Introduction: Into the Makeover Maze
1 By most accounts, makeover programming as we now experience it began
in the United States with the home renovation show Trading Spaces in
2000, a variation on the British Changing Rooms (1996–2004), though other
shows, such as This Old House (1979–present), had been creating miracle
transformations for more than a decade. For an extensive list of shows, see
the videography that appears at the end of this book.
2 For more on tv and identity, see Gay Hawkins “The Ethics of Television”;
Annette Hill, Reality tv; Anthony Giddens, Modernity and Self-Identity; and
Frances Bonner, Ordinary Television.
3 Ladies Home Journal, January 2007.
4 Feminist debates about the meanings and implications of plastic surgery
are rich and varied. For helpful surveys, as well as provocations to existing
scholarship, see Victoria Pitts-Taylor, Surgery Junkies: Cressida Heyes, Self-
Transformations: Meredith Jones, Skintight: and Suzanne Fraser, Cosmetic
Surgery, Gender and Culture.
5 For more on critical whiteness studies, see David R. Roediger, The Wages
of Whiteness; Alexander Saxton, The Rise and Fall of the White Republic; Toni
Morrison, Playing in the Dark; Diane Negra, ed., The Irish in Us; Eric L.
Goldstein, The Price of Whiteness; Matthew Frye Jacobson, Roots Too; Jason
Sokol, There Goes My Everything; and Winifred Breines, The Trouble between Us.
6 More broadly, might we ask if the “unintelligible subjects” leading
“unliveable lives” that Butler addresses have already worked to create
a critical distance from norms that makeover subjects seem eager to
approximate? Can we thus conclude that desires for recognition between
“queer subjects” and makeover participants are incommensurate? I don’t
think so. The makeover’s stark representation indicates that absent the codes