BBC 3’s Beauty Season

Just saw a trailor for BBC3’s upcoming season of programs on beauty, and unusual beauty. It covers some topics that, while not always directly applicable in many cases, will be close to the hearts of FA activists, feminists, womanists, and people generally interested in body politics. The trailer shows a series of seemingly perfect women done up in glamourous hollywood hair and make up, wearing pink dresses designed to reflect wealth, luxury, red carpet. They lie in provocative poses, and there is no doubt in their minds that they are anything but gorgous and fierce. Then the voice over starts, and the camera lets us see the missing limbs, the wheelchairs, the prosthetic legs.

Trailer pick

The progams in the series cover everything from celebrity retouching, to Beauty Queens, to disabled women in fashion (a place where plus sized women barely have a toe hold) and surgery both to correct what is referred to as disfigurements, and to enhance perfectly fine features. I will be particularly looking out for the show called Whose Hair Is It Anyway? from a new film maker discovered through the BBC’s Fresh initiative. This film travels through Britain and Asia to discover the roots of our obsession with hair.

You can read the full press release after the jump. I plan to watch and comment on several of these. For those not in the UK, you can watch via BBC iPlayer (just google it) if you use a proxy server based in the UK. Or they may well be available for download. The trailer is also available after the jump.

BBC Three goes behind the gloss with a collection of new programmes challenging conventional notions of beauty.

With young people feeling under increasing social pressure from the images of beauty and perfection they see around them, this thought-provoking season questions what it means to be beautiful – and exposes the truth behind the apparently perfect images seen on a daily basis.

Leading the Beauty Season is the groundbreaking new series Britain’s Missing Top Model.

This six-part modelling competition explores the reasons why disabled people appear not to have a role to play in the beauty and fashion industries.

The series features eight women with disabilities competing to prove to a panel of industry experts that they have what it takes to be a mainstream fashion model.

Ouch!, the BBC’s award-winning disability website, joins forces with BBC Learning to bring the rarely discussed topic of disability within the beauty and fashion industry into the spotlight.

The aim is to raise awareness about disability and increase the profile of disabled people in the media. There is more information at

The Beauty Season also features a series of high-profile empowering documentaries presented by well-known young female stars that challenge mainstream notions of beauty and highlight the serious social pressures young people feel under to conform.

Alesha Dixon challenges the culture of re-touching and the power of air brushing and examines how this might contribute to fuelling women’s need to seek body perfection in Alesha: Look But Don’t Touch.

Konnie Huq looks at the horror stories behind every day beauty treatments that can go wrong, while Shazia Mirza asks whether we have different concepts of beauty in multi-cultural Britain.

The season also showcases films by new directors around entertaining, thought provoking topics that range from celebrity use of body doubles, the ambitions of a pre-teen beauty queen, to pop diva Jamelia who delves into our obsession with human hair extensions in a journey that takes her to Eastern Europe and India.

Danny Cohen, Controller of BBC Three, said: “This bold season aims to explore the pressures young people feel under to conform to mainstream and deeply engrained perceptions of beauty.

“Through Britain’s Missing Top Model and the documentary experiences of women like Alesha we want to open up the debate about what it means to be beautiful in a world in which we are continually bombarded with images of apparent perfection.”

Programmes in the season

In Alesha: Look But Don’t Touch, Strictly Come Dancing and Misteeq star Alesha Dixon looks at the 21st century perception of beauty and takes the bold step to convince a magazine to put her on the cover for one edition using no digital enhancement whatsoever.

Comedian Shazia Mirza asks who and what defines beauty and looks at the incredible lengths women will go to achieve it in Am I Beautiful? As Shazia explores the myriad of cultural takes represented in the UK today, the programme asks whether one size really fits all women or if perfect features really exist, irrespective of women’s African, European or Asian background.

Konnie Huq’s When Beauty Goes Wrong examines the every day beauty treatments we inflict on ourselves, and the possible disastrous consequences we risk in doing so.

Jess: My New Face introduces 17-year-old Jess, who was born with a facial disfigurement. Following major surgery which completely transformed the way she looks, Jess goes on a journey to find out why she felt so compelled to change her face.

In Addicted To Changing My Body (working title) fashion journalist Louise Roe goes on a journey to discover why women have boob jobs not just once but, in some cases ,again and again. She meets four women in their twenties who have gone under the knife to get the perfect pair of boobs.

First time directors

The Beauty Season also includes three films from three new directors, developed through BBC Three’s New Talent strand, Fresh – an innovative way of spotting the next generation of documentary film makers.

Maxine Watson, Executive Producer, said: “Last year we asked new directors to submit ideas around the theme of beauty.

“Three emerging directors were selected, and we’re delighted to be premiering their work as part of BBC Three’s Beauty Season.

“We’re immensely proud of what they have achieved, and we think the BBC Three audience will love their fresh approach to filmmaking.”

Jamelia discovers the truth behind the booming human hair extension business in Whose Hair Is It Anyway? (working title) – Jo Hughes‘ hour-long documentary in which the British pop star travels Britain, Russia and India to meet the women at the roots of our obsession with perfect hair.

Rowan Deacon‘s film Body Doubles (working title) delves into the world of celebrity “body part modelling”. We meet the models, the agents and scouts who scour the country looking for body bits that celebrities can call their own.

And in Sasha: Beauty Queen At 11 (working title), Dani Davis meets 11-year old-Sasha just as she is about to realise a long held ambition to become a pre-teen beauty queen.


~ by Pewter on June 21, 2008.

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