The Current Popularity Toward Beauty And Health

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The current popularity toward beauty and health is an effective and marketable source of reality TV to draw attention from audiences. Two reality makeover shows, Get It Beauty and The Body Show attempt to pioneer a new genre, where the audiences are brought in front of the TV sets and exercise together under the gurus’ guidance with the provided intimacy with the show participants. Not only the show hosts speak directly to the audiences but also they address the concerns regarding beauty and health care that women in their twenties and thirties may have had at least once, and seek solutions together including the show participants in the studio by inviting and listening to professionals in their own field. These settings help the shows function as an apparatus of pedagogy. In the media pedagogic messages, the ideological implications about gender and neoliberalism were embedded. Whereas the gender norms were permeated with scantily dressed female body images, they were articulated as the reification of beauty and health. With the images of young female bodies, the shows evoke the voyeuristic gaze amongst the viewership. Noticeably, however, the aspects vis-à-vis the hegemonic gender system are not noticed in two senses. First, the emphasis on health and inner beauty contributes to blinding the audiences about gendered structure in the images and messages. Through the gurus’ lectures, the shows have provided knowledge to assess a body and accomplish the goal of an ideal body, in which self-diagnosis upon the calibration and evaluation was suggested as the crucial and ongoing process of body management. Thanks to the effect of socialization with governmentality, the doctrine of body management in favor of the dominant gender syste... ... middle of paper ... ...nveil how the institutional forces yield the very personal reactions, which are frequently dismissed, even in the scholarship. The frequently discussed concept of governmentality in relation to reality TV or body management is an appropriate point to critique the close-woven networks of power in neoliberalism (see Foucault, 1980). Nonetheless, how a person reacts to the governmentality should be discussed as well, since the individual responses may be resulted in unexpected ways, which allows us to see how the governmentality operates at the individual level, avoiding Foucauldian over-deterministic approach. A neoliberal individual may burn out eventually after being exhausted by infinite works of self-discipline. Without discussing an individual’s personal state of mind in impersonal ways, the extant regime of gender remains reinforced in tandem of neoliberalism.

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