Thursday, February 7, 2008

One of those wacky "glimmer of hope" things.

I'm not much of a TV watcher anymore, I must admit.

Yeah, I know, that admission doesn't quite warm your loins considering I'm claiming to know a whole bunch about pop culture. But you see, with the enormous amount of entertainment-related media floating around, even if you've never seen an episode of "America's Top Model", you almost can't help but know who's who and what's what. I subscribe to Entertainment Weekly and Vanity Fair (looooove the Hollywood Issue--well, except that Tom Ford one. UGH, so crap), and I snarf around the Yahoo Entertainment News feed several times a day. If there's something people are really buzzing about (a particular episode of "Lost", for example), I'll wander over to Television Without Pity and read some recaps. I'll even read recaps of shows I've never seen. Hell, seems to me that the recaps are more entertaining than the shows themselves half the time.

In general, the shit in the Bachelorette Lair (that is, my bedroom in my parents' house--YES, I LIVE WITH MY PARENTS AND I'M 36) stops for two shows: "Mythbusters" and "Dirty Jobs". I whooped it up something fierce with the Eukanuba Dog Show on Animal Planet last weekend. And purely by accident, I wandered across "How To Look Good Naked" with former "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" host Carson Kressley.

(Now, let's note for future reference - I'm the kind of person who tends to wander onto things looooong after others have gotten hip to them. I'm someone who, five years down the road, will say something like, "Gosh! Have you heard about that 'Heroes' show playing on the Tee and Vee?? Ain't it something??" So, I'm well aware that "HTLGN" has been on for, like, 18 years already.)

As a rule, Lifetime TV and I do not mix. I'm easily irked by things like "Television for Women", "Radio For Men", that sort of nonsense labeling. My interests are varied and not locked into my having a vadge, and I would hope men would have the same experience. Initially, when I first heard about the show, I immediately figured it would be yet another makeover show featuring diet tips and hiding "flaws" until by gum, dieting and exercise magically removed those "flaws" (like, you know, having parts that jiggle), especially considering the network it's on. After the first episode aired, I saw talk of it across the Fatosphere and how it wasn't the nightmare everyone was expecting. Then, of course, it flew right out of my mind because I get distracty like that.

Friday night, I was heading off to sleep and decided to put on the tube to hopefully induce some snoozage and I happened upon the show. Let me tell you, I was riveted for the full hour (two episodes). I was astounded to see a reality show that didn't specialize in brutalizing its subjects. I was jaw-droppingly stunned to see women with rolls and bulges and boobs trotting around on for-real TV. I'm generally a tough cry, but by the end of the hour, I'd squeezed out some fairly serious tears. Before digging into this post, I sampled some more episodes and overall, I felt that my initial reaction of being pretty pleased with what "HTLGN" was throwing down was a valid one. Of course, I have quibbles here and there--for example, that the only valid beauty is a stereotypically feminine one, i.e. getting all made up and etcetera. I'm not hip to the "this is what real women look like!!!" thing, either. Thin women are still women and they're just as real as me. I'm also curious as to whether a woman of my size and build would ever be allowed on the show. However, I think the positives outweigh the negatives. It made me really, really happy watching women looking at themselves in the mirror and BEAMING at what they saw. Carson clearly loves what he's doing. He's a one-man fiesta of joymaking, and it's infectious.

It's such a relief to watch a reality show that is focused not on massive makeovers involving thousands of dollars of plastic surgery or encouraging crash dieting and obsessive working out (hi "Biggest Loser", I'm looking at you, you festival of horror) but instead on simply helping women dig on themselves. The show isn't demanding you buy someone's book or ruling that you can only dig yourself after you've hit certain benchmarks (*cough*OPRAH*cough), it's simply saying "be in crazy, nutty love with yourself and you will be amazed at the results". In my way of thinking, in this day and age, it's damn close to revolutionary.

Body acceptance and self-love isn't something that's limited only to fat people, which I think is sometimes missed by those outside of fat acceptance. Self-Hate-Fests aren't strictly for the fat--otherwise, statistics like "four out of five women hate their bodies" wouldn't exist. It's beyond important that we love ourselves in all our glories, be we fat, thin, in between, short, tall, whatever; and that we then pass that love onto the kids we know or parent as well as the people we love who aren't ready to get down with themselves for any number of reasons. I'm not saying you should run around and shriek "LOVE YOURSEEEEEEELF!!!!!!!" every 20 seconds into the faces of those who haven't started down the Righteous Road of Digging Oneself, because that'd be annoying as shit. Instead, I say sneak-attack them with compliments (be mindful not to go crazy-ass with that, either--also falls into the "annoying as shit" category if done without precision and care) and challenge them when they insist they're worthless for any number of reasons. You might find that on a day when your own affection for yourself is in the crapper, going nutty with the love for someone else is just the thing you need to keep you rocking on...clothed or otherwise.

*sassy wink*
*fade to credits*

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