not entirely free from the conventional standards of beauty) but the overall motif basically boils down to this: looking sexy comes from feeling sexy, and feeling sexy comes from loving your body just as it is.

and while it is depressing to realise just how many of the shows out there make money by making women feel bad about themselves based solely on their appearance, it is unbelievably exciting to see a show that radically departs from that formula by making women feel good about who they are inside, irrespective of body size or shape. to me, that’s television worth watching.

i’ve recently discovered that there’s a new spinoff version of “how to look good naked” for the states. let’s hope it’s the start of a trend.

bjork – big time sensuality

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  • 1

    Comment by Charlotte

    9.01.2008 @ 16:58 pm

    Sounds like the kind of show I need to watch right now! Having indulged too much at Christmas I am not loving my naked self overly much.

    But seriously, I agree with you that it’s a wonderful idea to help women feel better about themselves without changing themselves. As you say, a radical concept.

  • 2

    Comment by Sarah

    9.01.2008 @ 22:10 pm

    I think so many women long long long for a show like this, but are fed the *other* type of show which reinforces changing who you are and not being comfortable in who you are.

    Through your post I felt forlorn that we didn’t have this in the States– but we will! I’ll lookout for it; hopefully it captures the same magic. We’re long overdue.

  • 3

    Comment by Jen

    9.01.2008 @ 22:24 pm

    i think prevailing wisdom was that the other shows were the only profitable ones.

    hopefully this is proving that wrong.

  • 4

    Comment by Nicole

    10.01.2008 @ 20:23 pm

    Yeah- I’m addicted that show too. I love what’s his name.

  • 5

    Comment by Vol Abroad

    10.01.2008 @ 21:44 pm

    yep, it’s great. I don’t watch it much, though. But when I do – yeah, the big smile at the end.

  • 6

    Comment by Jen

    10.01.2008 @ 21:56 pm

    @sarah: looks like the u.s. spinoff is being shown on lifetime, hosted by carson from “queer eye”

    @nicole: gok! i love gok. his kind of cheerleading is good for the soul.

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