Jessica Abdilla- Hunger and the Biggest Loser

Posted: March 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

Mentioned briefly in class, the television program ‘The Biggest Loser’ this year was faced with a lot of controversy this year. A reality-game show of sorts, the program puts overweight contestants to the test by forcing them to lose as much of their BMI as possible over the duration of one year; the contestant who has the lowest BMI after their year is up wins $250,000. The program clearly promotes an ideology on thinness which relates to Bordo’s reading: the thinnest contestant is equated to being the ‘best’ and the ‘healthiest’, and is rewarded with money and praise. This year a contestant named Rachel Frederickson was deemed ‘the biggest loser’ and awarded a cash prize, however her BMI showed that she was incredibly underweight. Equating extreme thinness with an easier and better lifestyle is extremely dangerous. Having a low BMI and emotional issues toward food, the competitiveness of the show in part drove Rachel to develop an eating disorder (she was said to have received treatment after the program). Rewarding an unhealthy lifestyle on live television was something the program felt obligated to do, however developing an eating disorder is a serious matter. In the future, The Biggest Loser will have to be careful in associating thinness with coolness and monitor the ideologies it promotes.

  1. cs341blog says:

    Elaina Christaki

    I do agree with you that the show needs to reevaluate their concept and consider the message it promotes. However, I also think that the media in general needs to promote healthy lifestyles versus showing people how to lose the most weight. This is extremely unhealthy, because it shows that the number on the scale is more important than how one feels or measures up health wise. A contest to see who can achieve the lowest BMI does not promote a healthy lifestyle. Rather, it displays that losing as much weight as possible leads to success.

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