The producers of "The Biggest Loser" might not seem like the best people to help women who have been fat-shamed regain their confidence. But that doesn't mean they won't take it upon themselves to do so -- through the medium of reality television, of course. Enter "My Big Fat Revenge," a new show that has a VERY twisted way of condemning fat-shamers: having their victims lose weight.
Here is the premise for the show, which will be airing on Oxygen starting in September, as described in a July press release:
After being discounted, humiliated, and rejected because of their weight, these women are ready to take control of their lives, put their painful pasts behind them, and finally stand up to the people who inflicted the hurt. From the girl whose boyfriend proposed with a ring two sizes too small to the girl who was tormented about her size by her childhood dance instructor, these women will get the ultimate chance to get healthy, change their lives for the better, and teach their former offenders the lesson of a lifetime. With an eye for an eye approach, these ex-boyfriends, former classmates and even family members will get a taste of their own medicine as they’re set up on blind dates, auditions, and nightmare jobs to experience what they put their offenders through.
Essentially, these women are being told that the best way to get over their traumatic experiences of weight discrimination is to become smaller -- as their tormentors told them they should. Oxygen will even be running companion webisodes detailing how the women featured lost weight, including their weigh-ins and workout routines, just to drive the point home.
The show doesn't endorse fat-shaming explicitly, but by putting the emphasis on revenge and getting thin as the pathways to empowerment, it does implicitly. "My Big Fat Revenge" tells those watching that the best way to overcome the trauma of being told you don't look good enough is to change the way you look, rather than embrace it. And as Jezebel's Callie Beusman points out, viewers are supposed to endorse these newly-slimmed-down women's cruel acts of retribution because they have "triumphed" over their formerly overweight bodies. It's far less about helping women improve their health and self-confidence than it is about producing a dramatic "transformation" that people will tune in to see.
"If you've ever been wronged, this is your chance to tell your story and take your power back," declares the press release for "My Big Fat Revenge." But we fail to see anything empowering or productive about this TV show. It's just more of the "be ashamed of your body" same -- albeit wrapped up in a splashier package.