There seem to be an abnormally large bout of posts on the Fatosphere lately about the media, so let me add mine. Contrary to some, mine’s focused on a more positive experience…
You see, I spent the whole afternoon a few days ago watching “How to Look Good Naked” (or what my friends and I call, “The Totally Naked Show”) online. I was looking for something frivolous, mindless and fun, something to use as a means of procrastination. This totally fit the bill.
I hadn’t actually watched any of it until that day because I had been in Ecuador when it first aired. But let me say this, I LOVED IT. The first episode was just…fantastic. From the first few seconds, when Carson was walking down the street with the models, I knew I was going to love it; as soon as that woman in the gold dress showed up, I just wanted to jump up and down. And then when those women were his models for the “compare your perception to reality” part of the show, I almost died. They are REAL WOMEN! And they’re MODELS. Who wanted to jump up and down? Me.
Aside from the models, the message is mostly right. It’s not about losing weight, it’s about loving yourself. You can lose the negativity towards your body, your perceived ugliness, in how you see yourself, in how you present yourself, in your confidence and grace. That made me happy. I ended up watching them all in marathon. I’ve always loved Carson Kressley, and in this he is so fun and helpful, and I feel like he genuinely wants to help. I can’t wait to see more. It makes me completely and utterly gleeful to see that message out on TV. Especially when it includes something like, “Zero is not a size. It’s a warning sign.” Oh Carson. You make me swoon.
Notice, however, that I say the message is mostly right. I feel like the show is trying to deal with the issue of negative body image, but really just skirting it. In having women stand in front of the mirror, and look at themselves, they aren’t saying “you look beautiful because these things society tells you to hate don’t matter.” but instead saying, “you aren’t as fat as you think. Compare yourselves to these women here. See, you’re not as ugly. And look at what you have to work with!” I mean, maybe that’s a skewed view of it, but that’s what I’m getting. That’s not productive in a universal message. Yes, it’s great for the women involved. But for the women watching? The message could get a little distorted. Distorted in the way of “I don’t have the things that he admires in her, therefore I’m ugly.” Yes, I might be reading into it a little more than necessary, but it’s important to consider, at least.
So overall, I like the show. I don’t think the media will ever be able to hit the issue on the head (because they’re working inside the medium that needs to change the most), but this is as close as they’re going to get. And for the individual on the show, I think it’s actually helpful. Finally, an uplifting message. Finally, real women on TV. And finally, more fun with Carson Kressley.