Is anyone else sick of dating shows only catering to very thin people?
Thick women don’t do numbers, you say?
by Ari Bines
Since the invention of On Demand, I’ve been stuck at the bottom of a reality TV rabbit hole — dating shows in particular because it’s nice see I’m not the only one in the world who can’t get the hang of this romance thing.
But as more seasons of The Bachelor(ette), Love Island, Are You The One? and The Real World fly by, my frustrations mount. It’s so apparent that no one larger than a size 8 will ever be cast on a dating show. In other words, someone like me could never make it past the open casting call.
Dating shows put shallow men and women in the spotlight
So, I know it’s television. I know there’s limited time to “get to know someone” when surrounded by 15 camera-wielding producers. But there’s a fine line between that initial “immediate attraction” bullshit Bachelor contestants are always harping about and complete shallowness. Chalk it up to editing all you want, but cast members are selected (both in casting and throughout elimination rounds) almost solely on looks.
If you haven’t been cognizant of this phenomenon that’s been staring you in the face for years, let me paint a picture for you: Guys cast on XYZ reality show taking place in a big beach house probably (definitely) has washboard abs. The camera crew will even use the guys’ workout session as b-roll while drama in the house is slow. Now for the ladies on this imaginary reality show, they’re all typically short, dainty, high-pitched model-types. With their dreams of hawking flat tummy tea on Insta stalled, they instead shoot for reality dating shows where they can rock tight booty shorts paired with either a bra or crop top.
Sometimes, they’ll be bold enough to walk around the house with nothing but a bikini on (or just wear nothing) because they know they’ll be surrounded by cameras and hot guys 24/7. Oh, and you can also be sure they’re going to wear a full face of makeup poolside. Is anything wrong with this inherently? No! But is it really sad to see only the conventionally gorgeous have their “shot at love”? Yeah.
Fat people fall in love, too
Despite how fake and manipulative some reality shows are, it’s still an opportunity for regular everyday people to find connections as there were quite a few dating show couples members who have stayed strong once the cameras went off.
Guys who prefer a thick BBWs exist because I’ve dated them. Unfortunately, finding them isn’t the easiest because there’s a stigma around straight-sized dudes liking bigger women. And you know what it’s partially perpetuated by? Yeah, dating shows. Let me put it like this: there’s been 22 seasons of the Bachelor, with 30 contestants on each season. You’re telling me that 600 hundred women have made it to television looking for love, but not a single plus-sized girl was deemed worthy enough to grace our screens? What does that say to Americans watching about who their dating pool should be?
I don’t know about you, but it’d be nice to know there are real dating shows for real everyday people who consistently struggle to find a decent partner. Which is pretty much all of us, no?
And casting directors know exactly what they’re doing
Networks like ABC and MTV strategically select the most influential people online to take part in their dating charade, but it seems like bigger people (or anyone with even a hint of arm fat) are nowhere to be found regardless of facial beauty, social influence, or (shudder) personality.
If you ever wanted to appear on Are You The One?, the production company Lighthearted Entertainment asks that you “must be single, have a big personality and be genuinely looking to make a connection.”
Although that sounds easy enough and not a lot to ask, the application requires you to drop your (public) Instagram handle. Not Facebook, not Twitter, but Instagram specifically. Hmm.
Maybe I’m crazy, but using the most superficial social platform to cast a dating show is enough to sell me on the idea that personality will be taking a backseat to looks, follower count and engagement.
Big networks have their research and findings about what would do well and what would get views, but if companies are going to put on this act that they’re trying to “help people find love”, can they make sure they’re including people with bodies that aren’t restricted to sizes XXS-M? In other words, people representative of most of the country.
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