The Problem with Vanessa Lachey's Comments On the Lack of Body Diversity On 'Love Is Blind'

The show's co-host is getting backlash over statements she made in a recent interview, and for good reason.

Vanessa Lachey
Photo: Getty Images

Reality dating shows have a body diversity issue. It's clear whether you're tuning into Love Island or The Bachelor that even shows designed to feature "real people" tend to favor specific kinds of people: those with thin bodies. Even so, when a reality TV show called Love Is Blind aired on Netflix in 2020, it was fair to assume it might be around to break the mold, showcasing how meaningful connections, rather than appearances are what truly matter when it comes to finding love.

Alas, even on a show that stipulates men and women blindly date one another behind the walls of "pods," only revealing themselves in person if they get engaged based on an emotional connection, a lack of body diversity is present. While the show has included people of varying races, religions, and economic backgrounds, most contestants have had similar, thin body types.

In response to criticism that the few contestants who didn't fit that mold on the show weren't prominently featured and didn't ultimately find love, co-host Vanessa Lachey recently shared her opinion about why this might be in an interview with Insider. She chalked it up to these contestants feeling "insecure," therefore, preventing them from finding meaningful connections.

"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 told Insider of those few outliers. "I wonder if they truly don't have enough time in those two weeks to find themselves, A, and then be themselves to then find that spouse," said Lachey, adding that she's not involved with casting.

Her comments are overtly problematic, as she seemed to suggest all people with larger bodies are insecure about dating and perhaps have even been involved in catfishing schemes. Her explanation also placed blame on the contestants' inability to find love, rather than on those who run the show itself (the same people who cast Abhishek "Shake" Chatterjee, a man who spent some of his time in the pods trying to determine the weight of his blind dates). Overall, it's a gross generalization about people based on their weight — one that simply isn't true.

"We live in a fatphobic society, so yes, absolutely, being fat manifests for many folks as a lack of confidence," says Rachel Wright, M.A., L.M.F.T., a relationship, sex, and mental health therapist. "However, to paint a broad brush that there is a correlation for every fat person to not being confident? That's fatphobic in itself," she adds. "Your body size, shape, color, or anything else about your appearance does not affect your ability to find love, and making a connection between them is very dangerous."

Danielle Ruhl, a contestant from season two of Love Is Blind, who revealed that she struggled with body dysmorphia while on the show, shared her thoughts on Lachey's recent comments in an interview with E! News. "There were certainly more confident women than myself who participated in this experience, regardless of body type," she said. "...Weight doesn't and shouldn't define someone's confidence."

People on Twitter have also shared reactions to Lachey's troubling comments. "As [someone with] a diverse body, your explanation was weak and a cop out," wrote user @mrsraejohnson. "Y'all don't feature diverse bodies because you don't think curves will make good TV. I'm done retroactively forgiving shows for not getting it right in the first place."

"Maybe it's just you/your producers who think fat people aren't desirable/deserving of love?" tweeted @MeaghanWray "*Everyone* feels insecure in the dating world! I would bet fat women are MORE confident because we've had to be/grow/unlearn/learn to appease THIN PEOPLE."

Needless to say, Lachey is facing warranted backlash for her statements about the lack of body diversity on Love Is Blind. It's sadly just one example of how the people who create reality dating TV shows are failing to listen to viewers, cast people with different body types, and own up to the issue falling on their shoulders. Consider this a reminder that everyone — regardless of weight and appearance — should be able to search for love on a reality show.

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