The Biggest Loser - Winning by Losing - Is The “Biggest Loser” Ageist And Sexist?




marlu
09-20-2007, 06:19 PM
Please somebody, tell me I'm not the only one annoyed by the fact that since the show started the female contestants have, with one exception, been young and good-looking? And the exception doesn't really count since she was an at-home contestant and didn't get much screen time. (By the way I wonder if the reason they're not doing the at-home bit this season was on account of the animosity the returning homies received from the ranchers???) Aside from that exception the women have all been between twenty and thirty-five and, except for their weight, gorgeous. Many of them have looked like plus-sized models.

The men, on the other hand, have run the age gamut from twenties to early sixties and in appearance from ruggedly handsome to so-so.

What gives? I know this is a T.V. Show and they want ratings, but I think a lot of female viewers could identify more with female contestants who don't look like they're only a hundred pounds or so from the walkway. And if they have older men it's only fair that they should have older women. I speak from experience when I say I know women over forty have a harder time losing weight . But I'm sure the show could adjust for that, just like they adjusted during Season Two when it was women versus men.

Opinions anyone?


JayEll
09-20-2007, 06:47 PM
Hey marlu,

We have a Biggest Loser Forum--and I'm going to move your post there! But don't worry, there will be a redirect from Weight Loss Support for awhile.

My opinion is that it's a TV show--and they choose who plays and what happens on the show for obvious reasons: Higher ratings, so they can sell advertising and make money. Period. I don't think they are really that interested in inspiring anyone.

Jay

Hun.e.B
09-20-2007, 07:12 PM
Maybe they are all gorgeous because thats who tries out? Even the men have been very handsome. Could it be the transformation also brings the beauty out? I dont remember any acceptions last year? The age thing could also be a health issue as well, although Jerry this year is older.

The at home thing from last year was the premise behind last years show...it was a COUNTRY competition.

Edited to add...Matt was scary looking to me when he was on, but by the end he was so handsome. Kia was the same way. Its all in the eye of the beholder.


marlu
09-20-2007, 07:28 PM
I guess by the replies everyone else is fine with the BL discrimination against older women.

Oh well. I kind of hoped I'd have some allies here.

kaplods
09-20-2007, 07:29 PM
I have to admit that I also thought Matt had (and really even after transformation still had) a weird ugly/attractive thing going on. But then again, I never did find "pretty boys" very attractive. They have to have a at least a tiny bit of odd or ugly in them or I'm not interested.

I guess even my husband fits the bill. When we met, he was a huge (6'2", 390 lb) long auburn-haired "biker-viking" of a guy complete with obnoxious t-shirts, leather jacket and a goatee and mustache. (and when I say obnoxious, I mean obnoxious. He has one that says "I love my weiner" with a picture of a dachshund on it, one that says "I'm big your small have a nice day," and another "Tell your mom to stop texting me" ... his collection is endless, and each new one more obnoxious than the last - a pink shirt that says "i'm only wearing pink because my executioner's robes are dirty"

Hun.e.B
09-20-2007, 07:32 PM
I dont think its discrimination, my belief is that either they havent gotten a good enough canditate that is older or there is a health issue. Plus, the older we women get the harder it is to lose weight because of hormones etc..that could be another reason. Why have someone go to such extremes just to get frustrated...that cant be good for her. I could be wrong, thats just how I feel about it. Last season there were older women in the 50 states group.

CLCSC145
09-20-2007, 07:39 PM
Marlu, it's definitely not reflective of the population. But if we're going to be annoyed with that, we should also be annoyed that TV and movies in general feature a range of men (age, weight, looks) and by and large beautiful, younger women. I don't think BL is doing anything different than what is shown in the rest of the entertainment industry. It is just more irritating because these are supposed to finally be people we can identify with. Sort of.

kaplods
09-20-2007, 08:35 PM
What annoys me in movies and tv... is how often a person portrayed as the "ugly" person is actually a gorgeous person with glasses and braces, especially if it's a girl. Ugly men can play ugly men, but apparently ugly women can only be portrayed by women who are at least sort of pretty.

It's also the superman syndrome. No one can recognize that a beautiful girl is beautiful if she's wearing glasses. Huh?

onthetee
09-20-2007, 09:06 PM
I dont think its discrimination, my belief is that either they havent gotten a good enough canditate that is older or there is a health issue. Plus, the older we women get the harder it is to lose weight because of hormones etc..that could be another reason. Why have someone go to such extremes just to get frustrated...that cant be good for her. I could be wrong, thats just how I feel about it. Last season there were older women in the 50 states group.


I think there are sound, medical reasons why older contestants are not typically chosen. Someone who has been overweight for 30 has a lot more damage to their bodies than someone who only has for 10 years. Contestants have to go through some very rigorous testing to get on the show, otherwise, they are a liability. Far less likely for a 32-year old person with obesity to have a heart attack at the gym than a 52 year-old. As hard as they work in the gym, they need to already have some level of fat-but-fit.

I also would wager that fewer older women would try out. For the most part, women are more vain about their appearance. Someone else posted about the stretch marks on the women from the show. I had two enormous babies. While I am proud of my stretch marks, not everyone else may be. And that is not to say that when other things start looking different, I may not want to be on national TV in shorts and a jog bra. I saw a line of wanna-bes in Chicago a few weeks ago. I did not see older people of either gender.

As for the appearance, it is like most things in life. The attractive people will get chosen. Since they are going for dramatic effect, they can turn women into total package-beauty if there is a good foundation. If they have to clear up her skin, fix her nose, spend hours in the make up chair, then it is too hard to create a knock-out at the end of the season.

LondonJulz
09-20-2007, 09:44 PM
I have to admit that I also thought Matt had (and really even after transformation still had) a weird ugly/attractive thing going on. But then again, I never did find "pretty boys" very attractive. They have to have a at least a tiny bit of odd or ugly in them or I'm not interested.


:rofl: I have to agree with you COMPLETELY here!!! Pretty boy, model type boys never have caught my attention. Every guy I have ever liked has been considered "nerdy" (but not "geeky")... but, I also like the big football type guys too..... broad shoulders, big build..... I guess I equate that with someone who can "protect" me. Luckily DH is that type. AND, he has the T-shirts... one that says "I love hot moms" and "stop staring at my bass" (on the back of it.... it has a fish on it).

I agree with what Onthetee said .... that the older women would definitely be more vain then the older men. I haven't thought twice that the women and men they have are drop-dead gorgeous in the end.... I think that comes with the weight loss. Inner beauty starts popping out as the weight comes off (and their confidence comes up).

SoulBliss
09-20-2007, 10:45 PM
Beauty is certainly all in the eye of the beholder! My idea of "gorgeous" may be "odd" or unusual" to another and what most people consider "attractive" or "beautiful" I consider bland and uninteresting. Besides, as cliche as it sounds, personality makes or breaks the level of perceived attraction for me.

Also, in reality, the average "plus sized" model tends to be between a size 10 and 14 and is near or over 6 feet tall. Ridiculous, isn't it? :lol:

MariaMaria
09-20-2007, 11:00 PM
I'm having trouble believing that not one 40-year-old otherwise-healthy woman has applied to the show. One season could be chance but after four seasons' casts, I don't buy it.

JayEll
09-21-2007, 07:14 AM
Yeah, I don't buy it either. They definitely cast the show with certain criteria in mind.

Jay

Hun.e.B
09-21-2007, 09:50 AM
There were over 40 year olds in the 50 states last year. They got picked to represent their state so I really dont think its discrimination. There just havent been good enough candidates to make the show. I'm curious why so many watch the show if its so awful....discriminatory, deceitful?? Dont bother answering I know we arent allowed to debate that, just me thinking in print. I love the show regardless.

SoulBliss
09-21-2007, 09:59 AM
There just havent been good enough candidates to make the show. This statement got me thinking. Have you ever been to a casting call? I was really surprised at the volume and variety of people who showed up! There were some VERY large people of all ages and some really average sized people as well, of all ages, with great style, funky style, no style, :o and in every package you can imagine. I wonder how many of them were disqualified due to things that had nothing to do with age, appearance or schedule conflict. (Hmmmm, scratches head).




I'm curious why so many watch the show if its so awful....discriminatory, deceitful?? Dont bother answering I know we arent allowed to debate that, just me thinking in print. I love the show regardless.

What? No discussion/debate allowed? Isn't this a discussion forum/board? :lol: :( Why ask a question we aren't "allowed to answer"? I am puzzled. :^:

Catsgetnhealthy
09-21-2007, 10:09 AM
I guess by the replies everyone else is fine with the BL discrimination against older women.

Oh well. I kind of hoped I'd have some allies here.


What defines "older women" to you? Maybe there haven't been 60 yr old ladies trying out.

practiceliving
09-21-2007, 01:36 PM
I wonder if part of it is older (40+) women being less willing to take that much time away from family/work/other responsibilities. Certainly a 20something student with no partner or kids is going to have an easier time taking 12+ weeks away from their life/commitments than a 40something career woman with a husband and kids, y'know?

I remember looking at the BL application once in the past, and it is DETAILED. There are so many, many things that ANY contestant could be taken out of the running for, that I'm not particularly surprised at the age range of the show.

Jen
09-21-2007, 01:53 PM
I wouldn't have said that most of the women were gorgeous, most of them were okay looking, pretty average really. Like people were saying in another thread while this is a reality show it is being produced so that it is entertainment. In that respect who are you going to pick, a pretty young fat woman or an older not so pretty fat woman? I have to agree with what others have said though that they probably don't get quite as many over 40's women applying because of family and jobs. I couldn't just up and leave my husband and son and my job for 4 or 5 months not even for this. Also the people that are chosen generally have no other health problems and have to be able to be in front of the camera. I had to video my husband once for a presentation and he was a blithering fool. Can you imagine having to talk in front of a big camera crew knowing that it was going to be shown nationally? The producers are going to pick the people who look and talk well in front of the camera and have no health/emotional problems and this is what they end up with.

MariaMaria
09-21-2007, 02:09 PM
They chose some gnarly looking men and the show seemed to do okay.

Before the current season none of the women was over 31. Seriously. Really. There was NOT ONE woman over 40 who applied who was pretty enough and healthy enough and could bear to bring herself away from the young children that some of you seem to assume all 40-ish women have? Not ONE?

Look around you at who's on 3FC. Lots of women over 30, lots of women over 40. All fat, past or present. Most healthy. Many without young children. Maybe we're just all too fugly but that's not the photos I've seen.

Jen
09-21-2007, 02:17 PM
Well I can't speak for anyone else but unless the show is paying me to be at the ranch there is no way I could financially swing being away from my job for that length of time. You have to go into it hoping that you'll make it to the end and so have to be prepared to be away for 4 -5 months. We'd go bankrupt. Considering the fact that the economy doesn't sound like it is in great shape maybe there are a lot of older women who can't afford it. I'm not denying that the show is probably looking for prettier younger women, it is a fact of television life, reality show or not.

chick_in_the_hat
09-21-2007, 09:52 PM
I was thinking about this thread last night when a commercial for the Biggest Loser Workout came on....the spokesperson was a 54 yo woman. She was normal looking, in good shape...apparently the after picture. But she did have wrinkles...I was a little surprised. Has anyone else seen this commercial?

mariposita
09-21-2007, 11:17 PM
My take:

What to television networks need to do?
Make money.

How do they make money?
By selling advertising.

How do they sell advertising?
By producing shows that get high ratings.

How do networks get high ratings?
By producing shows that people will watch, and watch consistently.

What do people seem to like to watch the most?
Fantasies that may incidentally inform or move them. Even in reality shows, people don't like to watch things that are too real. People want some angst and some conflict, too, so things don't get too boring.

What's the appeal of the Biggest Loser?
I think BL is essentially an ugly duckling story. The transformation of the participants into more beautiful people is the main focus, with personal achievement and health as secondary factors. The fact that the people chosen to represent this transformation look a certain way, IMO, merely reflects cultural norms about female/male beauty. I think this is the reason why in a show like La Fea más Bella slaps a pair of glasses on an attractive actor and makes her the designated ugly chick, as kaplods said. That way we dense viewers can figure out she's the ugly one, without actually having to look at an ugly broad.

MadamePJ
09-22-2007, 01:05 PM
^ I agree with you Mariposita ... at the end of the day ... It is network TV ... and BL is a large marketing venue with apparent product placement (The BL Program, Books, Online Tools, Videos) ... Average doesn't sell to the general public ... beauty does ... As far as age ... could it also be that they are focusing appeal widely to their common audience ages when selecting? I would say that it is discrimination ... but to them it's busines ...

Idealmuse
09-24-2007, 03:33 PM
I think they do cast with certain things in mind and being cute after weight loss probably is one of them... but we're talking about TV here this doesn't make biggest loser any different then most TV shows.

Also, they have to cater to there demographics which is probably on the younger side to middle age side.

Also they are casting VERY much for personalities. If they don't find the right one they aren't going to cast someone just to fit the bill.

It did annoy me when they used to pick only lighter girls, but they seems to have changed that up and had a very much older male this season, so I think they are headed in the right direction.

Also I don't think some of the girls were all that pretty. One I won't call out by name tuned out to be a lot prettier then I thought she would be when she was overweight.