I’m sorry I just don’t like the tv series The Biggest Loser. I know it’s extremely popular but I just don’t get it. I’ve seen the odd show here and there but the trailer for the new series was enough to remind me it’s not on my list of show’s to record. The clip goes something like this: over-weight man struggling to stay on a treadmill in the gym, keeps falling off, in the background Jillian Michaels is yelling insults at the guy and eventually says “Get your sorry ass out of my gym!”
Oh nice! Am I the only one who thinks this is a form of personal abuse? Would Ms Micheals enjoy being yelled at in this way while she trying to prove a complicated math’s hypothesis or something else that she found challenging? Would we find it acceptable if, as she struggled to note down numbers and fractions on the white board, a math’s professor was ridiculing her and telling her she wasn’t trying hard enough? And then dismissed her from the classroom with a look of disgust?
The reason it bothers me is because I can’t help feeling that the only way you would put up with being yelled at in this humiliating manner is because your self-esteem is so low you think you don’t deserve to be treated any differently. Yes go ahead and yell at me because I’m fat and so I deserve it! It’s like beating someone who is already down. Isn’t that bullying?
I know we have a rise in obesity to deal with, I know our society needs to keep fit and eat healthy but why on earth do we think we can ridicule others and verbally abuse them into being thin?
The contestants on the show must know what they’re getting into so I’m assuming they find it motivating or at least they are willing to endure it in order to get the results they want. And all power to them for taking the challenge.
But let’s not forget that this is all being televised and there are impressionable young minds at home watching it.
I’ll admit, it’s personal for me: I’ve been over-weight all my life. Growing up I was regularly teased about it; I always worried about some kid calling me a name on the bus or in gym class. I never knew when it would happen, I wouldn’t do anything to initiate it, I could just be walking down the street minding my own business and some idiot would yell: “Hello fatty!” Because everyone knows it’s funny to laugh at the fat kid right?
Now I’m not saying this so you can all get the violin’s out. I’m over it, thank goodness and you know we all have our crosses to bear. I don’t want pity…I’m fit and healthy and I rather like myself thanks very much! 🙂
But come on, enlighten me, I know it’s obviously popular TV, but why is it ok for Jillian Micheals to hurl abuse at her contestants? Why are we ok watching that while vehemently advocating against bullying in schools? Isn’t that a mixed message? Why, as a society, do we give air-time to a show which, at times (so it seems to me) encourages motivation through abuse and aggression?