I’ve pretty much always been repulsed by dating shows. All of them. But when I was browsing through Hulu, one caught my eye, and I had to watch: More to Love.
This show was supposed to be different because it involved all fat women, and a fat guy. I use the word “fat” as a descriptive, not to be offensive at all. Luke, the man in question, brags about how fat he is (more than 300 pounds!) and how he loves the curvy, voluptuous women.
After the first few minutes of the show, I had a bad feeling.
Once again, we fall back on the typical fattie stereotypes: The vast majority of these ladies are the downtrodden girl with low self-esteem. Desperate. Whiny. Crying. Thinking that this is their ONE AND ONLY chance at love. Marianne Kirby writes about it on The Daily Beast:
More to Love is a confounding welter of self-confidence and self-loathing. I like these women, the interesting ones, and while Luke is a bit too much of a frat boy for my tastes, I applaud his lack of shame—he likes big women and he’s unapologetic about it. That shouldn’t deserve the acclaim it gets him, and it shouldn’t deserve the points it scores him with these women, who seem convinced this is their only chance to find love.
Ultimately, I think that’s what made me the most upset about More to Love—the show’s depressing portrait of these young women, already afraid they will die alone and unloved, unworthy of companionship. I’m not mad at them, though I want to send each and every one of them a copy of my book, a useful guide to getting over self-loathing. I am mad at every man and every woman who has taught them this kind of fear. I am mad at every jerk who wants these women to loathe themselves.
What bothers me even more is that despite the fact that this is a show about fatties, as a fatty myself, I do not feel represented in this show at all, visually, I suppose.
Yes, all of these ladies are “full-figured” but to an extent. A few of the contestants were quite thin, actually, and the majority of those featured are not only on the lower end of plus-sized, but also what I’d call “conventionally pretty.” Long, blonde locks. Makeup and heels.
The few contestants who defied these stereotypes were quickly booted, reinforcing the ever-present hegemony in today’s society. What’s more is that in every, single episode I’ve watched, the dates have revolved around eating.
PEOPLE: FAT PEOPLE DO MORE THAN JUST EAT.
PEOPLE: FAT PEOPLE DATE. They have relationships, they have sex, they do everything a thin person does. Why is this so hard to digest (no pun intended)?
This show makes me angry in so many ways, I can’t even say. Luke is a tool, these women are teary and unlikeable (there’s not one show so far that’s gone by without someone literally losing it because they are sooooo in love with Luke, and they think that this is their ONLY chance at love) and the antithesis of how I’d want to be represented.
I suppose I should say, better this than nothing, and I suppose that’s right. The show doesn’t focus on losing weight or dieting, like most other fat-centric shows do, which I appreciate, but it still reinforces the same stereotypes that shows like “Dance Your Ass Off” or “The Biggest Loser” do.
I was really hoping that this show would defy the odds. It just doesn’t. But I keep watching, because it’s like a trainwreck I can’t help but rubberneck.