I admire bloggers who write about weight issues unashamed and unabashedly. They admit they are fat, write about issues that are in the public eye and some even glory in their fatness as completely part of themselves. As always I am leery of those who espouse it as a “lifestyle” and try to increase their sizes to unrealistic proportions, but I am completely sympathetic to those who bring fat discrimination to light and fight it with their blogging skills. I also don’t believe that people are obese merely because they are bigger than arbitrary numbers made up by “scientists” paid off by the diet industry. But that’s another blog.
I’ve never had to struggle with weight all my life as some fat women and men have. My weight was gained primarily when I was pregnant three times in 5 years. Before that, I had no problem, meaning I thought I was of “normal” weight in high school. More pounds were added with each child and stayed with me for good. As I got older, pounds also creeped up on me and stayed. I’ve had my share of ridicule from insensitive people making comments about my weight and like every woman, I’ve suffered the personal disappointment of trying to buy attractive clothes in my size that also fit well instead of looking like I was trying to put on bed sheets in the changing room. I won’t go into the politics of the obesity myth right now. Many fine blogs do this already. What I want to talk about are television shows that focus on weight issues.
Television is the worst culprit of the fat hatred movement. There is a very fine line between acting concerned about someone because of their weight and assuming that all people should be the same size, shape, and weight because they believe any fat, any fat at all, is unhealthy. This isn’t true and a little research will show this. Still there is a Stepford mentality in our society that assumes women and men should be publicly ridiculed and scrutinized as this, they believe, will be an acceptable form of motivational treatment. Some even do it to themselves! I refuse to watch television shows like The Biggest Loser or any show that offers people up for shaming due to their attempts to lose weight. There are other shows that don’t focus on weight loss but try to show the plight of large people attempting to do ordinary things that others of smaller frame take for granted; like buying a wedding dress for those most joyous of events; their marriages.
I was skeptical when I saw Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss. I thought, oh here we go, making fun of the big girls. Let’s watch them make fools of themselves and laugh! I was a little surprised however. First, I was pleased to know that Kleinfeld’s, the store in New York where the show is set, offers wedding dress sizes up to 30! They don’t offer very many and the designs are, again, mostly the same, but they do offer them. I was surprised to see that Randy, the bridal consultant, really understands the psychology of big women and how hard it is to try to fit into an increasingly shrinking world around them. He lectures the consultants to be particularly cognizant of their clients’ feelings when trying to fit dresses. Almost all of the clients cry as a result of not being able to look good in a dress that’s really not designed for them, but just made larger. Sometimes they look long and hard and find nothing. We are indeed fragile in our emotional makeup precisely because we’ve dealt with this most if not all of our lives, even when we were kids! There is no commercial on TV that isn’t selling clothes to make you appear smaller, food that has absolutely the least calories and tastes like cardboard to boot, and activities that all end in exercising your butt, legs, thighs, you name it. Even Cosmopolitan once told us how many calories one could lose having sex!!
All clothes items must be utilitarian and useful and every action must shrink us to fit a culture that will not accept those of us who take up more room. Until that changes, I will pick and choose my television shows very carefully. SYTTD: Big Bliss isn’t perfect, but it’s better than humiliation at the hands of a trainer like Jillian!
- ‘Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss’ Star Randy Fenoli on Why Plus-Size Brides Deserve Extra Love (stylelist.com)
- TLC’s New Series ‘Say Yes To The Dress: Big Bliss’ Premieres October 1 (tvbythenumbers.com)
- ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ goes plus-sized (timesunion.com)
- Is Biggest Loser Wrong? (fitnesstipsforlife.com)
- “E! Plans Bridal Plastic-Surgery Competition” and related posts (tunedin.blogs.time.com)