Jeepers people, what’s with the judging! It seems that we are so quick to judge people these days that we can’t take five seconds and check our own biases and figure out why we are so quick to throw unhelpful and even hurtful labels at people.
The other morning, on our morning commute to work, my wife and I were regaled with the tale of Ms. Rachel Fredrickson. If you didn’t know (and we sure didn’t) she was the winner of this season’s “Biggest Loser”. A ‘reality’ show about people who come into the show carrying weight they don’t want, and with the assistance of dieticians and fitness experts, learn how to lose it. The ‘contestant’ who loses the largest percentage of their body weight wins the grand prize of $250,000. And in Ms. Fredrickson’s case, a helping dose of scorn to go along with her new wealth.
It seems that some of the twitterverse (is that still the hip word? Wait, is it still groovy to ask if things are hip?) and other internet folks are pretty critical of Ms. Fredrickson’s transformation. And it was a pretty drastic change. In seven and a half months, Ms. Fredrickson went from 118kg to 48kg. That’s 260 pounds to 105 pounds for those of us born prior to 1985 or in some poor disadvantaged part of the world that doesn’t use the metric system.
Ms. Fredrickson is 1.62 meters tall (5’4”). So she went from carrying a significant amount of weight that she didn’t want to carry to being very thin. In seven and a half months. Was that crash dieting and did she act recklessly in doing that much change to her body?
I’d like to answer that with a resounding who cares? For starters, weight loss is the goal of the contestants on the show – all of them are doing everything they can to lose as much weight. The winner of the show isn’t determined by who now leads the healthiest life style, or who has made the most positive change in their worlds, but simply by who has lost the greatest percentage of their weight. And people have done a lot worse, and far stupider things, for $250,000. Hell, for a quarter million dollars, I would do the same or more - I can’t think of too many things I wouldn’t do for that kind of cash! Well, okay, I can, but most of them can’t be printed here without a more serious discussion of ethics and morality and a healthy dose of criminal and international law, which is not the topic of my ire today. Actors and athletes all undergo radical transformations of their bodies for their crafts, and most of them just get accolades for them – Christian Bale I am looking at you!
But what about the message she is sending to children?? Won’t someone think of the children? Or what about the inaccurate portrayal of beauty that she is giving to women who are bombarded with “skinny” messages every day? Or the other women who are likewise lambasted with messages about how they are too skinny… how you going to find a husband, mangia mangia! To those issues I leave with one last question – where do you think the show came from in the first place?