Thursday, September 16, 2010

They're Fat and They're Sassy. What else?

In case ya'll haven't noticed, kids are getting fat. Not chubby, mind you. Fat. Like, morbidly obese. Which is, yes, an issue. But it could also be seen, if you have a super warped mind, as a trend. An unhealthy one perhaps, but it is here and therefore the media is going to represent it in some way, whether it be as a comic relief or a Serious Issue. Being overweight is slowly but surely stretching into the main stream.

One could say this is awesome. I certainly do. Movies are finally displaying their everyman, the sexpots who aren't two pounds (holla Mad Men!) and the talented, beautiful actresses who just so happen to be...well, hey Mo'Nique!

But others, such as myself (again) could note that, while this is certainly opening many doors, it is also bringing with it the stigma that has long plagued Hollywood; being pigeon-holed and, worse, taking advantage of this pigeon-hole in a negative way.

Here's an example.

Nikki Blonsky.

Now, we've all seen Hairspray. Great movie, great music, pretty actors. Our Tracy, a famously robust teeenage girl, was played by Nikki, then a newcomer. She was pretty adorbs. Cheesy, yes, but then again, it's Hairspray. We all sat and took notice of this new young talent, and we just couldn't wait to see what she would do next.

And what did she do next?

Yes. She did a Fat Movie.

I just so happened to be watching this little gem one Sunday afternoon on Lifetime. I noticed the lead star and instantly my heart soared. I was not expecting Tracy Turnblad. But I was expecting the same adoration I held for it's actress during Hairpsray. What did I get, you guys? WHAT DID I GET?

Oh, I'll tell you.

Every single emotional scene involved WHAT? Food. IT INVOLVED FOOD.

I'm not talking a dramatic restaurant walk-out. I'm talking this chick comes home after being horribly bullied at school and runs, crying, straight to the fridge to gorge herself with chocolate mint ice cream, of which has to be pried from her trembling fingers like it's CRACK.

I'm hopefully not fat, but if I was, I would be insulted.

Are you implying, Lifetime/Nikki Blonksy, that fat people immediatly run for the tacos whenever they're under emotional stress? Are you saying that this girl is fat simply because she can not handle life without a choclate bar in her face? It's not a drug movie, Lifetime. And I am almost positive that your mellow-drama has reached new heights of ridiculous.

Anyway, this isn't a review. What I'm saying is that, what does all of Nikki Blonsky's roles since the start of her career have in common? They all involve her playing a fat girl.

What is this/ you are saying. She's a big girl, who else could she play?

Oh, many things, I answer. She could choose movies that aren't written about being fat. She could play characters that aren't struggling with being fat. She could be an actress who just happens to be fat, and not a Fat Actress.

To me, this entire thing sounds way worse then just watching a bunch of movies with bitches are really skinny. Because all Nikki is saying to young, overweight teens is, "Hey, grow up to be just like me and star in TV shows about fat camp!"

No. Just no.

Now let's look at Kathy Bates.

Yes, she's a chubby lady. But was anyone thinking about her weight while she was smashing James Caan's leg with a baseball bat? Hell to the no. They were thinking about what a crazy bitch she was. And that, sirs, is acting.

Look, I don't understand what my point is anymore. Maybe I've insulted someone in this post, but I stand by my ground; plus-size actresses deserve just as much of a shot to make it big as anyone else, but they--like the rest of them--need to have the talent to back it up. And they can't make a career of playing the Fat Girl.

Thoughts? Give 'em to me.


margaret said...


1) What is "Mad Men" - I fell like I should know this.

2) I completly agree. In fact I was watching an episode of "FAT CAMP" from ABC Family and aside from wanting to throw my computer out the window due to the awful acting and scrip - Nikki came off as a sullen, rude person - a 180 from Ms Tracy who didn't care about her size. (I thought one message from Hairspray was lover yourself for who you are). But I agree with you - fat actresses shouldn't be pigeon holed b/c they're plus sized (ugh I hate that phrase) they should get other roles too. Although I do suggest that they not be made into 'role models'. I think our culture needs to start showing people of HEALTHY weight as good role models - not too fat or too skinny :)

But wonderful post.

Girl on a Mission said...

LOL I love you for this! This is soo true. This is one of the reasons I love America Ferrera (even though she has lost some weight now). She's played lots of parts that had nothing to do with her size. It's really annoying and uncomfortable to watch those fat movies.Glad I wasn't the only one who felt that way.

Jenny said...

I completely agree with you!

Simon said...


alana said...

"Although I do suggest that they not be made into 'role models'. I think our culture needs to start showing people of HEALTHY weight as good role models - not too fat or too skinny." I'm not even gonna touch on that subject cause you know how I feel about this subject and I don't want to get all bitchy up in here.

Other then that, I agree with you. This is actually a common issue you find on size acceptance sites and blogs. I think there's a thin line between appreciation and fetishization (is that even a word?).

Robby said...

So, this hits home for me more than I can even say. I'm going to rant for a while.
I have been fat my whole life. I blamed my parents and my teachers and my friends and anyone but myself. People made fun of me and excluded me and, seriously, I didn't even REALIZE I was on the heavier side until I started losing weight.
I stopped eating. I ate less. I didn't eat much at all.
I lost 30 pounds and a few more, and now I'm here at Today and I still feel fat.
I know I'm not fat. Not anymore. Every day someone tells me I look great, and the only thing I'm thinking is, "Shut up. You think I used to be fat."
I have such a love/hate relationship with food and my body and it is an everyday struggle and it is shows like HUGE that make me feel happy I'm where I am and also unhappy because there are so many kids who are just falling, falling, and falling and NO ONE IS PICKING THEM UP.
People don't believe in themselves, so they eat. On the news, everyday, is a headline like HOW CAN WE SAVE THE FAT KIDS?
We need to stop talking about it, and actually do something.
I'm done ranting now. Thank you thank you thank you. I love you. I'm going to send your books this week. I'm so unreliable. :D

Padfoot and Prongs - Good Books Inc. said...

That was hilarious and I love you and completely agree.

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

You made really good points here. I am overweight and although I'm not a teenager, I know the stereotypes that people have in their minds about fat people. They look at us like we eat constantly (I don't), like we eat nothing but junk food (I don't), like we eat 5 pizzas and 8 cheeseburgers in one sitting (some might, I don't), and that we're lazy (I'm not). There are a myriad of reasons that people become obese and what people don't understand is that once you put it on, it's terribly difficult to get it off. And the ultimate stereotype about overweight people (like you mentioned) is that we are emotional eaters. Something bad happens, we immediately wolf down a half gallon of ice cream. That couldn't be further from the truth, in my case especially. When I'm upset, I can't eat because I feel sick to my stomach.

I'm in total agreement about the Hollywood thing. Heavy actresses should steer clear of the "overweight" roles. Kathy Bates was a good mention. Also, Camryn Manheim rarely plays a role that focuses on her being overweight. What I always love about Hollywood with movies and TV shows is that, for instance, if you see a club scene in a movie or show, there are never overweight people at that club. How unrealistic is that? I spent a fair amount of time in clubs back in the day and let's just say, they were not all beautiful people!

Sorry to ramble, but this is a topic I'm very interested and personally vested in. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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