Viewing The Biggest Loser : modes of reception and reflexivity among obese people

Holland, Kate, Blood, R. Warwick and Thomas, Samantha 2015, Viewing The Biggest Loser : modes of reception and reflexivity among obese people, Social semiotics, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 16-32, doi: 10.1080/10350330.2014.955980.

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Title Viewing The Biggest Loser : modes of reception and reflexivity among obese people
Author(s) Holland, Kate
Blood, R. Warwick
Thomas, SamanthaORCID iD for Thomas, Samantha
Journal name Social semiotics
Volume number 25
Issue number 1
Start page 16
End page 32
Total pages 17
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Place of publication Oxford, Eng.
Publication date 2015
ISSN 1035-0330
Keyword(s) The Biggest Loser
reality television
makeover television
media audiences
Summary This article builds on previous reception research and scholarship on makeover TV through an analysis of obese people's views of The Biggest Loser (TBL). TBL involves obese people competing to lose weight as personal trainers push them through dietary and physical activity regimes. We articulate four themes characterizing responses to TBL: “That's not reality,” “Public ownership and judgment of the fat body,” “The lure of the transformation,” and “A guilty pleasure.” We consider how these themes are reflected in participants' movement between mediated, discursive, transparent, and referential modes of reception. While some were adamant in their rejection of the program, others were ambivalent in accepting and identifying with the desire for weight loss but questioning TBL's aesthetic dimensions and moralizing undertones. We argue that the reflexivity of viewers complicates appraisals of TBL as governing at a distance and offer some alternative readings of the impact and appeal of the program.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/10350330.2014.955980
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, Taylor & Francis
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Health and Social Development
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