herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

TV makeover shows 'promoting fatism'

A UNIVERSITY lecturer is asking people to switch off reality TV shows which over-emphasise the issue of weight and promote the idea that obesity is a lifestyle crime.

Makeover programmes also pile stress on to people who do not fit the supermodel shape, according to Dr Jayne Raisborough, principal lecturer in the School of Applied Social Science at the University of Brighton.

Describing the programmes as "sinister", Ms Raisborough echoed complaints that the media's obsession with appearance was promoting "fatism" and was increasing pressure on people who are not seen as skinny.

Speaking at the second Annual International Weight Conference in England, she also said it was vital people ask critical questions about the role this type of TV plays in circulating prejudicial ideas about weight.

WEIGHT

"When it comes to the analysis of weight, reality TV, including the makeover, is very important because of its sheer ubiquity.

"This means that the makeover shows are where obesity and issues of weight and health are being over-represented and are hyper-visible," she added. "This is trash TV; it is the television that nobody admits to watching but clearly people do."

Ms Raisborough claimed makeover shows, which include the likes of Gok Wan's How to Look Good Naked, slot people into pigeon-holes.

The lecturer also suggested the manner in which negative "before" images are shown only served to reinforce stigmas about weight gain.

hnews@herald.ie

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