How to Look Good Naked
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, despite its provocative title, this is a show that they can watch with their kids -- although it's probably best for older tweens and up. As the name suggests, women are ultimately asked to pose naked for a photograph that will be projected onto the side of a public building. But the resulting images are tasteful, not pornographic (no actual nudity is shown), and the overarching message is that women's bodies don't have to be perfect to be beautiful.
Naked should be out of the title
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What's the Story?
Before you roll your eyes at the thought of yet another makeover reality show, be reassured that this one is different -- and not just because it's truly a pleasure to watch. The main thing that sets HOW TO LOOK GOOD NAKED apart from other run-of-the-mill makeover shows is its focus on body acceptance. While it's true that each featured woman is turned over to a team of beauty professionals who will paint, pluck, and sculpt her into a better version of herself, she must also undergo a series of eye-opening body-image exercises before she's ready to be made over.
Is It Any Good?
In one body-image exercise, the makeover subjects are shown a line-up of actual women of increasing body mass and are asked to place themselves in the ranking based on their own size. Every time, they perceive themselves as being larger than they actually are. In another exercise, the subjects are shown a split-screen image of three different women whose faces have been blocked out. After deciding which woman is sexiest, dumpiest, and most average-looking, the subjects are told that it's actually the same woman -- she just happens to be wearing three different outfits. Of course, the most savvy viewers will notice that How to Look Good Naked sends a mixed message. While each woman is encouraged to love her body for what it is, she's also being told that appearances are, in fact, important. But given the show's thoughtful approach to advancing the idea that every woman can be beautiful, it's a fairly minor point.
Carson Kressley proves himself a charming host who's not only entertaining but also surprisingly compassionate when faced with his toughest cases. He lets his subjects cry if they need to and then builds them back up with humor and gentle reinforcement. It's nice to see his humanity in addition to the wink-wink sass we're used to seeing from him on shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why so many people -- especially women -- feel insecure about their bodies. Tweens and teens: How often do you and your friends talk about the things you hate about your bodies -- and how often do you talk about the things you like about them?
Has seeing a picture in a magazine or watching a movie or TV show ever made you feel "fat"? How has society's obsession with skinny celebrities changed the way we feel about our own self-worth if we don't happen to measure up?
- Premiere date: June 27, 2006
- Cast: Carson Kressley
- Network: Lifetime Television
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: February 24, 2022
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