body image · competition · diets · fitness · weight loss · weight stigma

Can you watch the Biggest Loser ironically?

No. That’s my answer anyway.

I have some thin friends who say that they just watch it for a joke. They’re looking forward to new episodes. It’s so bad, it’s good they say. I’m not a “it’s so bad it’s good” kind of person.

I said, just stop. It’s not funny. It’s abusive. It doesn’t work. It hurts people. But also, it affects your attitudes towards fat people. Did you know that?

“A 2012 study published in the journal Obesity found that people who watched just one episode of the show exhibited higher levels of explicit bias against fat people. “Participants who had lower BMIs and were not trying to lose weight had significantly higher levels of dislike of overweight individuals following exposure to The Biggest Loser compared to similar participants in the control condition,”the researchers found. Just one hour of watching the show left thinner people with an even greater personal dislike of fat people.” From Jillian Michaels and the Alarming Legacy of the Biggest Loser.

What do you think? We know that my sense of humour about the treatment of large bodied people by the media is running low. You might have read my very very cranky review of Brittany Runs a Marathon.

You can’t miss the announcements: “The all-new Biggest Loser | Premieres January 28th‎.” But you don’t have to watch the show.

We’ve written about the show before. Lots. As you can guess we don’t much like it.

From the Olympics to the Biggest Loser? Say it ain’t so Holly

TV shows, fitness, and weight loss: Love and hate

I know the mistake they made: The biggest losers just stopped exercising

More on the mistakes the biggest losers make: But what about muscle?

The biggest losers just did it the wrong way! They lost the weight too quickly!

Extreme Dieting and Metabolic Adaptation: The “Biggest Loser” Dataset (Guest Post)

Imagine if size didn’t matter. Can you?

So has Caitlin at Fit and Feminist:


Don’t watch the Biggest Loser. Watch this great ad instead!

5 thoughts on “Can you watch the Biggest Loser ironically?

  1. I had no interest in watching The Biggest Loser before, and have even less interest now that I know it would add to my anti-fat bias. Occasionally I do watch “bad” TV or movies, but that’s mostly limited to things that are a little bit cheesy – I don’t really find humor or joy in the idea of watching people be abused for their weight, especially knowing it will probably be detrimental to their health in the long run. 🙁

    On a happier note, I love the This Girl Can ads! Reading about or watching people (especially women) doing athletics that they enjoy is one of my favorite kinds of fitspo!

  2. There are a number of shows that irk me for those same reasons. Another one that gets me is “My big fat life”. I’ve shared a number of times on my blog that I battled a very serious eating disorder decades of my life. I had vast weight gains and losses which put me in medical danger. I struggled for years to have a healthy relationship with food and my body! Making fun of fat people is cruel and really not helpful. Isolating them to their own segment away from mainstream society is also really unhelpful. I’m still not thin, and never will be, but I maintain a 120# weight loss. It’s been close to a decade now.
    We’re ALL human being regardless of our color, gender, shape or size. Kindness shouldn’t be hard.

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