Why “Love, Lust, or Run” is causing me such internal conflict.
You guys. You guuyyss. You. Guys. I’m having a moment of crisis here. My whole life, I have loved (looovVVvvEedd) TLC. This love stems from years of watching What Not to Wear, and I still get a little too excited when re-runs are on TV. Stacey London’s and Clinton Kelly’s existences are literally both such huge Life Goals for me. I respect their respect for other people. I respect their senses of humour. I respect their tough love. Sometimes when I’m shopping I hear them in my head saying “don’t listen to people who tell you that you can’t match prints with prints.” Their fashion game is so damn strong. -crying emoji-
So imagine my excitement when “Love, Lust, or Run” pops up on TV. -manic breathing- STACEY hhhhhh LONDON hhhhhhh NEW hhhhhh SHOW. Yaaassss. It looked so modern, so fun, so entertaining, so Stacey . And like, it is.
While watching, I started thinking about what exactly was going on. The show follows the “transformation” or “make-under” of unique women, all of whom have very -ahem- eclectic senses of style. I’ve seen mohawks, lime green tresses, and women who dress decidedly more provocatively than is socially acceptable. While these women may not necessarily be putting their best proverbial feet forward, (some of them are business owners, most are professionals in one way or another), they are expressing an inner love of creativity and presenting their uniqueness to the world. The women first endure a screening of what happened when their style was shown to random strangers (I repeat: RANDOM STRANGERS WHO HAVE NO BUSINESS COMMENTING ON OTHER PEOPLES’ SHIT) on the street. These strangers were given the option to feel love, lust, or the urge to run away from the woman’s look before AND after her “transformation.” SURPRISE!1!! Most people say “run” when first presented with the woman’s look. In a nutshell, this is what’s happening:
Stacey: Random biased stranger, how do you feel about this woman based solely on her looks without knowing anything about who she is or what she does or what complexes and insecurities she may have or how she personally feels about her unique style?
Random biased stranger: She looks scary/unprofessional/not lady-like/tom-boyish/too masculine/I’d never date her/I’d never be her friend.
Did I give the answer that the producers wanted Stacey love meeeeee.
Then the woman gets ******transfoorrmmeedddd****** and she is put on the docket again, this time with her new style. This is what happens:
Stacey: Random biased stranger, same question.
Random biased stranger: Well, I can’t tell if this woman is exciting or fun or eccentric or energetic or loves herself or is creative, but she SURE DOES LOOK PROFESSIONAL. I’d totally take her seriously.
So here’s where my dilemma comes in. Stacey DOES NOT force these women to dress like everyone else. They are self-nominated (which I think is a step up from What Not to Wear, in which case women were nominated by people they love who think they dress horribly -ouch-), so they know what they are getting themselves into. A lot of the women who have been on the show have been judged poorly based on their appearances before, and are probably just plain FED UP with people being biased subjective assholes who don’t know how to not judge a book by its cover. Stacey helps these women. She is still the same old Stacey who wants her clients to love their bodies and embrace who they are, and wants them to be respected for what’s on the inside, not judged for how they look on the outside. What Stacey is doing, at the core of all of this, is giving these women a chance to let their inner beauty shine through their outward expressions, and to be taken seriously in the real world. So, really, Stacey has done nothing wrong -yaaaayyyy-. She does what the producers tell her to do, but she also cares a lot about the people she comes into contact with.
What gets me is how the public comes into play. Like I said, a lot of the people on the show probably get judged by their looks ALL. THE. TIME. So being put up against a panel of nosy strangers has GOT to be harsh. And maybe that’s what some of these people need: a reality check. But, honestly, even someone who is confident in how they dress themselves and present themselves to the general public would probably curl up into the fetal position and weep at the thought of hearing what said general public actually thinks of them. And it’s frustrating to see how these opinions alter the way the women react to their new styles. If at first she is called “masculine,” I have seen people say, “I’M A GIRL!” in shock and awe at the sight of their new look. Um… excuse me? I thought it was your Y chromosome that made you a female, not your clothes. My bad. It’s the fact that the public’s opinion is made out to seem so crucial to this whole process that really grinds my gears. Meanwhile, Stacey constantly reassures her clients to “not care what people think” and to “be who you are.” HyPoCrYtIcAl. It’s just frustrating seeing all of the good that Stacey is trying to do, marred by such an unfortunate message that is being sent to viewers, people like me, and maybe even impressionable youth who feel like the whole world is out to get them for who they are, and the only solution is to pretend to be someone they’re not.
I don’t think I’ve actually said anything of consequence here aside from being wishy washy about how I feel about this show. -sigh- Whatever,