I have a question about Project Runway All Stars

Having run out of seasons of Project Runway to watch (at least before I start re-watching them again), I moved on to Project Runway All Stars because, well, sewing, and episodes I hadn’t seen.

It’s pretty good. I don’t mind that the host has changed, or that there are different judges. I miss Tim Gunn, but then who wouldn’t? But the mentors they have on the show- both women- really know their stuff. Joanna Cole especially.

There’s one thing, though, that really really bugs me. And that’s the way that the judges are introduced.

“Designer and co-founder of Marchesa, the beautiful Georgina Chapman…one of the most famous names in fashion, designer Isaac Mizrahi”.

The guest judges and male judges are introduced championing their success and accomplishments.

So why is it so important to make a point of Georgina Chapman also being ‘beautiful’.

Being beautiful doesn’t qualify her as a judge for a fashion design show. Her work with Marchesa does. Marchesa is a pretty darned famous name in fashion. She’s hugely successful. She makes beautiful clothes. But what we’re being told, as viewers, makes her a great judge is that she’s also beautiful.

Why does it matter? There are plenty of successful fashion designers who don’t conform to stereotypes of beauty. And a lot of them have been judges on the show. In fact, their non-conformity and bold celebration of who they are AS they are, is why we love them.

Diana Vreeland was very conscious of her not being a conventional beauty, and was one of the most influential women in fashion for years.

It bugs me because yet again, a TV show is suggesting that a woman’s achievements are somehow lessened, somehow not as valuable, if she isn’t also beautiful. Replace that with married, or a mother, and you have way, way too much of the mainstream media.

I guess what I’m hoping is that in my lifetime, we’ll get to the point where being physically attractive isn’t a qualification. For anything.