With its recent 4 Emmy nominations, it’s no secret that the total makeover hit Queer Eye has swept the nation. “The Fab Five,” or Antoni Porowski, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, and Jonathan Van Ness, have captured everyone’s hearts with their playful attitudes, unique personalities, and skills.
MORE THAN JUST A MAKEOVER
I absolutely love Queer Eye.
In just 45 minutes, the Fab Five happily and respectfully give a nominated individual a home makeover, culinary lesson, wardrobe makeover, a fresh new haircut, and useful and inspiring life changes. How can you not be entertained by that? The Fab Five themselves have become an obsession with me and my friends—we follow them on Instagram, share their posts with each other, and express how much we love a particular member on a weekly basis.
It’s not just the fun of watching makeovers onscreen that draws people to Queer Eye. It’s the fact that the entire show revolves around the idea of acceptance; of ourselves, of those different from us, and especially of those from the LGBTQ+ community.
The number one aspect preached by the Fab Five is confidence. The featured makeovers showcase appropriate changes to the nominated individuals in order to increase this quality in nearly every aspect of their lives. I challenge you to watch the transformations and not feel happy and inspired while watching.
But what about the show is drawing widely different individuals together to watch?
IT’S A SAFE ZONE AT THE CLICK OF A BUTTON
In addition to the fun and feel-good quality of Queer Eye, the Fab Five address and discuss serious social issues and act as allies and advocates for minority groups. Every member of the Fab Five is openly gay, and they often share stories of their struggles to help and inspire people on the show or viewers themselves.
Topics discussed include transgender adults in America, transition surgery, religion and sexuality, coming out to family, police violence, racism, and more.
Fans of the show love and appreciate the social discussions taking place; especially as it is a Netflix original, and Netflix has put out some other content with questionable messages. This aspect of the show is yet an additional reason why it has become so popular, as it speaks to the current political climate. As the Fab Five have gained more of a following, the messages they send in each episode of the show are stronger and reach more people.
But how do these positive messages reach those who don’t watch the show or even have Netflix?
BY ADVOCATING ON AND OFF SCREEN
The members of the Fab Five don’t leave their advocacy just for the show. Each member continues to spread positivity, confidence, and awareness of social issues through their social media platforms. On Instagram alone, Jonathan has 2.2 million followers, Antoni 2.1 million, Tan 1.7 million, and Bobby and Karamo at 1.4 million. That is a ton of people!
The first thing you see when going to Antoni’s Instagram page is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number on the first line of his bio. Jonathan consistently posts about the importance of self-care and self-love and recently shared resources and encouragement to those struggling with addiction and other mental health issues after Demi Lovato was hospitalized from an overdose. Karamo Brown has also taken advantage of his social media to spread messages about LGBTQ+ rights and different topics regarding masculinity.
So why does it matter than 5 gay men from a Netflix makeover show are acting as social advocates?
THEY ARE APPROPRIATE ROLE MODELS
The world we live in has the internet at our fingertips or in our pockets at our every waking moment. The internet is a wonderful and resourceful tool but also contains unimaginable amounts of biased, negative information.
As social media has become more and more accessible to kids the role models they have to look to take the shape of the Kardashians/Jenners, Instagram models, and various other forms of celebrities. Many of these figures can be seen consistently posting nearly nude photos, displaying belongings like cars or jewelry, or existing as unrealistic body ideals.
Having a majority of celebrities put extreme emphasis on material belongings or body standards (that an average person merely cannot achieve without a daily personal trainer, chef, or plastic surgery) sends toxic and honestly unattainable messages to young people viewing their content.
As younger and younger people join social media they are immediately greeted with these unrealistic standards that become ingrained in their mind as expectations for their personal futures.
Although the Fab Five are celebrities, their social media reflects their realistic and authentic lives. Along with their advocacy, each member serves as a healthy and real role model for children and adults alike. Having influential celebrities who have faced adversity for their identities not only inspire individuals facing similar struggles but can offer different perspectives to others.
Consistently promoting acceptance, confidence, and self-care on Queer Eye, on social media, and in public appearances is a refreshing change of pace that we all need to witness.