How to organise your body 101: postfeminism and the (re)construction of the female body through How to Look Good Naked

Christiana Tsaousi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
281 Downloads (Pure)


The aim of this article is to highlight the attention given by recent makeover shows, and specifically How to Look Good Naked, to the ‘underneath’ as a way of (re)organising the female body. I examine whether this ‘turn’ or change in media’s direction is an appreciation of the real female body (an unmodified body) or whether this is a mere (re-)organisation of the body into a controllable base of overall appearance and a further embedding of Western conceptions of beauty and of the notion that the manipulation of appearance is essential to the construction of the feminine identity and to the measure of women’s social worth. Informed by postfeminist discourse and critique, I analyse the British reality makeover television show How to Look Good Naked, discuss the extent to which it actually provides an alternative to prevailing cultural discourses around feminine beauty and scrutinise the impact that it seems to have on the identities of the women who participate. I analyse how the show, as the ultimate postfeminist show, inscribes gendered identities and practices, and I examine how postfeminism has created spaces for such shows to exist and affirm hegemonic gender constructions based on consumption practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-158
Number of pages14
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number2
Early online date26 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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This document is the author’s post-print version, incorporating any revisions agreed during the peer-review process. Some differences between the published version and this version may remain and you are advised to consult the published version if you wish to cite from it.


  • body image
  • femininity
  • How to Look Good Naked
  • identity
  • makeover shows
  • postfeminism
  • reality TV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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