The phrase “extreme makeover” brings to mind a number of reality TV shows where people undergo all sorts of changes, from style to weight loss and even to how many material possessions they hoard. But TV and radio journalist Teresa Tomeo’s “extreme makeover” is of a different breed, focusing on the inward person rather than the outward show. In her book, Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture, Tomeo uses the latest research on social behavior and trends to reveal the harm the lies and distortions of today’s mass media do to women, refuting the myths of radical feminism in favor of a truly dignifying, pro-life feminism based in real values.
Abortion is most likely the biggest example of popular culture’s deceit. Abortion has long been promoted as that wonderful thing, a “choice,” when in fact, abortion destroys lives and irreparably damages mothers. Tomeo devotes an entire chapter, “The Abortion Distortion: Media Falsehoods and the Fallout That Followed,” to exposing the media’s lies about this issue:
“Common sense tells us that having a choice is not the same thing as making a good choice. When it comes to having an abortion, however, choice has little to do with it. Discovering this truth was eye-opening and life-changing for me, especially as someone who had spent her career as a reporter and investigator. I was shocked to learn how abortion advocates – with the help of the mass media – distort and deny the facts about abortion to the detriment of women, all while hiding behind a slogan of ‘choice’ or ‘reproductive freedom.’”
Tomeo’s principle reason for writing the book was to help others free themselves from popular lies like these by sharing with them “the transforming power of God’s grace.”
As she tells us in the first chapter:
“It’s not just about my journey but the journey of so many other women like me who were sucked in by the ‘choices’ mantra and found that something essential to their true happiness was missing from their lives. . . . Unfortunately, many women still don’t know about the harm they do to themselves when they embrace the media’s definition of freedom. They do not know about the damaging effects of abortion, contraception, sexual promiscuity, and living with a man outside of marriage; nor do they realize the fallout from believing they have to suppress their natural gifts and abilities and become oversexualized females and at the same time more like men in order to be happy and successful.”
This may sound like doom and gloom, but the “makeover” part is not left out of Extreme Makeover. Women don’t have to conform to this confusing model of “oversexualized” yet “more like a man,” and it is Tomeo’s hope that her work will become a “top reference book for women who want to understand what our culture has become” and how to respond. To help those who wish to break out of the mold, her book contains end-of-chapter reflection questions, a resource guide, and, of course, a “media makeover and spiritual beauty regimen.”
Women like Teresa Tomeo deserve applause for their sharp contrast to radical pro-abortion feminists today, and for standing up for real women’s values. As Tomeo puts it, “It’s time for an extreme and a heavenly makeover.”