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Inroughly 25 makeover-themed reality shows aired on U. Weber argues that whether depicting transformations of bodies, trucks, finances, relationships, kids, or homes, makeover shows posit a self achievable only in the transition from the "Before-body"-the overweight figure, the decrepit jalopy, the cluttered home-to the "After-body," one filled with confidence, coded with celebrity, and imbued with a renewed faith in the powers of meritocracy. The rationales and tactics invoked to achieve the After-body vary widely, from the patriotic to the market-based, and from talk therapy to feminist empowerment.

The genre is unified by its contradictions: to uncover your "true self," you must be reinvented; to be empowered, you must surrender to experts; to be special, you must look and act like everyone else.

Makeover tv: selfhood, citizenship, and celebrity

Based on her analysis of more than 2, hours of makeover TV, Weber argues that the much-desired After-body speaks to and makes legible broader cultural narratives about selfhood, citizenship, celebrity, and Americanness. Although makeovers are directed at both male and female viewers, their gendered logic requires that feminized subjects submit to the controlling expertise wielded by authorities. The genre does not tolerate ambiguity.

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Conventional middle-class, white, ethnically anonymous, heterosexual femininity is the goal of makeovers for women. When subjects are male, makeovers often compensate for perceived challenges to masculine independence by offering men narrative options for resistance or control. Foregoing a binary model of power and subjugation, Weber provides an of makeover television that is as appreciative as it is critical. She reveals the makeover show as a rich and complicated text that expresses cultural desires and fears through narratives of selfhood.

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The makeover has long been a mainstay of advice columns and entertainment literature targeted at women, yet in this new millennium television has launched a seemingly unprecedented proliferation of makeover-themed shows for the house, car, and body that preach the pleasures and possibilities of transformation, rejuvenation, and alteration for everyone. There is no ride unpimpable! We are encouraged to believe that no body is a priori blocked from transformation.

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In the doctrine that no ride is unpimpable that sounds across the wider makeover genre, we hear an equally reassuring promise that once rides have been pimped, physical bodies nipped and In the chapter I argued that makeovers esteem idealized citizen-subjects who are created to take up residence in Makeover Nation. If we attend to the patterns playing out across the many programs that comprise the makeover genre, we can conclude that the creation of such citizens is predicated on neoliberalism, or the limitation of state-sponsored social networks in favor of free market-driven capitalism, and Americanness, or the idealization of qualities, such as optimism and confidence, that are associated with, though not specific to, the United States.

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Both neoliberalism and Americanness influence makeover outcomes, particularly since After-bodies are infused with Since visual regulation of gender is so critical in the making of citizen-subjects who populate Makeover Nation, in this chapter I discuss the gender politics at work when makeovers concentrate on women, reserving a comparable consideration of men for the next chapter.

As with most shows, a self-imposed deadline requires that both As I have suggested thusfar, makeover interventions largely write gender normativity onto female bodies in the name of achieving the femininefemale self. Whether it is transformation of clothes, kids, rooms, psyches, houses, relationships, or the physical body, makeover narratives tell stories largely considered feminized in their emphasis on domesticity, interiority, and appearance.

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Ironically, the gendered genre ature of the makeover is highly masculinized in its top-down authority structure, relentless demand for surrender from transforming subjects, and its near total insistence on a spectatorial economy. Throughout my consideration of makeover TV in this book, the celebrity has been an insistent figure.

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It is the celebrity who, we have been told by such scholars as Richard Dyer Both programs illustrate the multifaceted justifications for selfhood that permeate makeover programming. Published by: Duke University Press. Search for reviews of this book.

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Book Description: Inroughly 25 makeover-themed reality shows aired on U. Table of Contents You are viewing the table of contents. Export a Text file For BibTex.

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Front Matter. Table of Contents. Masculinity and the Self-Made Over Man. Back Matter.

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