fitness · media

Just when you thought reality TV couldn’t get any more horrible…

CW: discussion of a proposed reality TV show that focuses on the fatness of women as a problem for their relationships. Followed up by fiery righteous ranting (by me and the rest of the Twitterverse). Oh, and also lots of memes of Jean-Luc Picard. Use discretion.

You may have seen news stories about a TLC proposed reality show called (please forgive me; I just work here) “Hot and Heavy”. The premise is to gawk at couples of straight-sized men and fat women, to better understand how such a relationship can be functional and loving.

Jean-Luc Picard, saying "Oh, come on!"
Jean-Luc Picard, saying “Oh, come on!”

There is so much wrong with this idea– where shall I start? Well, how about letting our Twitter neighbors kick off the outraged totally-justified objection-fest?

Tweets in response to TLC's announcement. They were not amused.
Tweets in response to TLC’s announcement. They were not amused.

TLC refers to the couples as “mixed-weight”. Twitter rightly called them out and named what this term actually means. Herewith a brief but mighty Twitter post:

Shantel tells the truth here: "mixed weight" means fat women and thin men in relationships. What do we call relationships with thin women and fat men? Uh, relationships. Die, term, die!
Shantel tells the truth here: “mixed weight” means fat women and thin men in relationships. What do we call relationships with thin women and fat men? Uh, relationships. Die, term, die!

Jean-Luc PIcard, upon reading the TLC story, had no words.

The famous and moving face-palm of Jean-Luc Picard.
The famous and moving face-palm of Jean-Luc Picard.

Here’s my take on this: any TV show focusing on the larger-than-some-made-up-photoshopped -ideal size of anyone as a challenge or obstacle in the course of their doing anything in their lives is engaging in out-and-out fat shaming. Using the made-up term “mixed-weight couples” is an unsuccessful attempt at disguising the fat-shaming.

It also brings to mind other terms (for instance, “mixed race”) to refer to couples whose relationships that powerful groups have disapproved of, made illegal, and perpetrated violence against. That show is using a term that will remind lots of people about serious injustice against many populations. I’m not qualified to speak for lots of populations. But I’m calling out the show on this.

And one more thing: NO. No more. We’re done with that. The same way we’re done with trying to make this recipe work:

Yes, chicken in a watermelon. Don't try this at home. Or anywhere else.
Yes, chicken in a watermelon. Don’t try this at home. Or anywhere else.

Maybe some day, Fit is a Feminist Issue could be made into its own reality show. And who would be on it? Everyone who wanted to share their stories about fitness-according-to-them, in all its realistic glory. This would include experiences of movement, injury, illness, loss, gratitude, friendship, adventure, fear, napping, training, going solo, venturing with groups, moving while aging, moving while pregnant, not moving when we really wish we could, etc.

I asked Jean-Luc Picard what he thought about this idea.

PIcard saying full of win!
Full of win!

I agree. What would you want to see in a Fit is a Feminist Issue reality show? Or podcast? Just curious…

9 thoughts on “Just when you thought reality TV couldn’t get any more horrible…

  1. I agree–women are judged primarily for how they look–it’s as if we are there to be men’s arm candy and nothing else. It’s completely ridiculous. I would love the idea of a Fit is a Feminist issue reality tv show–just put it on Netflix or Amazon Prime or something instead of cable. Cable is out and online streaming is most definitely in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi KC– I’m liking that you commented. Yes, I remember those heady days in the 70s when we thought the ERA would pass. It’s still possible: VA has a chance of passing it next year. If so, it will spur a bit constitutional fight, which I would welcome. We will be all over it, and who knows what’s possible? Thanks for reminding me about this,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OK…This “mixed weight show” is a horrendous idea for so many reasons that I am not going to list them…you already know them after all…

    I will say…isn’t every relationship mixed weight? Literally every one unless you by some miracle weigh exactly the same as your partner…which is unlikely and tbh may only be true for an hour or two anyway… do relationships have weight categories now? Did I miss that? Is it like boxing?

    The Fit is a Feminist Issue reality show, however, is a brilliant idea!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Sam– I love the boxing allusion. “In this corner, middle-weight real estate developer with sparkling green eyes and a wicket left hook..” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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