For years, Hollywood and — especially — the fashion industry have done a number on the psyches of women. Women who would have otherwise felt as though they were perfectly beautiful instead believe, incorrectly, they were unattractive.
Some women believe their butts are too small, their gold teeth should be 22k instead of 14k, and the tattoos on their lower backs are at least three sizes too small. Women who are not of the music-video-watching persuasion may have hangups about their weight, hair, height, and so on.
I feel for my lady friends and I sincerely hope my future daughters grow up in a world where there are not such ridiculous standards. With the recent news of Vogue magazine vowing to ban models that are “too skinny”, such a world may actually become a reality. (But probably not.)
As a guy, I have more or less been immune to all of this during my lifetime. Sure, in junior high school I felt pressured to grow my sideburns longer because Luke Perry, Jason Priestley and all the guys on Beverly Hills 90210 had sideburns two feet long. And, confused, I may or may not have believed the popularity of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was due to Will Smith’s large ears (thereby making me feel my human-sized ears were inadequate). But, again, more or less, I have been immune to the media’s mission to make us feel bad about ourselves.
And then I bought a home and (re-)discovered HGTV.
Did you know laminate counter tops are of the devil? Did you know kitchen cabinets bought in a store — cabinets that are not “custom” — immediately lower the value of your home by 700%? Did you know having laminate flooring is a crime punishable by a public flogging? Did you know popcorn ceilings are the real reason the Lord flooded the earth in Noah’s day?
I didn’t know any of these things until I started watching HGTV after buying my first home.
Turn on HGTV, and you see rich people with lavish tastes. You see childless couples spending incredible sums of money on homes with three-car garages and five bedrooms. You see Average Joes getting thousands and thousands of dollars worth of home improvements for free. And, occasionally, you will see a DIY project that’s actually practical.
It’s as if Bob Villa, the Kardashians, and the producers of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire had a love child, and that child grew up to create a TV channel.
Years ago when I watched, the shows I liked on HGTV concentrated on small projects you or I could do to perk up our homes, either for our own enjoyment or in order to help us sell our homes. One of the oldies, Design on a Dime, would show viewers all the things they could do to their home with $1,000. Designed to Sell would take $2,000 and, you guessed it, do as much as they could with it to help the homeowners find a buyer.
These shows and shows like them were informative and practical. And, once upon a time, they used to comprise a majority of the HGTV programming schedule. That’s sadly not the case anymore.
Today, HGTV offers us shows like Selling New York and Selling L.A., where we get to watch big-city millionaires complain about the use of marble instead of quartz, or the lack of a private rooftop deck.
We get shows like Million Dollar Rooms, where we see indoor bowling alleys, waterfalls in foyers, and garages decorated in custom, Renaissance-style artwork.
We get shows like HGTV Dream Home and HGTV Green Home, where viewers can win million-dollar palaces by entering contests.
We get shows like Color Splash, where we get to watch horrible, horrible, horrible design creations that are an affront to all that is good and holy. (Sorry, I had no real point with this one. I just hate this show so, so much.)
HGTV has gone from a channel devoted to helping the average homeowner improve their home to a channel that makes the average homeowner feel bad about their home.
Of course, that’s just my opinion…which means I’m probably right.
Update: During my lunch break, I saw a commercial advertising a show called Million Dollar Closets. If you have so much money your closets are jazzed up to the point they are worth millions, you need to find a charity. Or two. Or ten.