Saturday, March 6, 2010

I Have to Wonder...


VH1 is adding a makeover show to its reality roster.  It doesn't have the word "love" in its title and it doesn't feature a D-List celebrity.  It's called TRANSform Me, and, operates under a premise similar to Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.  The only difference?  Instead of straight men getting makeovers from a merry band of gay men, TRANSform Me will offer makeovers for women from a trio of transgendered women.  VH1 describes it this way:      
"TRANSform Me is a makeover show in which a team of three transgender women, led by the inimitable Laverne Cox (I Want To Work For Diddy), rescues women from personal style purgatory. Laverne and her ultra-glam partners in crime have undergone the ultimate transformation, so they're the perfect women for the job.

They'll travel the country in their tricked out fashion ambulance, siren blaring, and swoop into scenes of fashion disaster. They'll not only make women look better but feel a whole lot better about themselves. It's about discovering one's inner personal style. [...] The subject expects to be made over for a reality show—but she doesn't know it's going to be by three transgender women." [source]

VH1 has a history of sensationalism and bad taste. So, I have to wonder...is this gimmick going to be exploited negatively or is it a positive development in our broader cultural understanding of what it means to be transgendered? I can see the makeover concept working either way. On the one hand, it functions as a stereotypical 'safe' means of introducing these women. On the other, there's something perhaps quite valid and sincere about trans women in particular helping other people be the people they feel they could be. Either way, I suppose I'm intrigued. The show premieres March 15th on VH1.

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