Friday, June 26, 2009

More to Mock?

Confession time: I watch tv. A lot. Too much. Well, I guess most of the time it's just on in the background while I'm doing something else. (Sadly, the times that that "something else" is using my $800 elliptical are way too infrequent. Well, the elliptical will be waiting when winter is back.)

Sorry, I'm rambling. I have a point today. (Yes, really.) More and more frequently, on Fox, I'm seeing commercials for a new dataing "reality" show. Ah, but before you storm off in disgust, know that there may be reason for you to be even more (or less?) disgusted. There's a twist, you see. Whether this twist makes the show better or worse is a complicated issue, but I'm leaning to worse.

The twist? I'll explain it the same way the producers do. You see, the average woman on a reality show is a size two. The average woman in the US is a size 14/16. So, this show, titled More to Love, aims to bring reality back to reality tv by casting this show with regular sized women... who appear to actually be around size 18/20 or 22/24. (Why use actual "average" women when you can use women who are clearly well into obese?) Although, I'll give them credit. They did choose women who have the lovely, shapely, overweight-with-an-hourglass, Rubenesque figure that I could only dream of at any weight. (I can't find pictures of the cast, but I did find a site that has a video of the promo here.)

And, yes, the guy is overweight himself and clearly has a penchant for women of size. So it's not a show with the nastiness of Average Joe or any of those shows where these "beautiful" (on the outside at least) people are shocked and stunned to be paired with less-than-stunning people. Oh, the horror. Pardon me while I finish rolling my eyes.

OK, so what's the problem, some of you may be asking. Sure, sure. Part of me wants to believe that this show will get the public to see inner beauty, and even the outer beauty of these contestants. It's equality regardless of size, something I've championed, right? The producer even says, “We want to send the message that you can be the size you are and still be lovable... We aren’t going to thin these girls down so they can find love -- that’s a backwards message.” (source: James Hibberd's The Live Feed.)

So, OK. That actually sounds decent. But, let's remember, this is Fox. And a dating reality show. No good can come of this. (Can it?)

Let me switch to my problem with these dating shows in general. I've always wondered: Why do these twenty-five women, who seem fairly attractive and confident, throw themselves at (and fight over) a man they've just met? What is going on in their heads? There's an air of awful desperation, and that comes out very clearly during their "confessionals"... not to mention the all-too-soon and all-too-public intimacy on many of these shows. (No, I'm not a prude, but let's be real.) There is a very big, disturbing "wrongness" in these shows and the way they exploit people. (No, I don't regularly watch any of these shows, but I have watched enough to get a general idea.)

So, if these size two women have such a hard time looking sane on television, how will it be any better with "real" size women? I'm so very, very afraid that it won't. Let's face it: There's already a very real stereotype that overweight people are less intelligent and less capable. Do we really want to feed into the belief that they're also blubbering, desperate idiots? I know I don't, but I expect that this show will do just that.

I hope I'm wrong. I really, really do. But I just don't think I will be. And that saddens me.


Robin said...

I watch lots of telly. I always have it on when my husband's not around.

Arnþór L. Arnarson said...

For Europeans, watching Fox is like watching the American taliban network. Crazy! I'm sure it lowers your iq, and clots your arteries. I think it also tiers your eyes watching that s**t, just from eye rolling.

And speaking of the US talibans, the rest of the world are finally getting a rest from all the eye rolling, now that the Bush incident is over and you got a real human being for president.

Ok enough of my ramblings. But mark my words, no good can come from watching Fox. ;)