|Source: Yahoo! TV|
I’ve previously expressed disgust towards televised “makeover” shows. Concisely put, I think they are a tool of the shame industry to force individuals to conform to a bland, populist template of style. Ouch!
That said, I literally squealed with excitement when I discovered that Netflix Instant has added 88 episodes of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to my life. Before we delve into why I love this show, I’m going to acknowledge what I’m sure you’re all going to say in the comments: that the gay stereotypes presented in the show present a narrow view of the gay perspective. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I still think that the show was revolutionary in it’s time. The show premiered in 2003, only five years after Matthew Shepard was murdered, and it was important to show widespread exposure and acceptance (not just tolerance) of gays on television. More than that, it’s funny, touching, and heartfelt television with a splash of wit and a whisper of subversiveness, and I LOVE IT.
|Source: Sapien Games|
But more to the point: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy doesn’t necessarily “make over” their so-called “victims,” it makes them BETTER. The “straight guys” aren’t really changed, per se. They’re just given a boost! Instead of forcing each makeover candidate into the same wrap dress, wedge haircut, and pointed toe pumps (like many other shows), the makeover is tailor-made to suit the man. The Fab Five take into account his personal style, career aspirations, family goals, dietary needs, interests and personality before helping them better reach their aims and goals.
Queer Eye is so much more, than 5 guys ganging up on a helpless male, criticizing their clothes, and making them feel vaguely uncomfortable in order to turn them into a “gay” stereotype. To me, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is the beginning of a sharing of cultures and a mutual learning experience. It would be easy to dismiss Queer Eye as being redundant in this day and age, but even the style tips have yet to go out of date. It’s a reminder of how far we’ve come in terms of acceptance of gays in the media…and a reminder of how far we each have to go in straightening out our own lives. Or how far we have to go in…well…never mind.