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Mama June: From Not to Hot

Starting with the beauty pageants and culminating in Mama June: From Not to Hot, Mama June is publicly teaching her girls that no matter what, they are not good enough as they are.

(Content warning: Weight loss, weight loss surgery.)

Television’s most messed-up pageant family is back again, this time focusing on Mama June Shannon’s weight loss journey in Mama June: From Not to Hot.

While we would normally be ecstatic for a woman doing her thing and living her life to its fullest — whether that means being happy in and embracing the body you have, or taking on a weight-loss journey to meet your goal — this tale is particularly startling, as it continues to put pressure on her children and rob them from any semblance of a normal childhood.

Mama June and her family’s journey is being filmed in the WE-tv “docu-dramedy” as yet another way to leach any possible ounce of dignity left within the family. The premise of the show? After years of trying to lose weight, Mama June is motivated to slice-and-dice herself into a size 4 after hearing the news that her ex is getting married.

Not only does Mama June become the court jester yet again, literally and figuratively bleeding before the camera as she undergoes weight-loss surgery, she drags her children into the gaze of the public, once more, to be criticized and objectified. Starting with the beauty pageants and culminating in Mama June: From Not to Hot, Mama June is publicly teaching her girls that no matter what, they are not good enough as they are. They must literally force themselves to meet society’s beauty standards in order to be accepted.

Related: How To Overcome Your Body Shaming Fears

Heartbroken and emotionally exhausted from rejection, Mama June forces herself and her family into a weight loss “journey” that ends up feeling much more like a circus sideshow as the media pokes fun at her previously large body with fatphobic and classist jabs. While Mama June is now at the center of it, her two young daughters are very much part of the spectacle.

“I don’t think you should do it,” Alana, AKA Honey Boo Boo, says to her mother, Mama June, in a trailer for the show.

“Why?” June asks.

“‘Cause I think you look fine the way you are,” Alana says with a frown.

June revealed to Botched that she lost over 150 pounds in one year, and ultimately went from 460 pounds to a size 4. She approached them hoping to get rid of the excess skin and scar tissue from when she had a C-section delivering Alana.

“Her stomach started looking gross,” her older daughter Lauryn, better known as Pumpkin, candidly says. “It was hanging from where she lost so much weight, and her arms and her chin, so she got [the skin on] her stomach removed. … She got her boobies done. She got them from a 44 long to 36 up.”

Like many women who have lost significant amounts of weight, Mama June struggles with seeing herself in a smaller body.

“I think that her biggest thing [she has to] overcome is that fact that she still thinks of herself as a bigger person, because, even to this day, like, a couple of days ago we had a conversation, and … she looked in the mirror and was like, ‘I’m still fat,'” Pumpkin tells Entertainment Tonight. “And I guess because she’s seen herself as a bigger person all these years, she doesn’t realize how small she is.”

“That’s what she’s used to doing, and when you’re a bigger person, that’s how you disguise all of that — through wearing bigger clothes,” her trainer Kenya Crooks weighs in. “So, now, we’re having to transform her mind even more so … because she has curves now, she looks awesome.”

“I’m changing my body and my love life,” Mama June says with determination in one teaser. “I’m about to start the biggest transformation of my life. This surgery is the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but there is a skinnier person inside of me.”

From disordered eating to onscreen romantic rejection to body dysmorphia, Mama June has a long road to self-love ahead of her. And it’s no surprise she is selfishly dragging her poor young daughters through the mud along the way.


Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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