Fat Attack?

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AuthorTopic: Fat Attack?
Shaper
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If anyone has been paying attention to ABC recently, they'll likely have noticed two shows recently that target the overweight portions of society, Shaq's Big Challenge and Fat March. I, personally, am of the opinion that the shows should be pulled off the air immediately for discrimination, but being overweight myself, I'm wondering if my opinion is a bit biased. I know that the shows produce positive results with the participants and help them lose weight plus get healthier. However, I can't help but think that it's adding a social stigma to the idea of being even slightly overweight, and, furthermore, I believe that the shows are sending out a generalizing, stereotypical message that everyone who's overweight is a lazy, mass-consuming, no-good waste. I was wondering what the Spiderweb community as a whole thinks of these reality shows, and how they affect those who participate in them, as well as overweight people as a whole.

EDIT: Ack! Because UBB hates percent signs in links, I've modified the Shaq's Big Challenge link so that it links almost directly to it. You just have to click on the appropriate topic from the search pane. You can't miss it, it's the first result.

[ Tuesday, July 31, 2007 14:32: Message edited by: Nioca ]

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AmnesiaWitch HuntWhere the Rivers MeetFoul Hordes
Posts: 2686 | Registered: Friday, September 8 2006 07:00
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Any show that promotes healthy living is fine in my book.

quote:
I believe that the shows are sending out a generalizing, stereotypical message that everyone who's overweight is a lazy, mass-consuming, no-good waste.
Nope, there are plenty of other media sources specifically designed to do that. Maybe you're just self-conscious about being a little overweight. You know, if your time allows it, regular exercise is fun, productive, and uplifting.

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Posts: 1233 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
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I don't know anything about those shows except what is in the links, but they seem pretty benign as far as reality shows go.

Dikiyoba.
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Law Bringer
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You just need to move more than your hands at your keyboard. The shows do give some advice in helping people lose weight so they are that bad.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Law Bringer
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I know nothing about these shows (or any other reality TV shows, or pretty much any shows) besides what I read. I'm not qualified to judge.

That said, while I sympathize with the stigmatization of obesity, being overweight is not good. Bad genes or not, trying to get rid of extra pounds is a good idea. Agonizing over it isn't, but doing something is.

—Alorael, who recently lost a great deal of weight. Unfortunately, he lost his keys as well. He found them both in the same place, and now he's back in square one.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
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I fail to see a correlation. Anywhere. Ever since (and before) Twiggy, pop culture has been obsessed with thin, being thin, becoming thin, and staying thin. Despite this, Americans are fatter than ever. Any things that can help folks get off their butts and lose weight are good things, although I fail to see how a television show about weight loss can help anyone except for the advertisers. If you want to loss weight, quit tv and instead devote that time to exercise. Quit eating pre-processed food.

That said, if I don't consume 3000+ calories a day, I lose weight. But then again I get a lot of exercise.

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Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Warrior
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It is just in how you interpret it. As far as I can tell ( I know little about these shows beside what I read from the link) these shows aren't trying to anything that may add any stereotyping to the already stereotyped concept of being overweight. Maybe it is a little biased, shows that target a specific group of people ( a group that you determine whether or not you are apart of) you are a little more sensitive than one that has nothing to do with you. But it is like that with everyone, I am considered a geek, so I can of dislike it when people portray geeks as glass wearing zit ridden hormonial challenged teen aged boys who can't get a date.

Barring that you proubaly shouldn't worry too much about it. As long as you are not dangerously overweight, and are fairly happy and healthy, you shouldn't put too much emphasis on what reality shows say, excluding assasanation, hunger strikes, petitions, and elaborate schemes involving the taking of hostages and 5 billion dollars in unmarked $500 dollar bills, you are pretty helpless to stop them.
Posts: 51 | Registered: Tuesday, June 26 2007 07:00
Agent
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These shows give the audience kicks and giggles at the expense of these overweight individuals, but I don't think they're being excessively derogatory. The shows do make fun of fat people, but the emphasis is always on helping them lose weight. This is not a bad message to give. I doubt these shows will cause there to be any more people with anorexic disorders than there would be from all the other sources of media influence anyway. Awareness about obesity is especially important in a country where over a fifth of its adult population is overweight.

Granted, I am young, athletic, and thin, and I eat basically whatever I want. But still, obesity should not be condoned.

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Posts: 1415 | Registered: Thursday, March 27 2003 08:00
Law Bringer
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I object to those shows, but on the principle that they look like horrible TV. I don't think they say anything bad about overweight folks... but then again, I don't watch them.

Upon looking at the Fat March article, though... it looks pretty bad. And again, I'm not sure it's discrimination, but I'm pretty sure it's stupid.

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Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by Forty-Seven Thousand's Company:

I know nothing about these shows (or any other reality TV shows, or pretty much any shows) besides what I read. I'm not qualified to judge.

That said, while I sympathize with the stigmatization of obesity, being overweight is not good. Bad genes or not, trying to get rid of extra pounds is a good idea. Agonizing over it isn't, but doing something is.

—Alorael, who recently lost a great deal of weight. Unfortunately, he lost his keys as well. He found them both in the same place, and now he's back in square one.

I am now picturing you lugging a man-sized key on your back.

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Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Warrior
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quote:
The study's findings tell exactly the opposite story: Obesity spreads culturally, individual decisions are crucial, and responsibility and stigma are part of the solution.

Slate on Obesity

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Posts: 93 | Registered: Tuesday, June 29 2004 07:00
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Of course people are going to be all sorts of different sizes and shapes. However, one thing that all people can do (and many choose not to) is eat well and exercise. What these shows demonstrate is that if overweight and obese people eat well and exercise, they can - surprise! - actually be fit and, per society's current standards, more attractive. Why is this a bad thing? The stigma against obesity is in part a stigma against a lack of self-control. Weight gain has to come from somewhere. You don't get heavy by breathing air, after all. Furthermore, much like smoking, obesity and being overweight increase risks to health. If these shows can inspire people to take action, I think it can only be a good thing.

[ Wednesday, August 01, 2007 11:08: Message edited by: Drew ]
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
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I don't know about elsewhere, but in America there has been the tendency to address obesity as an aesthetic concern, and something that just happens to you. I see it as a health issue, and it indicates we are not eating an optimal diet or living the way we are designed to. I read an interesting article recently which discussed how the best thing you can do to communicate to your body to not age is to keep it in motion. When we are sedentary, our body gets the signal to basically decay. When we are in motion, our body revitalizes itself and its cells. If you want to live longer, thrive, and age gracefully, get active and just say no to all that processed swill that sells for food these days. It's little to do with quantity and everything to do with quality.

America is a land which does not seem to any longer have a concept of personal accountability, so we are all the victim of something that happens to us. That spirit promotes apathy and hopelessness. If I struggled with obesity, I would look at what it serves for me psychologically as well. Food is very psychological and can be a drug and a reward as much as actual controlled substances.

I think the secret to success in darn near everything in life is loving and valuing yourself enough to have the courage and discipline to take care of yourself accordingly. Parents have tremendous responsibility in the tastes they develop in their children as well. If you feed them sugar and chemical-enhanced food, you can't get on their case for not finding vegetables yummy.

-S-

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by Ceylon:

quote:
The study's findings tell exactly the opposite story: Obesity spreads culturally, individual decisions are crucial, and responsibility and stigma are part of the solution.

Slate on Obesity

Correlation is not causation: if you actually read the study itself, you'll realise that all it found was that obesity tends to cluster in social groups. This could simply be because people with similar habits and traits tend to associate with each other.

[ Wednesday, August 01, 2007 15:43: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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You obviously have never been to Indiana.
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Shaper
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quote:
Salmon:
Final analysis is that anything that exposes people to the unhealthiness of obesity, and works through positive measures to help them reduce their obesity, is a good thing.
True, but there are other ways to go about such a goal than making a reality TV show about it. Think about it: How many people do you think tuned in to learn how to lose weight? Especially compared to the number of people who tuned in for entertainment. Besides, how many of the people 'helped' in these shows are actually going to keep the weight off? And, in the case of the former reality show, what sort of emotional abuse are they going to be put through by their peers, especially if they gain the weight back?

quote:
Salmon:
Pretending there isn't a problem is the worst way to deal with it.
Who's pretending here? You said yourself that the only people that'd really benefit from this are advertisers. Just because I desire there to be a bit of class about the issue doesn't mean it's not an issue, nor does it mean that I'm pretending it's not.

quote:
Drew:
What these shows demonstrate is that if overweight and obese people eat well and exercise, they can - surprise! - actually be fit and, per society's current standards, more attractive. Why is this a bad thing?
Because these shows employ resources beyond the average person. Unless you're saying that the average person has easy and affordable access to a personal trainer and dietitian on a daily basis. I know first hand, losing weight is not easy, nor is it just as simple as eat right, exercise, and lose weight by the ton. It's about striking the right balance. If you do too little about it, you start losing ground, but if you do too much, you can end up causing more problems for yourself.

AMMEND: That said, I've been to Indiana. It was nice. Then again, the only part I really saw was a few roads and a Wal-Mart, so...

[ Wednesday, August 01, 2007 16:54: Message edited by: Nioca ]

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AmnesiaWitch HuntWhere the Rivers MeetFoul Hordes
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quote:
Originally written by Nioca:

quote:
Salmon:
Final analysis is that anything that exposes people to the unhealthiness of obesity, and works through positive measures to help them reduce their obesity, is a good thing.
True, but there are other ways to go about such a goal than making a reality TV show about it.

Fine, you do something too. Until you do, don't complain about any small effort made by another party.
quote:
Think about it: How many people do you think tuned in to learn how to lose weight?
I have no clue, only a guess. How about you? Hard numbers, or are you just implying personal opinion?
quote:
Especially compared to the number of people who tuned in for entertainment.
Advertisers.
quote:
Besides, how many of the people 'helped' in these shows are actually going to keep the weight off?
I dunno. Do you? If nothing else, it showed them (and other fat kids that were watching the show) that it is at least possible to lose that weight.
quote:
And, in the case of the former reality show, what sort of emotional abuse are they going to be put through by their peers, especially if they gain the weight back?
So, the fact that a person might bully you is keeping you from trying to lose a few pounds? Really? I'm no expert, but I suspect self-esteem and bullying are not exclusive problems for the over-weight. After all, you can retort "At least I can stop being fat, you'll always be an *******."

quote:
quote:
Salmon:
Pretending there isn't a problem is the worst way to deal with it.
Who's pretending here? You said yourself that the only people that'd really benefit from this are advertisers. Just because I desire there to be a bit of class about the issue doesn't mean it's not an issue, nor does it mean that I'm pretending it's not.

For years the television industry ignored the existence of black people. Until recently, fat people were portrayed as jolly on the tube. This seems like something other than a step in the wrong direction.

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Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
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It actually is as simple as eating right and exercising. It's just that dedicating yourself to making these changes is hard. It really helps when you have someone who will hold you accountable - my wife does for me - but it's entirely doable.

After graduating from college, within a year and a half I ballooned from 160 lbs. up to 211 lbs. That was a low point in my life. The problem? I lived in Indianapolis, where you have to drive everywhere, I never exercised, and I ate out everyday for lunch. It took me several years to knock that weight off, and lots of running and salads, but I'm down to 170 lbs. Change is possible.
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Agent
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quote:
Originally written by Nioca:

I know first hand, losing weight is not easy, nor is it just as simple as eat right, exercise, and lose weight by the ton. It's about striking the right balance. If you do too little about it, you start losing ground, but if you do too much, you can end up causing more problems for yourself.
I know from experiences with some of my family members and friends that losing weight is certainly not easy. But for most overweight individuals, the only obstacle to losing weight and becoming healthier is in their minds. I am not going to insult all of them and say that they are too weak to have any willpower, but they do have to acknowledge that only a few unfortunate individuals have medical complications that exculpate them from personal responsibility.

And I do have a fairly good idea of what I'm talking about. Cushing's Disease, Prader-Willi syndrome, and hypothyroidism, for example, would be diseases that make it nearly impossible for one to lose weight by himself.

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Thuryl: I mean, most of us don't go around consuming our own bodily fluids, no matter how delicious they are.
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Alorael: War and violence would end if we all had each other's babies!
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Posts: 1415 | Registered: Thursday, March 27 2003 08:00
Shaper
Member # 7472
Profile Homepage #19
quote:
Originally written by Jumpin' Sarcasmon:

quote:
Originally written by Nioca:

True, but there are other ways to go about such a goal than making a reality TV show about it.
Fine, you do something too. Until you do, don't complain about any small effort made by another party.

I can't do anything about it. But that doesn't mean I can't complain about the methods being used.

quote:
quote:
Think about it: How many people do you think tuned in to learn how to lose weight?
I have no clue, only a guess. How about you? Hard numbers, or are you just implying personal opinion?

Fine. I'll concede my argument here.

quote:
quote:
Besides, how many of the people 'helped' in these shows are actually going to keep the weight off?
I dunno. Do you? If nothing else, it showed them (and other fat kids that were watching the show) that it is at least possible to lose that weight.

Considering that all the factors that contributed to the weight gain are still in place, but the factors that contributed to weight loss are now gone, the odds are against them. Add that to the fact that they're kids, and that most people who lose weight rapidly gain at least some of it back, I'd say at least half of them are going to gain back.

quote:
quote:
And, in the case of the former reality show, what sort of emotional abuse are they going to be put through by their peers, especially if they gain the weight back?
So, the fact that a person might bully you is keeping you from trying to lose a few pounds? Really? I'm no expert, but I suspect self-esteem and bullying are not exclusive problems for the over-weight. After all, you can retort "At least I can stop being fat, you'll always be an *******."

...Are you even reading what I'm writing? It's not losing weight I'm against, it's getting plastered on television sets across America while doing it (or trying to) that I'm against. I mean, you don't see television programs on making 6 people stop an addictive drug, or stop drinking, or any other such problem. Why? They're private struggles, not something for the entire country to know. Having such a problem is often embarrassing enough with just family and friends involved, but does the rest of America really need to know too?

quote:
quote:
Who's pretending here? You said yourself that the only people that'd really benefit from this are advertisers. Just because I desire there to be a bit of class about the issue doesn't mean it's not an issue, nor does it mean that I'm pretending it's not.

For years the television industry ignored the existence of black people. Until recently, fat people were portrayed as jolly on the tube. This seems like something other than a step in the wrong direction.

The premise is far from a step in the wrong direction. The medium (reality show) being used to convey said premise? Not so much.

[ Wednesday, August 01, 2007 19:03: Message edited by: Nioca ]

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AmnesiaWitch HuntWhere the Rivers MeetFoul Hordes
Posts: 2686 | Registered: Friday, September 8 2006 07:00
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I just watched that Shaq show. Though the judges were a little lenient on the fitness test (half-assed push ups) the show was the most inspiring thing I've ever seen on television. The whole point of the show (besides making money) is to inspire kids to exercise. It didn't glorify fad, month long diets, but simply had the overweight children stick to a 9 month regiment of diet and exercise. Every kid lost a lot of weight, felt great about it, and wanted to inspire more kids to do the same. I'm not sure why anyone would label this show as a bad program.

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Posts: 1233 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Law Bringer
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That's not your original question. You asked if the shows discriminate. No, they don't. Are the useful in the "war on obesity," which will hopefully be more successful than America's other wars? Probably not very. Reality TV is, first and foremost, entertainment. This entertainment may benefit the participants (or maybe not) and it may benefit viewers (probably not, though). It doesn't hurt anyone.

—Alorael, who thinks there is a very simple way to lose weight: eat slightly less and exercise slightly more. Yes, going for a ten minute walk is exercise. This is not a good way to lose weight fast, but it's a good way to lose a little bit of weight steadily and not get it back.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by The peanut walks by night.:

That's not your original question. You asked if the shows discriminate. No, they don't.
Um, fat people are let on the show and thin people aren't. That's discrimination. Whether it's justifiable discrimination is a separate question.

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Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by Nioca:

...Are you even reading what I'm writing? It's not losing weight I'm against, it's getting plastered on television sets across America while doing it (or trying to) that I'm against. I mean, you don't see television programs on making 6 people stop an addictive drug, or stop drinking, or any other such problem. Why? They're private struggles, not something for the entire country to know. Having such a problem is often embarrassing enough with just family and friends involved, but does the rest of America really need to know too?

You are factually incorrect. Well, what you imply is incorrect. I'll grant that you may have had the common sense to not watch a series on drug/alcohol addicts in intervention/recovery, but it was on TV. It's not a private thing, it's your public appearance. It's billions of dollars in economic loss to the country. It is in the countries best interest to have its citizens be healthy and productive. It is crucial if there is to be any chance that the US will remain a superpower into the next century. Japan is famous for its calisthenics, which caught ridicule for being silly. But then again, I don't hear a lot of obesity problems in Japan.

So yeah, I am reading your opinion, but I disagree with the premise upon which it is based. So do many people, including the ones that paid the production costs on those shows.

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Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Law Bringer
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quote:
Originally written by Salmon:

[QUOTE] I don't hear a lot of obesity problems in Japan.
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