Thursday, August 30, 2012

Size Bashing on "Project Runway": Why Heidi Should Say "Auf Wiedersehen" to Ven Budhu

Terri, Ven Budhu’s client (Season 10, Episode 6)

I’ve been feeling a bit run down lately and part of my self-care regimen has (obviously) been the online watching of a lot of back-episodes of the TV shows I’ve missed this summer. Over the last couple days, I’ve been catching up on that Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum-fueled hour of eyecandy for armchair fashionistas: Project Runway (Season 10). Finally, I was up to last week’s challenge – episode 6: “Makeover My Friend.”

It was one of those “real women” challenges when the Project Runway designers make clothes for non-model folks. Oh, yeah, theoretically the folks they should be making clothes for most of the time anyway.

But I digress.

The episode quickly became a size-bashing fest courtesy of (to my Desi shame) the one South Asian American designer, Ven Budhu. Dear old average-sized Ven apparently has some serious hatred of women he’s working on – because he took every opportunity possible during the episode to baby-moan about how “shocked” he was that his model was perhaps a *titter, titter, laugh* SIZE 14! And how it was “obviously unfair” that he had the “largest” model when others had clients who were the same size as regular models.

But Ven didn’t just keep it to himself, or his mentor, or his fellow contestants. He took it right to his client herself – commenting how “surprised” he was at how pretty she looked after the haircut part of her makeover, and how, even though she didn’t want to wear black, he had decided to go with black because it was (get your pinch-face on) “slimming.”

Check out this terrible-funny recap from tvgasm, or this clip from Hulu entitled, appropriately, “Bad Budhu” to get an up close and personal load of his kvetching to Tim Gunn (“she has no shape,” “she has no style”), deadpan disgust, and “oh none of these belts are big enough for your ginormousity” insulting statements. His antics were so bad both behind his client’s back and right smack in front of her face that he made her and the friend who dragged her in for a makeover in the first place actually CRY. (Oh, yeah, and me too.)

Meanwhile, even previously crabby designers (Elena, Gunnar, I’m looking at you, darlings) were having sob-worthy love-fests with their clients. Things were all fairy-wands and rainbow-scented unicorns, even with some of the normally mean judges (Nina Garcia, Fashion Editor of Marie Claire magazine, I am so looking at you), fashion was meant to uplift a woman, bring out her real personality, make her more herself, but better! (Clap! Clap! Pixie Squeal! Hooray!)

But affect-challenged Ven wasn’t having any of that. No, he was old-school, all the way. Fashion isn’t to make you feel good! Fashion is about unflattering dressing room lights, funhouse mirrors for trying on swimsuits, and a nosy saleswomen who pops open the curtain right when you’re naked only to suggest you need SPANX.

For the rest of this rant, please visit Adios, Barbie! 

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