So, I watched the finale of "The Biggest Loser" last night. I don't watch it much during the season, but I can't seem to resist the finale. It's like seeing a fender-bender on the freeway; cringe-worthy, but you can't stop looking. Especially when the contestants crash through life-sized "before" photos and pose, to the thunderous applause of the studio audience.
One of the finalists (I can't remember her name. I know, shocking that I can't remember something, lol!) came out in a slinky dress and high heels, then almost fell down the stairs. Luckily, Trainer Bob was there to catch her before she fell.
The other female finalist won (yay, girl power!) and is now a spokesmodel. Gawd, I hate that term!
And ALL the contestants talk about how miserable they were before they lost the weight. Believe me, I understand how cruel the world is to fat people! But doesn't a show like this just reinforce that? It's all about taking ridiculously drastic measures to lose a lot of weight fairly quickly. (7 months is a short time in which to lose over 100 pounds.) And every week the contestants strip down to shorts (and, for the women, sports bras) and getting on a giant scale. To top it off, if they lose fewer than 5 pounds IN A WEEK, they're deemed a failure. And one of the finalists had actually GAINED 2 pounds in the last week at the ranch! GASP!!!!
Yes, they give lip service to how it's the changes on the inside that mean the most, but it's the person who loses the most weight that wins $250,000, not the one who gains the most confidence. They're showing off their new slim physiques, not the self-love and patience they've garnered.
And, needless to say, once the contest is over, the weight tends to creep back on.
The hardest part, for me, is that I think Gillian and Bob, the two trainers, are great - when they're not on the show!!!! They both have books and DVDs out, and I've read bits and worked out to the DVDs. And they are full of helpful advice and great workouts. (I LOVE Gillian's "30-Day Shred!") I just have a huge issue with the tactics on the show, and the premise itself.
I'm of the opinion that weight loss is a deeply personal thing. Not everyone wants to lose weight. Not every fat person has issues with food. I know MANY heavier folks who are amazingly fit. If someone does want to lose weight, that is their prerogative. If they feel the best way to do it is to go on national television and get screamed at, well, I guess that's their prerogative, as well. But the demonization of fat, and, especially, of FAT PEOPLE, really bugs me! And a show that gives us a group of self-hating people who only learn to love themselves once they lose the weight is just...wrong!
Why is it "better" to be anorexic than obese? Why do we reward people who use drugs and starve themselves and exercise obsessively in order to stay thin? Why do we continue to use peoples' bodies, especially womens', as commodities? When will we realize that peoples' bodies are private, and none of our business?
BTW, there is a terrific post over on BigFatDeal.com about a Rebellyon against the super-skinny ideal, as well as the music industry. Definitely worth checking out.
Finally, there is a BRAND NEW MUPPETS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL on tonight!!!!!!!!!
(It's the little things that make me happy!) And Miss Piggy NEVER goes on a diet, she just stays fabulous!