It's refreshing that Kirstie Alley is brutally honest on her reality show—which premiered last night—about her insecurities. But the fact that her motivation to lose weight is predicated on her portrayal in tabloids makes her intentions seem ignoble.
I can't even begin to imagine how horrible it is to have your weight gossiped and joked about on a national scale, and scrutinized by the tabloid media, but I do know what's it like in a small-potatoes kind of way—I've been mocked by a couple hundred strangers on the internet for my body, telling me I'm fat and gross and have big arms, and what have you. It can fuck with your head if you let it, which is why you can never let it. It's stupid to even try to appease the assholes that would say those kinds of things to or about a woman, because there is no appeasing them. They're assholes! Everything they say is gonna stink. What bothers me about Kirstie's show is that she seemingly has an obsession with the paparazzi and the tabloid media, who have brought her a lot of unhappiness in recent years. Kirstie Alley's Big Life is supposed to document her weight-loss journey, and the lifestyle changes it'll take to facilitate that, and while I see nothing wrong with Kirstie wanting to lose weight, I think that her reasons for doing so—to put an end to her "fat" paparazzi pictures—is problematic because it plays into the system of making women feel terrible about themselves. And there's just no way she's going to win that game when she's playing by their rules. She'll just end up losing weight and her mind.
But who really knows where this show is going? I mean, it all seems so heavily scripted anyway, that perhaps her hangups regarding the paparazzi are just a plot device, and later on, she'll have some kind of equally-scripted epiphany that she needs to just be happy with herself or some shit.
However, when Kirstie talks about her weight-loss goal, it mostly involved getting to the point where she doesn't care "what angle someone shoots [her] from." Later, she says that she needs to make a choice of "getting fit and going for an Oscar," which is her life's dream. Buying into the idea that the two are not mutually exclusive is only perpetuating the problem, not to mention her own unhappiness. I mean, Mo'Nique, anyone? Added to that, Kirstie is 59. (Can you believe it? It's crazy that she's so down on her looks!) If she were to win an Academy Award, it wouldn't be for some sexy ingenue role anyway. She should just stick with gritty and bold, not because it involves less exercise, or because it's more subversive, but because in the moments on her show when she was gritty and bold was when she was most appealing—and it had nothing to do with her dress size.