Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Monday, May 13, 2002

grooming for straight men

Reality-TV Idea: Gay Men Groom Straights (NY Times, registration required)

I think it's safe to say that I'm revolted. Yes.

I'm not even concerned about stereotypical representation, as such. I just think it's an appalling idea. For one thing, how many straight men want to be remade in the gay man's image? Let alone on television. (We'll just leave aside the fact that, given the particular approach that Bravo is taking, this assumes by default that there is A gay man's image: chic, stylish to a painful fault, and willing to be campily entertaining in the pursuit of remaking the straight man! ... oh, dear. Apparently I do have one or two wee problems with the whole stereotyping thing.)

My principal problem is with the comedic element. Apparently, we're only good for comedic, sexless entertainment. How special! How charming! ... really, Bravo, of all channels, should really know better than this. (Yes, I do realize that he's talking about making fun of the straight man. Frankly, I suspect it will be squirmworthy making-fun of just about everyone in the vicinity. Everyone will come out of it completely chic and stylish, but nobody will make it out with even the smallest shred of dignity.)

Thing is, I don't object to the whole gay/straight makeover as such, quite. Style/E! has or had a show -- I don't remember the name -- hosted by Emme in which people were made over. Mostly women, but the occasional man received a makeover as well. And, typically, his makeover was guided by their male fashion reporter, who was also quite quite gay. However, his being gay, as such, was never the point; the point was that he was the fashion reporter on male clothing. The woman who usually did the women also handled the men sometimes, and he sometimes worked with the women. There are ways of doing this without making such a distasteful point of things.

Then again, Bravo doesn't seem to know how to handle "gay" anything without going out of its way to do it distastefully.

Posted by iain at 02:11 PM in category