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Last night during craft night we tried to watch "Queer Eye for the Straight Girl". I was pretty much done when I found out that there was only one lesbian on the "change your life into what we think it should be" team. Just what does that say other than "we don't think lesbians are television-worthy" or something. Ugh.

Recent advice I have given: "I have had my unending success with crushes by not letting them sit around and acting directly on them as soon as possible with no regard to the consequences. This is my advice on future crushes!" Caveat: unless the consequences involve anyone cheating on anyone, TYVM.

Friday afternoon is numbing my brain cells.

Comments

( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
bearly525
Jan. 21st, 2005 09:14 pm (UTC)
And not only is there a single lesbian on this show, she doesn't DO anything!!
And the girls they have "done" so far, have been less than worthy of the little attention they give them...

Ugh. I want Carson to make over my wardrobe!! LOL
snidegrrl
Jan. 21st, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC)
The girl that was on last night was pretty awesome, I was happy with her, but not with the show, which I thought took away her confidence more than building it, not that that is a shocker.

Carson needs to stay far away from me, but Ted can come make me some dinner. :)
snidegrrl
Jan. 21st, 2005 09:21 pm (UTC)
s/girl/woman. Very careless use of language on my part.
keryx
Jan. 21st, 2005 09:23 pm (UTC)
Argh! This reminded me of an ongoing discussion on one of the lists I'm on. So I'm going to tell you about it, since the list is stupidly argumentative about it.

Basically, one of the first shows featured a woman who said she wore an 18. They took her to Banana Republic and gave her diet tips. Someone on the list who saw the show (which I didn't) thought that a) diet tips might not be appropriate, given she didn't seem interested in dieting and b) that they couldn't have possibly found her clothes in Banana Republic, because the store caters to smaller sizes. The list erupted with "I saw that show, and she's not an 18" (I love how people talk like women ARE a size; the same so rarely applies to men) and "but she WANTED diet tips, how dare you complain" (this is on a size acceptance list, mind you) and other B.S.

I believe this wouldn't happen if the show were more lesbian and less "gay guy". I don't know if it's a result of the whole political situation of being gay and a woman, or if lesbians are just more evolved as a group, or if this is totally stereotype on my part, but I feel like that woman would have gotten better advice if it weren't from gay guys playing to stereotype.
snidegrrl
Jan. 21st, 2005 09:29 pm (UTC)
The show I watched last night was a woman who had been anorexic/bulimic and was recovered, and looked very comfortable with her own body (I think they mentioned something about her size at some point, I can't remember for sure because again, stopped paying attention at 1 lesbian, not that one gender needs to teach its own... both shows should have lesbians!!!!) and they didn't say one thing that I noticed about dieting. They said that she was trying to eat healthy but that on this special occasion they'd teach her to make this dessert thing. That part was actually not so bad, fo real.

Fuck a bunch of Banana Republic. I like the styles but not the sizeism. I don't think you can buy a freaking size 8 there, let alone 18.
keryx
Jan. 21st, 2005 09:36 pm (UTC)
Given the level of stereotyping of the male queer-eyes, I have to wonder if it would actually be better for cultural embracing of lesbians to have more lesbians on the show... I mean, is middle America really getting more comfortable with gay folk, or just with a very narrow image of what a gay man is & does?
keryx
Jan. 21st, 2005 09:38 pm (UTC)
And yes, we've had this conversation before. :)
snidegrrl
Jan. 21st, 2005 09:45 pm (UTC)
I'd say that the ONE lesbian they have on the show does kind of break stereotypes - but mainly by being incredibly aesthetiaclly-normative, i.e. femme, skinny, makeupped.

Ehn, I am probably being too critical. It's not like anything is wrong with her. It's what's wrong with the whole thing that's a problem.
tartedelune
Jan. 22nd, 2005 05:24 am (UTC)
My thing is that the only kind of lesbians I see represented on TV are the femme, conventionally attractive ones. Yes, the stereotype is of butch lesbians, but that is not what I actually see reflected on screen. I had a similar conversation with a friend about the representations of gay men in the media; for whatever reason it seems like "feminine" gays and lesbians are much more palatable than butch ones. I have a few theories about why this is the case, but nothing substantiated.

I don't watch much TV in general, so if you have some examples of butch lesbians in the media I would be very interested. Personally I'm drawing a blank though.
snidegrrl
Jan. 22nd, 2005 03:31 pm (UTC)
Another good point. I wasn't thinking it through when I made the above comment. I guess I was thinking about stuff like "PCU" where lesbians/feminists are stereotyped for laughs. The lesbian on QEftSG is a former model, so... :P

You can keep track of all lesbians on TV on afterellen.com!
keryx
Jan. 22nd, 2005 10:06 pm (UTC)
It seems to me performing "feminine" is more acceptable for non-straight folk in the media because it defangs them and makes them more consumable. But I'm a bitter self-righteous feminist like that.
tartedelune
Jan. 23rd, 2005 01:47 am (UTC)
I agree. I think that this "feminization" defangs gay men and lesbian women for different reasons though. I believe that with lesbians it is because those types of images feed into voyueristic hetero male fantasies, which makes them less threatening to the male-centric paridigm. Whereas with gay men it seems like it is subconsciously threatening to reconicile a traditionally "masculine" man with the "feminine" act of being penetrated, so it is prefered to present them as wholly feminine. I don't know if this little synopisis makes much sense; I wrote a big chunk of my thesis on this and it's difficult to boil down in an LJ comment.

But I'm a bitter self-righteous feminist like that.

heh. me too.
choobie
Jan. 21st, 2005 10:46 pm (UTC)
only highly consumerist image-onseesed gay men allowed
Yes, the gay men on QEftSG are of a specific type. I know plenty of slovenly, unfashionable gay men who do not fit into that mold. The show helps sell products as well. They always mention the brandname, etc.

A good article about QUftSG I like:
http://www.alternet.org/story/16475

"Bravo's latest reality makeover show portrays gays as moral savages who live their entire lives in pagan adoration of high-end hair product.

"I suppose that minstrelsy is the sincerest form of insult. If television can be reliably held to reflect the evolution of a minority's status in culture, then gay people appear to be at the 'What's Happenin'?' stage."
snidegrrl
Jan. 21st, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
Re: only highly consumerist image-onseesed gay men allowed
NICE. thanks for sharing that one!!!
choobie
Jan. 22nd, 2005 04:29 pm (UTC)
No problem
sharing is caring
(just had to say that)
keryx
Jan. 22nd, 2005 10:08 pm (UTC)
Re: only highly consumerist image-onseesed gay men allowed
That is an excellent article. Thanks for sharing, as snidegrrl said.
choobie
Jan. 22nd, 2005 10:44 pm (UTC)
:) You're welcome
I like that article too. It's spot on.
turbogrrl
Jan. 22nd, 2005 04:18 am (UTC)
dude. maybe it has to do with the buyers for a particular store, but back when I was actually shopping, I loved going to Banana Republic in Georgetown, because they stocked up to size 16, and did free alterations.

*free alterations*

Even Nordstroms doesn't do free alterations.
snidegrrl
Jan. 22nd, 2005 03:25 pm (UTC)
Huh. I've been in there a few times but it was years ago. (Ironically, back when I was more like a aize six, but couldn't afford to shop there...) Maybe I should check again. Because free alterations, whoah.

keryx
Jan. 22nd, 2005 10:10 pm (UTC)
My experience with BR was that I wore a size 16 there when I wore a size 12 anywhere else. Although free alterations is a definite plus.
tartedelune
Jan. 23rd, 2005 01:11 am (UTC)
Even Nordstroms doesn't do free alterations.

I wonder if that is dependent on the store, because when I bought a suit there they had signs all over about their free alterations. It was one of the reasons I bought it there.
traceracer
Jan. 21st, 2005 09:35 pm (UTC)
I don't know if I remember them ever giving the guys diet tips on the other version of the show. Grr.
keryx
Jan. 21st, 2005 09:37 pm (UTC)
I think with the guys, they were at least disguised with the language of "nutrition" tips. But they were there sometimes.
snidegrrl
Jan. 21st, 2005 09:49 pm (UTC)
Nutrition, at least, is not totally charged with the socio-economic issues of "diet". On the other hand, "nutrition" is like the Anthony to "diet"'s Dignan. (Bottle Rocket reference). Reluctantly dragged along for the caper desipte being a hapless good guy the whole time.
debela
Jan. 21st, 2005 09:59 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen the show.

But at no point on QEftSG do they hand out /diet/ tips; they alter the wardrobe to better suit, but they never say 'you're a bad person, you're physically bad, you suck for not doing x'. They don't take them to the gym. They find positives to enlarge on, encourage, build confidence, focus on the quirks and character traits of the person to make them shine. They don't isolate the problems, point them out, dwell on them, and tell the person to fix them later. What I like about QEftSG is that its attitude is so positive.
debela
Jan. 21st, 2005 09:59 pm (UTC)
I should clarify; I'm talking about the original show.
rob_donoghue
Jan. 21st, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC)
In fairness, there is some gym-going, but usually for folk who are already enthusiasts of one type or another.
snidegrrl
Jan. 21st, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC)
The new show was positive, but in a half-arsed, banal way. Sad. I did like that about the original show too.
chubbycore
Jan. 21st, 2005 11:09 pm (UTC)
What list was this on???
Yes, I'm hella nosey. But cute as hell.
keryx
Jan. 22nd, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC)
Well, as long as you're CUTE, I guess it's okay. ;)

It's the Don't Tell Me What Size I Must Be list. It's as good as the average mailing list, this conversation just went on toooooooo long.
jsciv
Jan. 21st, 2005 10:01 pm (UTC)
I think there are a few reasons for only one woman on the team, and they have very little to do with gender issues. First off, they reduced the number of the team members from five to four (and incidentally stopped hiding the team of helpers). So there's one less slot into which a woman could step. Secondly, they redefined the roles so that each team member isn't necessarily shoehorned into a task that may not actually be all that important for the "straight girl" at hand (how many times has Jai or Ted had to REALLY REALLY stretch to find something to do?). Both of these are, I think, GOOD tweaks to the format. The third reason is brand consistency: the show needs to feel like QE, and part of the feel that made the original a success was the campy companionship of the guys. Too many women would of necessity change that relationship, which (in TV land) is a very very dangerous thing to do. Adding only one woman allows them to have someone who understands the victim better without changing the overall QE group dynamic. We'll see how this goes long term as the show develops its own identity.

So that is my humble take on why there's only one woman in the Gal Pals (although I want to shoot whoever decided on the name).

Side note: it is kind of cool to see them shopping at places I go all the time.... :)
snidegrrl
Jan. 21st, 2005 10:09 pm (UTC)
So, basically what you're saying is that TV is sexist and that's just how it is? I don't understand. What you are saying reads to me like, "lesbians can't have televisable campy companionship"? Redefining the roles has really nothing to do with whether they "cast" a gay man, a lesbian, or anything in between (bisexuals are way too bleeding edge for TV, fer sher!) for the roles...

I mean, I guess what I'm saying is that I certainly get why they did it. I mean, this is TV I'm watching! It's still a big middle-finger to a whole slew of viewership, as far as I'm concerned.

It's funny you should mention the role changes as being good... tzel and I were sitting around dissing how the new roles were too vague and lame. :)
jsciv
Jan. 21st, 2005 10:39 pm (UTC)
No, I'm saying that QE had a "chemistry" and they're loathe to change it. If you think that the original QE was sexist, then I guess I have no leg to stand on, but what I'm saying is that lesbian companionship would be different than male companionship, and different==bad as far as TV execs are concerned when you're working with an established brand. Bravo has thrown all kinds of reality shows up against the metaphorical wall, and QE is really the only one that has stuck. They need to make the new one a little different, but the core Brand Recognition has to be the same.

As to the other: redefining the roles DOES give "the lady" the opportunity to have a voice in everything rather than shunting her off to just "food" or "clothes" or some other predefined role, and from what I've seen, the woman they chose is literate in an awful lot, so I thought that was good. I thought they'd be lame, too, but in practice I've liked them so far.
snidegrrl
Jan. 21st, 2005 10:50 pm (UTC)
I guess I'm just way, way too crazy to watch TV, because I don't see why lesbian companionship would be necessarily any different than male companionship than female companionship than... whatever. Yeah, I suppose expecting TV to break out of stereotypes for gendered/queer relationships is just too crazy. :)

It seemed to me that if they were going for consistency, it would make more sense to have 4 gay girls help a straight girl, to parallel the 4 gay guys helping s straight guy. So the message to me came across as, "well we saw the obvious parallel, but we decided to go with gay guys because we don't think people want to watch lesbians".

I think that's what I didn't explain adequately in my original statement. :)
sonofmudflap
Jan. 22nd, 2005 02:41 pm (UTC)
I agree, but I thought the QE show had stopped being about 'Four Gay Guys Straightening up Men' and more about 'These specific gay guys and their antics in this situation.'
jsciv
Jan. 21st, 2005 10:49 pm (UTC)
In thinking about it, let me clarify by example (if this helps): if Bravo had (in response to the popularity of "The L Word", for example) made QE as a show of five lesbians who made over women, I believe that the new show would end up as three women and a man making over men. I don't see it as a gender issue but as a business one.

Now, that probably makes me naive, but I've had a lot of experience with business and some more recent brushes with the entertainment industry, and that seems to me usually how these things happen. Maybe somewhere in my comments is an underlying "that's just how it is," but I certainly didn't intend to make that as a comment, and if that offended I do apologize.
snidegrrl
Jan. 21st, 2005 10:52 pm (UTC)
Not offended! No worries. Just sort of trying to politely debate while being taken aback at your original response. Sorry if it came off as testy. :)

I see what you're saying, and I think my above comment sort of addresses what I was expecting from the show in a business-minded way.
jsciv
Jan. 21st, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
You and I come from different worldviews, as things like this remind me. It's always good to get your opinions. :)
snidegrrl
Jan. 21st, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
You crazy californian! ;)

(I kid, because I've always thought of myself as having tremendous potential to be "west coast", but in more of a northern-cali-hippie-portland-or kind of way.) :)
jsciv
Jan. 21st, 2005 11:18 pm (UTC)
You probably have more potential to be west coast than I do! I just happen to call CA home now. :)
cheetahmaster
Jan. 22nd, 2005 12:46 pm (UTC)
(how many times has Jai or Ted had to REALLY REALLY stretch to find something to do?)

The few times I watched, I was amused by how much Jai would stretch every week to make himself look useful. And fail.
chubbycore
Jan. 21st, 2005 11:12 pm (UTC)
"I have had my unending success with crushes by not letting them sit around and acting directly on them as soon as possible with no regard to the consequences. This is my advice on future crushes!"

I'll give you $20 to just talk to my crush for me.
snidegrrl
Jan. 22nd, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC)
Heee. No dice! Intermediaries don't count. :)
mountainwitch
Jan. 22nd, 2005 04:27 am (UTC)
Theory
Part of the appeal of some TV, say, Friends or Cheers, is fantasy-fulfillment: this is a social group that welcomes you. Isn't it?

I always figured that part of the original Queer Eye's appeal was, to its straight female audience members, fantasy-based: "Since the good ones are taken/gay, I want a team of fabulous and witty gay friends to remake my man into a more sensitive and appealing guy!"

I saw Straight Girl ads and thought, hey, they've just boiled it down a bit: "I want a team of gay friends!"

What do you think?

snidegrrl
Jan. 22nd, 2005 03:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Theory
I think I'm thinking too much of QE as "a chance for queerness to gain acceptance with mainstream america!" instead of what it really is. :)

You make an excellent point. I didn't see the ads so much so didn't see how it was getting pushed.
( 45 comments — Leave a comment )