From Not to Hot…seriously?

So, there is a new show coming out on WEtv called “Mama June: From Not to Hot”. Full disclosure I have not seen this show as it hasn’t been released yet and I probably won’t see it because it seems to be glorifying everything that I am against. I’ve been wanting to write this blog post since I saw the very first commercial, it irked me that bad.

Background in case you don’t know: Mama June is the mother of Honey Boo-Boo, a little girl who used to perform in pageants and had her own reality show. Mama June now has her own reality show based solely on the transformation of her body and the new life she plans to have due to it.

From Not to Hot…what the f***?!?! Thank you producers of this show for reinforcing the societal ideal that women’s bodies not fitting an unrealistic portrayal of beauty is a “not”, nothing, unimportant, but thin bodies with big boobs, apparently that’s hot. That’s just a whole bunch of crap. What does this message say to the millions of girls and women out there living in their average sized bodies? Are they “not’s” too? Should they undergo life-threatening surgery in order to be “hot”.

And what did Mama June have to do to her body to undergo this “not” to “hot” transformation? Well, according to the commercial: weight loss surgery, liquid diets, tummy tucks, strength training, breast implants, high intensity training, physical therapy, laser teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, and a makeover. If you want to see the commercial watch it here.

Look, here is the problem with this type of show: it is just another way to pound into societies heads that women in larger bodies are somehow unworthy and should not only want to change the way they look, but they should go through extreme and life-threatening measures to do so. It reinforces that beauty only looks one way, but the construct of beauty is not so confined. Beauty does in fact exist in all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, orientations. ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

Unrealistic beauty ideals lead millions of women every year into dieting, even though the statistics behind dieting show that there is no diet out there proven effective in keeping off the weight after 5 years AND most dieters end up gaining back more weight from where they started. The pressure to be thin leads millions into weight loss surgery, which can result in death or lifelong complications. The cultural idea that “thin = good” and “fat = bad” attributes to the high incidence of eating disorders. Did you know (statistics obtained from NEDA):

  • 24 million people in the United States have an eating disorder
  • 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner (Collins, 1991)
  • 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat
  • 35-57% of adolescent girls engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills, or laxatives. Overweight girls are more likely than normal weight girls to engage in such extreme dieting (Boutelle, Neumark-Sztainer, Story, &Resnick, 2002; Neumark-Sztainer&Hannan, 2001; Wertheim et al., 2009).
  • Of American elementary school girls who read magazines, 69% say that the pictures influence their concept of the ideal body shape. 47% say the pictures make them want to lose weight (Martin, 2010)

If Mama June wants to change her body using the extreme measures that she did, that’s her business and I have no opinion about that. I do object to the implication that she was nothing before and is somehow now more significant because of the new body she lives in. My heart breaks for the women out there living in larger bodies who may feel shamed by this tv show, the daughters who may look at their mothers’ body and compare it to WEtv’s “not” version.

I think Mama June was worthy and significant and valued before her transformation. I think we all are.

If you struggle in you relationship with your body and your self-worth and you live in the Vancouver, WA or Portland, OR areas, I’d like to help. Click on the button below to schedule a consultation with me or call at 360-284-7008.

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Tamara Duarte

Tamara Duarte is a counselor, author, speaker, and activist. Her private practice, Get Centered Counseling in Vancouver WA, helps women with food and body issues learn to love themselves, their body, their life, and their relationships. Her life’s work is steeped in personal experience, having fifteen years in recovery for anorexia, in addition to being a breast cancer survivor. An up and coming force in the counseling community, Tamara has been published in a textbook called Treatment Strategies for Substance and Process Addictions, and has sat on a panel at the American Counseling Association Conference, where she spoke to her peers on strategies and tools to use with clients struggling with eating disorders. Having a deep, personal understanding of what it takes to recover from this condition, she seeks to be an example to those she treats, to let them know that recovery is possible. Currently developing a podcast which addresses the cultural issues that promote body shame, self-esteem issues and eating disorders, Tamara lives in Vancouver, Washington, with her husband and best friend, Adam, enjoying life to the fullest with their two beautiful children, Jacob and Chloe.