Makeover Shows and the Reflexive Imperative
This chapter discusses the tensions that structure audiences' discussions of makeover television: tensions that involve learning, identification, gender, shame, authenticity, realism, and feeling. To hold these tensions in a productive relationship, the chapter draws on contemporary theorizations of reflexivity across a number of fields, exploring how audiences talk about the reflexive self as an accomplishment produced partly through their engagement with makeover television. Looking at two makeover television shows—Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Starting Over—the chapter considers analyses of modern, mediated selfhood and delves into the field of scholarly critiques of reality television that are based largely on textual analysis of television shows. It also draws on conversations with audiences about their engagements with makeover television.
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