Why changing Franky’s style (without explanation) was Not Okay (as explained by Sophy of Rophy Does)
Oh wait. They did [explain the change]. Not in the show, of course – Franky’s new look is just one of those ‘here’s something I prepared earlier’ deals. But Skins’ brand new stylist made it nice and clear for us. I’m going to quote from her description of Franky’s style this season and I’m going to ask that all you decent folks at home get the children out of the room before you read on. They don’t need to hear the screaming.
“The more messed [Franky’s] head is, the more her wardrobe suffers. The happier she feels, the better she looks. As the series develops we’ll see her take control of who she is. Gone are the button up shirts, Franky has started to embrace her sexuality and she’s not afraid of exposing some flesh and finally being noticed by all.”
Yes, really. That is a real, actual quote. And the saddest part is that it is 100% borne out in the show.
This is the thing. I’m sure Katie Newham is a really nice girl. I’m sure she has awesome fashion sense. I really don’t care what she thinks about Franky Fitzgerald. The quote is offensive, sure, but it really wouldn’t matter a jot if the thinking behind it wasn’t backed up by Bryan Elsley and his team. But it is. And that’s what hurts. That’s what honestly makes my heart ache.
Just in case anyone is unclear as to why the above quote is offensive, I’ll spell it out as best I can.
It rests on the following assumptions: a) Franky looked bad last season, b) She chose to look bad because she was afraid to get noticed, and c) She was afraid to get noticed because her head was “messed”.
Anyone who’s seen series 5 knows that all of those assumptions are false. Franky looked fucking awesome – okay, apart from the nana pants moment in 507. Franky most definitely got noticed, and it was most definitely her intention to get noticed. In 501 she consciously chose not to take the easy route and fit in with everyone else by compromising herself. She didn’t wear masculine clothing because her head was messed. She wore masculine clothing because she felt comfortable that way. And she didn’t feel comfortable that way because there was something wrong with her. She fucking felt comfortable that way because she was Franky.
Now I’m not going to deny that the show also hinted that Franky had some issues with her body last season. But that doesn’t automatically mean that wearing masculine clothes was all about covering up. If it were, she would have been throwing on baggy old t-shirts and track-pants, not tailoring her very own bad-ass little suits. Yeah that’s right, remember the part where Franky was into fashion design? Remember the part where she probably put more effort into her look than any of the other kids at that school?
The bottom line is that Franky’s new look and the reasons adduced for it send a very plain message: People who dress like Franky did in series 5 have issues. They need to embrace their sexuality (read: appropriate gender identity). They will be happier once they’re like everyone else. They will be more in control of who they are.
I have never felt so disappointed in a show I trusted so much.