Wow. Jillian Michaels. The crusader for the fatties got busted in what she thought was an off-mic conversation saying that “these people are not normal” and that they are “half-dead.” Which makes clips like this one all the more disturbing.

Obviously I’m not surprised that this is how she thinks. It’s her full-time job to scream at fatties and hypothesize as to what made them “this way.” The tactics that she uses to “motivate” contestants are truly scary. In the clip above, for example, I was beyond disturbed by the way she treated that young woman and her father telling him the only way he could get off the treadmill was if he was dead.

Being a reality-TV fanatic I have seen a wide range of competitive shows with trainers that scream and try and coax contestants to tears. However, I can’t help but feel that something about the Biggest Loser allows the gloves to come off and for the trainers to really rip into contestants in a way I haven’t ever seen on any other show. Somehow fat people “deserve” this type of treatment, even need it so they can better themselves.

I just think it’s gross and she is seriously out of control.

Links from fatshionista


I need to get in touch with my body again.

I think that college, especially overly theoretical education, and sometimes activism can disconnect me from my body.  This semester I took classes like Intro to Race and Ethnicity and Comparative Perspectives on the Body, two classes that were emotional as well as very physical experiences.  Being in class talking about “women’s experiences” or the “experiences of people of color” or “queer peoples experiences” as the great unknown other allows me to disconnect from my lived experience and my own connection to whatever we are talking about.

When I think back to all of my classes there are the things I learned but also the things I felt, physically.  Most notable for me is the experience of chairs in the classroom.  As a fat person everyday I squeezed, slid, jammed, and packed myself into spaces to small for me and would often leave class with bruises or welts on the sides of my legs.  In some classes with desks on the arm I simply did not fit requiring me to get another desk.  Feelings of physical exclusion and social shame are some of my strongest memories.  My body was physically restricted and punished through pain and in classes where I required an extra desk my body was put on display as deviant.

Chairs are something I always think about, I’m always scared I won’t fit.  I’m scared it will break.  But it feels good to name it, somehow I hope it means that the next time someone sees a person of size trying to negotiate chair spaces they will think twice, or when people organize events and conferences thinking about who will be sitting in chairs.  For example, if there is a talk in Kohlberg (a building on our campus) I am guaranteed to get only about 75% of whatever the speaker is saying because the chairs are so physically painful.

I also think that, for me, naming the physical pain is important.  I went through the first 2.5 years of college (and all my education before that) jamming myself into spaces to small.  I blamed myself, and didn’t think for a second that perhaps it was the chair that was built wrong–not my body.

Because since when is a desk chair the decider of what a “normal” body is, a “normal” student.  Fuck desk chairs that aren’t designed to fit all our bodies.  Fuck classroom materials that are being used to painfully mold fat bodies into thin bodies, disabled bodies into able-bodies.


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In a recent article former Biggest Loser contestant Kai Hubbard spoke out about the unhealthy conditions that the show was created under.  Some of her most intense memories include:

By the time she’d reached the competition’s end, her hair was falling out and her family had pushed her to see a therapist to regain a healthier attitude about food. She’d been through months of dehydration for optimum loss before the show’s trademark weigh-in sessions, eating less than 1,000 calories each day while working out an average of five to eight hours daily — dropping to 144 pounds from a starting weight of 262.

I shouldn’t say that I saw this coming, but, I did.  This show is so unhealthy and damaging.  It’s not just damaging to the contestants on the show who are obviously pushing their bodies to unrealistic and unsafe limits for weight loss, it is also damaging for the millions of viewers who tune in each week.  Fat people trying to lose weight might look to this show as a place to learn ways of engaging with food and exercise to lose weight.  Instead they are taught that they are fat because they hate themselves and that food is the enemy.  Any time the contestants are not able to complete a workout they are chastised for being failures and told that giving up now means giving up on THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. I’m just saying, it’s a little much.  Watching fat people mountain bike up a 45 degree incline while being told that they are fat because they don’t love themselves, it borders on abusive.

I still must admit I have seen the show a few times, in part to be horrified, in part because I can’t look away.  The mot recent finale challenge included the final 4 contestants running a marathon.  A MARATHON.  People train for this type of thing for years, they were given 3 months.

I think the way the Biggest Loser pushes its contestants is dangerous because it’s viewers may internalize the anti-fat sentiments and fat self-loathing that the show creates.

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Also, about the weigh-ins.  I think there is something about the weigh-ins, especially the first one that is about public shaming of fat people.  It’s about fat people standing in front of America displaying the physical embodiment that loss of control creates.  They are scolded by trainers for letting it get this far and doctors use scare tactics that probably wouldn’t be allowed in enhanced interrogation to make fat people cry.  As the weigh-ins progress the contestants are allowed to put shirts on again.  It is interesting that when they are at their largest their bodies are expected to be near naked, exposed for the world to see.  As their bodies shift and things like excess skin become a cosmetic concern, the clothes come back on.  Some bodies are allowed to be publicly shamed and others are not.


  1. Find a way to live a healthier lifestyle that doesn’t revolve around weight loss and diet restriction.
  2. Think more about how I am building community and if I can support them and allow them to support me in a better way.
  3. Be an active and supportive member in campus organizations.
  4. Continue being a constant learner and working towards liberation of myself and others.
  5. Figure out my future.


So it’s been a while… a lot has happened since then.  I spent an amazing summer at Choice USA, I spent the semester in Mexico, and I’ve learned a lot about myself.

I’m excited to begin again for a lot of reasons.  This blog is a good space for me to process my own thoughts and opinions about things including, but not limited to, my life, my body, tv, pop culture, politics, and anything else I can think of.

Some rules that I hope that others can follow about this blog.  I’m excited for open and constructive dialogue that comes from a place of love and kindness.  I want questions posed, critiques offered, but not hate.

So I’m back!


DYAO

So some thoughts on the new Oxygen series “Dance Your Ass Off.”

 

I LOVED it!

 

I was worried that it was going to be another one of those weight loss shows that just chastises and shames fat people into weight loss.  Things like the Biggest Loser that are all about fat people hating themselves and hating their bodies into weight loss.

 

So far, this show is more about celebrating fat bodies and pushing them to be able to move and dance in ways that they couldn’t previously.  I guess there’s something beautiful to me about seeing fat folks dancing fantastically, in small clothes that celebrate where they are at the moment, they’re sexy and comfortable in their own skin.

 

I also really like that the show has two components, on e the one hand you are judged based on how much weight you lose and then on the other it is based on how well you dance, those two scores are combined to make it a competition show.

 

Of course I would rather the show just be a dance competition about amazing fat dancers, but I think that the fat-positive side of it outweighs the issues that I see.




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