Recently we in the plus-sized community have getting all warm and fuzzy about fashion magazines including plus-sized models. Including, believe it or not, Karl Lagerfeld photographing burlesque star Dirty Martini.
Now comes the news that Oxygen is replacing the host of their successful show Dance Your Ass Off, Tony winner Marissa Jaret Winokur, with a skinny host.
Marissa Jaret Winokur
Photograph courtesy of ABC
The show features male and female contestants perfecting their dance moves as they also try to lose weight. The goal is not to become thin per se, but to become graceful in their bodies. And to bring them out from under the cloud of shame many large people feel about themselves and to enjoy performing before an audience.
As Winokur herself did on Dancing With The Stars.
Photographycourtesy of ABC
Yes, one of the few shows about overweight people that didn't pander to the audience has decided that former Spice Girl Melanie Brown is "a better fit" and "more relatable" to the show's audience.
What? Have we again descended into that parallel universe that is the media? Of course we have. When she was about to host the program, Winokur said in an interview with TV Guide:
“[Those other shows] are more like boot camps. This isn’t like boot camp. This is people finding their sexuality and embracing life in a different way. They’re finding their femininity or masculinity,” said Winokur. “They dance to the scale — that’s how it’s different than Biggest Loser. It’s not a walk of shame to the scale.”
With Melanie Brown as the host, the fundamental balance of the show changes. Instead of a woman who is large and comfortable with her size, they will have a host who represents everything they are supposed to be in traditional show business. Rather than who they are.
How will the contestants feel, being publicly weighed by this woman, whose very presence is a slap in the face to plus-sized people everywhere?
Photograph courtesy of The Sun
In fact, the above photograph was used for promotion in 2008 for Melanie Brown's fitness video, Totally Fit, which also came with a 23-day "slim plan".
Dance Your Ass Off was a ratings success for Oxygen last season. Let's only hope it goes to the basement, along with Brown's last reality show, The Singing Office.
Remember that? No, of course you don't.
Shame on Oxygen, shame on the production company, and particularly, shame on Lisa Ann Walter, one of the executive producers, who frequently mentioned her own struggles with weight on the air.
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog