Monday, January 09, 2006


I love watching TV programmes about makeovers, plastic surgery and the like. If you were to ask me why I like watching them, I’d struggle a bit to answer – they just fascinate me in much the same way as I’d be fascinated to watch some strange and foreign religious ceremony that I hadn’t seen before and didn’t understand. I was watching one this afternoon (a makeover programme – not a strange and foreign religious ceremony) about a 44 year old woman who put herself through a number of plastic surgery procedures, fillers, botox and extensive dentistry work because she had a low self image. Why? Just get the poor bloody woman a psychiatrist, a life coach, a change of diet, a new hobby, a few yoga sessions, or maybe an OU course – put down the scalpel, canula and Botulinum Toxin and move away from the patient!

Are we really so shallow today that our self-worth is measured solely according to what we look like? Okay, I know that not all of us think that way, but I guess many people do, or there wouldn’t be so many TV hours devoted to it. Don’t get me wrong, at the end of the procedures, I have a smile of happiness for the poor downtrodden victim who finally thinks they are worth something, as ridiculously large as the next person but, at the same time, I feel a bit sick – it’s totally twisted. At least on the programme I watched today they had a psychotherapist working with the victim as well as a stylist (one of those weird looking creatures who are so perfectly styled that they look like a cartoon), and one of the things the psychotherapist did was to ask the woman to position people according to their careers on a ‘social ladder’. A ship’s captain made it to the top, followed by a doctor, then a model and then the woman herself on the bottom ring, alongside a shop assistant and a tramp. Jesus. Of course the helpful psychotherapist made sure that she corrected the woman’s ideas by simply swinging the ladder on its side and telling her that all those people were “just the same as you, dear”. Please.

After the makeover was completed, her hair was done (by Trinny and Susannah’s stylist, no less), she was made up by a professional make-up artist, dressed by cardboard cut out stylist man and presented back to her husband and two daughters who managed to look both thrilled, and as if they’d just seen a horrific car crash at the same time. Totally twisted.


Cailleach said...

I have a threory that people who have a low self image, such as that of the person you watched this aver, probably define their sense of worth from what they do... it's a bit of
an assumption but there you are.

I'll guess - probably incorrectly - that she didn't have an 'engaging' career and thought that this might be one of doing it?

I agree with your prescription - OU courses till she begs for mercy! Who wants to look like Jackie Stallone when they're older!

Messalina said...

You're dead right Ms B - she was a dinner lady from Leeds with a broad accent. I mention these things because it is how she 'explained' herself. I think that is why I found this particular programme so interesting - I'm from a working class background, am in the same age ball park and have quite a broad Yorkshire accent. However, when I think about myself and who I am, these aren't the features that first come to mind!

Annapurna said...

I find all this a bit sad and hate to see people exploited in this way on public viewing channels. Oh yes, you could argue, they choose to do it but do they? They must be encouraged by someone. And why can't that someone help them to realise that whatever they do, wherever they are from, however they speak, they are still worthwhile people making a real contribution to society.

Is it still the wretched English class system alive and well but covert to be PC. Who made the lady in question feel the need to 'explain' herself as she did?

She will certainly never get out of this quagmire by having makeovers. A short lived boost and then coming back to earth will make her feel even worse.

We need to address the social issues that makes these attitudes still prevalent. I personally loved my dinner ladies at school - they were my surrogate mums and mended all ills, were always cheerful and liked what they did. And that was a long time ago. Perhaps things have got worse rather than better.

This lady needs to be made to feel worthwhile by those around her. It is just sad. I feel for her.