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Along with Tiger King and MAFSA, Love Is Blind was one of the key shows that helped us to survive lockdown, even giving Love Island a run for its money in terms of drama and romance - but one issue that fans pointed out from the off was the programme's seeming lack of body diversity (something Love Island has also come under fire for).
Many said that by recruiting a cast of very conventionally attractive singletons, surely the show undermined its own premise that love shouldn't be beholden to stereotypical ideals of what 'beautiful' or 'sexy' is? After all, it literally sees contestants 'date' one another in pods separated by a wall.
All of this is something that host Vanessa Lachey (who presents alongside her singer husband, Nick Lachey) was asked to address during a recent interview, and her comments on body diversity have certainly ignited a conversation, with some saying it sounds like Vanessa shaming those with larger bodies for not having the 'confidence' needed to get past the pods stage of the reality series, or find a mate.
While recently speaking to Insider, Vanessa said, "Their whole life they've been so insecure about being themselves because of this crazy swipe generation that we are in and this catfishing world that we're in, that they're so afraid to be themselves."
She added that although she's not involved in the casting process directly, that she believes Netflix and the Love Is Blind bosses give all hopefuls a 'fair shot' and theorised, "I wonder if they truly don't have enough time in those two weeks to find themselves and then be themselves, to then find that spouse."
On social media, some have taken her remarks to mean that it's the 'fault' of those with low confidence, due to body image issues, for failing to find love. "Are you saying the show pretending not to be about looks while featuring exclusively really hot people might actually just be about looks after all?" one Twitter user questioned.
A second suggested that body diversity could also include more diverse hosts on dating shows, "I think the bodies diversity should starts with the hosts".
Others, however, said they felt Vanessa's comments were, sadly, accurate, given society's general predisposition to treating bigger bodied people poorly compared to those who are thin. "I mean, I personally get it, as a fat person with thin skin. If someone fell in love with my personality and then rejected me because of my size, it would destroy me," wrote one person. "And to have that on TV? No thanks. But lots of women with different bodies are super confident, so...".
A second noted that confidence isn't necessarily related to size either, "Idk what the issue is with [Vanessa's comments are]. I'm not Hollywood thin, more like a size 10/12. I'd feel VERY self conscious getting to know someone blind, then coming out when they're expecting super hottie & instead getting me. it'd be mortifying to see their disappointment."
Vanessa also commented on how diversity in terms of LGBTQ+ contestants is lacking and would be a challenge for the show's specific format. "Think about if you did just women, then it wouldn't be separate quarters, it would just be one big house of everybody out for themselves, I guess. And if you did the men, it would be the same."
Of course Vanessa isn't to be blamed for the contestants who sign up for the show, and who the producers recruit, but her remarks have made one thing glaringly obvious: isn't it about time there was one truly diverse dating show, with a genuine array of body types and sexual preferences? Not just one token 'curvy' girl, or one rogue bisexual participant? A show where all types of beauty and shapes were included? We for one would watch the sh*t out of that.
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