Category Archives: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday – The TV Tells Us What to Weigh

I thought it would be fun to share some of my articles and writing from my college days. During undergrad, I was a Communications major with a focus in Journalism and Writing. Needless to say, I have an arsenal of articles and various pieces that I had to write for classes. I also wrote plenty for our college newspaper, The Voice, where I was an editor.

I was also lucky enough to write for Saddle Horse Report for a couple of years during my early college days, and I did some freelance work for The Port Planet, which was a local free newspaper in our city. Unfortunately, it’s no longer around.

So what does all this mean? Occasionally on Throwback Thursday, I’ll be sharing a piece of my writing from way back when. Right now, they are just sitting in a folder on my computer. Might as share for the world to see!

The TV Tells US What to WeightGratisography

This piece was originally seen in The Voice, Westfield State University’s newspaper, on March 28, 2008. My senior year. I chose to share this one as the first piece, because it still seems to relevant nearly 7 years later. Enjoy!

The T.V. Tells Us What to Weigh
As seen in The Voice- March 28th, 2008

Weight is an obsession. And it doesn’t affect just one or two people; it affects nearly everyone in one way or another. But in the United States, the obsession with weight has taken over; especially on our televisions. With such weight loss shows as Celebrity Fit Club and The Biggest Loser and shows focusing on the excessively skinny, such as America’s Next Top Model and Janice Dickinson’s Modeling Agency, the country’s view of what’s healthy had become much obscured.

The Biggest Loser has taken the country by storm and has motivated many people to take action with their own obesity problems. Contestants on the show are forced to weigh in every episode, after grueling workouts all week and challenges. During some episodes they have to endure a “temptation” challenge in which they are put in or near a room with food or a guilty pleasure and must have to conjure up the will power to not indulge. During a weigh-in, the men must wear only shorts, while the women must only wear shorts and a sports bra. This is ultimately putting their obesity in the spotlight and allowing people to see that they are real people and they are trying to lose weight. The person or team, who has the lowest weight loss at the end of the weigh in, is either voted out or chosen to leave.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have America’s Next Top Model. It seems like a fairly harmless show, until you get sucked into it and realize that 90% of the women on the show are a size 2 or less and are constantly showed in the kitchen or figuring out what is ‘healthy’ to eat. During the panel, some are told that they need to tone and work on their bodies more. But what about the plus-size models on the show? Plus size on Top Model appears to range from a weight of 140 to a weight of 190; depending on how much the judges like the girl in casting. One girl in particular by the name of Sarah, entered the competition during Cycle 9 as a plus size but was criticized nearly every judging for looking less and less like a plus size model.

“I think that Americas Next Top Model doesn’t always come out & say that weight is a major concern, they don’t have the girls working out or on diet plans, but they do chastise the plus size models if they are ‘too’ plus size,” Janine Riopel, a sophomore Criminal Justice major said.

But how do you compare two totally different shows, but both apparently with the goal of ‘losing weight’ and ‘being skinny’? In a world where the average woman is between a size 10 and 14, the idea of being a size 2 like a model is unrealistic. Tyra Banks is one of the only judges on the show that loves plus-size models, while many others believe that a plus-size model will never make it in the high fashion world. But the Biggest Loser aims to make their contestants healthy, not a size 2. Most lose 50 pounds at least, with most of the winners losing over 100, if not more. But they are pushed to a level of exercise that they had not experienced before.

Riopel said “I feel like what you take from a body image portrayed on television depends on what lens you’re viewing these bodies through. For example, there are plenty of sitcoms where mothers, daughters, etc are portrayed in a fairly normal light, while there are shows like the OC where everyone has a below a size 6 waist. If you can look at shows like that and realize that it’s not reality, more or less because societies like this don’t actually exist then you’ll have a healthier image of weight.”

She went on to say, “Unfortunately both of those shows put a major focus on weight, the Biggest Loser being more prevalent. On the brighter side they are using people who are fairly heavy and teaching them how to lose weight, which is healthy. Nonetheless, I think it’s a bit useless to kick people off who aren’t losing weight, defeats the purpose of weight loss a lot and almost says, if you can’t lose weight at our speed you fail.”

Weight appears to be a topic that will never cease to disappear. People are always worried about how they look and what they, even if they say they are confident with how look. There will always be something that someone doesn’t like about themselves. And it seems like shows such as the Biggest Loser and America’s Next Top Model have unknowingly struck a nerve with everyone that watches it, whether it be they feel too big or too ugly.

Disclaimer: Please do not replicate. If you are interested in quoting this piece, or using a piece of it, please e-mail me at aglimpeintoerynsworld at gmail dot com.

New Signature