A Plus For Eat Bulaga!: The Portrayal of Plus-Size Women in Eat Bulaga!'s Segment, FHHM

Abstract Valdecantos, C.P.M. (2015). A Plus For Eat Bulaga!: The Portrayal of Plus Size Women in Eat Bulaga!’s Segment, FHHM, Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

This study looks into the portrayal of Filipino plus-size women in one of Eat Bulaga!’s segments, FHHM or For Healthy and Heavy Models, which serves as a beauty pageant for plus-size women.

As this is a study about plus-size women, this study aims to uncover existing notions tied to the plus-size community and to understand the common ideologies of the plus-size community. As the segment is considered a beauty pageant, this study aimed to find out what standards of beauty are set for the plus-size women.

To achieve these goals, this study employs content analysis and semiotic tools, particularly that of Saussure (sign, signifier and signified), Peirce (icon, index, symbol) and Barthes (metasystem), and examined selected episodes of the segment. It made use of thematic analysis in analyzing the data, which made it possible to derive themes and subthemes present in the text.

The researcher gathered data and examined social codes (particularly verbal, behavioral, bodily and commodity codes) present in episodes of FHHM to identify and describe how plus-size women are portrayed in FHHM. It analyzed the images and codes presented about plus-size women, and derived from these images and codes existing ideas about the plus-size presented by the program.

In turn, this study also provides insights on the concept of beauty in the context of the plus-size beauty pageant, and whether or not plus-size women are truly being empowered by this kind of program.

Keywords: plus size women, Eat Bulaga, beauty, FHHM, semiotics, body image

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