I have a new post up at Global Comment
If someone was unfamiliar with the demographics of the United States and watched an evening of television, they would be likely to believe that no overweight people actually exist within the nation’s borders. With the exception of Camryn Manheim on “Ghost Whisperer,” one would be hard-pressed to find a character portrayed by a full-figured woman. And even in her highly visible role, Manheim is simply the long-suffering friend and is certainly not constructed as a leading woman, or one that is sexy and adventurous; such roles are left for skinny actresses.
This week, FOX debuted “More to Love” – its answer to the erasure of full-figured women in prime-time television. The show has been advertised as a reconstruction of “The Bachelor.” the supposed twist being that this time, women that are considered fat are allowed to pursue a man. The role of “The Bachelor” on “More to Love” has been assumed by a former college football offensive lineman, Luke Conley, who stands 6′3″ and weighs over 300 pounds. He is twenty-six years old and works as a successful sub-contractor. He is also a prominent real estate investor in California, his home state.
Luke professes that the reason he came on the show was to find love, and that he has not allowed hang-ups about his body to keep him from being successful. While large men face their own types of discrimination, the nature of male privilege ensures that their plight can’t be compared to the body-policing that women endure daily. Even women who are considered beautiful often appear in fashion magazines Photoshopped to appear even slimmer, whereas fat women are commanded to utterly hide themselves from view.
On “More to Love,” each buxom beauty was given a brief spot where she was able to articulate her dating traumas to Luke. In a sea of tears, many revealed that their skinnier girlfriends always seemed to land a boyfriend or go home with the guy, while some claimed they had never even been on a date. Their failures, of course, were blamed on the rampant fat hatred that is socially condoned. The contestants reeked of desperation for anyone possessing a penis to legitimize their existence.