- DEMI LYNCH -
I don't know about you but as a kid I was glued to the television.
Sports never made sense to me (still doesn't) and I wasn't great at making friends (still can't grasp the idea of 'small talk').
So I heavily relied on movies and T.V series as my key destination for entertainment.
But as I got older I realised not only did my favourite on-screen characters entertain me but they also taught me many useful lessons.
Like Georgia Nicolson from 'Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging' - she taught me never to shave my eyebrows and that I can measure the size of my breasts by doing the pencil test.
Or Patti Stanger from 'Millionaire Matchmaker' - she taught me the meaning of monogamy.
And Carrie Bradshaw from 'Sex and the City' - she taught me that you can have a designer walk-in wardrobe, an apartment on the Upper East Side, afford brunch with the gals several times a week just by freelancing for a newspaper once a week (mmmm.... might have to rethink that lesson).
But who would've guessed my beloved film and T.V characters also taught me how to hate every inch of my body.
You see all those years I plastered myself in front of the T.V or in front of my MacBook I was idiotically consuming hours upon hours of fat shaming.
Because once you go down that rabbit hole of diet talk and fat jokes you'll discover the media is guilty of fat shaming.
Here are just some examples of fat-shaming in movies and TV series I grew up watching as a teenager.
SEX AND THE CITY
Now although I love Sex and the City and I think it has done a lot for women, I do think the series and movies are VERY problematic. Don't even get me started on the transphobia, homophobia, racism and white privilege repeatedly shown in the franchise. But right now I want to talk about the fatphobia clearly evident in the 2008 film.
To set the scene Samantha arrives at Charlotte's baby shower and several looks and comments are made towards Samantha about her recent weight gain. She later confides to her friends and says "she eats so she doesn't cheat," but yet she is still victim to a fatphobic joke about her "gut." She even says to them, "I guess I didn't know how big I was until I saw the looks on your faces."
And Carrie's response is, "I say this with love but how could you not realise it?"
WHAT??!?!?!?! EXCUSE ME!?!?!?! Your friend is opening their heart to you about their struggles and all you care about is what she looks like?!?!?!
* Also did they really have to do a close up of her belly. REALLY??!?!?
BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY
It sucks because I ADORE Bridget Jones's Diary. But throughout the films Bridget was consistently fat shamed! Apparently she was overweight yet she weighed between 56kg - 58kg (according to the Bridget Jones books). So not only did the film make fun of Bridget's weight but they depicted her as fat WHEN SHE WASN'T EVEN FAT.
I mean this line from the film is easily the worst - when Bridget catches her partner cheating the first thing the mistress says is, "I thought you said she was thin." WHAT?!?!?!?! WHY WAS THIS EVEN NEEDED IN THE MOVIE?!?!?!
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS
I only watched a couple of seasons of this show and looking back I now remember why - DAMN it was problematic (don't even get me started on how they romanticised a teenage/teacher relationship). In the series the actress that played the character Hanna wore a fat suit in flashback scenes where she was "Hefty Hanna." Another character name Alison shows Hanna how to vomit after eating so she'll lose weight. And somehow Hanna becoming bulimic makes her slim and popular. Not cool guys not cool.
DEVIL WEARS PRADA
I understand the purpose of the film is to show us viewers the atrocious level of fatphobia in the world of fashion (talking to you Vogue). But as a chubby pre-teen hearing a slim woman being called fat, that messed me up. FOR YEARS I thought if I wanted to be worthy I had to be a dress size that wasn't double digits. I'll always remember Nigel telling Andy that "cellulite is one of the main ingredients in corn chowder." And of course Emily telling Andy about her new diet where she doesn't eat anything but a cube of cheese to prevent herself from fainting.
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
Yes I love the series like any other human on this planet. Yes I screamed at my television at the series finale (Ted did not deserve Robbin). And yes I do laugh at Barney being Barney. But let's be real - THERE ARE SO MANY FAT JOKES AGAINST WOMEN IN THIS SHOW. In particular made by womaniser Barney, often throughout the series he says a woman is not seen as attractive or worthy enough to sleep with him if she's fat.
THAT 70s SHOW
Two words: Big Rhonda.
Firstly the character isn't even fat, the actress is wearing a fat suit for crying out loud. I remember seeing this as a kid thinking "oh she's just called Big Rhonda because she's tall." But then when characters made jokes about her denting a car I knew it definitely had nothing to do with her height.
Though this series is funny it is very problematic. There are so many scenes that showcase homophobia, toxic masculinity, rape culture, slut shaming and most of all racism.
Throughout the film Jan is rarely pictured without food. And at one point a character name Putzie even pays Jan a ‘compliment’ by saying he thinks "there is more to her than just fat." Go to the 2:20 on the video below and you'll be gobsmacked for days at the fat shaming in this film. Not only that but the actress that plays Jan IS NOT EVEN FAT! So not only does Grease teach us that being fat is bad but also apparently you can be slim and still deemed as fat if you enjoy yummy food.
This was the weirdest story line. There's a woman name Natalie in the film and she works for the Prime Minister (they eventually grow romantic feelings for each-other which it in itself is problematic but I won't go there). Throughout the film other characters make disrespectful comments about Natalie's weight WHEN SHE IS NOT EVEN FAT. Natalie's ex-boyfriend apparently dumped her because "she was getting fat," a co-worker calls Natalie the "chubby girl" and Natalie's father calls her "plumpy." AND NONE OF THESE COMMENTS ARE EVER PULLED UP! Not only did this film normalise stupid fat jokes but it also perpetuated that a woman above a size 10 is automatically deemed as fat.
Last but not least on this fatphobic list is Friends. And I bet you know exactly what part of the show I am going to critique - FAT MONICA.
For those that have been living under a rock and haven't seen Friends let me briefly explain to you all the significance of Fat Monica. Monica is one of the main six characters in the show and throughout the series there are flashbacks of when the characters were in high school. In high school Monica was fat. So the other characters constantly make fun of her Fat Monica days. The actress wears a terrible fat suit and is constantly the butt of the joke. There is even an episode that shows what if Monica never lost the weight. And it depicts Monica as this undateable virgin all because she stayed fat.
Yep apparently if you're fat you're unfuckable, AND if you're a virgin you're a loser. HOW WAS THIS OKAY TO PUT ON TELEVISION!?
Enjoyed this story? Then check out "Thoughts I Have During Sex As A Fat Girl."
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