Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Supersize Vs. Superskinny - Analysis

1. How Are The People Represented In The Clips?

The two brides on the show both serve as a sort of freak show for the audience. The opening shots are full body shots of both women in cheap flesh coloured underwear with extreme bright lighting. All of these factors combine to make the women look utterly unappealing, emphasising their pale skin and disproportional bodies. The show has an unusual way of drawing the audiences attention, presenting them with unattractive imagery that captivates the mind simply because it is something unusual that the average person can gawk at.

2. What Do You Think Is The Appeal Of Lifestyle Programming Such As These?

A show such as Supersize Vs. Superskinny seems to rely on two motivating factors for viewership; escapism and educational benefits. First and foremost the show emphasizes the unattractive aspects of the two brides and allows the audience to poke fun at them and be thankful that they themselves don't have a weight problem or if they do have a weight problem they can watch the show and feel better about themselves to know that other people share their burden. Less important in attracting an audience are Jillian McKeith and Anna Richardson, the two diet experts who give advice on how to maintain a healthy body. People may watch the show to pick up tips from Richardson and McKeith and in that sense the show has an educational aspect. However these segments are clearly seen as an accompaniment to the main act of the two subjects who are trying to gain/lose weight. The show seems to exist primarily as a source of entertainment rather than a serious forum for discussion on health. The "freak show" aspect of the show is greatly emphasised by the opening sequence which gives much longer screen time to the two people struggling with their weight.

3. Do You Believe That Lifestyle Programming Creates And Fuels Negative Ideologies?

I believe that most lifestyle programming does create and fuel negative ideologies. Supersize Vs. Superskinny is definitely not the only show of its kind. Embarrassing Bodies and Snog, Marry, Avoid also profit off of taking people who are not considered attractive by most of society and exploiting their characteristics and traits to serve as something for the public to point and laugh at. These shows conduct their societal cleansing by thinly disguising their shows as educational when clearly all the focus is not on trying to improve one's own  image but rather poking fun at anyone who doesn't conform to conventional ideas of what it is acceptble to look like. On Snog, Marry, Avoid for example, most of the subjects on the show don't have a weight problem or have a poor grasp of fashion, they are simply followers of "alternative" fashions such as the "Goth/Scene" look or any number of Asian fashion trends. These people attempt to embrace different cultures or try to bring in new clothes or hairstyles to prevent the fashion world from stagnating and instead they are shunned for being too far out on the lunatic fringe when in fact fashion is all about finding one's own signature style and being proud of it rather than making everybody conform to similar ideas of what is considered beautiful.

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