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A weigh-in on America’s weight obsession

Just when it seemed society had exhausted its fixation on body-weight, a new show was released Friday that steamrolls years of progress and exploits body image for the sake of entertainment. The show, which is featured on WE tv, focuses on Mamma June Shannon, the mother of former “Honey Boo Boo” child star, Alana.

Entitled, “Mamma June: From Not to Hot,” the name alone is a red flag to anyone that takes issue with body-shaming. In an article published on US Weekly, the show is said to chronicle Mamma June’s weight loss and transformation down to a size four. The title is incredibly problematic as it appears to suggest that only sizes four and under are ‘hot’ and resorts to simplifying a woman’s worth to her weight in the name of entertainment.

After the progress that’s been made by body-acceptance movements and the parade of celebrities that have spoken out about positive body imagery, this show takes a step backwards in its focus on skinny as the ideal. Not to mention, the methods Mamma June employs to achieve the show’s definition of ‘hot’ includes gastric bypass and plastic surgery, as though extreme methods must be taken in order to achieve true beauty.

Statements by prominent celebrity figures like Jennifer Lawrence and Adele about finding peace with one’s body are undermined by shows like this that seek to, once again, laud size two bodies as the ultimate ideal. The persistence of these kinds of shows speaks to the on-going societal notion that beauty and self-worth are intrinsically tied, especially for women.

In a statement from Cameron Shaeffer of the Huffingtonpost, “We are not celebrating female’s minds, agency, and personality. We are celebrating breasts, we are celebrating rear ends.”

Though the release of this show may produce a more significant number of eye-rolls than decades past, until a women’s weight is not a reoccurring media obsession body-pride activists everywhere will continue in their fight.

Hopefully with continued progress in body pride awareness and campaigns that seek to refocus the spotlight from a woman’s looks to her achievements the release of shows like this will become a deplorable part of the distant past.

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