Story Idea: America's Fascination with Weight

America’s Fascination with Weight


Is losing weight the only way for an overweight person to find true happiness? On the popular NBC reality show the “Biggest Loser,” significantly overweight contestants compete to lose the most weight. FOX takes it a step further with a show that resembles ABC’s “The Bachelor,” except on “More to Love” a 300-pound man dates a series of overweight women competing to be his Miss Right.

Terri L. Russ, a communication studies professor at Saint Mary’s College and author of the book “Bitchin’ Bodies” thinks there’s a lot wrong with the theory that skinny=happiness. She believes people, women in particular, should work on loving their bodies and becoming confident inside them, while escaping the impossible standards rooted in their own minds and often created by the media.

Through her research for her book, Russ found that although body obsessions seemed to be magnified during the college years, the negative perceptions continue as women grow older, remaining with them even in old age. What was particularly disturbing was that no matter what shape or size the women were -- be it a size 20 or size 2 -- Russ says the women were still unhappy with their bodies.

Media: If you are interested in interviewing Russ, contact Gwen O'Brien, director of media relations, at gobrien@saintmarys.edu or (574) 284-4579. Russ was recently featured in Metro New York. To see how Russ performs in a TV interview, click here. To read a press release on her book, click here.

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. For the second year in a row Saint Mary’s College ranks as one of the nation’s top 100 liberal arts colleges in, U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 annual survey. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.