I sometimes wonder about the efficacy of such reality television shows as 'The Biggest Loser' or 'More to Love'.
The former is post-scripted (briefly, to my dismay) with the notice "All participants have been supervised and monitored by medical professionals during their participation. Consult your doctor before embarking on a weight-loss regimen." The latter seemed to suggest alternately that you should be comfortable and confident with the person you are, but also that it's ridiculously difficult to do that when confronted with all sorts of media representations that lie beyond your control (not to mention that the intended "prize" of the show was the love of a man who was already self-confident enough, suggesting that women should be more concerned with self-image than men should).
Tonight on 'The Biggest Loser,' I realized a particular facet of the show that makes me decidedly uncomfortable. During the elimination round, practically everyone was crying. I understand the emotional bond that forms between people when they are thrust together for an extended period of time (further speculations on this subject as applicable to my studies abroad are in line). What struck me, though, is that during this weight loss program, the body is suffering all sorts of physical, hormonal, neurological, and psychological trauma.
Of course these people are going to be emotional! The body does strange and unexpected things during extreme weight loss.
My concern now has shifted from the dangerous D.I.Y. implications of "weighty issue" shows, and have come to rest on the social, psychological, and emotional exploitation of people who, on account of side-effects, literally can't control themselves.