Million Dollar Matchmaker: Conformity
036:065:001-002 Spr14 Television Criticism
Love. Everyone wants it but not everyone finds it, so that’s where Patti Stanger (CEO of Millionaire’s Club) comes in of Million Dollar Matchmaker to tell you to dye your hair, hike up your skirt, and basically change everything about yourself in order to find a man. Simple enough, right? Maybe not, but that is how it is presented to viewers, that as long as you conform to the other person’s wants and needs you will live happily ever after. Sounds logical, however I’m a firm believer in being yourself (cliché I know) but I figure that if you are yourself from day one then it saves you the hassle of having to explain to your partner months later that no you don’t really watch WWE on the weekends and no you don’t really enjoy seafood even though you’ve spent the last four dates at Red Lobster. I just feel like if you are going to date someone they might as well get to know the real you, which is why Million Dollar Matchmaker makes me feel a little uneasy when I am watching woman after woman change who they are just to fit the criteria of what the millionaire wants. Dating shows such as, Million Dollar Matchmaker, should be expressing to viewers that you should love who you are and you should be yourself and the right person will come along and love you for you. Instead, Million Dollar Matchmaker makes viewers feel that they need to conform to what the other person wants in order to find love and that showing their true self is not an option. While Patti Stanger, pushes all dating contestants to conform to the millionaire’s desires, whether they are male or female, for arguments sake I will be focusing on female contestants with the desire to date a male millionaire. Million Dollar Matchmaker makes contestants change their appearance, their values, and their interests in order to find love, expressing to viewers the negative message that being their true selves is not good enough. The show also sends the message that opposites do not attract and all values and interests must be shared by one another in order to be in love… wrongo.
In season 7, episode 13 Patti is looking for a woman who will fulfill all of millionaire Justin’s desires in a woman starting with his desire of wanting a woman who looks like character Sloan from Entourage. Keeping this in mind she analyzes the women that come into the room telling Becca, one of the potential contestants, she needs to dye her hair dark brown in order to come to the mixer to take on the millionaire’s desire of a Sloan lookalike. Even though the woman is clearly beautiful with light brown hair, Patti feels that she should conform to this new appearance in order to fulfill the millionaire’s desires and the color of her current hair will not suffice. Patti is constantly telling the women how to wear their hair, what outfits to wear, and how to do their makeup in order to win over that specific millionaire. While I do agree that everyone needs a little maintenance from time to time, I do not believe a person should change their entire look for a man and they should instead take on an appearance that best fits them and that they are pleased with. A little lip gloss from time to time never hurt anyone, but changing your hair color for a guy eh… a little much.
In season 3, episode 7, contestant Brittany showed up in a conservative green dress and was told that she could only come to the mixer if she wore a black fitted dress with cleavage showing, paired with high heels and lip gloss. Now some guys are probably thinking yes please show up in this exact attire, however my thoughts are that she should be able to show up in whatever outfit she feels most beautiful in and if it is a conservative dress so be it. Whether you like it or not your clothes say a lot about you, which could give off the wrong message about someone if they are wearing clothes that they would not normally wear or feel comfortable in. The different styles worn and hair and makeup worn all resemble that specific person’s personality, so with 20 different girls all wearing the same hair color, same hairstyle, same makeup, and same little black dress, it masks each woman’s individual style and personality. Who Patti tells them to look like is not who they really are or what they actually look like on a daily basis. The women should not change their appearance to what the millionaire wants them to look like and instead they should feel beautiful with their own personal style.
The values of the contestants have also been altered a bit for the mixer. Only women of the same religion are approved to go to the mixer showing viewers that different religions cannot make a successful match. False. In season 7, episode 13 the millionaire, Justin, was Jewish so Patti weeded out any woman who was not Jewish. She even came across women who fit Justin’s criteria, but were turned away because they were not of the same religion. If they do not practice the same religion they are not even considered. Just because both partners practice different religions does not mean that they cannot fall in love and have a successful relationship, but that is the vision the show is giving off to viewers. Patti makes it clear to the contestants that if they do not share the same religion they will not get the chance to meet the millionaire and potentially have lots of money—did I say have lots of money? I meant fall in love… whoops fall madly in love. If the woman in front got the boot for being Catholic then the woman behind her just became Jewish (mazel tov), even if her application says otherwise.
Along with religion, the values regarding whether or not the women will move for love or if they want to have kids is important in order for them to get approval for the mixer. In most cases, if Patti meets an attractive girl (with the right color of hair) she will drop the hint that in order to date the millionaire you need to be willing to have a large family and be willing to move half way across the country. She will then pause and wait for the woman’s response. In most cases, the woman will get the hint and claim she will happily hop on a plane and forget her birth control at home. Whether or not she actually means that I’m not sure, but in most cases women will do whatever it takes to date a millionaire. After watching this show viewers might think that changing their values for a man is necessary in order to find love when in reality you should not have to change your values, but instead have your values known and accepted by the other person. That’s how love works, not faking who you truly are.
While it is important to have interests in common with one another, it is okay for the couple to have different interests too and still have a successful relationship. In fact, most couples do. In season 3, episode 3 Natasha was asked if she could learn how to surf so that she would better fit the millionaire’s desire of an athletic girl. She was not asked to surf because Patti thinks that she would enjoy it, but instead asks her so that the millionaire will be more willing to fall for her. Throughout the seasons Patti has told the women about the millionaire and his hobby’s following with the question of if the women are willing to partake in those specific activities too. Of course each woman would agree that they would want to partake in any activity that the millionaire enjoys in order to go to the mixer, even if they would not enjoy that specific activity. These women are basing their own interests on what the millionaire likes to do so that they can go to the mixer and have a better shot with him. They are trying to be the perfect fit for him but are forgetting that the relationship is a two way street and they need to find someone who is as equally right for them. They cannot fake who they are, they need to be honest about who they are and with that the connection will come naturally. If the women conform to what the millionaire wants and are not truly their self, then they cannot have a relationship with one another because their relationship is based on a lie. It is one thing if the women are willing to try an activity for fun, but to act as if they have similar interests as the millionaire, when in reality they do not, is not an effective way to start off a relationship. A couple can have different interests and still be compatible.
Million Dollar Matchmaker shows women changing their appearance, values, and interests all based upon what the millionaire wants. The show sends a negative message to viewers expressing that in order to find love you need to be willing to change yourself to what the other person wants. In reality, a person should never change who they are. People need to find someone who will love them for who they really are. Million Dollar Matchmaker does not send out a positive message to viewers about being happy in your own skin, but is instead sending a message that you need to conform yourself in order to be accepted. People should be their self and be proud of who they are and true love will follow.
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