In a long piece in the Indie yesterday, on how badly tv serves the question of beauty and women's relaionship to it (apart from the scientific exposes of bad cosmetic surgery) the author shares my distrust of some make-over shows. I was fan of Trinny and Susannah when they did What Not To Wear, in part because of the observation, or rather, the penny that dropped with most viewers, that the biggest single change you can make to your look is a good hair cut and colour and some well-chosen make-up.
I am strongly opposed to progs like Extreme Makeover and Ten Years Younger because of their reliance on cosmetic surgery and cosmetic dentistry. I'm not against, in principle, cosmetic surgery, at least for other people, if they want it. I'm certainly not against cosmetic dentistry.
What I am against is taking women on low incomes, drilling down their teeth to give them £20,000 worth of veneers at the programme's expense and then leaving them to fend for themselves when, five or ten years later, they need replacing. The make-overs (which rarely involve the simple application of a decent diet and some exercise) are the equivalent of a fashion shoot where the dress is held together with bulldog clips and the teenage model's spots are airbrushed away. It's a con, and a nasty con, at that.
Not mention the fact that the make-overs turn them into simulacrums of real people, little replicas of the hot look. And when the hot look is over?