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The MakeoverReality Television and Reflexive Audiences$
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Katherine Sender

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814740699

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814740699.001.0001

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Gender and Genre

Gender and Genre

Making Over Women’s Culture

Chapter:
(p.26) 2 Gender and Genre
Source:
The Makeover
Author(s):

Katherine Sender

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814740699.003.0002

This chapter examines four shows—The Biggest Loser, Queer Eye, Starting Over, and What Not to Wear—as examples of how reality television has reworked existing women's genres. As with other women's genres, these makeover shows are not exclusively about women or for female audiences alone. Rather, they prioritize historically feminine concerns, including self-presentation, consumerism, and an intimate relationship with the self, produced through interiority, affect, authenticity, and the everyday. In contextualizing the audiences' responses to these shows, the chapter considers the normative elements of the shows that privilege sexy, implicitly white, professional modes of self-presentation. It also asserts that within these highly gendered frames, there is some space for what Lauren Berlant calls female complaint.

Keywords:   women's genres, The Biggest Loser, Queer Eye, Starting Over, What Not to Wear, makeover shows, self-presentation, female complaint, Lauren Berlant

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