If you watch TV, chances are you've seen or at least heard of the show "The Biggest Loser." The reality TV show features individuals competing to lose massive amounts of weight. The winner walks away much thinner and also much richer.
Last week, the season 15 season finale aired and featured the latest champion, Rachel Fredrickson. The 24-year old female dropped 155 pounds and walked away with the prize of $250,000. With the mission of the show being to drop as much weight as possible, the headlines that followed were somewhat startling. "Is the Biggest Loser winner 'too thin?'" or "Did the Biggest Loser winner lose too much weight?"
The media response to Fredrickson's weight loss highlights the flawed spectrum our society places individuals upon. Fredrickson and fifteen other contestants joined the competition for being medically overweight, but most importantly because society deems them as being "too fat." Yet after competing and meeting weight loss goals that viewers expect to see, Fredrickson suddenly becomes "too thin" for some to accept.
While many people genuinely worry about her health, the other portion suggest that there is something wrong with Fredrickson's new body. After reading the responses, it begs the question - what exactly should Rachel's body look like? She was too fat before and she's too thin now. Where exactly does she need to look like to be just right? When society and the media set the standard, we are left searching for this equivocal perfection. Is any body type really perfect, or are we all just "too" of something?
The body spectrum is not only ambiguous but we know that it is impossible. History shows that the "beautiful" body depends upon the era, the culture, the country. While fuller bodies were a sign of beauty in earlier eras, thinner women signify beauty in today's culture. The false message created by the media sends women and men seeking after a perfection that simply doesn't exist. All bodies are different and seeking after this false standard negatively effects our perception of what is beautiful.
This societal spectrum permeates into all other components of our lives. Are you too feminine for a male, or too masculine for a female? Are you too emotional or do you work too much? At some point, each of us are put on this spectrum in a way that makes us question how well we are making decisions that are authentic to ourselves. When we use a feminist lens to critically examine the spectrum we are placed upon, we recognize that there are truly no perfect bodies and no perfect lifestyles. Feminism accepts that we are all different, and each of us regardless of which end of the societal spectrum we fit on are valuable people.
The "too society" that we live in sends us searching after a false image of perfection. If we recognize that the standard set by society doesn't actually exist, we can allow ourselves to make life choices and be confident in the unique individuals that we are. Not only can we allow ourselves to feel confident, but we can release judgement on those who are also different and collectively feel beautiful together.
Original Post from "Talk Less, Say More."
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