Wednesday, January 20, 2010

HTLGN...with a difference-the verdict

8pm last night saw me eagerly awaiting the start of How to look good naked...with a difference. It's a show I've previously watched, but not for more than a few episodes, because frankly it gets boring very quickly. Women with low self esteem, tall, short, fat, thin, old, young...it all blurs into one not very memorable blur after you've seen enough of them weep on Gok's sympathetic shoulder then emerge triumphant and nude at the end. Even with my lack of short term memory it's too reminiscent of being a goldfish, so if the series hadn't been featuring a disabled woman it wouldn't have occurred to me to watch it.

I was still unsure what I thought throughout last night's show. The whole concept of disability as 'a difference' requiring it's own series unsettled me. That may have been why I found myself predisposed to dislike the show, but it didn't stop me enjoying it.

There were a few cringe worthy moments, particularly in the scenes filmed at the university, but overall Gok and his team have alot to be proud of. Although Occupational Therapists get very upset about such things, the scenes with Gok sitting on Tracy's knee whilst she self propelled the wheelchair were the closest to the reality of the way disabled people and their friends treat wheelchairs I've ever seen. The fashion advice tailored specifically to the needs of a full time wheelchair user with minor, inexpensive alterations to make jeans easy to put on, or sit comfortably in were excellent, as was the pimped wheelchair they gave Tracy before the final catwalk show. In fact the wheelchair was so cool I might have to apply to the series myself!

It was fantastic to see so many women with disabilities on a mainstream fashion show on prime time TV. That they still all fitted the ideal of slim and sexy could be viewed as disappointing but in a show particularly aiming to promote the idea of disabled people in fashion seems to me a stroke of genuis. After watching the show I was still left feeling that disability should not be considered to require it's own, different series when the concept is to bring women to a point of acceptance of their bodies, no matter how they look. In the future I want to see disabled women as part of the overall How to Look Good Naked series, but for a first step this show is a great stride forwards.


6 comments:

LceeL said...

I'm going to behave myself and not say anything about ... anyway - that link won't play in the U.S. Which is a shame.

:: CCB's Knit-Knacks :: said...

I think I agree with your way of thinking in that there shouldn't need to be a whole 'special show' on 'special people', rather it should just be incorperated into the whole styling and thinking of each show (along with big bums or boobs that won't behave).

But you know, at least it's being thought about... first steps and all that. To change the way people think about things you have to start small. x

Fire Byrd said...

Having watched a lot of these I think the best made point outside of developing self esteem, is the idea that disabled mannequins (sp?) should be in shop windows just like size 14 plus should be there.The endless size 10 barbie doll type clothes horse is not effective in a world where the average size of British woman is 16
There was another programme this week hidden somewhere about how every single photograph of fashion/celeb/ pop star used is touched up so that everyone is made perfect. It featured a girl of 18 who for her 18th birthday her parents paid £7000 for her to have a boob job.
The whole of this media lead society stinks. I love fashion but I also love real people not clothes horses.
It is a world gone mad and we need to normalise it with real people of every colour/ size /disability or whatever being ok with who they are.

Dave said...

I watched the show and I thought it went well. Mind you, it didn't hurt to have a vivacious and attractive woman as the subject did it?
Unlike many of the "able bodied" subjects that Gok has had to work with, she was well and truly up for it, and her body image issues semed much less pronounced.

Joanna Cake said...

I echo what Firebyrd said about the photos we try to emulate being fake in the first place!

I didnt catch the show but will try to on 4od later. Gok seems to be such a genuine guy that I am sure he did everything in his power to make the show the lady concerned feel as natural as possible.

Mr. Nighttime said...

I can't get this program here in the States, to my knowledge. However, I think that you have no worries about looking good naked Bendy, if that black and white of you from some time ago is any indication. You were wicked beautiful in that.

Thanks for the good wishes on the interview. I'll keep you posted on what happens.