'Extreme Makeover' Author: Media Degrade Women, Christ Offers Dignity

A new book by a radio talk show host and author suggests that the pop culture phenomenon of "makeovers" can not only change a women on the outside. For meaningful, internal change, she contends, women should turn to Jesus Christ for an "extreme makeover."

Teresa Tomeo's book, Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ not Conformed to the Culture, to be released in October by Ignatius Press, is a reaction to the cultural phenomenon of "extreme makeover"-type reality shows, which, according to the Tomeo, are degrading to women and can damage their self-esteem.

"Our media and culture continue to reinforce in the minds of girls and young women that their intrinsic self-worth is founded in their value as nothing more than a sexual object," Tomeo said in a statement. "How can our society expect women to be treated fairly and with dignity when our culture continues to portray them as mere objects?"

Tomeo criticizes the entire culture of that specific kind of reality TV which makes people undergo changes in their appearance either through change of wardrobe and hair style, losing weigh and even undergoing plastic surgery.

According to the author, the transformation, in most cases and particularly for female contestants, is just another example of what network and cable television are doing to enable and even encourage the ongoing objectification of women and young girls.

Extreme Makeover includes a section with stories about women who have transformed themselves by focusing on "what God intends them to be - not what the media and popular culture tells them they must be in order to feel good about themselves," according to a press release.

"Tomeo knows the pressures and dishonesties facing women in modern American culture from firsthand experience," Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia commented, "and she leads women to Jesus Christ with compelling personal testimonies and uncommon persuasive skill."

Other issues, such as TV violence, also meet the author's criticism.

"The culture can be toxic in terms of desensitizing us to violence, weakening our moral fiber, and making us feel pretty darn disgusted with ourselves because we're not five-foot-nine and a size 2," Tomeo writes in the book.

Tomeo also mentions "The Playboy Club," the NBC series that was recently canceled, as another example of how "women continue to be objectified and sexualized through the media." Shows like this glamorize pornography, the author contends.

"The Playboy Club" was canceled Wednesday following criticism from the Christian community that it is offensive towards women and potentially harmful to children.