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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    13

    Make-over shows - Trading Spaces, What Not To Wear - why?

    I was reading the Trading Spaces thread and it touched on a subject that I've wanted to discuss.
    I know that make-over shows have always been popular and I have always had an undeniable urge to watch them, BUT I am wondering why they are so appealing on a cultural or even evolutionary level.
    I think that What Not To Wear - the British version - I enjoy simply because I often feel lost when it comes to clothes these days. I went anti-fashion for years after having been a pretty hip youngster...and when I decided clothes were not evil - rather the mode of production was the problem - I didn't even know what I liked any more. And you know the part where they film people without their knowing it and say, "You look hideous!" Well, I've spent my life telling myself that no one is noticing me, that no one is paying enough attention to anything other than themselves to note my socks or my ill-fitting bra. But it seems they are...and I've always been secretly afraid that they really were and that they weren't was just a lie I told myself so I wouldn't freak out. I find myself more interested in looking unique...or feeling motivated to actually get a haircut (rather than just going near-bald every few weeks) because of this influence...Because my clothes are the wrapper I show the world...and the choices I make do matter enough to me to go for something that represents me somewhat.
    And it's also that made-over people on What NOt To Wear are not bad people, they just, like me, lack information...they lack a formula to tell them what they should and should not wear...and once they understand "The Rules" they're golden forever. People clap for them. I want a set of damn rules. I want my life to be that simple. I want "Cute Top" to be my mantra. Not really, of course, but I do crave a very black/white, yes/no existence because my life is so very complicated.
    The people on the US version do not appeal to me at all - the hosts, I mean...and I rarely watch it. I think they are rather mean at times.
    I also have a real moral issue with the show...because...well, I think $5000 is a lot of money that could do a lot more important things than buy one wardrobe. I think that they should do a sweatshop-free episode. For me, who only buys clothes second-hand or makes my own out of recycled fabric, the whole idea of blowing that starving-child-feeding-wad of money on a coat and some shoes is repugnant...but I am drawn to watch it...again and again.
    Changing Rooms (The BBC Trading Spaces) is more to my liking...because it seems much more down to earth than the US version. Houses are quirky...walls fall apart...Every house on Trading Spaces looks virtually the same.
    So, after my long self-revelatory diatribe, would anyone else like to chime in on the psychology behind these shows...and what makes them so appealing?

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  3. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    80
    I watch alot of these shows, alot of the time, and I'm not even sure why. It's like my own version of watching soaps, I guess. Living vicariously thru other people. I guess it's the same reason the "reality" shows are so popular.

    I would totally go on What Not To Wear, although I don't think my wardrobe sucks bad enough to qualify, I am willing to suffer thru the humiliation to get the money (everyone has their price!). But I see your point- there was one episode at least a year ago where the girl went shopping and her first stop was Old Navy, where of course she bought a stuffed-piled-cartfull of clothes for less than $1000. Loved that, that's what I'd do, maybe I'm cheap but it horrifies me to think about spending $500 on one pair of pants! No way! I don't care how "classic" they are! It bothers me that they stick everyone shopping in NYC at the good stores, I would much rather have them drive me to the outlets in Jersey or something like that, please. Of course for $5000, I could outfit myself, DH, and both kids for the next 5 years.

    I imagine those two would have a hissy-fit if they ever caught one of their "students" shopping second-hand, although alot of the time I'm not impressed at their own wardrobe choices.

    Anyway, back to your question, I am thinking maybe human nature is to want to know if you're "normal", how you compare to other real people. A bit of the sap factor thrown in, watching others transform. The dream of one day having something significant like that happen to you, a gift given. (how many times have you had conversation with other people about what you'd do if you won the lottery? dreaming is fun) And more than once when watching these shows I am reminded of Andy Warhol and "in the future everyone will have 15 minutes of fame" and thinking all these reality shows and makeover shows are proving him right.


 

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