Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was an American reality television program developed for the Bravo television network that ran from 2003 to 2007. After its debut in 2003, the show became a surprise hit, and its rights were purchased by NBC. The program’s executive producers, Dave Collins, who has been in a gay relationship for 14 years, and David Metzler, who is straight, sought to create a reality program in which five fashionably sensible gay men (dubbed the fab five) would advise straight men on fashion and style. In 2004, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy won an Emmy Award for outstanding reality program.
The show, moreover, played on the popular stereotypes of the effeminate and flamboyant gay male who advises straight men on how to dress, prepare food, style their hair, decorate their room, and on other fashion and style-related topics. At its core level, however, Collins and Metzler envisioned Queer Eye for the Straight Guy as an opportunity for platonic bonding between gay and straight men. Perhaps the show’s best example of platonic bonding between the fab five and straight men and the show’s ability to portray the straight men’s acceptance of gay advice on fashion and style can be seen in the special edition DVD, Queer Eye: Queer Eye for the Red Sox. For the episode, the fab five turned the Red Sox press box into a spa and gave five of the Red Sox ballplayers, striking examples of modern-day masculinity, facials, pedicures, back waxing, massages, and new clothes.
Despite the show’s popularity and goal of creating a fashion-driven bond between gay and straight men, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy came under fierce attacks from politicians and journalists for promoting gay stereotypes. For men’s fashion, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy symbolized a growing trend of straight men using traditionally feminine hair and beauty products and frequenting traditionally feminine spaces, such as fancy wine bars. Public figures, such as soccer’s David Beckham, further promoted the image of the metrosexual with his perfectly filed nails and braided hair. In the early 21st Century, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy best represented Americans’ shift from traditional notions of masculinity to an acceptance of fashion and beauty products previously reserved for women.