My big fat revenge is a reality show in the United States where people who were overweight, lose some weight and then come back to taunt those who were mean to them or called them fat when they were overweight. Obviously, this is a show built on pettiness and a show that will appeal to only those who have a psychological need to fight for the underdog. After watching several episodes in which women came back fighting back because a partner, friend, family member, lover had called them fat when they were obviously fat, I had to start asking myself some questions.
Obesity and being overweight is a global issue. In the past, these were terms associated with the rich or high income countries. It was associated with having surplus food that was affordable to the rich. But, being overweight or obese has gone beyond being a symbol of the rich and upwardly mobile to being a disease that affects all regardless of their socioeconomic state. In fact, some have argued that in present day society the reverse has occurred which is that as people move up the social ladder economically, they have mounting pressure to lose weight and remain slim. To do this, they pay particular attention to their food and eat healthier. This is not the case in many low or middle income communities and countries where people are more concerned about getting something to eat rather than paying attention to issues of nutrition and portion control. Interestingly, being overweight or being obese is a form of malnutrition. How do we classify obesity or being overweight? This is classified as having your body mass index (BMI) greater than 25. Being overweight and obese has been directly correlated with the likelihood of getting diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis and the list goes on.
Now, the United States has two methods that are clearly used in working with those that are overweight or obese. One is of total acceptance in which people go beyond the size and accept people for who they are on the inside. Communities are formed in which self-esteem is built and the accepted concept of beauty is challenged. The second method that we see is fat shaming. This is a method in which loved ones and members of society go out of their way to make those that are overweight or obese, seem less than in an effort to challenge them to create change. Fat shaming was obviously the method that was used, that made these ladies call out for revenge. These two methods are problematic because in the former, yes, the person has high self-esteem, sees themselves as beautiful but they are slowly walking towards their death because they are living an unhealthy life. The second method creates a person who might lose weight but might be psychologically scarred for life. A study needs to be published on if those who go through fat shaming, go ahead to have eating disorders. I will not be surprised if there is a high correlation between fat shaming and eating disorders. Now, how does this tie to my big fat revenge?
Beyond the fact that I feel that this show is petty. There isn’t any follow-up associated with the show. Yes, you lose the weight and you make the ‘enemy’ feel like a cad. Then what next? Secondly, the show doesn’t stress the importance of living a healthy life and how losing that weight might have saved their lives. It is all about getting back at that person who dared to call them fat even though they were obviously fat. Another issue I have with the show is that it does not stress the importance of lifestyle change and the importance of food. They do not go out of their way to tell us the story of what led to this person eating so much that they became obese or overweight. There are reasons. We do not see these people, go to meet any counselor for help. This show could be a good show to raise public health awareness about being overweight/obese, the detriment of living a sedentary life and the psychological implication of this revenge. But it is media, and often times, media chooses to stick to what sells and entertains rather than what can inform.
Slightly Overweight. Attacking The Sedentary Lifestyle. Quite Aware That I Am An Emotional Eater.
- Binge Eating Disorder (emorysoc230fall2013.wordpress.com)
- School Sends Girl Home with Letter Calling Her “Fat” (newsfixnow.com)
- Don’t blame obese patients for being fat, doctors told (telegraph.co.uk)
- This Is Why You’re Fat – And What You Should Do About It (disinfo.com)
- “My Big Fat Revenge” Is Big on the Revenge (waitwhatsadial.com)
- You eat too much (kernelmag.com)
- Fat and proud? Check your fat privilege (pillscout.wordpress.com)
- The fabulous fat farce (trynabpainfreemomma.wordpress.com)