So I read this past weekend that a few friends and acquaintances of mine recently appeared on a well known “talk” show. In a Facebook forum, one of the audience members gave her analysis of what took place on the show. Subsequent to her posting, several people expressed disdain with the whole talk show phenomena as a way to change the world’s ideas about fat people. Why would they feel that way?
Because it doesn’t work in this day and age.
Let me say that I haven’t seen the episode of the show, which is scheduled to air later this month, but I have no reason to believe that it will accomplish any more for size acceptance than any of the other attempts made by others in the fat community in the past.
I have been offered media appearances over the years, but have never taken “advantage” of the opportunity. In fact, my former partner in the NJ Bash and I were e-mailed and contacted EVERY time there was a bash, but we refused them all, especially the ones who wanted to film part of our events, since we wanted to protect the people who supported us by keeping our events private.
Every time a negative message about fat people is put out to the rest of the world, it reinforces the negative stereotypes that so many have. Does that make things any better?
Today’s “reality” talk shows are more cynical than ever. Gone are the days of Phil Donahue and others where the fat a”agenda” could be put out there without the message somehow being twisted in some way to make everyone look foolish. Ever wonder why you don’t see the very articulate Heather Boyle doing tv anymore? Back in the day you could appear on those shows, and you could actually DISCUSS, as there seemed to be an eagerness on the part of the show hosts to actually LEARN. That doesn’t seem to be happening today.
The other problem is that there is no organized national fat agenda, just fragments of people who all seem to want to jockey for position. For me, if you go on these shows, you are simply representing yourself, not the interests of fat people everywhere. Now, if that’s your intent when you go on these shows, more power to you, but don’t act like you’re doing fat people a favor. You’re doing nothing more for size acceptance than Donna Simpson, who so many complain about as being representative of fat people everywhere.
So, until :
1. Shows become more sympathetic to the SA cause, or until we have a better way to get the SA message out, AND
2. The “fat agenda” becomes a more universally accepted doctrine that everyone in the community can further when in the media, I don’t think TV appearances will do anything to change the minds of the rest of the world.
So, for anyone else who is considering the talk show circuit, please reflect on the list of those who tried the same and were let down with the hidden agendas of the shows……….now you can join the ranks of Robin Kassner, Big Cutie Jae, Donna Simpson and others who “tried” to change the minds of the rest of the world about their preconceived notions of fat people, but were edited into becoming just another cog in the freak show that the producers want to make of you.
Tell you what……..want to do something positive in the name of size acceptance? Get a bunch of people together, head over to your local state house, and demonstrate peacefully about how poorly fat people are treated in our country today. Do it often enough, and the REAL media (not Tyra or Dr. Oz), might just take you seriously and give you some real press. Over the years it’s worked for civil rights and gay rights, why not for fat people.
Let me know when you organize one of these, and I might just be there. Just know that change isn’t going to happen on Tyra or Dr. Phil, and it won’t from where both of us are sitting right now.
A discussion came up on a forum on Facebook about someone who was solicited to appear on an upcoming MTV production called “Im In A Mixed Weight Relationship”. As the discussion went on, I mentioned THIS blog, and how it might pertain to this new show. I complained about the fact that so many people today make the selfish decision of being on TV for their short lived fame, rather than committing to the size acceptance cause, and refusing to participate in what amounts to a freak show.
I have a good friend named Amy who can sometimes reduce everything to a sentence or two, and make me wonder why I have to write these long blogs. Her words are below:
When you are remarkable, you don’t have to draw attention to yourself and your movement. The world will do it for you.
Please don’t waste your time doing these exploitative shows. Commit to the cause, and the media will give you all the attention you deserve. Thanks, Amy!