Bringing Sexy Back: To what extent do online television audiences contest fat-shaming?

Document Type

Journal Article


Queensland University of Technology

Place of Publication

Brisbane, QLD


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Arts and Humanities




Originally published as: Rodan, D. (2015). Bringing Sexy Back: To what extent do online television audiences contest fat-shaming? M/C Journal: A Journal of Media and Culture, 18(3), 1-14. Retrieved from http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/viewArticle/967


The latest reality program about weight loss makeover, Australian Channel Seven’s Bringing Sexy Back maintained the dominant frame of fat as bad, shameful and unsexy. Similar to other programs’ point of view, only slim bodies could claim to be healthy and sexy. Conversely the Fat Acceptance movement presents fat as beautiful, sexy, and healthy. But what did online audiences in 2014 think about Bringing Sexy Back? In this article online-viewer-generated comments are analysed to find out: a) whether audiences challenged and contested the dominant framing; and b) what phrases did they use to do this. The research task is a discourse analysis in which key words and phrases are highlighted and colour coded as categories and patterns begin to emerge. My intention is to represent the expressions of the participants responding to the articles and or online forums about the program. The focus is on the ‘language-in-use’ (Gee 34), in particular their gut reactions to the idea of whether only slim people can be sexy and their experience of viewing the program. Selected television websites, online television forums and blogs will be analysed.

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