Lifetime network’s new show Girlfriend Intervention is not subtle about its message. Its premise is four Black women giving makeovers to a white women on the theory that, as they put it, “Trapped inside of every white girl is a strong Black woman ready to bust out.”
They don’t even have to say “weak white girl” or “lame white girl” or “ugly white girl” or “unfashionable white girl” or “boring white girl,” because all those things are, before long, implied.
The four makeover makers are Tracy Balan on beauty, Nikki Chu on “home and sanctuary,” Tiffiny Dixon on fashion, and many-many-many-time reality star Tanisha Thomas (most notably of Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club) as your — this is real — “soul coach.”
Thomas lays out her philosophy early in the first episode, saying that Black women are taught that no matter what else is going on in your life, “as long as you look fabulous, that’s all that matters.” On the other hand, she says, “with Caucasian women, you get married, you marry the man of your dreams, you have his children, and now it’s time to stop taking care of you? Girl, I missed that memo.”
Are you a Black woman? You might find this offensive. Are you a white woman? You might find this offensive. Are you neither? You might be thinking at this point that you’re lucky to be left out of the entire thing. (Be aware, though, that no one is safe. Near the end of the first episode, Thomas exaggeratedly compliments the hotness of the made-over white woman by yelling, “Muy caliente, salsa picante mucho!”)
Like so much of makeover television, this is shaming dressed up as encouragement — they actually call the segment where the makeover candidate shows them how she currently dresses the “catwalk of shame.”
It’s conformity dressed up as individuality, and it’s submission to the expectations of others dressed up as self-confidence.
Read more at npr.org