slovenly, stubborn, stunted.
I feel … that I have a responsibility to counteract some of the harm that [the Biggest Loser] does. Because I took a piece of being that problem, I now own a piece of being the solution… . When I have people come to me crying, telling me how hard they work and how they log their food and how they’ve done everything they could and [they ask] ‘Why can’t I lose 12 pounds in a week like you?’ I feel a responsibility to get out there and go, ‘You know what? Sue me if you want to, NBC, but I’m telling these people, I didn’t lose 12 pounds in a week. It didn’t happen. It wasn’t a week. And even when it looks like I lost 12 pounds in a week … I was so severely dehydrated that I was completely unhealthy.
The worst one I can remember is the very last one, before the final weigh-in, and it was down to five contestants left. I remember being on the elliptical and being so exhausted and so ready to go home and so dehydrated that I burst into tears and I’m crying … and I’m still working out and it set off a chain reaction and every single person in the gym, all of the five contestants that were left, were crying. And we were so brainwashed at that point that I remember saying out loud, ‘Well, at least we’re losing more water-weight by crying.’
You really get brainwashed into thinking everything’s your fault, [that] you’re just not strong enough, you’re just not good enough… . For example, Heather, on my season, was told by the medical trainer, not one of the personal trainers, … ‘Here’s the deal, both your knees are messed up, and I believe you ripped your calf muscle.’ So he told the trainer that too but when you watch the show, Heather’s arguing with our trainer and saying, ‘Look, I can’t do it.’ And they made it look like it’s because she’s lazy and refuses to work out, when actually she’s been told by the doctors, ‘Do not run, do not do this, you cannot do this.’ And production and her personal trainer wanted her to do it anyway, just for the cameras. And when she refused to do it for the cameras because it would have damaged her body even more (she ended up needing steroid shots in both knees while we were still there by the way) it was edited to make her look like she was lazy and disobedient, basically. So then you’ve got the 22 million Americans that watch it thinking that you’re this horrible, lazy, ungrateful person. And she literally got death threats on the NBC web site. I just have people that tell me stuff like, I’m ugly when I cry, or I’m lazy. She got death threats.
I get hostility now, now that I tell the truth about what happened on the show. I get told I’m ungrateful or I must be lying because everyone else says it was so positive. … I actually had one person friend me just to send me a hate letter… . The worst ones are the rabid fans of the show who desperately want a magic cure-all, and when you tell them that it’s not they get upset.
I have to say that there are some people that probably had a very positive experience there. I don’t know, I’ve only lived my experience. If you’ve been overweight you’re whole life and conditioned to believe that you’re not worthwhile until you’re thin, and they bring you someplace that, no matter how bad they beat you, it makes you thin, and that’s all you ever wanted, then I guess that’s a positive experience… . Being thin is not the end-all-be-all for me."
When we begin to put all of these things together, we begin to understand what america is doing. Genocide can be seen in the mass removal of Blacks from the streets, by placing them in jails. Yes, the courts conspire to commit genocide. Black people are in the majority in most jails in this country. Concentration camps have been established and maintained throughout this country. They were established as a result of the McCarran Act of 1950. There is a book called Concentration Camps, U.S.A. that’s written by Charles R. Allen-who is white. (I say this because it usually bridges the credibility gap; you don’t believe what Black folks say but you believe white folks.) It is in your interest that you read it, because your not knowing what’s going to happen doesn’t make it any less true. Me and Carmichael can’t fill all the camps. They must be planning on taking somebody else. This country is waging a genocidal war against people of color; domestic and foreign. This is a country that pays white farmers for not growing food and dumps surplus food in the ocean. Birth control, as it’s practiced by governmental programs dealing with the masses of poor, can’t be called anything else but an attempt at genocide. Birth control should be an individual decision. It should not be forced by a government.
Some of you are probably saying america wouldn’t do that kind of thing. Negroes like to believe that they are something special to this country. Well, let’s examine america’s history. The American Indian-total genocide. And “the man” shows it to you on t.v. The Japanese-america dropped the bomb on Japan and not on Germany, not because they didn’t have the bomb, but because the Japanese are yellow. When this country fought Germany, the German-Americans were not put in concentration camps; however, when they fought Japan, Japanese-Americans were put into concentration camps, in this country."
Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap. Brown)
Taken from his political autobiography “Die Nigger Die!” (page 138-139)
At a lecture I was giving in a large West Coast university in the Spring of 2008, the female students talked extensively about how much they preferred to have a completely waxed pubic area as it made them feel “clean,” “hot” and “well groomed.” As they excitedly insisted that they themselves chose to have a Brazilian wax, one student let slip that her boyfriend had complained when she decided to give up on waxing. Then there was silence. I asked the student to say more about her boyfriend’s preferences and how she felt about his criticism. As she started to speak other students joined in, only now the conversation took a very different turn. The excitement in the room gave way to a subdued discussion on how some boyfriends had even refused to have sex with non-waxed girlfriends as they “looked gross.” One student told the group how her boyfriend bought her a waxing kit for Valentine’s Day, while yet another sent out an email to his friends joking about his girlfriend’s “hairy beaver.” No, she did not break up with him, she got waxed instead.
Two weeks after the waxing discussion, I was at an East Coast Ivy League school where some female students became increasingly angry. They accused me of denying them free choice in their embracing of our hypersexualized porn culture, and being the next generation’s elite women, this idea was especially repugnant because they saw no limits or constraints on them as women. Literally two minutes later, one of the students made a joke about the “trick” that many of them employ as a way to avoid hookup sex. What is this trick? These women purposely don’t shave or wax as they are getting ready to go out that night so they will feel too embarrassed to participate in hookup sex. As she spoke, I watched as others nodded their heads in agreement. When I asked why they couldn’t just say no to sex, they informed me that once you have a few drinks in you, and are at a party or a bar, it is too hard to say no. I was speechless, not least because they had just been arguing that I had denied them agency in my discussion of porn culture, and yet they saw no contradiction in telling me that they didn’t have the agency to say no to sex. The next day I flew to Utah to give a lecture in a small college, which although not a religious college, had a good percentage of Mormons and Catholics. I told them about the lecture the previous night and asked them if they knew what the trick was. It turns out that trick is everywhere, including Utah.
I tell this story because, on many levels, it neatly captures how the porn culture is affecting young women’s lives. The reality is that women don’t need to look at porn to be profoundly affected by it because images, representations, and messages of porn are now delivered to women via pop culture. Women today are still not major consumers of hard-core porn; they are, however, whether they know it or not, internalizing porn ideology, an ideology that often masquerades as advice on how to be hot, rebellious, and cool in order to attract (and hopefully keep) a man. An excellent example is genital waxing, which first became popular in porn (not least because it makes the women look pre-pubescent) and then filtered down into women’s media such as Cosmopolitan, a magazine that regularly features stories and tips on what “grooming” methods women should adopt to attract a man. Sex and the City, that hugely successful show with an almost cult following, also used waxing as a storyline. For instance, in the movie, Miranda is chastised by Samantha for “letting herself go” by having pubic hair."