I cringed when I saw the promos of the new Fox (where else) show More To Love. Following the usual Bachelor format, large women compete for the attention of a self-admitted Fat Admirer. I couldn't bear to watch, but fortunately another Fat Acceptance Activist did and published a review: Really Big Love, by Marianne Kirby.
More to Love, at least so far, doesn’t show big women in the pursuit of being small—a definite step forward.
But the show also falls into the same old fatty-hating, fatty-baiting traps that belittle the Fat Acceptance movement. The women joke about Spanx, a girdle-like product that’s supposed to smooth you out and make you look slimmer. One girl, who jumped into the pool in a bid for attention, worries that she looks like a whale.
It’s a one-two punch of acceptance followed by a knockout blow of shame.
Luke manipulates a woman into kissing him by playing on her fear of being cut the first night, playing on her body insecurities. She kisses him again.
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.
But there is a glimmer of hope. More to Love shows us beautiful fat women, refusing to apologize for who they are. That alone is positive. And I’m trying to hold on to that.