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Exploiting Fat Kids -or- Style Network is Despicable.

In the wake of my hopeful optimism about Huge comes a link in my e-mail that counters all of that joy.

But it wasn't some let down about Huge. Instead, it was a link to the site for the new show on the Style Network called Too Fat for Fifteen: Fighting Back, a reality show about teenagers trying to lose weight at a fat camp called Wellspring Academy (a giant, international weight loss school chain, apparently). The video posted in the blog doesn't seem to be working, but I can imagine how it's going to go based on the tagline, "Being fifteen is hard enough. It shouldn't be life and death," which is placed over the shoulder of a faceless fat girl viewed from the back. It's next to a picture put in for flare, good measure, or simplistic illustration, since there's no link or text attached, of fat kids' legs. Naturally, they have centered the darker-skinned kid who is seemingly bustin out his/her crapily made shoes. Y'all didn't know it was a shoe-bustin epidemic, did you? Fear, my friends, the busting of the shoes. Too fat for footwear????  Or maybe it's supposed to illustrate the unbearable, ankle-busting weight of obesity.  Anyway, we get the point.

The website resources include a "Teen BMI Calculator," an article entitled "Effects of Childhood Obesity," and another called, "Think YOU are ready to get fit?" The show debuts August 9th.

From a minor Google search, this seems to be based on a New Zealand documentary about a fat girl at a similar Wellspring Academy.

I am pretty sure I remember a few people being confused and thinking Huge was a reality show; and I was relieved to think/say, "No, no, no it's not that"--in the back of my mind thinking, "Who would do that?!?" Style network, my friends, and Wellspring Academy, would exploit kids in such a know, for fun and profit!

Just what we need, a Biggest Loser for kids. My optimism for this week is officially blown.

PS--What are they "fighting back"? Love how they make it sound empowering.

Go see this! | Fat News Roundup

rebelle July 16th, 2010 | Link | Newsweek did a puff piece on

Newsweek did a puff piece on Wellspring Academy some months back. I wrote a letter criticizing the piece for just accepting Wellspring's self-reported success rate (even though NW noted it WAS self-reported!), and for just assuming that a kid in the program who didn't lose weight despite how he performed there "must" have been sneaking candy during a holiday break. Ugh.

Naturally, NW didn't print the letter. I'm not sure if they print letters from honest-to-goodness readers at all anymore. I dropped my subscription after they doubled the rates, because it seemed I was being asked to further subsidize the freeloaders who read the online versions without paying. They had also canceled the "My Turn" feature contributions from we mere commoners, and began giving that column space to people with the money, resources and fame to command their own forums for expression already.

I don't miss Newsweek, and I don't entertain warm feelings for Wellspring's exploitative, blame-the-fatty marketing strategy.

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