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Made Over In America cover image

Made Over In America 2007


Distributed by First Run/Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Produced by Bernadette Wegenstein and Geoffrey Alan Rhodes
Directed by Bernadette Wegenstein and Geoffrey Alan Rhodes
DVD, color, 65 min.

Jr. High - Adult
Popular Culture, Women's Studies, Health Sciences

Date Entered: 05/19/2008

Reviewed by Gloria Maxwell, Reference Librarian, Penn Valley Community College, Kansas City, MO

Made Over in America takes a hard look at American society and our obsession with a narrow view of what constitutes beauty in women. This film uses archival material as well as imagery from advertising, excerpts from TV programs, and graphic collages to accompany interviews with plastic surgeons, producers and contestants from The Swan and Dr. 90210, clinical psychologists and media theorists. Also interviewed are the many women who want or feel the need for cosmetic surgery—older women and young girls from grade school to college students. Girls are shown looking at their own photograph and moving the cursor over every feature or body part proclaiming which are fat, which should be altered and which are good—very few features are acceptable. There are surgical scenes showing nose alterations, lipo suction, and other procedures. The theme of the TV makeover programs are all about improving a woman’s life by altering her physical features. Computer imaging techniques are used to show prospective surgery patients the many ways in which their looks can be improved. There is something very sad about seeing grade school girls, high school girls, and college girls up to women in their sixties all obsessed about altering their appearance in order to reach the current rigid beauty standard. These women all hear the message that if you are less than perfectly beautiful you can’t live a happy life. This is certainly a sad commentary on where society places its priorities. Because these alterations can be made, they should be made is the directive. Nothing is ever mentioned about individuality. This film is strictly about females. One weakness is that no negatives are ever discussed, such as physical or emotional problems following surgery.

Audio and video qualities are acceptable, and the use of archival material adds to the development of the film’s theme.

This video is suitable for high school and college library collections. This film would be useful for exploring society’s obsession with physical perfection for women, both from the female and male perspective. This would also be useful in discussing the perception of beauty with young girls and how to develop self esteem through means other than cosmetic surgery. Appropriate for women’s studies programs.