Rant: Make up your mind Channel 4! Should women love what they’ve got or get surgery?

June 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

rant_tv_web4.gifChannel 4 need to get their act together on the message they’re sending out to women of the UK. Do they want them to retain a stiff (unbotoxed) upper lip, accept the shape they are and start being more positive about their bodies? Or, do they want women to deem themselves lesser beings for their flaws and therefore jump under the surgeon’s knife to slice them into their ideal?

It seems as if the broadcasting team, as of a tea time, enjoy whipping their female viewers into a self-image frenzy. One evening they’ll show How to Look Good Naked with Gok Wan nonchalantly grabbing women’s flabby bits and telling them how fabulous they look and the next they’ll whack on 10 Years Younger with that Icky Hambleton Jones witch, who basically rips apart women’s confidence by telling them how disturbingly old they look for their age before suggesting that cutting half their face off will improve their life.

Just what are they trying to achieve – a nation of bewildered schizophrenic females unsure whether to twirl around in front of the mirror or break down and sob at the sight? It just ain’t fair. How to Look Good Naked is based on the principle that women do not need to change the way they look, they need to change the way they feel about the way they look. Whereas, 10 Years Younger, although ostensibly also about making women feel good about themselves, actually advocates self-mutilation in frank acknowledgement that what women have got is not good enough. There’s no question that the women don’t have surgery (this part of the programme takes up a good ten minutes).

And what’s more, if the TV schedule wasn’t enough to mess with their heads, the official programme websites even have links to each other as if they are singing from the same hymn sheet. A lady having a good day, pretty sure she’s looking hot can be browsing the HTLGN website, reading about all ‘Gok’s triumphs from the last series’ and finds ‘the perfect fashion’ for her body shape. But then, she spots the link to 10YY and before she knows it has clicked it and is suddenly heading for dangerous water. There’s the “Guess my Age? feature in which she is asked to upload a photo of herself to be judged by the masses. Now, excuse me for my cynicism but there is not going to be much feel good action as a result of that. What person, in their right mind puts their picture up to be scrutinised by the world and trusts that people will be kind?! People will not be kind. They will be just like they are on the programme where women are deemed older than they are (this is what the whole premise of 10YY relies on). Moreover, after the knock-back judgement, not only is Nicky there staring with her unfeeling shark eyes standing among a dentist and plastic surgeon, but the little box at the bottom also begins to look more appealing: ‘Get advice on cosmetic surgery here’.

So, in short, Channel 4, stop sending out mixed messages! Maybe Gok and Nicky both need their voice but recognize that where one is a chirpy Jiminy Cricket the other is Othello’s merciless Iago. Sort out the websites so they don’t look like they’re best buds and give them a Les Dennis/Bob Mortimer boxing match to underscore their differences. That should sort it out.

By Susan Allen