Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

“Who I really am”: The politics of transformation within the makeover show
by Stigler, Elizabeth Jean, M.A., Roosevelt University, 2012, 48; 1514762
Abstract (Summary)

My thesis, entitled: Who I Really Am: The Politics of Transformation Within the Makeover Show, examines two reality makeover shows in order to interrogate our current cultural construction of transformation. In the paper I make the claim that the transformations enacted on reality makeover shows are not authentic transformations, but rather carefully branded and sculpted images designed to perpetuate hegemonic cultural norms. By engaging in the rhetoric of authenticity the makeover show cleverly disguises its' own manipulative qualities, and convinces participants and viewers that they are discovering their "true selves." By exploring the role of experts —personal trainers, cosmetic surgeons— I illuminate the disempowering nature of makeover shows where the participant is not afforded mastery over her/his own body. I also unpack the role of hyper-visible consumerism and branding as it relates to the creation of a "new me," paying particular attention to the way transformation is sold to viewers. I conclude with a discussion of the dangers of the pervading makeover culture which dictates that bodies must be in constant states of remaking and "becoming" in order to be considered culturally valuable.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Brigham, Ann
Commitee: Buccola, Regina
School: Roosevelt University
Department: Women's and Gender Studies
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 51/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Womens studies, Mass communications, Gender studies
Keywords: Authenticity, Makeover, Reality television, Sexism, Transformation
Publication Number: 1514762
ISBN: 9781267475961
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