Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chutzpah or Humiliating. . .I can't decide

Dance Your Ass Off is in a new season & I really can't decide.

Is it a positive, empowering show featuring confident, beautiful, fat people moving their bodies and defying what society says about what fat can do?

Or is it a humiliating Lose-Weight-Or-You-Are-A-Loser show vis-a-vis Jillian Michaels?

I suspect it's a little of both.

I LOVE to dance. LOVE it! LOVE IT!

Seriously -- you should see me at Zumba. I'm all Christina Aguilera. I love to pretend I'm a Solid Gold dancer. (if you weren't born between 1965 & 1970, don't even try to get that reference. It's too obscure.) Dancing brings me joy.

It also makes my face red & I get all sweaty.

My first Zumba class one of the older ladies in the class looked at me & said "Ay! Mija! Your face is so red -- you bedder sit down or you gonna have a heart attack!"

No ma'am. I'm just Irish.

The people on Dance Your Ass Off look just like me. Mostly. (Some are African-American. Some are tattooed. Some are boys. But other than that? Twins.) They dance. With joy. They move, they are confident, they are sexy, they are graceful, they are vibrant, they are artistes.

Then they get weighed.


Do Simon & Randy WEIGH their contestants?

Here's where the cool dance contest turns into Mean Girls. I guess nobody would watch a bunch of fat people dance unless they promised to weigh themselves on National TV first. Then this Downtown Julie Brown wannabe announces their weight, tabulates their score and gives them their ranking. And if they don't lose lots & lots of weight?

They lose.

People on this show were losing 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10 lbs. In a week! One girl lost 0.9 & was treated as if she had just cut a fart.

I have a problem with this on so many levels.

One: Anyone with chronic obesity can tell you that a healthy eight loss is NO MORE than 2 lbs per week. More than that and you run into all sorts of health problems with your liver, gall bladder and other internal organs. But, as my wonderful husband said: "The TV Execs don't care if it kills them, they just want ratings".

Two: Weighing in public.

I know I am a beautiful, proud, fat woman who isn't afraid to own my size 24. But you never see me put my weight on here, do you? No. Nuh uh. Nope. You never will.

Hell, I moved to Texas partly because they don't put your weight on your driver's licence.

My husband doesn't know the number. I won't say it in confession. My girlfriends don't know it, I won't tell my children, and I certainly would never get on national television and let Mean Julie Brown announce it to the world. Partly because it embarrasses me, and partly because I don't want it to define me.

So I am conflicted. Is Dance Your Ass Off a good thing? Or Not?

Whaddya think?


  1. I agree with what you have to say. You are a great spokesperson for those of us who are a bit zaftig and are happy the way we are.

  2. Mary, I think you're PHAT-TABULOUS! ;} You Rock!
    Reality shows use “Emotional weakness” as their target, it's REDICULOUS! You've been Punked, and Jack Ass, were a few of the worst about jacking with emotions. I think emotions should be handled with care and not exposed in humiliation. Why people subject their selves to it? Who knows! Dance Your Ass off and the Biggest Loser is the same game.
    Yes, the Lord wants us to treat our body as a temple, however; His main concern is our Soul, not the Shell! Our Society is imploding right in front of our eyes!


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