Okay, I’ve never watched this show, as I’ve mentioned before, but this season, I’m giving it a fair chance. However, after two episodes, I’m struck by a number of things that have really started to bug the hell out of me.

1. The Voting

Isn’t losing massive amounts of poundage enough excitement for the producers? The money shots of fatties sweating it out on treadmills and getting screamed at by Jillian while Bob shakes his head and hates his life, isn’t that enough manufactured drama? Why add the voting? Why put these people through that? And the rankings are only based on how you did THIS week, not total percentage of body weight lost, therefore if you’ve been doing awesome but then hit a plateau one week, you’re screwed. Niiiice.

2. The caloric intake montage

The contestants were ushered into a room and watch an interview where they talk about their favorite foods. Then a scary automaton voice tells them how many calories, fat and sugar they consume every year, based on eating their favorite guilty pleasure meals every single day. Come on, folks, an apple a day equals like 8 pounds of sugar in a year. Way to sensationalize those numbers and remind the viewing audience again that the contestants are fat and disgusting. Also, the set up for the contestants, standing in a dark room while surrounded by giant screens and scary voices? Totally A Clockwork Orange.

3. The auf Wiedersehen

Okay, officially the dumbest parting line ever. “I’m sorry, you are not the Biggest Loser.” What do you say to that? “Um, thanks”?

4. The weigh-in uniform

Girls wear just a sports bra but the guys get to have some modesty by wearing their Biggest Loser shirts until the moment they step on the scale. I understand the fear of a prolonged span across a crowd of man nipples, but the girls should get to wear a shirt too, damn it.

5. The temptations

So last night, there was a temptation challenge the night before weigh in, where the team that ate the most calories would win $5,000. A woman ate a cup of M&Ms for a total of 210 calories and then, at the next weigh in, gained a pound. Okay, first of all, if you don’t expend 3,500 calories, you will gain a pound, so clearly, a few M&Ms wasn’t to blame for her weight gain. I’m thinking that girlfriend was about to get her period or something, and yet, they made certain to show lots of guilty expressions and finger pointing for “giving in to temptation.” A healthy approach to eating allows you to eat something fun now and then and no one should be crying over 210 calories. No one. Oh yeah, she got voted off, while the guy who “gave in” to 900 calories got to stay. Lesson: guys are forgiven for gluttony, but women must be perfect.

6. The challenges

Okay, we get it. They’re fat. But must everything be ginormous? Giant balloons, giant see-saws made from industrial steel. Come on, people, they’re not elephants.

7. The commericals

Propel, Jenny Craig, Subway, Nabisco (the people who bring you Oreos and Nutter Butters), my god, make it stop. Anytime anything interesting is about to happen, they cut to 15 commercials and then we come back and have to rewatch a minute before finding out how much weight the black team lost. God help anyone who watches this show without the benefit of TiVo.

8. The unrealistic weight loss

Shock and dismay over only losing 3 pounds in a week? People are voted off for that? How does that make the viewer feel when they’re losing a healthy one or two pounds a week? Like a damned underachiever, that’s what. Why is no one concerned that the folks on the safe end of the weigh in roster are losing, like a pound a day?

9. The lack of real information

How many calories are these guys eating a day? What kinds of foods? How many hours are they spending at the gym? What kinds of exercises? How much water are they drinking?  Boy, if the viewer at home were feeling at all motivated by this show, it would be nice to use a few minutes to talk about that rather than showing people crying about missing their kids for ten solid minutes.

10. The lack of smart fitness

You know what I’m most struck by after watching the Losers sweat and be abused by Jillian and then work some more? The fact that man, does it look like it sucks! At one point, a contestant clearly looks like he’s in physical distress (um, heart attacks are not an unlikely outcome when an out-of-shape, unhealthy person goes from couch potato to marathon workouts in the span of a few weeks) and the message is that he’s just not motivated enough. There is no on-screen attention to safe, sane workouts. What about the strain on joints? What about these people with knee injuries? They have those awesome pools, yet nothing about water resistance training. It’s just a weight loss sweat shop, no pun intended. Also, man, way to impress upon America that fitness can be torture. Come on, it can be fun too, right? The see saw looked like fun. Why can’t we see these people laughing and having a good time as they drop the weight? Maybe that would inspire rather than make us feel like lazy jackasses for not doing enough.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that I watched last night’s episode while eating a bag of Muscat Gummies. Clearly, I am a slow learner and require Jillian to ride me like a pony around the block until I repent.

Anyone who grew up in the latter half of the twentieth century knows the double-standard when it comes to sex. Good girls didn’t want it. Bad girls did. If a girl made a guy think about giving it to them, then it was the girl’s fault. Rape is about power. Rape is about wanting and taking. And the pretty girls? The beautiful girls? They have something the boys want so badly that they’d be willing to do unmentionable things to get it. But a line is drawn there, a judgment being made. If you’re cute, if you’re provocatively dressed, if you engage in dodgy behavior, then maybe, just maybe, you asked for it.

And one has only to look at the scores of rape victims who begin overeating, unconsciously or consciously, as an attempt to physically distance themselves from their attackers. If their appearance was to blame for the horror, then changing it would prevent that horrible thing from ever happening to them again. Except that now we learn that if it does happen, despite your fatness, then you should just be grateful.

I am very angry. Very angry. There are no words.

I think the thing that makes me the angriest is that this logic had seeped into my own brain for a very long time. When I was a college freshman, I went on a stringent program (which is a much nicer term than “eating disorder”) to lose weight, and one of the things mandated by this mindset was a lot of exercise. However, I couldn’t go to the gym or be seen in shorts or be in the very presence of the beautiful people. Instead, I went for long walks with my Sony (cassette) Walkman either cranking out late ’80s alternative dance hits (I made it to my first goal thanks entirely to The Cure’s “Hot Hot Hot” and Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough”) or listening to the punk hour on the college radio station. I would go for my walks after 9 p.m., just as half the college town was settling down and the other half was ramping up. I would walk past fraternity houses with long lines of giggling underage kids waiting to pay $3 to get into basement keg parties. All the while I was blissfully unconcerned for my safety, despite countless reports of violence against women in the area, numerous date rapes and misdemeanors at those very parties. My nutritional counselor, a grad student who needed a fat girl to round out her thesis study, warned me to be careful and asked me to take a friend with me, and I scoffed, saying that from far away, I looked like a linebacker. It didn’t matter that no one would ever have mistook me for a man with my DD cup rack, I honestly assumed that my size made me impervious to potential attacks. I figured the worst thing I had to deal with was a drunk guy shouting “hey, fat ass” and certainly not anything involving his penis.

When a sexual predator began showing up inside dorm rooms in the residence halls (including mine) in the middle of the night, the campus went on hyper alert. The pattern was quickly established: girls with dorm rooms right next to an exterior door (like mine) and who had a first floor room (like I did), girls who had only one name on the outer door showing that they did not have a roommate (guess who had her own room?). But it seriously never occurred to me that I should be worried about a pervert who, in retrospect, must have gotten access to the master list of the door combinations. I figured that I was completely and utterly safe, despite looking at the police sketch every day in our communal bathroom when I brushed my teeth, despite talking with my neighbors about their strategies if they should be shaken awake at night by a guy wearing a hoodie and a baseball cap. After all, I was a size 24.

If you’re waiting for me to tell you about being startled awake one night by some pervert, it’s not going to happen. They changed all of the combinations on the doors, had the police patrolling the female residence floors, and also had a few undercover police agents sleeping in random dorm rooms, but the attacks stopped. They never caught the guy.

And I was lucky that time.

But this crazy mentality—this unwanted, undesirable, un-fucking-touchable mentality that pervaded my thinking pattern—it didn’t materialize out of thin air. It came from out there. It came from this lawyer who thinks that the fat girl should really feel flattered that she was chosen to be violated. It came from the people who don’t worry about their ugly daughters getting knocked up, the people who look the other way when little chubby kids get teased because that’s just how kids are. It came from the guy who didn’t listen when Brandon Teena reported his rape. And everyone knows that the two worst things you can do to a woman is call her fat or threaten to rape her. The paradox is bewildering:

It seems to me that this is the flip side of the Catch-22 for rape victims: If you’re seen as “attractive” or dress “provocatively” then you can’t have been raped because you were asking for it. If you’re seen as unattractive or fat, then you can’t have been raped because you were obviously desperate for it.

An American woman has a one in four chance of being raped during her lifetime. This is not about what kind of underwear you had on or how big your ass is. One in four. This is not about the makeup you had on or whether or not you had bragged about your oral skills. One in four. This is not about wanting it or going on a date or the fact that he paid for dinner. One in four. This is not a statistic from the 1700s or a third world nation, this is here, today, our streets, our friends. One in four. This is about the power of the word “no” and about changing how we think as a society, one mind at a time, that women are not pieces of property. One in four. We are all in this together, we all have the right to say “no”—whether we are thick or thin, black or white, male or female, wearing fishnet stockings or mom jeans, party girls or virgins. One in four, and every one of us valuable, not matter what. One in four. And every one worthy of defending.