Dance Your Ass Off



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




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.


One Response to “Dance Your Ass Off”

  1. 1 kate

    wow, Cecilia, I totally agreed!!! I was going to avoid watching DYAO because I hate all those stupid diet shows that are shaming and promote self hatred. But then I read what you wrote and a review by one other blogger who writes about body image (I can’t think of just who it was unfortunately) and I thought maybe it wasn’t so bad so I gave it a try. I was so impressed!

    I loved how supportive the judges were. I didn’t watch the whole episode tonight (I was at the gym when I was watching so after my workout ended I left and I don’t have a tv lol) but from what I saw, the judges never made disparaging comments about the contestants’ weight. Instead they called them “sexy”, “beautiful,” and “great” and encouraged them to push themselves to dance even better. All their criticism was focused on the dancing, which I thought was so cool because it didn’t treat the contestants any differently than they would have been treated on some other dance show.

    I was worried that the public weighing was going to be shaming and humiliating. But I was so thrilled to see the contestants looking ecstatic over 2 and 3 lb losses. I would have expected to see competitors in a weight loss show trying to lose 10-15 lb in a week, which can be done but usually only through really unhealthy methods. I do believe in “Health At Every Weight,” don’t get me wrong – and I agree that the show would be even cooler if it weren’t about weight loss – but I was relieved to see, given the context, a celebration of more a more healthy pace of weight loss.

    I did think it was really stupid that they have some kind of “cheat” cabinet, so that when the contestants want something sweet or salty or fatty (and come on, who doesn’t sometimes??!) the audience can say ‘oooh’ and reinforce their notions of fat people as lazy sloths who do nothing but gobble goodies. But I thought that it was really powerful when the one contestant (crap I’m awful with names!!!) became so emotional – I’ve been there so many times with my body issues in the past, good lord – and threw it all away, because of the negative things those foods represented /to her/. Ultimately I think it’s unhealthy to think of foods as “bad” but… Idk how to explain but it seemed like it was a really powerful and healthy step for her in her ‘journey.’ If you saw that scene what did you think?

    Also, I looooved the costumes and the contestants looked so good in them!!!

    And last I loved loved LOOOVED seeing the show promote a fun, exciting form of exercise that seems appealing and cool… Exercise is such an important part of my own personal mental and physical health, and when I really started working out it changed my life in so many ways, and I really hate those shows that portray exercise as a form of punishment or just as a means to an end because it makes it seem so unappealing…and I think so many people could benefit from more exercise not for weight loss reasons but because endorphins make me happy and less stressed and I hear it’s the same for just about everyone else lol!! and I hate thinking that people would be afraid of exercising or avoid it because of the awful ways weight loss exercise is portrayed on tv. I mean going to the gym is my thing but there are a lot of ways to be active without all the crazy shenanigans and boring/hard/terrible looking regimens I see on tv. So I love this show for portraying a fun and fabulous form of activity not centered around punishing one’s body on the treadmill for 3 hrs a day, but instead centered on celebrating the way one’s body can move with the beat.

    anyway that’s my diatribe lol. thanks for posting this.

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