There is much that one might find wrong with the fashion industry — superficiality, materialism, runaway consumption, impractical and overpriced designs, and overrepresentation of New York and LA cultural influences. A sensible critique of the industry’s ethics by a social conservative would be most welcome.
Exodus lobbyist Randy Thomas isn’t bothered by ethics, however — except when the fashionistas are gay. Only then does he see something awry. And instead of looking for current problems with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Thomas still imagines the same stereotypes that plagued his review of the show two years ago:
Thomas blames Fab Five homosexuality, of all things, for the fashion industry’s values; Thomas then proceeds (without substantiation) to accuse the apolitical Fab Five of “gay ideology” and gender-role confusion. Thomas falsely assumes the Five aren’t Christian simply because they’re not outspoken evangelicals. He assumes the Five are sissies; in fact, all but Carson Kressley are conventionally masculine. And, most important, Thomas overlooks the central theme of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy‘s current season: Affirmation and support for heterosexual marriages.
The Fab Five’s defense of traditional values seems beyond Thomas’ comprehension. He is impaired in his ability to perceive people and ideas that might disprove his stereotypes. He criticizes the Five for half-joking correctness toward heterosexual men when Thomas, by comparison, exhibits all-too-serious correctness in his finger-wagging at homosexual and bisexual men.
While the Fab Five can be patronizing, their affirmations of marriage, and of the couple undergoing each week’s makeover, give hope to audiences that the mass media can still offer positive portrayals of marriage.
This affirmation is the central theme of the show, but Thomas does not see it. He has a plank in his eye: superficiality. With his own vision obstructed by superficiality, it is little wonder, then, why he perceives so many other people to be superficial.
If Thomas is truly concerned about superficiality in society, then after he removes the plank from his eye, he might consider reviewing a TV program that really does obsess over image rather than family. That program: Project Runway.
While QESG matured with its hosts and settled down to help straight couples marry, Runway portrays young designers aggressively chasing industry values that are determined, not by homosexuals, but by image-conscious women whose values are shaped by Mattel’s Barbie doll, who grow up to buy luxury fashions, and who — as a collective market — control Madison Avenue.
Thomas warns that “the world is learning how self-identified gay men would remake society into their image.” But what would that remade society consist of, according to the current season of QESG? The answer: Traditional marriage. Thomas’s warning is not prophetic; it is Chicken Little.
Thomas concludes, “[O]thers of us will seek to allow God to liberate us into His image which bypasses the exterior and satiates the heart.” A nice thought, but Thomas’ perception remains consumed by the exterior. Thomas has not allowed God to liberate him; his mind remains enslaved by stereotypes — and by his mistaken assumption that others share or even exceed his own superficiality.