Pop Culture

Where Are the Makeovers for Men?

Every week on the Today show, there are segments that air at certain times, and on most Friday’s during the fourth hour, one such segment is “Ambush Makeover.” Two women are selected from the people watching the show outside, whisked inside the studio, and given new haircuts, clothes, and a make-up application. The women are always thrilled, and so are their friends and/or family that accompanied them.

It dawned on me while watching Today today (ha) that I have never seen a man selected for Ambush Makeover. I’ve also never heard that it’s just open to women. Where are the men makeovers? Have men refused in the past? Do they think viewers don’t want to see men made over? Is it just never enough of a transformation? Do they feel like you have to be able to chop off inches of hair and throw on a dress and voila! it’s a makeover?

It’s been a while since Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was on the air, but it was popular at the time, and I remember seeing some really awesome makeovers, not only of a man’s outward appearance but also their confidence. Obviously, it wasn’t an ambush makeover in the sense that they had days to work on their subject, but it wasn’t like they had years, either. Enough people watched the show to give it several seasons, so I can’t imagine that an Ambush Makeover with men wouldn’t work.

There’s a lot to delve into on this topic, from the idea that anyone needs a makeover at all to the fact that a woman with gray in her hair is almost automatically urged to grab a box of hair dye. But I’m interested in hearing from all of you: What do you think about makeovers in general? Will they ever be pushed on men the same way they are on women?

By Catherine

Catherine is a Southern California based freelance writer, whose work has appeared in everything from the New York Times to Entertainment Weekly. The highlight of her life (so far) was being featured on MSNBC for a story she wrote on Hello Kitty wines...she knew one day her love of all things HK would come in handy.

9 replies on “Where Are the Makeovers for Men?”

Once or twice the Ambush Makeover crew has done men, but it was always a contest thing where people nominated men to be done; not randomly choosing guys from the plaza (and they picked the most scruffy Grizzly Adams old dudes possible, not average men who are just a little clueless). I’d love a regular segment or show that did men too.

Yeah, it’s nice to have some variety…sure, get some scruffy man who hasn’t shaved in about 30 years, but let’s also get a young one who just isn’t sure how to do his hair and genuinely would like to know! I feel like whenever there is a male makeover, it’s totally the Grizzly Adams types.

I do remember Oprah having a good amount of makeovers on men on her show – and the way it was framed (“Help my hopelessly fashion-challenged husband!”) always annoyed me, as does the way many makeovers on women are framed. The number certainly doesn’t come anywhere close to the number of makeovers various shows do on women, but I remember a handful of episodes that focused on it. Now I really wish I could go back and re-watch them to compare!

Yeah, I think it’s cool when someone is starting a new chapter in their life and they want a new look to go with it, or they’ve had long hair for 20 years and they want to try it short. It’s even OK when someone admits they don’t care or know much about fashion, but they’d like to play around with some different styles. But, I hate when people are told that they look horrific and are basically shamed into a new look.

I think it has to do partly with this weird societal conception that a man just looks like whatever he looks like, while a woman’s looks require care: grooming, styling, clothes selection, accessory selection. If you’re a woman who doesn’t participate in this (say, you don’t wear makeup, or you just throw on whatever clothes), you may need a makeover, but most often men who don’t do much grooming are just guys.

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