With the release of the third season of the Netflix original, Queer Eye, the popularity of the show is cemented and an important question is posed: what makes Queer Eye different than its makeover show predecessors?
Unlike the early 2000s gem What Not to Wear featuring Stacy London’s iconic skunk stripe or the British favorite 100 Percent Hotter, Queer Eye roots itself in the culture of self care, self acceptance and the celebration of diversity.
Starting with its original parent series, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the Queer Eye concept has aimed to put LGBTQIA people on a mainstream platform along with heterosexual people, serving to bridge the gap and normalize interactions between the two communities, setting aside political and cultural affiliations.
By providing its audience with exposure to gay men in a particularly consumable form, Queer Eye takes advantage of the stereotypes surrounding gay men to subtly expose its diverse audience to the issues and situations of various groups of people. While disguising itself as a makeover show, Queer Eye seeks to foster empathy in people from all sides of the political spectrum. The show tears down negative stereotypes and perceptions surrounding LGBTQIA people, as well as a heterosexual people, Christians, southerners and other groups.
In addition to its success in working against political polarization, Queer Eye shifts the concept of a makeover show away from its typical, superficial motives. Rather than focusing on simply making the subjects of each show look better to a conventional society, Queer Eye accounts for the individual personalities of each person and seeks to make them feel better above all else.
While the concept of “self care” has burgeoned over the past year or so, few people embody this concept or even know what it should entail. Self care is different for each person, but Queer Eye captures its cornerstone, that a mentality rooted in self love and confidence shows through in how one presents themselves.
In a world where many Americans have not even encountered a member of the LGBTQ community, shows like Queer Eye serve to break boundaries, treating all experiences as valid pieces of individual stories, from which the public can learn and tear down its own misconceptions.
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