Saturday, December 29, 2007

How to Look Good Naked

So, a couple days ago I received this email that said, "Being that you are a trusted voice in the female blog community I would like to invite you to a special online advanced screening of 'How to Look Good Naked'..."

In marketing-speak, that simply means, "Your blog has enough readers that we want to include you in our viral marketing campaign," so don't worry, it didn't go to my head! But I was curious about the show, Lifetime's new adaptation of the UK show of the same name, which features host Carson Kressly of "Queer Eye." So I checked out the preview of the first episode (airs on Jan. 4), and was impressed.

My regular readers know I'm a big proponent of self-esteem for real women. I've been known to go off on frequent rants (causing my husband to recoil in alarm and even hide) against the unrealistically thin women that prevail in the media. I love the Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty." And therefore, "How to Look Good Naked" is right up my alley.

In the preview episode, a somewhat Reubenesque but nevertheless nice-looking woman is taken under Carson's wing to change her body image. After a grueling and tearful self-analysis, countered by Carson's encouragement, she undergoes a series of experiences to teach her she truly is beautiful just as she is. The woman learns that beauty stems from a lot more than body shape, and she also learns that her body, just as it is, is perfectly attractive.

Other shows teach self-esteem. Other shows do makeovers--and this one also includes the clothes, the haircut, the makeup. But what sets HTLGN apart is that in the end it does get down to the issue of one's unadorned, naked self. Carson persuades his protege to do a nude photo shoot, with absolutely amazing results. From this experience she learns undeniably that she is attractive and sexy--without losing 40 pounds or having plastic surgery.

I've been noticing lately on some of the makeover shows we watch, just how much "ordinary" individuals look like celebrities if they simply have access to the same designers, stylists, hairdressers and makeup artists. It's quite enlightening. On the flip side, you know those hideous candid shots of celebrities you see on the covers of the tabloids? I used to think they were doctored in reverse, but now I truly believe these gorgeous stars are just that plain, or even homely, without help.

It all boils down to an interesting truth. We have been duped...or duped ourselves...into believing there is a whole huge segment of the human population that is beautiful, and we don't belong in that segment. We can see why they feel sexy and are sexy...and therefore conclude we ourselves ought not hope for the same.

But the truth of the matter is, the truly perfect natural beauties of the world are extremely rare. 99+ percent of us are flawed, celebrities included; the human race abounds with pot bellies, bad complexions, boring hair color, teeth that need straightening, big noses and small breasts. Women have to work a bit at looking good, be that by a good haircut, proper clothes, or eye makeup.

And far more importantly, women need to realize that beauty and sexiness spring from the mind, not the body. Helen Mirren at 61 still echoes her sexiness when she starred in "Caligula" almost 30 years ago. Is "Sex in the City"'s Sarah Jessica Parker conventionally beautiful by anyone's standards, even with benefit of stylists? The sex appeal of Mae West (weight), Barbra Streisand (nose), and Bette Midler (lots of things!) have very little to do with natural beauty and everything to do with talent and attitude.

But I'm like the umpteen-millionth person to say this. You hear it all the time. The problem is, you always forget to apply it to yourself. And that to me is the great success of "How to Look Good Naked." Watching a woman who really has nothing on you being told by strangers and passers-by that she is sexy and pretty...that's powerful stuff. You really do walk away from this show, find a mirror, and take off your clothes, and think, "I can be beautiful too, without the diet and facelift."

You'll believe it. Try out the show and see if it doesn't make you feel it too. And that's my honest, uncompensated endorsement.


Jen said...

Good timing!! Everytime I see a commercial for this show I can't wait to watch it!

bainst said...

I have to agree. I met my current boyfriend while I was in Iraq. Let me tell you, I wasn't styled, primpted or looking what the current culture considered as sexy. I was hot, dusty, and covered in camoflauge and body armour. While I know he was hot, he still thought I was beautiful. I thought he needed glasses for awhile, but I grew to understand that he thought "I" was beautiful, not all that outside crap.

Diana Laurence said...

What a great story, Bainst, and it precisely makes the point. (Personally I think any female soldier is automatically beautiful, LOL).

Miss Organizized said...

I just read a similar sentiment in the style book Mandsi got me (the Nina Garcia one)...Nina even mentioned Barbara Streisand! It's all about confidence and if you are able to build up your confidence, and of course find your sense of style, everything else will follow. With a classy look that emphasizes the best parts of your personality, including a good dose of confidence, I think anyone can look beautiful!

Jen said...

Tag, You're it...

You so don't have to fulfill this. Giggle.