True Life?

While checking my email a few days ago, I stumbled across this one from Helena.


My name is Helena and just came across your awesome blog…
The reason I’m writing you is because I am currently casting an episode of True Life “I’m in a Mixed Weight Relationship”… I was wondering if perhaps you, or anyone you know that’s in a “mixed weight” relationship would possibly be interested in being on the show.
Hope this email finds you well. Please let me know if you have any questions. 
Hope to hear from you soon, 
p.s. if you cant think of anyone off hand, would it be possible to post something about the casting on your blog?
thanks again!”
Now, I’ve had some interesting offers via my blog, because my How To Date A Fat Girl post has always had a fair amount of traction over the months. But this one took the cake. Me? On True Life? I’ll admit that for a moment the prospect sounded pretty awesome–it’s not every day you get asked to be on MTV, even if MTV isn’t what it used to be. For those who aren’t familiar with True Life, it’s a show put out by MTV, where they center on a certain topic each episode (for example, people in wheelchairs or on steroids) and follow around two or three people who fit the topic of the episode to see what their lives are really like. I’ve seen some really good episodes of True Life–a couple have even made me cry. But then I remembered–hello, reality tv? Nothing you see is actually reality. I’d be edited within an inch of my life, made to seem like I hated myself and that my boyfriend was the only good thing in my life, my boyfriend would be made to sound like he’s only dating me because no one better has come along, the friends MTV would interview would be edited to sound like they don’t approve–I mean, I know how this works.
Not to mention, my boyfriend would never, EVER be caught dead on a show like that.
So, I took a few days to think out what I really wanted to say upon replying, and I think I like what I came up with.
I find myself confused. A ‘mixed weight relationship’? Surely all relationships are mixed weight. A better topic for a True Life episode would surely be ‘I Only Date People Who Are The Same Exact Weight As Me.’ Now THAT’S something I’ve never heard of before.
Is the insinuation here that it’s somehow strange or abnormal for an average sized man to date a fat woman? If so, I’d like to ask why, when it’s perfectly acceptable for a fat man to date a thin woman. I mean, haven’t you ever seen The Honeymooners, or Family Guy? How about The Sopranos or The Flinstones? The King of Queens? Fresh Prince of Bel Air? Every single one of these shows features a fat husband with a conventionally attractive wife. Now, would you be able to name me a show in which there’s a dumpy plus size woman married to man who could pass for a male model? Think about that for a while, and while you’re doing that, maybe think about how a show about the misogyny in mainstream media or the objectification of fat people would be a much more hard hitting topic.
True Life has had some very hard-hitting episodes in the past. From the tribulations of meth addicts and alcoholics to people dealing with Tourette’s or coming out to their families, True Life has had the opportunity to deal with life-altering events in an informative and realistic way. And I’ll confess: I just don’t see how the show you’re casting for does anything but further alienate people who are treated differently based on their weight.
Now if you really read my blog and loved it as much as you say you do, you’d realize that I am, above all else, an intersectional, body positive activist. If ever you wanted to do an episode on body positivity, or on the intersectionalities of being fat while non-white, disabled, or queer, or even on the way fat people are routinely told to kill themselves and otherwise bullied and fetishized on the internet, I would definitely participate in that, and could offer many suggestions of other people I know who would as well. But for this particular show, I fear you’ve asked the wrong person.
I wish you the best of luck in your search,
I think I got my point across–and hey, she did ask me to mention the show on my blog, so maybe it’s a win for both of us!
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