Lizzo's Must-Binge Reality Show ‘Watch Out For The Big Grrrls’ Finally Gets It Right
It's no secret that the entertainment industry is a breeding ground for weight stigma. Reality competitions like The Biggest Loser, I Used to Be Fat and Dance Your Ass Off continue to reinforce the idea that plus-size people are defined by their weight and eager to finish their journey to Skinnyville. Meanwhile, other titles like Heavy and My 600-Lb Life expose the struggles of being dangerously obese. Even films and TV shows have made a habit of using plus-size people as sidekicks for comic relief (think Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect and Sookie from Gilmore Girls). But rarely do we ever see enough body positivity, particularly concerning full-figured women, on screen.
The Grammy winner just dropped her powerful new reality series, which follows a group of talented dancers—of all shapes, shades and sizes—as they compete to join her group of backup dancers for the 2022 world tour. And less than two minutes into the first episode, Lizzo manages to sum up her goal. She says, "Girls that look like me simply don’t get representation. So, time to pull up my sleeves and find them myself."
Coming off as a cross between Making the Band and World of Dance, it starts with a diverse group of 13 plus-size ladies—all hand-selected by Lizzo—to do private auditions for the "Juice" singer. And right off the bat, it's clear that these women did not come to play.
From jaw-dropping splits and back flips to complicated hip-hop choreography, there is never a dull moment in this series. But it's appeal goes far beyond wild dance battles and Lizzo's contagious enthusiasm (BTW, expect plenty of chuckle-worthy moments from her). Watch Out For The Big Grrrls is also a love letter to all the plus-size girls who've felt unseen in the entertainment industry. And more importantly, it's groundbreaking in the way that it highlights the beauty and complexity of these women by telling their stories, rather than being hyper-focused on their weight.
As each dancer is introduced, viewers get an intimate look at their background and how they grew to become such a skilled performer. While it does shed some light on the challenges they've had to overcome—from dealing with homelessness to not fitting in at school—the main focus is rarely on their size or their struggles. Rather, the attention is shifted to their diverse personalities, their passion for the craft and their drive to succeed as part of Lizzo's team. For instance, Jayla, an outspoken trans dancer, not only opens up about her background as a gymnast, but she also discusses what it's like to navigate the dance industry as a trans curvy woman. She says, "Part of transitioning, I was never masculine enough, and then when I discovered who I really am, I wasn't the stereotypical feminine enough. And then throwing being plus-size on top of it, the world just looks at you and doesn't expect you to be able to do what I'm striving to do."
As she speaks, there's footage of Jayla doing backflips at breakneck speed and another clip of her showing off some impressive footwork—a solid clap back at anyone who dares to assume that she doesn't have what it takes to make it as a successful dancer.
It's why Jayla's story and those of the other contestants feel like a direct criticism of how the media typically portrays people who look like them. As mentioned before, they're often either used as tropes or reduced to being bodies that need to be fixed. But in this series, finally portrayed like the complex human beings they are, with real potential and big ambitions—and boy is it a breath of fresh air.
If you're craving more positive representation for big girls on the small screen, then you'll appreciate this series—even if you're not the biggest Lizzo fan.
PureWow Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Watch Out For The Big Grrrls doubles as a love letter to plus-size women and a criticism of the media industry’s failure to be size inclusive. Lizzo is officially taking matters into her own hands by challenging outdated beauty standards, complete with intense dance battles and plenty of twerking.
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