Written by Catherine Dawson
More To Love is Fox’s new dating reality show and it premiered last week. The show follows 300-pound-plus bachelor Luke Conley as he searches for a “real woman” to fall in love with. It appears that Fox has classified a “real woman” as the moderately-big-but-still-beautiful type.
Like the website boasts, the show follows a “group of real women determined to prove that love comes in all shapes and sizes.” This is true; love does come in all shapes and sizes. But because Luke is also bigger-than-average, doesn’t that just reinforce the conventional view of romantic relationships, that skinny people date skinny people, fat people date fat people and that is the way it will always be? For a reality dating show that is attempting to break the mould, More to Love is just bolstering the usual ideas of body image and relationships.
Not surprisingly, More to Love comes from the same people who created The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, the skinny equivalents. Clearly, Fox is separating the “other body” from the “normal body” by giving big people novelty reality shows. This just contradicts the show’s entire premise. The message in the end is that big people are not real, and they shouldn’t be accepted into the regular franchise of beautiful people. (By the way, this show’s working title was The Fatchelor.)
Heather Havrilesky of Salon.com suggests that More to Love “aims to open our eyes to a glorious alternate reality where everyone focuses on ‘what’s on the inside,’ but instead of actually learning what these women are like on the inside, all we hear about is their outsides—how they feel about their weight, how many disappointments can be linked to their weight, how they’re wearing Spanx right now.” While the show claims that it’s about women who are confident and beautiful in their own skin, the majority of the scenes show these women’s vulnerability and misery that have arisen as a result of their weight. These women are presented as having issues that don’t go beyond body image. Have fat people become a commodity, just a group of people to be mocked and laughed at?
If you want to hear some good news about this show, Dodai at Jezebel talks about some of the pros. One: there is a diversity of body types in mainstream television. Two: these women put the “real” in reality because they’re “more genuine” and “sincere.” And that’s it. The list of cons far outweighed the pros.
Yes, women have issues with their bodies and appearance. Many women have problems dating and finding a partner whether they are skinny or big. Why is this? The media. It has to stop perpetuating this idea that there is one right kind of woman. Women do come in all shapes and sizes. They also come with different experiences, personalities, struggles and strengths. It’s not right to typecast bigger women as being emotionally unstable and unlovable.
How do you think this show could be improved? Would it be any different if the bachelor were of a different body type? Or if the women vying for his love had a variety of body types?