Utilizing the Makeover: Reflexivity, Subversion and Panopticism in What Not to Wear

Files

Citation

Bauer, Mandie, “Utilizing the Makeover: Reflexivity, Subversion and Panopticism in What Not to Wear,” Scholar@Simmons, accessed April 4, 2020, https://beatleyweb.simmons.edu/scholar/items/show/343.

Title

Utilizing the Makeover: Reflexivity, Subversion and Panopticism in What Not to Wear

Creator

Bauer, Mandie

Date

2015

Description

Reality television, making its contemporary debut with shows such as The Real World and Survivor in the late 1990s and early 2000s, has dominated the airwaves in recent years, quickly expanding into its own genre. Makeover-themed shows in particular have grown significantly in the last decade, and according to Brenda R. Weber’s book, Makeover TV: Selfhood, Citizenship, and Celebrity, they surged from approximately 25 in 2004 to more than 250 by 2009. While critics are quick to jump on makeover television’s perpetuation of dominant ideology, this critique leaves out one vital aspect: understanding its continuing mass appeal. Why does this genre, often referred to as “trash TV,” continue to grow exponentially, despite its evident and numerous flaws? Beginning with a look at the current scholarly work on reality television, this thesis combines Katherine Sender’s study on the reflexive audience in The Makeover: Reality Television and Reflexive Audiences, John Fiske’s analysis of popular culture’s subversive potential in Reading the Popular, and Michel Foucault’s exploration of surveillance in Discipline & Punish, to re-center the analytical focus to the viewer. With an in-depth look at TLC’s long-running makeover program, What Not to Wear, this paper frames makeover television not only as the often-explored perpetuation of dominant ideals in the name of beauty, self-confidence and individual success, but highlights its subversive potential and use as an individual utility to its viewers.

Publisher

Simmons College (Boston, Mass.)

Format

1 PDF (33 Pages)

Language

English

Type

Masters Theses