Monday, August 22, 2005

I'm disturbed by The Swan

I couldn’t believe it when I saw the clip from The Swan the other day in class. I’d never seen the show before and I was shocked to see how those women’s low self esteems was used to create entertainment. It’s sad that the show sends the message that beauty is on the outside. I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with a little cosmetic surgery, but it is as if they had to go overboard with all the extras, such as the botox, eyebrow lifts and whatever else can be lifted, cut off or added on.

I’m sure that if I watched a whole episode that I would be told the usual comments that the “contender” was a wonderful woman, a solo mother to 7 adopted kids, devoted all her time to charity and was teased at school for being ugly. But the show would go way past that. It’s not a show about how wonderful people are, but how much more attractive they can become physically. It’s also sad that the message we receive is that physical beauty equals success, popularity and ultimate happiness.

“Self-improvement” shows are the new phase of reality TV, but what concerns me is that teenagers are destined to have low self-esteem at some stage in their adolescence. The message that they are going to receive from TV shows, such as The Swan and Extreme Makeovers, is to look past their “inner beauty” and look for their nearest plastic surgeon to solve their problems. It disturbs me that this is happening.

Years ago, I remember Oprah and Sally Jesse Raphael giving makeovers to people for the same reasons. No surgery was involved- it was the usual fashion, make up and hair stylists, a gym guru, usually a counsellor who helped them with their self esteems and maybe a pair of contacts or a set of braces. These people came out looking stunning and they didn’t need surgery to do so.

One TV drama that was interesting was Nip/Tuck. My first impression was that it would be a show with too many plastic looking “perfect” people with too much money. It was interesting to see that plastic surgery was often challenged and not necessarily glamorised, as it showed the complications and issues that can be involved.

It seems these days that cosmetic surgery, for commercial purposes, is used to find flaws within ourselves. Why is it so hard to find a TV show about how wonderful a person is…..?


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