Fat, Femininity, Media, Pop Culture, Sweet Machine

In search of body positivity on cable TV

So I haven’t had cable TV in several years — I do most of my TV watching via Netflix (and am thus perpetually behind by a seaons), and this has been okay with me because I have always really liked TV, and thus am prone to watch more of it than is good for my personal habits. Recently, I spent two weeks at my parents’ house, helping out as my stepfather recovered from surgery (a complicated event, because my mother is profoundly disabled due to Parkinson’s disease), and let me tell you, Shapelings, I watched a lot of damn TV. It’s a stress-coping mechanism, and it let me imaginatively escape from the sadness of dealing with my parents’ aging and ailing. When life is tough, the Dog Whisperer can really come through, is what I’m saying.

What I had forgotten in my years-long hiatus from cable TV is just how many messages about being thin you get in any given hour. It’s a constant drumbeat of forced femininity and snake oil, and I’ve forgotten how hard you need to work to tune it out. Here’s some of what my very unfocused brain remembers almost a week after turning off the TV set:

The appalling:

(Promos for) Half-Ton Dad and Half-Ton Mom

(Promos for) Ruby

Countless commercials for local weight loss clinics

Countless commercials for Weight Watchers and its ilk

Commercials for a new weight loss drug that started by saying that if you’ve tried to lose weight the usual way and you can’t, it’s not your fault! (Hey, what do you know!) All you need to do is ask your doctor about this amazing new pill! (Boo!)

The middling:

Oprah commercial: upcoming show talks about different beauty standards across the world. Incredulous announcer voice says “Find out where stretch marks and big butts are considered beautiful!” Cut to Oprah singing “There’s a place for us” to the audience.

Constant representation of very thin bodies

The good:

What Not to Wear

Now, I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about WNTW and its methods. And it’s on TLC, the very home of “Half-Ton Mom” and “Dad” above. But I’ll tell you, out of two weeks of floating in a sea of cable shows and commercials, the only moments of unabashed body positivity I saw were on WNTW. One moment in particular stands out: the episode featured a very beautiful young woman who had started wearing baggy sweatshirts and jeans all the time after gaining some weight. If you watch the show, you’re familiar with the segment where Stacy and Clinton show sample outfits and the “rules” a contestant should follow. They asked this woman (I think her name was Kandiss) what she thought of the first outfit, and she replied that it looked “slimming.” (At this point, you should imagine me sitting up straight on my couch to see how they handle this interaction.) Stacy turned to the woman and said (and I’m quoting from memory so this may not be quite verbatim), “You need to stop thinking about clothes only in terms of whether they make you look thin. Slimming is not the point — making you feel fabulous is the point! Your body is perfect.”

That last sentence is verbatim, actually: after all the body-negative nonsense that had been washing over my ears from the rest of my channel-surfing week, those words made me cry. Your body is perfect. Kandiss’s first reaction was to roll her eyes, but later in the episode she clearly saw herself as a sexy, attractive, perfect woman. It was such a beautiful moment in a sea of crap, and it reminded me of the uphill cultural battle we face. It’s easy to hate your body, fat or thin or in between: everything in our culture tells you to, constantly. It’s not easy psychologically, of course — but it’s less work. You get to fight yourself only, instead of a whole misogynist, fatphobic culture.

But every now and then, you get a glimpse of what our culture would look like if we all fought back, if we didn’t subscribe to this ridiculous fear- and shame-mongering. Your body is perfect. Pass it on.

83 thoughts on “In search of body positivity on cable TV”

  1. I haven’t seen Ruby (I’m also in the I like TV, but don’t have cable, Netflix awesome boat), but I’ve heard that it is well done. One review I read talked about how Ruby tried to humanize the super-obese and show (rather than exploit her as a “freak” all too often happens when super-obesity is discussed), that she is a complex, intelligent, and caring individual who happens to be super-obese and yes she is trying to lose weight, but for health (perhaps to save her life).

    Once again, I haven’t seen it, so I need to reserve my own judgment, but I’m just wondering: is it fair to call “Ruby” appalling?

  2. I love that show! There’s cringe worthy moments to be sure but overall I love how body positive he is.

    Your body is perfect. Amen sistah.

  3. Thealogian, I didn’t actually catch an ep of Ruby, either — I’ll edit to make it clear that I’m talking about the commercials, which struck me as very sensationalistic.

  4. Interesting typo – I obviously meant how body positive IT is, as in the show.

    You can blame my migraine. I will.

    Another mostly good body positive show is How to Look Good Naked on Lifetime.

  5. I have problems with WNTW sometimes (Nick has increasingly started badgering people into outlandish haircuts, and Stacy & Clinton will sometimes imply that having clothes that fit now will give you the confidence to lose weight later. Though honestly I think they just do this to get the makeover-ee’s buy-in and move on from the subject; I can’t imagine they actually believe that this endless string of people–seems like almost every subject, fat or thin–are actually going to lose weight and keep it off). But overall I have always found it a very positive show. My husband and I (OK, we’re kind of sappy) have both been known to get a tear or two in our eyes when the subjects are so happy and confident at the end. I think Stacy & Clinton are overall pretty positive and certainly lean more to the side of body acceptance than not. They have made over many fat women, and I’ve never heard any bullshit health stuff or discussion of weight loss unless the person brings it up herself, and like I said they kind of softpedal it and don’t make it an issue.

    But TLC’s weight-related programming certainly does suck. I stay away from it as much as humanly possible and am pleased that I’ve never seen the shows you reference. I think they used to have a whole series about person after person getting WLS.

  6. When I had cable, I watched WNTW every chance I could, and it was exactly moments like “Your body is perfect” that made me love the show. (I was also a secret admirer of the episodes where the stylist would convince women to chop off their long hair – I, too, had an unreasonably emotional attachment to my long “fat lady” locks, and cutting them off was a big stepping stone on my way to body positivity).

  7. Thealogian, I do think it’s fair to call the show appalling (I’m sure she’s awesome or they’d never have put her on air in the first place). The whole point of the show is that no matter how great she is right now, she’s not good enough because she’s fat. I think humanizing her is wonderful – because she’s a human – but I think it’s also a double-edged sword that will just continue to perpetuate the message that the intentional pursuit of weight loss is a worthy goal for everyone when, in reality, most people – no matter how fat they are to begin with – don’t succeed at dieting or lifestyle changes or whatever the hell you want to call it, no matter how they justify it. Focusing on weight (as weight is no indicator of health) is futile.

  8. That Oprah episode was so frustrating! It started out going in the direction of “Look how arbitrary standards of beauty are all over the world,” but instead of being sympathetic to all kinds of pressures women face (in Malawi, larger bodies are coveted, and young girls are often force-fed to make them fit that standard) it became a joke: We should all move to Malawi! Those lucky women don’t have to diet! Boo.

  9. First, let me just say, that I hate the Dog Whisperer. I can see how his show is enjoyable but a lot of the methods he uses are outdated and give people the wrong idea about their relationships with their dogs. I read lots of dog training forums and such and the verdict is Cesar Milan has set dog training back 20 years. I much prefer Victoria Stillwell on It’s Me or The Dog.

    But I love What Not to Wear. I have watched it forever, and often edit my outfits based on what I think Stacey or Clinton would say. Sad, yes. Better dressed, also yes.

    I am very disappointed so far in Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style. Not that I should expect anything else but all the makeoverees have been skinny minnies so far. Can you find me size 12 shoes Tim Gunn? What about a fabulous designer dress in a size 26?

  10. I think I might just have caught the wrong episodes of WNTW because the only times I have seen a fat woman on that show is when she has recently lost a lot of weight and is trying to figure out how to dress her “new” body. I keep feeling like the subtext is “Well, she’s fat but it’s okay because she used to be SO MUCH WORSE.” Though I agree that it is refreshing not to hear body negative comments from them.

    I also prefer the WNTW episodes that focus on making people over for work (since I admit that t ends to be fairly objective in terms of what’s acceptable for a given workplace) or on making over people that feel unhappy about their current style. When it’s some girl who just wants to wear sparkly fairy wings and loud prints, I’m like, eh, let her have her fairy wings. It’s not hurting anyone.

  11. I think humanizing her is wonderful – because she’s a human –

    That humanizing a fat person is seen as any way necessary, or humanitarian, or “edgy” makes me wants to throw my computer through a window.

  12. April, your monster icon looks like a heart waving hello. Makes me smile.

    More on topic, it is unfortunate that producers feel that showing the human size or positive side of fatties is edgy. But given the cultural context, it actually IS edgy, like on the edge of what is passing for pioneering. The fact that there is a vast, complex world out there to explore is too much to take in. For producers, that edge is just “risky” enough to make your name as edgy, when really, as WE know, it’s just cheap fats-ploitation.

  13. I really don’t like What Not To Wear… maybe I’m hyper sensitive but I feel like they are so often mean to the poor soul, even if that person needs hlep with say, a work appropriate wardrobe, or dressing for the current century. It frequently gives me the icks.

    However I think that quote from Stacey is really nice and it makes me smile.

  14. YOu know every time I get thin, I am too thin. And every time I fill out folks tell me I have a big butt. Well folks is actually my Mother. So I guess that really should not count. So there is no perfect for me.

    WNTW has shown me that there is nothing wrong with my body, I was just wearing the wrong thing.

  15. A lot of the makeover-ees believe themselves to be farther from any kind of “normal” (ugh) range than they really are–even before the change of wardrobe and hairstyle, Stacey and Clinton point out that they have small waists (where they denied having them), cute bottoms, shapely cleavage, great legs, pretty skin, etc. And they’re not lying or flattering, either.

    I suspect that the 360 mirror scene early in each WNTW plants a little whisper in a lot of viewers’ minds–a whisper that says “maybe I’m not as ugly as I’ve been thinking I am, either. Maybe I’m even attractive, right now, as I am.” For that whisper, we can thank them, for suggesting to millions that the way to improve body image isn’t really a shopping spree–instead, it starts with an honest friend who helps us see the truth about our own beauty.

    But I’m still not wearing heels, no matter what they say.

  16. Firstly, I haven’t seen the Half-Ton Mom and Dad, but someone who did said that at least they weren’t pushing surgery as the cure-all for fat.
    Secondly, I’ve never seen a fat woman on WNTW, and I’ve seen a lot of the show, I quite like it mostly. Not like the first season when we called it ‘the making fun of you show’. My standards of fatness may be skewed though, the most I’ve ever seen them have to deal with was slightly overweight, nowhere near fat. I’ve never seen them deal with a woman who can’t shop in high-fashion stores, for example.

    The show every human in our society really should watch is ‘How To Look Good Naked’. We get it here in Canada, and it’s all about how to be happy with the body you have.


  17. I too am a fan of What Not To Wear. Mostly because they don’t buy into people’s self-bullying, but they will bully you about being mean to yourself. I love that Stacy just says, “No. Stop it. You’re perfect. Don’t roll your eyes at me, missy. Deal with it.” It’s so refreshing after watching all of those women sobbing their eyes out about hard it is to be fat and how they need to lose weight on shows like Oprah. I know it’s hard to be fat. I get it. But seriously, what would it be like if we were able to move past how hard it is and just live our lives? I so much appreciate Stacey and Clinton.

  18. I do like THOSE episodes of WNTW. The ones I don’t like are where they’re helping a woman find her style because she’s wearing clothes that are too trampy or slutty or something. Yes, sometimes that genuinely reflects a lack of confidence and they do a lot to help with that… But that’s not always the case, and they tend to discourage dressing in a “slutty” way by telling the woman she’s “giving it away.” It kind of drives me bonkers when what is normally a show about body positivity (essentially) pulls out the female-body-as-commodity bullshit. But usually I like the show and can’t turn it off.

    I agree about Tim Gunn, the two episodes I caught were kind of WNTW-made-boring – thin, conventionally attractive women that already dressed pretty well but they didn’t have fancy new clothes. Eh.

    Mostly when I need escape or something on while I grade, it’s reruns of House and Lost, or new episodes of the Office, and I mute all the commercials. Oh, and last night I had on Jurassic Park for quite a while before I realized it was in Spanish (hey, lots of screaming without words in that movie!)

  19. I’ve never seen them deal with a woman who can’t shop in high-fashion stores, for example.

    I don’t know, I see most of the women they have on as being unable to shop in high-fashion stores. They hand them enough money to do it this time around, and hopefully teach them how to put clothes together on their own well enough that they won’t need the really expensive stores in the future. That’s kind of my take.

  20. Shinobi, Cesar Millan’s methods have pretty much saved our relationship with our dogs-they are 100x happier than they used to be and so are we. There’s nothing outdated about rules, boundaries, and limitations.

    I also love Victoria Stillwell, but I think they lay the dominatrix schtick on a little too heavy.

    I watched a lot of “what not to wear” when I was in the nursing home with limited cable channels. I like it okay but I always wanted to see a TRULY plus woman on it. I would like to see, for instance, what Stacy and Clinton would do with a size 26 like me. But that will never, ever happen.

    Penn, I watched the first few episodes of “how to look good naked” and liked it but after that it was all very thin, attractive women with body dysmorphia, it seemed. Plus, too much of the spanx and industrial strength undergarments to suit me. I did love Carson’s attitude though.

  21. I don’t know, I see most of the women they have on as being unable to shop in high-fashion stores.

    I interpreted that comment as being unable due to size not financial status. I’ve only seen one woman who wasn’t totally within straight sizes and that was because she was an inbetweenie who had a rack of doom and they advised her to to get lane bryant shirts tailored around her chest.

  22. Oh, that makes more sense. I have definitely seen a few women that were at least plus sizes, but not many that would be sized out of mainstream plus stores. But yeah, they’re not doing much to concretely help fatter women shop for stylish clothes.

  23. Your body is perfect.

    That’s beautiful.

    Man, if I could find a way to just truly, completely believe that, I’d be done. Certainly something to think about.

  24. Also, is Grey’s Anatomy on cable tv? Because if so (“lesbian” storyline I CANNOT EVEN TALK ABOUT aside), Callie Torres Callie Torres Callie Torres. She is just consistently portrayed as hot and awesome (because she is) and I can’t remember them ever, ever mentioning her weight.

    I know I don’t shut up about her, but that’s because that’s how much impact it has, seeing one bigger person on tv whose body is celebrated rather than chastised.

  25. I’ve seen several plus-size women on WNTW, and yes, they shop in Lane Bryant & Avenue, along with various boutiques.

    I also recall a first-season show where the male subject kept whining about being fat while shopping, and Wayne took off his own jeans and threw them at the subject to try on. They FIT, and the subject was flabbergasted — never mind that they’d been telling him the entire show that he wasn’t that fat, he was the same size as Wayne, he just didn’t dress well and slouched …. ;)

  26. Hee, I love TV and don’t get cable as well. But when I did, I watched countless hours of WNTW. Nick Arroyo is my hair hero :-) I didn’t like how they tended to dress everyone the same (straight-leg pants, boots, blazers, I pretty much have it memorized by now) but did like how they showed a variety of body types.

  27. I’ve seen several plus-size women on WNTW, and yes, they shop in Lane Bryant & Avenue, along with various boutiques.

    So have I, and I guess I wasn’t clear about this in the post, but the woman whose body was perfect was definitely fat and I’d wager that she wore about a size 18/20 (though the camera adds 10 pounds or whatever). That’s why I was even more pleased that Stacy told her her body was perfect.

  28. I watched half-ton mom. I couldn’t help catching that she was 29, 800 pounds and didn’t have high blood pressure or obesity. I was busy doing something else wihen this was on, so I think the half-ton Mom died because the surgical intervention bnrought on a heart attack. Which they talked about, but thought she was a disease bouquet just waiting to bloom.

    WNTW. I watch the show, and I cringe through someof each episode – just because it’s judging people on their wardrobe. And I really think Nick gives a lot of people really ugly haircuts that manage to age them.

  29. I have found it a lot easier to be fat since I stopped watching reality tv shows about clothing, image, and other supposedly female oriented stuff. I liked the British WNTW when it first came on tv, and they talked a lot about how you don’t have to have a perfect body, but the object of the show is to dress in a way that will convince others that your body is a lot closer to perfect than it really is. That still ultimately plays into expectations for what women’s bodies are supposed to look like, and perpetuates (although expands on) our culture’s narrow definition of female beauty.

    If you want to watch a show that represents fat women as hawt and sexy, watch Carnivale. It has not one, but two fat women in the ensemble cast who are incredibly sexy, and who are featured in very hot sex scenes. The show, being about circus people (and set in the 1930s), has a cast of diverse body types, and is also awesome, btw, if you like stuff that deals with archetypes, supernatural abilities, and evil preachers.

  30. I forgot to mention that Carnivale is an older show, so you would need to rent or buy it. But it’s totally worth it. LOVE, and it’s so much better than all of the cheap reality crap that’s mostly body-hating anyway.

  31. I’m glad to hear I have just been catching the wrong episodes! I’ll have to try and catch one with a plus size shopper.

  32. I gave up watching TV because the commercials were driving me nuts. It is so relaxing not having these negative messages hammered into my head. I’m even much more relaxed about stuff like Xmas since I’m not seeing relentless advertising for months beforehand.

    There are many TV shows that I really like, so I also do the Netflix thing, one season behind. Another thing I’ve found recently is hulu.com which has a bunch of free shows with minimal advertising (you need more than dial-up though). And when you’re really desperate, you can buy individual episodes on amazon Video on Demand or iTunes. I’m doing that for Battlestar Galactica because I don’t want to be spoiled about the 5th cylon!

  33. There is no explaining how much I love TV.

    And Cesar Millan is awesome. Or, at least he was on the episode of South Park he was on. That’s the only thing I’ve seen him on and my husband and I say ‘dominate’ in an accent all the time now. I wonder if South Park was accurate?

  34. Bless you for this post, Sweet Machine. Spending a longer time with my (aging) family than I have in many, many years, and after not having had TV since 1990, I’m watching a lot of TV to tune out the constant appraisal of women over a size 2 as fat fat fat and the relentless focus on conforming attractiveness as value (thanks Mom, yeah, that ED totally came outta nowhere) – and then there the message is again by way of the primary MO of TV: sell women self-loathing so you can sell them products. Ugh.

    The only time WNTW really freaked me out was one episode with a grunge/goth young woman – she was super comfortable in her own skin and there was no size shaming, but the fashionistas pretty much supported her family’s shaming of her as looking ‘slutty’ (and turned her into some kind of corporate princess to boot). That one bummed me out, as it seemed hurtful to and uncomfortable for her – and dismissive of her own fashion sense, which was interesting. : (

    I also love Victoria Stillwell, but I think they lay the dominatrix schtick on a little too heavy.

    Buttercup, word. Super tiresome, producers.

  35. I refuse to watch most reality tv, but I do love WNTW, and have since before Clinton, even. I like the British version too, but they’re a little more harsh. What I really like about Stacey and Clinton is that they never, ever say it’s the person’s body’s fault they don’t look good; it’s always the clothes. They don’t talk about people’s body parts as flaws, the way some other makeovers do (“this will hide this flabby part” language), but just tell them what to play up and what makes them look hot.

  36. I totally agree about WNTW. I think they do have some great body-positive segments.

    The things that irks me about WNTW, though, is when they are particularly cruel to women who have gotten into what they might call the “mom rut” or are just a little older. I think that it’s clear that these are women who picked a look at some point in time, the 80s or 90s, and stuck with it. Obviously, that look is no longer fashionable, and that’s why they’re on the show. I just want Clinton to say, once, “You know, you really would have looked great in this in 1998. Seriously! Every hip person was wearing it, and it was fierce. But this is 2008 and styles have changed, and style still matters.” Something like that. So the moms know they’re not like, just losers like they make them sound, but that they just need to keep updating their look.

  37. sorry to derail, but I love the dog whisperer- Most people I have seen that discuss him on forums have never actually read his book, and are only basing their assumptions on one story someone passed along to them that is inaccurate. Viewing and interacting with your dog as if he is a DOG, not a baby or a toy or whatever, is pretty revolutionary. I have raised our second dog according to his methods, and he is unbelievably calm, sweet, well behaved- and happy.

    Back to the thread somewhat- I love WNTW, but I am increasingly disgusted by the haircuts nick doles out. They are SUCH a mixed bag of fugly or cute. why do they keep him and his occasionally slimey curls around??

  38. Buttercup, Any dog trainer worth anything would tell you about boundaries, limitations, and respect. But I’m glad that you were able to improve dog-human relations in your household The dog trainers I talk to are mostly concerned with how he handles very severe cases, and the body language of the dogs in his “pack.”

    I agree about the overdoing the dominatrix thing with Victoria. She does kinda have the look though.

  39. I’ve always liked What Not To Wear, but I haven’t been watching it lately.

    I’ve found that TiVo does wonders for avoiding all the diet pill/WL advertisements :-)

    I started to watch Ruby. As a person, she seems awesome, but with the last episode I had to stop watching, and I had to cancel the season pass I had set up for it. She doesn’t have diabetes. From what I can tell there isn’t ANYTHING major wrong with her. There is some mobility issues, but those are workable without putting your body through rigorous torture and starvation. They dropped her down to only 1500 calories a day. And then blame her “self-programmed brain” for being HUNGRY. Making it sound like she’s addicted to food. And she beats herself up about it too.

    As much as I want to like the show for Ruby herself, because as I said, she seems awesome. The way the show presents her weight and the lack of any medical information being presented to the viewer, I just can’t bring myself to watch it. It makes me want to throw things at the television.

  40. That’s a big plus about WNTW.

    But I still hate that show because it closes “alternative” fashion choices away. One time I saw a young woman who was really into fun, weird, colorful clothing, and they fed her all this bull about how she was “wearing it to take the focus off her body and put it on her clothing” or something like that. She started crying because, yeah, she wasn’t confident with her body (just like probably 70% of American women) and they made it look like her clothing was a big part of the problem (and not the disgusting way female bodies are turned into their only “selling point” and bashed if they aren’t size zero with no cellulite). So they put her in all this boring, “I look just like every other fashionable woman in the world!” clothing, and she was suddenly just another face in the crowd. It kind of broke my heart, as a fashion nerd (not the kind who reads fashion magazines, etc., but the type who really loves clothing and personal style and what is says about the wearer), because it was almost like they’d washed away her entire funky, fun clothing personality–or at least morphed it into an “acceptable” version of itself.

    Not to mention they function under the idea that you can “buy” confidence at expensive clothing boutiques.

    The message is great (wearing clothing that makes you feel confident about your body and yourself) but some of the tactics are really close-minded and annoying.

  41. AmazonPrincess –

    That’s why I haven’t tried to watch Ruby. I’m in a pretty positive, self-affirming space now, and I don’t need the “Oh I suck, I should be able to live on 2100/1800/1500/1200 calories indefinitely” soundtrack to get brought back onto the playlist.

    I have some mobility / endurance issues, but I’m addressing them with yoga, walking, and weight lifting.

  42. I love the English “How to Look Good Naked” for reminding me what real women look like. The fashion side of it is a bit on the conformist side, (OK, quite a lot on that side) and the hair stylists are very hit and miss, but the fact that the ultimate aim is to be happy with your body WITHOUT clothes combined with regular shots of 100 or so mostly naked normal women of a wide range of sizes, shapes and colours provides a nice antidote for normal media, and I think at least the shots of all the women should be flashed up in every other ad break on all channels.

  43. I wouldn’t call Ruby appalling, but I have my issues with it. I’m actually just going to copy and paste what I wrote in the livejournal “chubbychicks” community:

    Let me preface by saying that this is based on the premiere episode, I haven’t watched more than that one and I don’t even know if a second or more has aired.

    I have very mixed feelings about the show.

    First of all, it plays into the whole fat people = spectacle thing. Also it kind of gives off the vibe of “well, you may want to lose 5/10/20 pounds, but hey, at least you aren’t like this.”

    I’m not opposed to her needing to lose weight. My judgment is based on what I saw of her lifestyle, and that is that it is very sedentary with poor eating habits. If her lifestyle and weight are truly impacting her health and quality of life, she should change them. I know that pro-weight loss is not always a popular opinion here, but that’s what I think.

    I have concerns about the methods, however.

    One, I know her trainer, Reese. Not personally, but my mother has worked with him (she’s a certified PT and instructor who taught aerobics for 25+ years, so I trust her opinion on these things) and I’ve worked out at that gym. I don’t think he’s the best choice for her. I’m relatively certain she’s the first woman he’s trained who weighs more than 120 pounds and would be willing to bet he only agreed because it meant he would be on TV. His credentials are that he was in the Navy. OK, that may mean he’s in good shape himself, but it’s not exactly personal training credentials. Even if he was a Navy trainer, their methods are far different from what Ruby needs. I don’t think he has ACE or AFAA certification. She needs to be with someone who has more experience working with people from square one. Now, I know that Savannah isn’t exactly a mecca of options (having lived there) and that the gym where Reese works is pretty much the only one, so her choices are limited. But she should be working with someone more suited to her. Maybe someone who has been there – gone from sedentary to active, taken off weight, overhauled their own life, something. My opinion is that the pool workout she did is probably best for her because she has joint problems and that is much lower impact.

    Her doctor wasn’t shown doing any health tests related to her weight. Does she have PCOS? Thyroid issues? Shouldn’t she have gone to an endocrinologist at some point? Maybe this will come up later, but I feel like that should have been the first thing that her doctor did. I know any time I’ve talked about weight with doctors in the past they’ve immediately tested these things.

    I was glad to see they sent her to a therapist. It does seem she has an issue with food that needs to be tackled mentally, so I hope that helps her.

    I wish she would stop saying how she can’t wait to be “skinny” and all that. She won’t ever be skinny. Neither will I. It’s just how it goes. She needs to focus on doing this for her health and quality of life and think of it in those terms.

    I was glad to see that her friends were supportive and seem willing to do what they can to help her. I hope they can do it without seeming condescending.

    Overall, I am still mixed. Ruby seems like a caring, friendly, intelligent woman and I hope she can do what she needs to to be happy and improve her health. I hope they can execute the series responsibly and not treat her like a spectacle. I’m actually glad they show people staring and pointing because (at least to me) it shows how rude they are, which I hope will get some people to reevaluate their own behavior.

  44. I watch WNTW all the time and I adore it. They are always telling their guests how attractive they are just the way they are. They deal with a lot of people who have gone through recent weight gains or losses and just don’t know what size they are anymore and it is so good to hear them telling them they shouldn’t be hiding in their clothes. They have had people who couldn’t justify spending money on their clothes until they ‘lost enough weight’ and Stacy and Clinton both tell them to hush that mess because they need to dress to feel good for who they are now, not some size they hope to be one day.

    Another great show is How to Look Good Naked with Carson Kressley.

  45. I haven’t watched WNTW in a while, but I have been watching Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style because I love me some Tim Gunn. That said, I have to agree with shinobi42 that seeing some heavier types on the show would be great. I have a sinking suspicion, though, that it won’t happen because then Tim couldn’t do the bit where he takes the dressee to a top designer’s place for a Cinderella-in-couture moment. Sigh.

    WNTW did teach me a lot about dressing to my shape instead of dressing to hide it. (Or how to make myself look really dreadful if I want.) I am growing my hair out again, which Nick wouldn’t like, but I love putting it up with hairsticks, so he’ll have to cope.

  46. I worship WNTW. I have learned so much about dressing my body, and they are so body-positive and so human-positive all the time. They will acknowledge that if a woman has a feature they hate, she can dress to disguise it (there was one episode where they used the phrase “junk in the trunk” so many times my head exploded and I had to get a mop and some carpet cleaner and it was time-consuming, but OTOH, it was the “victim’s” phrase, not theirs). And they will focus on clothes that help create the illusion you are “long and lean.” Nonetheless, they dress everyone, and they flatter everyone.

    I’ve seen them be with skinny women about feeling too skinny, and with a professional woman of color who was afraid to dress boldly because she felt she was being a role model and she’d be judged, and with a woman so small I believe she had dwarfism (although tall for a dwarf, her limbs were distinctively reminiscent of achondroplasia), and older women, as well as larger women.

    Normally, they don’t show your size, but I did see one episode where a woman I thought was much larger than me was hunting for her size in a not-fat store and found it, and it was a 16. Wow, the camera really DOES add pounds.

  47. I haven’t read all of the comments yet so if I repeat I am sorry.

    WNTW is easily one of my favorite makeover shows to ever air. Clinton and Stacey work with women of all shapes and sizes. They almost always talk about the fact that a woman’s body isn’t the problem, but the clothing is.

    I think a lot of women have the tendency to feel bad about themselves because clothing in any given store doesn’t fit them properly. WNTW takes tall women, fat women, skinny women and short women and shows the viewer than every one of them experience fit problems in clothing stores.

    The show is a reminder to me-and hopefully to other faithful viewers-that no matter what your body type is all women have the same problems finding clothing that fits and looks fabulous. Tailor tailor tailor and yes, in most cases save and purchase quality pieces.

    And finally, the show not only makes these women over in appearance, but seems to be a crash course on loving and accepting your body now. Stacey has always been an advocate for dressing your body as it is now and not 15lbs less from now.

  48. I watched one episode of What Not to Wear once upon a time and vowed never to look at it again. They were horrible bullies to her and took away her personal sense of style, replacing it with their own. She didn’t even dress badly, just not in lockstep with the fashion world.

    Now, that was in the first season. From the comments here, I’m assuming that it’s changed a LOT.

    Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style did makeover one plus sized woman in the first season. Unfortunately, it was the story of how she’d lost a lot of weight and needed to learn to dress her new body. On the upside, Tim kept telling her how gorgeous she was, and yes, they did take her to a serious designer and have her pick out a fabulous dress. Guessing from sight, I’d say she was probably something in a 16-20 range. I’d love to see them pick another larger woman. On the other hand, as someone else pointed out, it’s difficult to give a bountifully built woman the high fashion experience since virtually no designers design for them.

    I wonder, too, how much the choice of women is affected by the formats of the shows. What Not to Wear picks women (and men) who are essentially turned in by their nearest and dearest for being fashion train wrecks. Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style is done entirely with women who volunteer for the experience.

    And if you ever want an experience in body loathing, sit down with WETV some sunday and watch the bridal reality shows. Between the women screaming about how they need to lose weight for their weddings, the planners and designers telling thin women how to mask their hideous tummy bulges so they’ll be perfect princesses for one stress-filled day, and the non-stop diet plan/diet pill/weight loss surgery commercials, it’s several weeks’ worth of Sanity Watchers points. Seriously, if I had watched these shows before I got married, I’d have run off to Vegas and gone to a drive-though chapel.

    Still, I do it every week. It’s a goldmine of ideas for my Manolo for the Brides columns. Mostly it’s a goldmine of what not to do and how not to approach things. I still won’t sit through Bulging Brides, where some size two woman bought her wedding gown two sizes too small and is bullied by a personal trainer and a nutritionist until she loses enough weight in six weeks to wear that too-small gown. Ick.

    There are some things I will not do, even for my job which I love.

  49. I watch WNTW religiously, and I have seen women that appear to be in the 16/18ish range. I believe that the woman who went to Paris with $50,000 was a 12-ish.

    I doubt we’ll ever see a woman that’s over a size 20 because of the lack of knowledge of plus size shopping beyond Avenue, LB, and the plus departments of major retail shops. And once you’re past a 24, you’re just left with the first two. I think they’ve only gone to Marina Rinaldi once during the entire run of the show, and they’re not willing to venture off of Manhattan to go to Lee Lee Valise in Brooklyn.

    That said, I do love the “Dress for the body you have, not the body you want” mantra.

    The downside, though, is when they get the alternative-types on. My two least favorite episodes are when they de-gothed and de-punked two girls. The girl who got the de-gothing was only 18, and the girl who was de-punked was only 24.

    The thing about WNTW is that 95% of the people aren’t nominating themselves, so these people may not be necessarily seeking the change being brought to them. Of course they could say no (And they’ve only admitted to one who has.), but they don’t. It’s hard to turn down an all-expense paid trip to NYC and a $5,000 shopping spree…especially when a camera’s in front of you.

    Also, the reason makeover shows make such a huge deal about hair is because taking long hair to shoulder-length magnifies the drama of the makeover itself. If they took a woman with hair down to her bra strap and simply shaped it up somewhat without chopping it off, it wouldn’t give the requisite drama needed for the show. (Sidenote: Nick needs to keep away from hair belonging to WoC’s. He never gets it right unless it’s already straightened.)

    As for Tim Gunn…I love him. I do. I admit that he hasn’t done a plus-sized woman on his show, but the rules and guidelines he gives you are incredibly basic and size-neutral. Any woman of any size can purchase his “10 essential items,” which is brilliant because he works for Liz Claiborne( who has a plus line called Elisabeth).

    The difference between him and WNTW is that he’s not trying to replace your entire wardrobe, just give you a solid foundation to build your own. Another difference is that YOU have to invite Tim, not your family or friends. (Much like how vampires can’t come into your house unless they’re invited.) He will let you know from Square One, “You shouldn’t have invited me if you don’t intend to follow through on this. It’s all on you.”

    I love the fact that the first thing they do is go bra-hunting. After all, none of this new stuff is gonna fit right if your boobs are at your navel. (They’ve done it a few times on WNTW, but it’s always done here.)

    The fancy designer part is, agreed, a source of contention. However, if he has a plussie on the show, there’s always Tadashi.(Carmen Marc Valvo makes dresses in at least a 22, but he’s been used this season already.) The catch is that the designers they go to have to have a New York showroom. Also, the person Tim brings has to fit into whatever is already available in said showroom. I think most of the things in there are already samples(usually size 6 or 8), so that limits who gets to come and play dress-up.

  50. Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style did makeover one plus sized woman in the first season. Unfortunately, it was the story of how she’d lost a lot of weight and needed to learn to dress her new body.

    And didn’t the sidekick person spend a lot of time oohing and aahing over how huge her wedding dress was? That was the only episode fo Tim Gunn’s show I’ve seen and I keep meaning to watch more since I love Tim Gunn, but that kind of dulled my enthusiasm.

    Oh man, I saw those commercials for Bulging Brides. Terrible!

  51. Yeah, I’m torn on WNTW. It has inspired me to be more positive about shopping for my body type. But in general, I don’t like how they push conformity. And the sarcastic comments really turn me off. But here’s why I typically don’t watch WNTW or Tim Gunn’s show: I get so sick and tired of listening to women talk about how fat they are. I don’t listen to this nonsense from my family and friends so why would I listen to it willing on TV. Hell, I can sit in a dark room by myself and listen to the same message.

    I’ll be honest, if someone ever got me on WNTW that person would be embarrassed and there would be no show with Valerie. I’m really not sure how these women consent to having their clothes, hair, and style critiqued by aging hipsters.

    My fav is definitely How to Look Good Naked. He doesn’t talk about weight loss; he encourages people to accept themselves the way that they are. He’s a little over the top in terms of personality but I think its a super show.

    Yeah, Victoria Stillwell’s techniques are far superior to Cesar Milan. She establishes leadership without bullying. And she’s not as arrogant as Milan. Seriously, if a dude every talked to me like he does some of his caretakers, I would lose my mind. The quick leash jerk, rolling dogs on their backs, etc are particularly disconcerting if used by inexperienced trainers. He’s a favorite among people who are new to having dogs in the home but Victoria Stillwell is the favorite of people who know dogs and are experienced with them.

  52. I watched one episode of What Not to Wear once upon a time and vowed never to look at it again. They were horrible bullies to her and took away her personal sense of style, replacing it with their own. She didn’t even dress badly, just not in lockstep with the fashion world.

    Now, that was in the first season. From the comments here, I’m assuming that it’s changed a LOT.

    You’re talking about the American one, right? The same thing happened with the UK one — the first couple of seasons were awful, and the first book Trinny and Susannah (sp?) did was horrific — my flatmate’s mother gave it to her and there’s a page where they both talk about things they hate about their own bodies (presumably to make you feel better about yours *headdesk*) and Susannah’s is so sad. She says that she used to be young and pretty but now she hates her chest and her stomach and her arms etc and “there’s precious little left to love”. It actually really depressed me.

    But ANYWAY, my point is that at some stage that changed and now the UK WNTW is much much better. Still not all the way there, but much kinder and more about loving the body you have, etc. And they taught my sister about not wearing tops that are too short for her and she taught it me and it has pretty much CHANGED MY LIFE. (Don’t wear tops that stop just under your bellybutton! They will make you look shorter and fatter than you are! It’s a miracle.) They make women (of all sizes) cry because it’s the first time they’re felt beautiful. I have a lot of time for that.

  53. Oh and another reason why I don’t really like WNTW is the way they treated Bruce Friedman of PETA who insisted on animal free clothing and shoes. And I am far from a PETA apologist. They acted like he was an alien from Planet Zoltron rather than a consumer with ethics that a few million other people in this country follow when they shop. I mean, they made fun of him because he didn’t want leather shoes, cashmere, and wool. Uhm sounds pretty sane to me.

  54. I love WNTW and found that their rules did a lot to boost my body confidence when shopping.
    Also, I’m pretty sure Lee Lee’s Valise was featured on two of their shows. One with a younger woman with darkish hair and the other with an older woman.

  55. Wow, the camera really DOES add pounds.

    Yes, it does. And in the US we are, by and large, a nation of shutterbugs, taught from an early age that the camera does not lie, that it preserves images objectively, that it is the guardian of our memories. We also live in an environment in which advertisements are ubiuquitous, and almost every image is intended to either sell us something or sell our gaze to someone else. Or both.

    Is it any wonder we think it’s our friends and our mirrors that lie?

    Viewing and interacting with your dog as if he is a DOG, not a baby or a toy or whatever, is pretty revolutionary.

    I don’t think it is.

    I have no opinion of Milan, as I don’t watch the show. But from what I’ve observed, most folks do treat dogs as dogs, albeit sometimes very indulged dogs. There’s always been a minority that’ve treated them as babies, toys, or fashion accessories, but their prominence in our conciousness is, I believe, largely due to the media, which serve it up with heaping, steaming, stinking helpings of misogyny.

  56. Yes, it does. And in the US we are, by and large, a nation of shutterbugs, taught from an early age that the camera does not lie, that it preserves images objectively, that it is the guardian of our memories.

    This really made things click for me, thank you. I’ve had a couple of friends recently tell me “I don’t think of myself as as big as I am until I see a picture and realize how fat I am!” And I tried to stutter out something about how that’s a two-dimensional image of them, not them . . . but I’ll admit to that susceptibility myself.

  57. I read a review for “Half-Ton-Mom” and it nearly broke my heart. She died two weeks after her weight-loss surgery.

    Please don’t yell at me… I still think there is such a thing as “morbid” obesity. IMHO, even though it is possible for a very large person to be healthy, the health of a person who is so large he cannot move or who is so large he has extremely restricted movement is endangered by his weight.

    That doesn’t mean that someone should ever have to go through life-threatening surgery. If that person is a compulsive eater, she should get counseling, help, kindness. If her weight is due to a medical condition that is not to do with eating impulses, ditto. If she’s determined to get the surgery, she should have her wish, but for heaven’s sake not pressured into it!

    I hope my two cents didn’t offend anyone. Please correct me where I get things wrong…

  58. Nick needs to keep away from hair belonging to WoC’s. He never gets it right unless it’s already straightened.

    I remember a woman of color on the show had dreads – little skinny ones that almost looked like braids from a distance. Nick threatened to cut them off, then complimented her on her locks and how well she’s maintaining them. And that was that.

  59. The thing that I find non-bothersome about “Ruby” is the commercials that show Ruby as someone with agency about her own fitness–I have seen at least two that show her saying “I want to be able to {go up stairs easily, I think it was}” and “I’m tired of {getting out of breath while walking, I think it was}.” Rather than “OH NOES THE GIANT FAT PERSON MUST LOSE WEIGHT TO AVOID OFFENDING THE NORMALS,” those commercials, at least, are focused on her fitness goals.

    The thing that I find bothersome about “Ruby” is the commercials that make a direct equation between personal fitness and weight loss. Ruby may well lose weight as a consequence of working toward her fitness goals. Or she may not. The point is that the goal should be fitness, not scale weight, yes?

  60. think Stacy & Clinton are overall pretty positive and certainly lean more to the side of body acceptance than not.

    I think they’re fairly body-positive, but I still can’t stomach that show. It’s often on when I’m in the gym on my lunch break, and I cringe every time. I can’t stand the parts where the person is shopping and Stacey and Clinton are watching on a small TV, talking about her behind her back and saying horribly snarky things. I saw one show that basically said “if you don’t follow these rules you will never get a man to marry you.” Another that implied that you’re a bad woman if you don’t dress well. And the one that pissed me off the most was when they freaked out at a woman for wearing the same pair of pants to work twice in one week. OMG DISASTER!!!!11!! I have two skirts, a formal suit, one pair of dress pants, and two pairs of jeans. My office is business casual; jeans are only allowed on Fridays. Meaning I’m going to have to wear something twice a week. TEH HORRORZ TEH HORRORZ. Because I just don’t feel like spending money on more clothes right now. I’d like to focus on saving as much as possible while my partner is job searching in this crapptacular economy.

  61. We’re a Netflix-only household like Sweet Machine’s, but when we do catch regular tv in a hotel or somewhere, my husband and I both love WNTW. Yeah, I do have some issues with it. They can be overly cruel at times, especially to people who have their own quirky sense of style rather than no style at all. But their overall goal really does seem to be to make people feel good about themselves.

    As someone who spent my teenage years thinking I was horribly ugly, and also being super suspicious of the vanity of fashion, I spent years in shapeless, totally unflattering clothes. Some of this was depression and feeling that I didn’t deserve to look any better. While I’m hardly a fashionista now, and can still out-bargain hunt anybody except maybe my mom rather than pay big bucks for the brand names, I do enjoy finding clothes that actually look good on me. Including (especially?) ones that are actually form-fitting and sexy without being tacky.

  62. How about body positivity on network tv? The last two episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” have featured Sara Rue as the new girlfriend of one of the main characters. She looks great, dresses great, is professionally successful (a physician) and considered desirable by all the main (male) characters. No mention at all has been made of her weight.

  63. I never really liked WNTW (UK version – didn’t see much of the US one), or How to Look Good Naked. They always end up looking like Grazia magazine threw up on them or something.

    Gok Wan once put a (fairly thin) woman in those spanx control underwear things and then took her to buy jeans. Because, y’know, you totally want to be wearing a girdle all day every day, right?

  64. I’ve had dogs in my home (my mother’s, usually) since I was a child. We’ve had corgis since 1993. Our current two are rescues with major issues and have different needs than the average dog. I’m no novice to living with dogs.

    Cesar Milan does not claim to be a dog trainer. The show is careful with disclaimers. I’ve read the books in addition to watching the show, and for our dogs, in our situation, it did a lot of good, not as a substitute for obedience training, but as a way to learn to understand our dogs and their needs better.

    There are as many opinions about dog training as there are dog people and that’s all I’m going to say about that,.

    Back on topic for a hot minute, I agree w/Nick Arrojo needing to stay away from WOC’s hair. I also hate how they put everyone in pointy toed shoes and also how the emphasis is on looking “long and lean”. They’d need more than a trip to Avenue to make me look long and lean. Long, sure. Lean? Not so much.

    I’ve never seen an apple shape on there, never a woman over maybe MAYBE a low size 20. I’ve not seen all the episodes especially recently though.

    I did see them send someone to LeeLee’s Valise once, though. I was very excited, I was like “Hey! I read about that store on the fatosphere!”

    Whatever WNTW’s shortcomings, they are nowhere near as heinous as the truly despicable “ten years younger”. That show made me throw things, which they did not like at the hospital.

  65. Yes, it does. And in the US we are, by and large, a nation of shutterbugs, taught from an early age that the camera does not lie, that it preserves images objectively, that it is the guardian of our memories.

    Here (the UK) too. I can dress up to go somewhere and like what I see in the mirror, and have people compliment me all over the show, and then I see the photos and I’m like “oh Jesus”. So now I just don’t look at the photos. I do not photo well; I never have, I never will. The whole point of what makes me pretty is my personality and a random snapshot isn’t going to capture that. I was telling friends and relatives that photos are never an accurate reflection of how you look for YEARS before I was willing to accept it could be true for me too. (See also: Erin Daniels from The L Word. Hot as anything, but she has never taken a good photo in her life.)

    Which is why I find it very sad when people are talking about dieting and they’re like “It started when I saw the holiday photos and thought, ‘I didn’t know I was THAT fat.'” Well, you look at you in the mirror every day. What are the odds you’ve completely misestimated your own size — and downwards of all things? Most women think they’re far bigger than they are, not smaller! It’s the photos, not you.

    But it is very hard to make people see that.

  66. No mention at all has been made of her {Sara Rue’s} weight {on “The Big Bang Theory”

    Excuse me if I don’t leap for joy that a US size 12/14 woman is treated as “normal” on television. It’s sad that a woman whose clothing size is the statistical average for the US is such an unusual sight on the TV in a romantic lead.

    That said, I think Sara Rue is adorable and should star in everything. I’m just not sure that average-size-positivity is necessarily a great step forward for fat-positivity. See also: America Ferrera.

  67. Another (oddly) body positive show is “Say Yes to the Dress”: I never played bride growing up and hate all things wedding, but this show has so many women of so many different sizes (roughly the same range as on WNTW) trying on dresses and ultimately being thrilled with themselves once they find “the” dress, that it’s a bracing tonic against the hate-yer-body crowd.

    (There’s a lot wrong with the show, as well: the owner, Ronnie, is a classic chauvinist pig, the pressure on women exerted by the wedding industrial complex can be toxic, and the editing, per usual in any reality show, creates drama between the saleswomen…but when the bride sees herself in her gown, feeling–and looking–beautiful, I can suffer through Ronnie & the rest for that moment.)

  68. The last two episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” have featured Sara Rue as the new girlfriend of one of the main characters.

    Also, her character is named Stephanie. :)

    I’m not going to plug the show as even remotely body-positive in any other way, but it was refreshing to see an average-sized woman show up and automatically be hot — not because they were desperate, not despite her weight, etc. We’ll see where they go with it, since it’s obvious that Leonard isn’t going to end up with her at the end of the show’s run.

    All the other love interests on the show are Hollywood-thin and completely conforming to beauty standards. (OK, perhaps except Sara Gilbert, but she’s still thin and pretty, if dark and sarcastic.) So on BBT, it’s OK for men not to meet conventional beauty/social skills standards, but they really do deserve supermodels like ever other man. Pfeh.

  69. In the vast wasteland that is television, there are a few (very few) bright spots. “WNTW” can be one. Also, the show on Lifetime (of all places!) with Carson Kressley, teaching women to love their bodies regardless of size. “Sesame Street.” And the 25th anniversary airing of “The Thorn Birds,” which I’m seeing in its entirety for the first time, since I was WAY too young to watch it the first time.
    ‘Cause, no matter how bad your day is, at least you’re not living in the Outback in 1920’s Australia with no air-conditioning, in love with a priest, living with an aunt who despises you, trying in vain to put out a fire that will destroy your home, kill your dad, and send a wild boar after your brother and kill him, too, all the while visiting your oldest (bastard) brother in jail for killing a man with his bare hands and being ignored/forgotten by your dopey mom who can’t stand you.
    And then sleeping with said priest.

    And, Stephanie? Hollywood is run by geeks and dorks who like to imagine they can get the “hottest” girls. So they do. At least, on screen.
    Those guys are kinda pathetic.

  70. I can’t watch Ruby either. I tried to, but couldn’t. Then, as I was channel surfing one day, I happened to land on the channel while the show was airing . On this particular episode, Ruby was with dining out with two companions at a café, and she was trying to figure out something “healthy” to order . She settled for ordering a fruit smoothie. The male companion, however, balked, saying, “UGGHH! A SMOOTHIE HAS TOO MUCH SUGAR AND IS OVER 200 CALORIES!” or something like that, and I can’t remember what Ruby said in response, but I do remember she said, “I feel like I want to cheat on this diet.” UGHHHHHHH I had to turn.

    Don’t care too much for What Not To Wear.

    I do give big ups to Grey’s Anatomy for featuring THREE plus size ladies on there: The actresses who play Callie Torres, Miranda Bailey and Loretta Devine. Of note, the woman who created Grey’s is a fattie herself, (Shonda Rhimes) so GO SHONDA!!!! :)

    TV in general has just gone straight to hell, which is why I watch a lot of TV Land and older syndicated shows.

  71. I also wanted to add while there really aren’t too many truly body positive shows out there anymore, Living Single was a great sitcom!

    It featured four beautiful black women of all different sizes. The two plus sized women on there, Queen Latifah and Kim Cole’s were never made out to be undatable, unlovable, asexual/eunuch mammy types. They both dressed well and were both beautiful, strong, intelligent, independent women!

    Weight and/or body size was RARELY the focus of the show (maybe once or twice), and it was all about living life and having fun. Only the first season is available on DVD, but it’s a great show to watch!

  72. Not that I have anything against geeks and dorks (being one myself). Just the Hollywood versions.

    Oh, same here: I’m a geek, and I’m married to a geek. The Big Bang Theory has other issues, regarding accurate portrayal of geeks, but I watch it anyway because it’s usually pretty amusing. I just wouldn’t call it remotely transgressive in its relationship to women.

  73. Also, is Grey’s Anatomy on cable tv? Because if so (”lesbian” storyline I CANNOT EVEN TALK ABOUT aside), Callie Torres Callie Torres Callie Torres. She is just consistently portrayed as hot and awesome (because she is) and I can’t remember them ever, ever mentioning her weight.

    Thanks for mentioning this, Caitlin! I do recall some subtle comparisons between Callie and Izzie, but only once, and not blatantly. I can live with that, because — CALLIE. Yes, hot and awesome. That scene where she’s dancing alone in her underwear? *swoon*

  74. That scene where she’s dancing alone in her underwear? *swoon*


    *ahem* Yeah, there’s an interview where someone asked her about being a larger actress (up there with “Why do you write so many strong female characters?” in my list of questions that make me want to hit the interviewer in the face) and she said no one on the show ever thought she was too heavy — they wanted her to dance in her underwear. That makes me make this face. :D

    (I’ve also watched that clip circa 3 million times, because a) hot and b) I cannot tell you how much better it makes me feel about my own body. Callie Torres is my anti-diet.)

  75. Sweet Machine/The Rotund,

    Okay, so I just watched a couple of the promos via YouTube and yep, I see the shame(inginginginging) going on there.

  76. I’ve owned dogs for 20 years. I know dogs pretty well. I also know dozens and dozens of people that own dogs as well, and 90% of them have the vaguest idea of how a dog should be treated. Watch his show and you’ll see. Most people treat them like really dumb kids, or slightly smart goldfish. You can prefer a different training method (and his method is really just to establish a good working relationship) but there’s nothing wrong with his method. it works, and it makes the dogs happy :) sorry, i just don’t like it when people hate on him.

  77. I love (sarcastic) the Realize Band commercials where people are saying the reasons they want to get the band: “I want to go to Paris with my husband…I want to do karate with my kid.” AS IF they can’t do these things while fat! UGH!

  78. Commercials for a new weight loss drug that started by saying that if you’ve tried to lose weight the usual way and you can’t, it’s not your fault! (Hey, what do you know!) All you need to do is ask your doctor about this amazing new pill! (Boo!)

    Is that by chance Rimoabant? You know, the one that was going to “save us” all from teh smokerz and teh fatz back in 2007 but now has apparently been proven to contribute to psychosis in its takers, much like prescribing Prozac for the little kids?

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