reality tv

The most powerful part of Yvie's refusal to be weighed on I'm a Celebrity.

This article deals with an account of an eating disorder that could be triggering for some readers.

For help and support for eating disorders, contact the Butterfly Foundation’s National Support line and online service on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673) or email
[email protected] You can also visit their website here

When Yvie Jones said the words, “I’ve had an eating disorder most of my life,” her voice started to crack.

She was standing on the set of I’m a Celebrity, on national television, being asked to guess how much weight she’d lost in the 30 days since she’d entered the jungle.

Others had lost weight – the numbers of which aren’t important – a byproduct of the limited food available to contestants on the reality show.

But the idea of weighing herself didn’t sit comfortably with Yvie.

“Sorry… ” Yvie said, becoming visibly emotional. “I can’t actually tell you the last time I weighed myself.

“I wish we lived in a different world where what we look like doesn’t matter,” she said. “I know that a lot of people think that they understand what it’s like, but unless you’ve had an overweight problem, you don’t know what it’s like to go through life and be judged solely on the weight that you are or the clothes that don’t fit you properly.

“I feel like we’ve all been doing so well, and now we’re going to celebrate how much weight we’ve lost and how that’s something to be proud of. I don’t think it is something to be proud of.”

Watch Yvie’s powerful speech here:

Video via Channel Ten

Yvie’s refusal to be weighed was an act of protest that went against the unspoken element of the entire spectacle: That everyone should be excited to learn that they likely weigh less than they did a month ago.

That weight loss is a universal goal.

That being thin is intrinsically valuable.

And that how you look is very, very important.

But for Yvie, who when she’s not in the jungle shares her home with and cares for Tom Hanock – a man with Down syndrome and type 1 diabetes – there’s far more to life than the shape and size and consistency of your body.

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What was particularly striking about Yvie’s I’m a Celebrity protest, however, was the reaction to it.

The video of her ‘weigh-in’ has been watched close to a million times across Channel 10’s social media platforms. Stories about her stance went viral, and thousands tweeted and commented their support.

US blogger and television personality Perez Hilton even tweeted the video to his six million followers, calling it a “must-watch for everyone”.

Among the noise, there were hardly any detractors. The typical voices attempting to turn a conversation about mental health and body image into one about weight simply weren’t there. And they weren’t there because Yvie’s protest got at a universal truth – that our cultural focus on weight, image and attractiveness is fundamentally harmful.

Speaking to Mamamia, the CEO of eating disorder advocacy group The Butterfly Foundation Christine Morgan said, “Weight does not determine our worth or achievements in life.”

“This is a message that needs to be shared more widely and Yvie should be commended for her authenticity and incredibly powerful message. As a society we need to shift the conversation around body weight, shape, and size and challenge the importance placed on a number, so that we are celebrating functionality and diversity.

“The more conversations we have on television about the pressures we face to look a certain way and why this needs to change, the closer we are to celebrating who we are as a person, not what we look like.”

Our fixation with weight loss doesn’t make us happier. It doesn’t make us healthier. It certainly doesn’t make us better people.

This obsession – particularly when it’s represented on national television as a spectacle, and not in consultation with a health professional – is, at its core, vacuous. It’s superficial and empty.

Listen: Why are we weighing people on national TV? Post continues after audio.

Somehow, in 2019, we’re in a position where we don’t feel like we can say this. We have entire industries that would crumble if people (particularly women) stopped caring what they looked like. The influencer economy, which has been growing and evolving over the last decade, would have us believe that a ‘good’ life is one focused on what can be seen from the outside – how we look, what we own, the holidays we take.

When we’re kids, we’re told it’s what’s on the inside that counts. We learn the cliche, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. But as we grow up, the cultural focus on how we look can feel all-consuming – to the point where it takes a brave woman calling it out on national television for us to remember.

Of course there’s more to life than a number on a scale, or the size of our thighs, or the imperfections on our skin.

We know this. We’ve known it since we could speak.

But Yvie’s powerful protest on I’m a Celebrity put words around what so many women have wanted to say at one point or another: I am far, far more than what that scale could possibly tell me.

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