Nov 4, 2009

What Not To Wear. Why We Should Care.

My wife and I are fairly regular viewers of the fashion reality show, What Not To Wear (hitherto referred to as WNTW). Back in olden tymes (circa 2003-4), I cultured a crush on both Trinny and Susannah, the hosts of the original BBC program.

The premise of the show, for those of you in the TG community who are either dedicated to watching C-Span or simply anti-television is like so:

Trinny and Susannah would surreptitiously film a few days in the life of a walking, breathing, fashion sad sack. Then, in a very public setting, surrounded by friends and family, the intervention would begin. Shrieks of alarm, and a promise of a complete wardrobe do-over, on the WNTW purse, with one big catch:

The victim had to subject themselves to a caustic critique of everything that had ever worn, much that they had ever done, and all of what they were thinking in matters of personal style and presentation.

It made for great TV. Our hostesses were beautiful in completely different manners, stylish as could be, but not in ways that seemed too fussy or out of reach. Importantly, and charmingly too, they were both terrifically free with bodies, their own and their victims, always grabbing arses, bellys and boobs to emphasize points. Very entertaining and informative stuff. I always learned something watching them, and they never failed to take people from slouchy or freakish well through presentable, and often all the way to stunning in 22 manic minutes.

The same premise was maintained for the American transplant of the show, now at least 5 years on the tube here on The Learning Channel. There were a couple of changes, in tone mostly, with the sincerity dial turned up a little. This adaptation works in the American context in ways it might not have in the UK, works very well in my view. It could still use a little of the familiar fondling that the English lasses were famous for, but we are I suppose a nation descended from Puritan roots and pretty damned litigious. Might not work so well here alas.

As to the hosts, Clinton knows his stuff, and brings a good mix of droll, catty and funny. Stacey with her great hair, super-nova smile, killer legs and abundant energy, is hard not to like. Unless you are a girl who resents girls like that, which I most certainly am not.

Now, I don’t go out of my way to watch the show, don’t Tivo it, but, if channel surfing, this is one of those useful time wasters I have absolutely no problem throwing myself at for a half hour. I have thought on a couple of occasions just how would Stacey and Clinton (or even better… Trinny and Susannah) deal with a cross dresser? Not me mind you, I am not that open. But somebody…..

And now the Why We Should Care part of this post, dear friends.

I received an email from a friend the other day. She had nominated a pre-op TG friend to WNTW, and told me that the application had been accepted and was under review. She was excited and could barely contain herself and what did I think? Me? I thought this was a master stroke. It made me giddy. I really, truly want to see this happen.

I will share a link with you to contact the nice people responsible for this entertaining programming at the end of this post. If this is the sort of TV that you would want to see, please take the 5 minutes required to share your views. Here are a handful of the reasons I did:

- This would be a real challenge for Stacey and Clinton, and a challenge that I think they would want to take on. I get the feel that they are both very post-gender, non-judgmental, and genuinely interested in making the world look better.
- This is programming that would cement TLC’s already strong reputation for socially progressive programming
- This is a show that would very sensitively promote awareness about the Transgendered, and that cannot be bad.
- And lastly, given recent landmark legislation here in these United States around the issue of hate crimes related to sexual orientation and other common social differentiators, this would be timely programming.

Beyond all that, for those of us disadvantaged in our dressing simply because the genetic girls have such a head start, we could all use a style tip or 2, ne c’est pas? Of course we could.

Here is the promised link.

You won’t have to give any personally identifying information if you don’t want to. You will not be nominating anyone in particular. But if you suggest, like I have, that a TG focused episode of WNTW would be really welcomed, well then, my friends friend has a much better shot at a life changing make-over than might be the case today.

I truly hope you do. Drop me a note here in comments if you have taken the time. So appreciate your thoughtfulness and sense of general devilment. If I find other ways to politely pester Stacey and Clinton, I will share them with you in future posts.

Lets go make some great TV shall we?


Jerica said...

I left them a note, I think it woul be awesome to see a TG person on the show. I like you, Petra, have only caught the show while channel surfing but it is usually enough to pique curiosity although as a guy I would never have admitted to that.

Petra Bellejambes said...

Jerica, you are the very best. Thanks! But really, its great TV even for people not so inclined as we....

Anonymous said...

I just recently found your blog and am very impressed with the quality of your writing. You seem like a very interesting and centered person.

I dropped a note on their feedback site supporting the idea of having a transgendered person featured on WNTW.

Best of luck to you, and cheers!

Petra Bellejambes said...

Thanks Anon! I greatly appreciate the kind words, and thank you for contacting the nice folks at WNTW. Perhaps we will see a terrific program from them some day.

Cheers - Petra

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