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C’mon girlfriend: Sisterhood, sexuality and the space of the benign in makeover TV

Frith, Hannah, Raisborough, Jayne and Klein, Orly (2010) C’mon girlfriend: Sisterhood, sexuality and the space of the benign in makeover TV International Journal of Cultural Studies.

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Abstract

In the context of a purported shift from humiliation to the benign exemplified by the marked contrast between How to Look Good Naked and What Not to Wear, this article examines the cultural work performed by the ‘space of the benign’. We identify three main mechanisms — body appreciation, synthetic friendship and suspended sexuality — which manipulate existing constructions of female friendship and homosexuality to produce the host as the ‘gay best friend’. As such, the host sidesteps the heterosexual scopic economy while seeking to re-place women within it, and avoids the censure frequently directed at female presenters. At the same time, by coaxing women towards an acceptance of their body as is, How to Look Good Naked provides a ‘feel-good’ sense of empowerment while preserving individualistic framings of body problems and solutions. We conclude that the show rehabilitates women within the heteronormative scopic economy, and reinscribes them as neo-liberal consumers.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Frith, Hannahh.frith@surrey.ac.uk
Raisborough, Jayne
Klein, Orly
Date : 2 September 2010
DOI : 10.1177/1367877910372705
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright © 2010, © SAGE Publications
Uncontrolled Keywords : appearance, friendship, gay, heternormative, humiliation, reality television, scopic economy, women
Depositing User : James Marshall
Date Deposited : 08 Jun 2020 10:42
Last Modified : 08 Jun 2020 10:42
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/857115

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