No one comes to Selling Sunset for its authenticity, unless you mean authentic depictions of the industry’s sexism, happy hours, and glossy mansions.
But the Netflix reality series has become a byword for a certain brand of nouveau riche glamour, as earmarked by episode titles such as “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” and “Real Estate Hunger Games”.
For all the show’s civil warfare and nuclear-blowouts over swiped commissions, accusations of drug-taking, and fierce clapbacks, a troubling trend has been singled out across the seasons – an unspoken dictum that the real estate agency employ women of one particular body size.
In Ozempic America, the real-world weight loss craze finds itself playing out in every facet of our culture – with Selling Sunset’s stars seeming to embody the new trend with their usual fad-jumping aplomb.
The Selling Sunset stars – who manage to all be gauche, insane, or endlessly endearing, depending on your bandwidth for them – have been called out for their uniformity online, sparking discussions about the increasingly one-sized look on our reality TV screens.
Now that the Ozempic genie is out of its blister pack, there is no putting it back in – and the stars of Selling Sunset are seen to be promoting the new trend that has dietary experts and the diabetes population concerned in equal measure.
The series, which follows the high-end real estate agents of the Oppenheim Group in Los Angeles, made household names of the likes of Stause, Quinn, and the Oppenheim Group cofounders, twin brothers Brett and Jason Oppenheim.
In previous seasons, the show’s faux scandals, drug scandals, and housing scandals have all drawn ire online, but the general consensus emerging around Selling Sunset’s hosts this season seems to be “Do you have to be skinny to get a job”?
The tweet has already sparked a thousand thinkpieces, most recently Grazia’s comment on the show’s lack of body diversity.
From Ozempic to a body-con fashion revival, our undying affection for 90s chic or Y2K-core means that current fashion trends stand at odds with broader social movements against fatphobia, they argue.
But so too does the trumpeting of the end of such movements, both tacitly broadcast through the uniformity of body types in Selling Sunset, but also loudly blasted in the media – through headlines like The Guardian’s this summer: ‘Ozempic has won, body positivity has lost”.
These critics suggest that the Ozempic era is here to wrestle with the thinness of our “body positivity” movement, putting our embrace and authentic celebration of it to the test.
Selling Sunset may seem like an arbitrary or an ill-judged target for this conversation – the show’s aesthetic has never once aspired for realism (unless having three wine cellars is realistic for you).
But, as Grazia wrote, “seeing a cast entirely made up of such thin women feels jarring, are there really no potential O Group agents over a size six in the whole of LA?”
The critiques have kept flowing on social media. ‘I always forget how impossibly skinny the selling sunset women are,’ wrote one user. Another said, ‘The girls on selling sunset are so skinny holy F.CK’
It’s all incredibly icky – as anyone who’s ever read the comments section under Taylor Swift’s social media accounts can attest, people will endlessly police women’s body sizes through an impossibly patriarchal lens, to the point where no one can feel secure in their body size.
Body shaming women for being thin and continuing to place them under impossible standards and scrutiny is not the answer.
That this thorny debate should arrive courtesy of the new season of Selling Sunset is all absurd – or perhaps it shows that, amid all the scandal, there might be some substance at the show’s core after all.