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Thread: The Phenomenon

  1. #1
    Oh Really? Wilde's Avatar
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    The Phenomenon

    I watched Extreme Makeover for the first time last week and then watched the Prime Time special on auditioning (apparently they have no shortage of eager applicants) for it afterwards. After that, and then reading some of the posts in this forum I am simply amazed and curious about the hold that this show is taking on so many people out there.

    I am far from having a "good" body image but the idea of undergoing the amount of surgery that this show requires - not to mention dental and vision work - seems, well, very very EXTREME.

    By the phenomenon, I just wonder if I have missed something in people I know. I wonder if someone I know is truly that unhappy with their image but, because I can't relate, I don't recognize that.

    Further, I hope that most people who watch the show don't actually view what these people undergo as a blanket solution for everyone who is unhappy with their body image. Sure, for some people who are truly "cosmetically challenged" plastic surgery is a viable option. But just because you think your boobs are too small or too big, your nose is too long or your teeth or too yellow doesn't mean you need this type of makeover - it just means that you have to work it!

    "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." - Plato

  2. #2
    Retired! hepcat's Avatar
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    I guess before seeing the show I was bothered by the idea of cosmetic surgery as a "makeover". But they make an effort to get people whose lives have been dramatically affected by their looks. The first episode I watched (last season) was a very lovely girl except for the fact that she had very, very large lips. Others had big lips in her family but she had overflowing lips to the point that it looked like a deformity. She was extremely sensitive about them and didn't like to kiss because she was so shy about it. She was in control of her emotions but she couldn't hide the pain they had caused her her whole life. It was really touching to see her transformation - afterwards she looked like a movie star and she just couldn't stop smiling. What a difference.

    Another really touching one was the set of twins. They had grown up in a poor family, and the family had only enough money to fix the teeth of one of the girls. So their whole lives, one of them was the "ugly" twin and the other was the "pretty" one. I can't believe that family did that to those girls.

    I see your point and I agree about boob jobs, but this show has roped me in by trying to get people with more of a story than just wanting to look like Barbie.
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  3. #3
    Picture Perfect SnowflakeGirl's Avatar
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    Very interesting topic, Wilde! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    As I mentioned in my first recap (for Season 2, Episode 2), I had never seen Extreme Makeover, and was initially very leery of the concept myself. I had feared it would be a spectacle of self-loathing individuals mutilating themselves publicly in order to conform to unrealistic and possibly hazardous societal ideals of beauty. I also felt that such a show might have an adverse effect on a viewing audience that is already beset with poor notions of body image, perhaps leading people to over-analyze their flaws.

    After actually watching these last two shows, however, I don't feel that my preconception was correct. For one thing, the participants of the show all seem to have valid and reasonable motivations for going through the makeover. From what I've seen so far, they are sane, normal people (i.e. not Jacksons) who, for the most part, are not trying to escape from their old selves, but simply wish to enhance themselves in order to improve the quality of their lives. Like Peggy (From CSI to SEXY), most people seem to want to keep the character of their face, while making corrections to certain imperfections. I haven't yet seen an EM candidate who's gone overboard with the surgery--and I live in L.A., so I know from overboard.

    I like that the show seems to grant makeovers to people who seem to really deserve it. They seem to be good and hard-working people, who have also a certain amount of hardship (again, Peggy's story really touched me, because her job makes her deal with everyone else's grief and sorrow--you tell me she doesn't deserve some pampering). These are people who also may not normally be able to afford these types of procedures, maybe not even some of the basic dental work (like Jennifer, also Ep. 2) which comes down to health and not even cosmetics.

    Most importantly, I like that the overall thrust of the show seems to be geared towards empowerment. I agree with you that there is a danger of leading people to believe that this "makeover" is a quick fix for all of life's ills, some magical key to eternal happiness and acceptance. That is what it certainly is not. But I do think that the improvements do seem to be beneficial to the candidates--it probably will help Peter to feel less insecure, and by making him more confident, allow him to let more people know the already vibrant personality he's been harboring all this time. Lori, a mother who probably never thinks about herself, who's been ridiculed her whole life because of her nose, has finally had a chance to see herself in a new light. She has a loving family that has always seen her as beautiful, but she now can see herself the way they do. I think the show has boosted her self esteem, and gives her permission to take care of herself, which is definitely a positive thing.
    Sending good vibes and warm fuzzies your way..., SnowflakeGirl
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  4. #4
    Picture Perfect SnowflakeGirl's Avatar
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    I just want to add that it seems like the show also makes a point of conveying to the audience that not everyone needs to do something so extreme to improve your looks and life. But it does educate you on different techniques that are available that are feasible for anyone. Sam the style specialist, says that anyone can look fabulous in the right clothing, and he gives great, really practical advice each week. On one episode, they brought a candidate to get her eyebrows shaped professionally, and I think if more women did this, they'd be amazed at how such a little thing really can dramatically improve the entire visage. I love learning about all the things they can do in dermatology, with Lasik, with hair color. No one has to do all of these things in one fell swoop, but it's highly informative to the general public to know what kinds of things are currently out there.
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  5. #5
    eboughey
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilde
    I am far from having a "good" body image but the idea of undergoing the amount of surgery that this show requires - not to mention dental and vision work - seems, well, very very EXTREME.

    By the phenomenon, I just wonder if I have missed something in people I know. I wonder if someone I know is truly that unhappy with their image but, because I can't relate, I don't recognize that.

    Further, I hope that most people who watch the show don't actually view what these people undergo as a blanket solution for everyone who is unhappy with their body image. Sure, for some people who are truly "cosmetically challenged" plastic surgery is a viable option. But just because you think your boobs are too small or too big, your nose is too long or your teeth or too yellow doesn't mean you need this type of makeover - it just means that you have to work it!

    As for breasts being too big, it causes a lot of medical problems in the back and shoulders. Having your teeth done to the max as these people have costs many thousands of dollars. I would do the show to alleviate the pain alone. I wouldn't care if they did nothing else, but with an offer of fixing all the problem areas, why not?

  6. #6
    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hepcat
    Others had big lips in her family but she had overflowing lips to the point that it looked like a deformity. .
    I was frankly disturbed by this show's concept when I first heard about it. However, I agree with hepcat. The people that are chosen (with one or two exceptions) have things wrong with them that are borderline deformities. Most of these people have seriously been hindered by their appearance until the 'makeover'. I just hope that they don't start choosing people who want surgery for pure vanity reasons.
    Last edited by Stargazer; 10-10-2003 at 10:07 AM.
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."- Yoda

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  7. #7
    FORT Newbie
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    First I would love to just that not only do I love the show, I love coming to this site and reading everything that everyone has to write. Everyone of you is so passionate and I think that is a gift that no person should be without. And for those of you who might already know I'm in the process of applying myself. I'm still cringing about the thought my whole body being shown on national tv when my whole life I've always made it a point to keep people from seeing my body never mind in my underwear. Everytime I've put a bathing suit there has always been either a large long shirt over it and at least never without shorts! It's taken a few talks and a few shows to get my family to understand why this would be the greatest and most exspensive gift in the world. Now they are more excepting and would support me if I was to actually make the show. Not that I'm holding my breathe cuz I can't win a doller on a scratch off ticket. The Oct. deadline is nearing and I still don't have a camcorder but I am trying hard to find one. I would just go out and buy one but with a 1 year old and my staying at home with him extra money is not to be mine. And I would have to say that would be my biggest problem, leaving my son for two months, at his age.

  8. #8
    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by forte2play
    And for those of you who might already know I'm in the process of applying myself. The Oct. deadline is nearing and I still don't have a camcorder but I am trying hard to find one. I would just go out and buy one but with a 1 year old and my staying at home with him extra money is not to be mine. And I would have to say that would be my biggest problem, leaving my son for two months, at his age.

    Good luck, I hope you find a camcorder. Maybe you can ask your friends and family if they have one you could borrow for the audition tape. I wish you the best
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."- Yoda

    "I'll just see where Providence takes me and try to look like I got there confidently." - Craig Ferguson

  9. #9
    Oh Really? Wilde's Avatar
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    What fantastic and well informed responses! I agree that the show itself portrays plastic surgery in the best light possible. Peter truly did have cosmetic issues (especially with his teeth) that undoubtedly had a significantly negative impact on his social interactions. His transformation was so amazing that I can't wait to see if they do an update show on him and see how his life, not just his appearance, has changed.

    What I am still concerned with though are the seemingly, to me at least, normal looking people who are applying to this show. Is it just the lure of thousands of dollars of free cosmetic surgery? Is there really that much image disphoria in American society? If you saw the Primetime special after last weeks' show, there were two women, only one of which would get the makeover. One of them, the blonde, I felt was an adequate candidate as she truly did not fit the "normal" ideal. The other woman, a real estate broker, looked perfectly fine to me. However, she truly felt that she was so ugly it was inhibiting her work.

    What alarms me is that there are people like the latter woman who truly look fine but see this show and identify themselves with the extreme cases. While the show probably won't give them a makeover, I am concerned that they will spend thousands of their own money and put themselves at such risks just to overcome their perceived deficiency.
    "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." - Plato

  10. #10
    Soccer Kicks Balls cali's Avatar
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    I know it's been said many times above, but I agree with pretty much everyone.
    The only time I was ever almost upset was when I read that (sorry, the name escapes me...) the one twin sister who had never had braces and whose nose had been broken might NOT be on when her sister (yes, no broken nose and DID have braces) had already been chosen.

    As I said I was almost upset because they wound up having both on anyway.

    As for Plastic Surgery being seen as a blanket “Fix all” for many other problems, I think that happened well before the show was ever aired. People who feel that way are going to feel that away until they figure out why. A show (in my opinion) just isn’t going to make someone feel that.

    I hope that made sense. I need (Which, by the way, IS a Fix All )
    "Rice is great when you're hungry and want 2,000 of something' -- Mitch Hedberg

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