Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | June 23, 2010

“Huge” on ABC Family

So have you heard about the new ABC Family show “Huge” premiering on Monday June 28th, 9 pm (check your local listings)????? There are many stories and interviews out there!

I certainly am conflicted. I have issues that this is one of the first cast of plus-size people and it focuses on a weight loss camp. Cliché?

I had someone tell me on twitter: “I like that the show seems to promote positive body image, but doesn’t seem to promote health.”

My response was “I think it will be interesting how they do it. Remember a lot of shows with thin people do NOT address health either.”

Her response: “While that is true, shows with thin people mostly aren’t promoting body image. I want the best of both worlds: Health & Body Image”

I have another person on my Facebook page say: “for me, it’s debatable… I mean, its weight loss camp, so the show is telling us to change and NOT change at the same time. it’s sending a confusing message.”

I have to agree. I worry that this show is based on a premise of pressure to lose weight. That certainly doesn’t mean that this is the direction the show will go. I find it really challenging to write this post BEFORE a show is out, simply based on press and interviews. It is an incredibly sensitive topic, and it will be really interesting to see how the show will show/represent:

1)     The parents who send their children to these camps

2)     The methods the camp utilizes (ie diet? Exercise? Balance? Intuitive eating? Psychotherapy? Nutritionist?)

3)     How they handle and create dialogues on health, body image, weight, weight loss, diets, eating disorders, fat stigma, etc.

Some things I am thinking about:

  • Brings Diversity to television
  • Could be positive for Body Image
  • Will bring conversations that are current, sensitive to handle/approach to television
  • I went to the Huge Facebook page and was amazed at the conflicting thoughts, some people felt heard, and represented, and others were saying some hateful comments and making assumptions that being fat was unhealthy, and that fat people are lazy. This is concerning and upsetting. I don’t know how the page is moderated, but as this show becomes more popular, will they try to fight myths and stereotypes of health/weight & stigma – and will they manage the page at all??
  • How they will approach and handle eating disorders: obviously as an eating disorder advocate I have concerns, the media already has a lot of myths/stereotypes with regards to them, and I have to fight hard to dispel them
  • What methods will they use at the camp?
  • Will this feed the concept in the media that weight and health are ALWAYS related???
  • Will this open the lines of communication in homes, between parents and children/teens?

I have a LOT of conflicting opinions, and concerns, and I am not sure how the show will approach these issues. In an interview with Nikki Blonsky, she states:  “In this show, we don’t just deal with, “Oh, let’s go jogging and swim 20 laps and lose 30 pounds.” It’s not about that. I mean, eventually as you watch the show, you’re going to forget it’s about a weight-loss camp. You’re just going to get so invested in the characters. We deal with everything from eating disorders to body issues to sexual orientation to everything that every teenager is going through right now.”

I find it hard to forget it’s about a weight loss camp…….So I am skeptical. I also have concerns with the poster they used for this show. If you look at it what do you think? Feel? She looks scared, insecure, and uncomfortable with herself. Maybe this is a good platform, maybe they will address confidence, and body image, and show her in the beginning unsure and grow as the character develops in the show and as topics are covered. A person on my Facebook page said: “I wish they chose a cover where she was smiling and not all trying to hide herself with an insecure, unsure look on her face. It was just the first thing I noticed. I’m looking forward to see what they will do with this show. I’m really hoping it’s positive and enlightening.”

So what do you think?? What are your concerns? What are you excited about seeing? Any thoughts?

Actionist Network® a community of professionals committed to creating a nation of confident women and girls.


  1. I wish they chose a cover where she was smiling and not all trying to hide herself with an insecure, unsure look on her face. It was just the first thing I noticed and I’m pretty bummed about it. And I’m going to venture to say that she’s definitely photoshopped.
    I’m looking forward to see what they will do with this show. I’m really hoping it’s positive and enlightening. I’m also conflicted on my preconceptions. I can see how we could possibly “forget it’s about a weight loss camp” but I’m skeptical it will come across the right way. ABCFamily’s Secret Life struggles with this right now. Being full of a staff of plus-sized people, I’m hoping the correct message gets across.

  2. Honestly, if she was smiling and perky I’d be turned off. Because having lived through that experience (not a weight loss camp, but being the large girl) WE AREN’T SMILING OR SECURE. That’s reality and this show will I’m sure present that reality. And show that ‘fat girls’ are human too. I also highly doubt the character would not grow to learn lessons and how to love herself as she is… even in the situation of being in a place she’s “supposed” to change… that’s how I see it… and I haven’t read anything or watched any interviews.

  3. I really struggle to think anything good will come out of an ABC Family original series… but at the same time, Nikki Blonsky’s role in this gives me some hope. She’s delivered some complex messages about weight and body image in the past, and that’s worthwhile in a society that tends to simplify in one direction or another. I really hope that they don’t conflate body shape with eating habits or lack of physical activity — or fall into any of the other common pitfalls you described. And — like Gina — I’m frustrated that the poster is photo-shopped. Hypocrisy much? That said, the trailer — which was the first thing I saw — starts with a very different image of Blonsky’s character; it shows her stripping down to her swimsuit with confidence and feistiness. So, it’s hard to say. …Mostly I’m just waiting for Monday and keeping my fingers crossed.

  4. reading the interview you posted with Nikki now.

    …LOL. “If I’m going to go to this weight-loss camp, I’m going to do it my way and I’m going to gain weight.” She doesn’t want to conform and lose weight like everybody else.”

    I think it will be very interesting.

  5. I don’t like the poster either. If they’re promting living a HUGE life, than why isn’t she smiling, arms outstretched, proclaiming her love of her life?
    It’s hard for me to be hopeful for this show’s message.

  6. Conflicted too. The promotional poster is visually very sad and vulnerable and as you and many others have said – the show is set in a weight loss camp so I am bracing myself for an infuriating amount of diet and fat talk. I hope to be wrong.

  7. It’s not a matter of loving your weight, it’s a matter of loving WHO you ARE–in spite of your weight, hair color, teeth, etc. Isn’t that what we’re all striving for? Nikki Blonsky looks nervous, apprehensive, and uneasy…I am too in a swimsuit 🙂

    I agree with Jill. Had she been happy-go-lucky and free in her body, it’d be difficult. I hope this show addresses the freedom we all can experience in loving who we are, no matter what the numbers on the scale show.

  8. I think anyone who has survived an eating disorder has conflicted issues about this.
    I think anyone who has battled weight issues and more so the world’s screwed up messaging about people of size will have conflicted issues about this.
    I think anyone who is concerned about the media promoting extreme stereotypes to our teenage girls will have conflicting messages about it.
    And I think anyone who has longed to see more diversity on TV will have conflicted issues about this.
    Which is WHY I want us to talk about it. And continue to talk about it after episode one. Kendra, thank you for posting your questions and let’s all continue talking about it.

  9. […] I’m thrilled mainstream media and Actionist(R) buzz are already forcing people to use their critical thinking skills about how this show could land on people, from healthy mobilization activists and body image pros, to those within the eating disorders community. […]

  10. I am cautiosly optimistic. I think it will take more than one episode to see where the show is going.

  11. I am excited to see where it goes. The only thing, honestly, that I am worried about is that if these kids don’t lose weight it’s glamourising obesity. Which is NOT healthy at all.

    But dealing with body image, sexuality, sexual orientation in a platform that looks more ‘normal’ to a lot of teenagers is a good thing in my opinon. Glee is another, perhaps, example whereby the cast is incredibly diverse…so we’ll have to see.

    It’s better than The Hills.

  12. I saw my first commercial about this show this morning. Not sure what to think. I just know that I really dislike movies/tv shows that have the fat girl with the great personality that no one notices until almost the end of the show. Why can’t they see right away that she is intelligent, funny, well read and etc.

    I do think they could have picked a better picture for the ad, especially since the show has not started and people do not know what to expect yet.

    If the show turns out to be uplifting and encouraging young girls to be comfortable with themselves then I am ok with it.

    I have a 13 yo daughter and I worry about her and how she views her body all the time. I value her intelligence and personality more than anything, but I make sure to also compliment how she looks.

    I cringed the other day when a friend of my grandmother’s told her that she looked good and that she looked like she had lost weight, all in the same sentence. She is not fat, she has never been fat. She is tall and filling out like a girl her age should, losing her little girl chunkiness. I worry when people say those things, even though they mean well, that she will start to worry needlessly about her weight. Things like that have been known to set young girls on the path to eating disorders.

  13. […] For every soundbyte of Blonsky-as-Will doing Naomi Wolf proud, there was an (airbrushed!) image of her looking ashamed and insecure.  For every apparent social critique in the trailer, there was […]

  14. thank you very good post and nice blog…

  15. […] VoiceInRecovery said: […]

  16. […] Voice in Recovery, “Huge” on ABC Family […]

  17. Nice Post

  18. […] Voice in Recovery/Huge on ABC Family (Kendra S/Eating Disorder Activist) […]

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