I’m currently watching the 14th season of Project Runway, and my favorite contestant to win is a beautiful young woman named Ashley with enviable lavender hair and a distinct Rockabilly style.
She’s killing it so far, in only five episodes this season she’s already had the top design twice. She’s also sweet and seems pretty easy to get along with and work beside. When Tim Gunn asked the contestants to divide into two teams at the onset of episode 5, Ashley had every reason to believe she’d be chosen first.
Instead, this happened:
(The part of the show where they divide into teams begins at around 2:30.)
Even Heidi Klum is flabbergasted that this talented girl is left last, unwanted by either team.
I was saddened, but not surprised, since that pretty much summed up every event in my entire childhood that required us kids to divide into teams. It doesn’t matter if the challenge at hand is physical, mental, creative, or otherwise – if you are an unacceptable body size nobody wants you on their team, even with abundant evidence at hand of how talented and skilled you are.
People of size don’t have to prove themselves competent once, or even twice, to be granted the same benefit of doubt that average sized people are given without a second thought – they have to do it every damned day. Whatever they accomplished yesterday is instantly forgotten.
As a side note: the contestants didn’t know when they were choosing these teams that they’d be facing a physical challenge so they weren’t even flaunting their prejudice against Ashley’s presumed athletic ability but rather rejecting her on a gut instinct level. That being said, it turns out the girl is lethal with a paintball gun – so at least she got to shoot the living crap out of her detractors a short while later.
Shame on them. Every single one.