Today’s colosseum is the television. The gladiators are reality TV shows. The victim is your daughter.
It is no longer just airbrushed models and ridiculously skinny celebrities that distort her body image. Now ‘real’ people team up with famous trainers, chefs and psychologists to convince her that she is destined to be obese unless she takes drastic, sometimes life threatening measures.
In the United States, The Biggest Looser, arguably the most well known weight loss reality TV show made its debut in 2004. Since then it has fascinated audiences worldwide, airing in over 90 countries and produced in 25 countries. The Biggest Looser was followed by Weighing In in 2006. Then, Dance Your Ass Off began in 2009.
The frenzy over skinny is an international obsession. The UK, Australia and Canada all have versions of these shows. And, like the Romans of old, the entertainment must become more graphic, more sensational, more unrealistic, to hold the audience’s attention.
Supersize vs. Superskinny, pits a grossly obese person, an anorexic and their respective diets against each other in the “arena.” The individuals swap diets for a week in order to learn about the other’s bad habits. This exploitation of sick people only introduces them and the viewers to more dangerous habits. The series also promotes extreme measures such as Laser Lipolysis and Diabulimia.
What’s the danger? Is this not just another form of entertainment? Are we really letting our children toy with behaviors as threatening as lions and gladiators? Are our little girls being steeped in the lie that skinny is better, beautiful wins, and that beauty is not subjective? Simply, experientially: Yes.
Check back next Monday for more on this topic…