Kids On the Biggest Loser? Hell No.

Jillian MichaelsGolda Poretsky wrote an amazing post about something truly terrible that’s happening on The Biggest Loser.  This season they are planning to bring kids on the show to be “mentored.”  Apparently they won’t be eligible to win money.  They also won’t participate in weight ins.

That will probably be of little comfort when they are put on a show that former contestants have described as a “dehumanization process…where they start teaching you that because you are overweight you are sub-human.” And where trainers get in your face and yell charmingly motivational things like “I’M BORED WITH YOUR PATHETIC STORY!”  Where trainers insist that contestants ignore the advice of dieticians and doctors so that they can make their bodies as small as possible as fast as possible in order to win money.  Explain to me again what kind of mentoring we’re providing to these kids?

Golda has started a twitter campaign #stopbiggestloser, and she encouraged people to do other things such as start petitions.  Jeanette DePatie suggested that we start a petition as the co-founders of the Fit Fatties Forum and so we did.

You can sign it here and please feel free to pass it on.

Somebody has to stand up for these kids – I can’t imagine the damage that will be done, not just to the three on the show, but to all the other kids who are encouraged to become involved in unhealthy behaviors to become thin by any means necessary.  A rapid weight loss reality show is no place for children.  It’s time to take a stand – please consider signing the petition and passing it on.

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19 thoughts on “Kids On the Biggest Loser? Hell No.

  1. This makes me sick. That picture makes me sick. I would smack that woman’s face for getting in mine. More Thin Privilege shoved down our throats!

  2. This is Bullying in its worst!!! Stop bullying we keep telling the kids but we are doing this bullying to them!! REALLY!

  3. I don’t know if you’ve seen the promos on TV, but they just make me sick. You can tell that “motivational” was the tone they were going for. “Stand up and take pride” seems to be the theme. It would piss me off enough even if it were just adults, but they show the kids in the promos, too. It’s awful.

  4. I am glad that I don’t have or watch TV. Wish they would actually teach folks to stand up and take pride by loving themselves.

  5. I saw this on somebody’s Facebook page yesterday and posted a comment similar to the one I am going to post here. You know, Ragen, I think I am learning something from you. I posted on Facebook yesterday that I was sick and tired of people making assumptions about these kids based on their size (one women questioned the original poster, “but what if these kids grow up to be obese adults?”). We know nothing about these kids other than that they are larger than society deems acceptable. We don’t know that they don’t exercise. We don’t know that they aren’t healthy. I said: “so what if they do become obese adults?” I am realizing prejudice more as I am getting older and letting my hair turn gray naturally. People make assumptions about me based on the fact that my hair is gray (aside from the fact that I don’t have a wrinkle on my face). We need to stop judging people on how they look. Plain and simple.

  6. Signed and posted on FB, though I’m sure that either my friends will ignore or, perhaps, start a discussion on how dieting and extreme exercise are great for people. Should be interesting if that happens.

      1. So far, the discussion on my FB posting of it has been in agreement with the petition. Seems my friends don’t like the bullying tactics of that show, either.

  7. I’m really disgusted all around by the trend in “reality television,” and this is a long-jump into the abyss. My suggestion is, don’t just sign the petition. Refuse to watch any of these “reality” shows that parade humiliation and degradation under the guise of entertainment and “self-improvement.” The only reason to make these shows is that people are voyeuristic enough to watch them, and frankly, just because they’re in their living room watching on an electronic screen, instead of crouching in the bushes and peeking through a window, doesn’t make it any less creepy or perverse.

    Don’t watch it. If friends, family, co-workers, etc. watch and try to discuss it with you, tell them you refuse to take part in that kind of peeping tom “entertainment,” and that you don’t even want to hear about it. We should be just as disgusted with these shows as we would be with a hidden camera stuck over the toilet in a public bathroom. It’s vulgar and we shouldn’t be afraid to say so.

    1. I’ve signed the petition and shared it on my Facebook Timeline.

      My wife and I were out riding our recumbent trikes a few weeks ago, getting ready for El Tour de Tucson, when we made a pit stop at a local park. There was one of the “Boot Camp” style fitness groups working out there, and the instructor yelling at the participants. Sorry, but I went through USAF Boot Camp once, and that was enough. You want to yell and scream at me, and expect me to pay for it? Not a chance. They might want to rationalize that I’m “weak” and “can’t handle it,” but I already handled it once, and realized that I’m strong enough that I don’t need their crap.

      It would be far better to teach young people this same thing. If they want to be in better shape and healthier, they can do so with positive encouragment, rather than boisterous harrassment.

      1. I hate the bad name given to boot camps. I did a boot camp program (for adults) nearly 20 years ago and it was freakin’ awesome. There was very little discussion about weight and it focused on teaching us good exercise habits, how to exercise safely, how to increase our workout so we can reach our goals. Also, the goals were individually set, so each person felt like their goals were reachable. Yes we were challenged, but never yelled at and never degraded, clearly I didn’t have the typical boot camp experience.

    2. “We should be just as disgusted with these shows as we would be with a hidden camera stuck over the toilet in a public bathroom. It’s vulgar and we shouldn’t be afraid to say so.”


  8. I agree with all the posters above. This Gillian… honestly, I wouldn’t let her near me – she is the most negative person and she is doing terrible harm all while proclaiming her good intention – paving that road to hell. Now she wants to have at children??? People encourage what she does – that says a great deal about the real attitude toward bullying.
    I am certainly disgusted by the reality TV trend. The shows are horrid and encourage behavior that is meant to harm. I watch almost no TV – there is very little worthwhile and Biggest Loser is the bottom of the barrel. But there is something else – the adults who go on this show know what they are in for, they take her crap, they allow themselves to be treated in this manner – for money, to be “thin” for a short time. Wake up, folks!!! If you really think you need to work at making yourself healthy, there are so many better ways. That being said, they are the boss of their panties, ; ) so whatever. I would love to see one of them stand up to her abuse and cruelty – give it right back to her.
    I will be signing the petition. Children need protection from someone I think is a psycho, encouraged by mobs of people who are titillated by the abuse of others. Will the petition do any good – I don’t think so. People want to watch this, they want to see others beaten down

    1. People encourage what she does – that says a great deal about the real attitude toward bullying.

      I just want to emphasize this. If The Biggest Loser were a show that was widely — in society as a whole — regarded as hurtful and destructive, it would be bad enough. But it has a huge following of people who find it motivational and inspiring. (Like, seriously. I wrote a post on it for my own tiny blog a couple of days ago, a blog that usually doesn’t get more than 1-2 comments per post, if that. I’ve had upward of 2 dozen communications, in comment and email, either expressing vehement disagreement with my take that the show is bullying and verbally abusive, or outright threatening me because I’m advocating not expanding the show to include teens.) The Biggest Loser carries an extra degree of danger and harm because so many people perceive it as the correct way to treat fat people.

      1. I am happy to say that I have talked my boss off of this show we are talking about. She has her own food and exercise issues and has found the show motivational. But she is also extremely kind and now sees it my way. I think she has also talked her son off of the show. He’s in college, was heavy throughout school, not so much anymore and is studying to be a Nutritionist. We desperately need more male ones so I try to throw nuggets to my boss who shares with her son.

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