Are Makeover Shows Self-Esteem Boosters or Body Image Disasters?

Makeover shows are hot on television right now. There's The Biggest Loser, What Not to Wear, How to Look Good Naked...the list goes on. The point of these shows is to help transform a woman from ugly duckling to swan and build her self-esteem in the process. But do they have the same influence on viewers?



Carson Kressley is the host of Lifetime's How to Look Good Naked, which aims to boost a woman's self-esteem no matter her size. Rather than taking a woman and making her over physically, Kressley works to build on how the woman perceives herself first. In an interview with ABC News, Kressley said: "It's all about how you carry yourself. It's not only how we see you, but how you see you."

Just today, Washington Post writer, Jennifer Huget wrote about What Not to Wear's Stacy London's own battle with weight and body image and how the show affects viewers. Though the show's mission is not health education, Huget wonders: "Those of us who have struggled with our own weight and body image see a connection between what happens on the show and what we imagine might happen to made-over women and men once London and Kelly have left the building. Might that smartly coiffed and haute-coutured woman draw inspiration from her newfound confidence in her appearance to perhaps eat more healthfully and get some exercise?"

Sometimes these makeover shows make me feel better about myself (I would never wear that, what is she thinking?), but other times they make me feel painfully aware that I'm not so perfect (does anyone else feel guilty eating while watching The Biggest Loser?).

What do you think about makeover shows -- are they good or bad for our self-esteem?

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