War of Extremes

Have you guys seen the new reality show on TLC’s network, “Big Sexy?” It’s based on New York City, where 5 plus-sized women in the fashion industry (plus-sized models, makeup artist, swim suit designer, retail saleswoman) are taking on the day-to-day challenges of living large in a size-obsessed culture. The girls come together to put on a plus-size fashion show, proving that you don’t have to be a stick-figure to work the runway. The show also follows each of them as they have their individual adventures finding love in the Big Apple, looking for great guys that appreciate and love the way these girls look and for who they are.

While I do admire the girls’ sense of self-confidence and charisma, I still have mixed feelings about the show. I do feel like it goes to extremes to tell the opposite side of the fashion world, “screw you! I love being fat!”

Weight and clothing sizes aside, what ever happened to health? To preventing chronic disease; to find middle ground and a healthy weight for YOUR body (height and bone structure) and maintaining, even flaunting that? Where’s the show about us average beautiful girls, sizes 4-10 that still have boobs, do eat dessert (occassionally) and exercise on a regular basis?

No less than 2 episodes in, one of the cast members, Tiffany, a plus-sized model, goes in to see an endocrinologist and have blood work done. She finds out that because of her weight, she’s now been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Her contracting manager is urging her (more like forcing her) to lose 7-10 pounds so she will fit beautifully into the size 16-18 category.

Body-confidence, self-acceptance, and self-worth aside, in a culture today where we’re dealing with 68% overweight/obese, I feel TLC is sending wrong messages with this show. YES, you should learn to love who you are, but part of LOVING who you are is learning how to take care of yourself properly: that means eating well and being active; it means maintaining a healthy body weight to prevent things like diabetes, heart disease, thyroid issues, and so on. Self-acceptance lately has seemed to turn into fat-acceptance. People are forgetting that pride doesn’t keep you alive, no matter how “curvy” or “thin” you are.

In a self-obsessed culture, the audience is the one I’m most concerned about. Big Sexy put a bad taste in my mouth.

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8 thoughts on “War of Extremes

  1. I agree 100%, I love that these women show confidence but come on… they should be healthy too. Thats what upsets me about shows like this… Great have confidence, but show your body love by taking care of it too. It is totally a mixed signal. Now if they were larger but were 100% healthy, than I could back this all the way. But they aren’t showing health or making it a priority at all. 😦 pfftttt…. Great blog!

  2. I actually saw the commercial for that show while I was on the treadmill. My first reaction was – “wow! Everyone should have that sort of confidence!” but, then as I thought about it, to me it’s almost like smokers being proud of smoking and all that.. they know it’s not healthy but they can’t quit so they’re just going to flaunt it.. you know?

    I’m not healthy at all – in fact, I am in the overweight range for my BMI, but I am trying to change that. I agree that not everyone should or does or even can look like a size zero, but obesity should not be something to celebrate.

    1. I love your analogy! Kudos for you for getting healthy- that’s what matters- not the size of jeans someone wears. I will never look healthy as a 0 or 2 (larger bone structure) but a 4-6 is where I look fit and healthy. That’s what looks good on me. Everyone just needs to find that comfortable, healthy place. Somewhere they can maintain their entire life without losing sanity. 🙂

  3. I’m on the fence about the show too. The women are great. It’s nice to see women of any size have confidence in themselves. For the most part. They’re still clearly not totally comfortable showing off their bodies based on the bathing suit hassle in the first episode, and that sends mixed messages. Also, I’m not impressed with how TLC names their shows. Big Sexy, Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss. Why does there have to be “specialty” shows?

    1. I agree. It’s not nice to put people into boxes and categories with special segmented shows like that. I was also disgusted by the BBW party they attended at the bar- a lot of the other women there were getting nasty and putting a bad name out for plus-sized women (slapping their thighs, showing it off). If you want someone to respect you, first respect yourself.

  4. It’s one thing to accept your body as it is when your life is in balance but you’re not “picture perfect”. But I think this is promoting an unhealthy life. What’s next, a show praising alcoholics who are much more fun when they’re really drunk?

    1. LOVE your comment- so true! I know (and it’s obvious watching the show) that these women truly do not feel 100% happy with where they are. Being larger than most is one thing, but actually being clinically obese is a different ballgame all-together. They can’t get away from the fact that their lifestyle IS setting them up for chronic disease soon. I just hate the message it sends to America with the state we’re already in.

  5. I agree… being confident in who you are is fabulous and something we should all aspire to, but being healthy is just as important. Being healthy and searching for a way to aid a degenerative spine are what compelled me to lose weight. Not the person I saw in the mirror. I like the person I see now, but that wasn’t the driving factor.

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