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Bad hobby

May 4, 2009

Though several other blogs have already covered this, I want to toss in my two cents too. WEtv has a new series called “I Want to Save your Life,” possibly more aptly named “I Want to Stalk You and Shame You for Liking Food.” Check out the promo here:

Everyone else who’s written about this has hit the nail on the head: it’s stalking, it’s creepy, the pretense of “but…her HEALTH!” is bizarre, and it reinforces the understanding of the female body as public.

But what really struck me about this video is that it’s a close analogue to what we as a society already do. It’s a corollary of the last point above, but this kind of behavior seems acceptable because women need to be policed–especially fat women. Everyone around us feels the need to be involved in our bodies: what we eat, whether we exercise, and why, because bodies do not and should not ordinarily look like this.

WEtv, you do not get to decide the business of my body. You do not get to make money and titillate viewers with handwringing over my body. And most of all, you do not get to shame me for liking ice cream. My “health” is not your business, and it is certainly not your business on TV. You want to program for women? Write something that builds us up.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Lotus permalink
    May 4, 2009 5:28 PM

    I don’t think there would be too much wrong with a “work-out” show following the lives of volunteers, but sneaking up on people? I imagine they have to sign a waiver before the show is aired, but it is still very odd.

    It would be desirable, if only to counteract the absurd level of junk food advertisements, to have some programming that encourages healthy lifestyle choices to America’s rather sedentary population. This isn’t at all the right way to go about it though.

  2. May 4, 2009 6:15 PM

    the pretense of “but…her HEALTH!” is bizarre

    That’s what hit me the hardest about this clip. I can tell by Mr. Platkin’s soft, caring tones and his sideways-head-tilt looks of concern that his actions are couched in this awful, condescending “you need help” attitude that is just so patronizing and in the majority of cases, unnecessary. He’s certainly not the first to employ this tactic.

    Why is WEtv giving airtime to this shamer?

  3. Lisa permalink
    May 4, 2009 10:32 PM

    This thing is just gross. Right down to the exaggerated title. Apparently you can die from enjoying the occasional bowl of ice cream. Or maybe they’re implying that fat people don’t have lives. Probably both. Either way, it’s a very disturbing and ridiculous premise for a show. I can’t think of anything more hateful than having some man follow me around, watch what I eat, and then try to “save me” from “myself” as I partake of a piece of pecan pie.

  4. Lisa permalink
    May 4, 2009 10:52 PM

    After watching some more of the promo videos, I’m even more pissed off. I was pretty much crying as he told people over and over again that they weren’t beautiful or happy the way they were. He told them that they had to follow his plan to find happiness in a smaller body and let out their inner beauty. Why can’t they just learn to love themselves as they are? Then they would be both happy and beautiful. BLURG…. What a smarmy bastard. Also, the title and a lot of what he says really reminds me of the rhetoric of evangelical Christians. All of this stuff about how people are secretly unhappy, and he really wants to “save” them from themselves. He’s seen the light, and so can they if they just believe what he believes. Creepy and disgusting.

  5. Lizzie permalink
    May 5, 2009 12:40 PM

    I can’t believe that he convinces people that their lives are almost over because of their eating habits. It also implies that only fat people can die prematurely of a heart attack, which is not true in any way. I mean, if you’re thin and on a terrible diet, you could die too, but apparently, Charles Stuart Platkin doesn’t want to save those lives.

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