BodyMatters Individual Therapist Kassie Bottalico responds to shocking footage from Big Brother last week, when female contestants were provided with outfits to wear which did not actually fit the diverse range of sizes within the house. We encourage you to join us in speaking out about this, if you were similarly disturbed.
Dear Channel 9 & Big Brother,
I am writing in regards to the episode of Big Brother that aired last week.
It is very disappointing to see yet another instance of body shaming on Australian TV. It seems absurd that you would provide a group of individuals with dresses that only fit certain housemates. To only provide a few sizes when there is a range of body shapes and sizes amongst housemates send a clear message.
It was very evident that this message was received and was distressing to housemates, in particular Mikkayla. Furthermore, the fact that you chose to air Mikkayla sitting on the floor in her underwear at a time of such vulnerability for ratings is disheartening.
Here at BodyMatters Australasia we specialise in the treatment of disordered eating and body image issues and we constantly see the effects of this kind of behaviour. Society sets such unrealistic expectations around the way women should look and the size they should be, and behaviour like this just reinforces the idea that girls aren’t ‘normal’ and aren’t good enough if they do not fit these expectations. This messaging leaves females feeling ashamed, inadequate and defective. It can cause self-critical thoughts often resulting in unhealthy eating and exercising behaviour and in many cases eating disorders.
I hope that you consider the contents of this letter in future situations and that in instances such as these, you would ensure that everyone feels comfortable and happy in themselves by providing clothing that fits. I hope that you not only consider the emotional wellbeing of your housemates but also the viewers who may be triggered watching such situations arise.
Practice Manager & Individual Therapist