Movies + TV

Really Funny

I wish TV shows and movies didn’t make me feel like being fat is a joke.

Illustration by Caitlin H.

Illustration by Caitlin H.

When the movie Shallow Hal came out in theaters, I didn’t know how to articulate why I didn’t find it as funny as my friends did. Why I, 11 years old, in a baggy T-shirt and squeezed into my cinema seat, wanted to hide, while everyone around me guffawed at the onscreen hijinks. But now I know: That was the first time I looked at a movie screen and saw an image that looked like me. And that image fucking sucked.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, let me save you the pain: Shallow Hal is about a guy called Hal who falls in love with Rosemary, a fat woman played by Gwyneth Paltrow in a fat suit. The “joke” is that Hal has been hypnotized to see Rosemary as thin, but everyone else knows her true size. She breaks every chair she sits on and her cannonballs empty a swimming pool (LOLOLOL fat people, amirite? Why do they even bother leaving the house!), but he thinks she’s hot. When Hal finally sees her as she really is, he becomes a better man and learns not to judge people on appearances—because he fell in love with a fat girl he thought was thin and therefore learned that fat people actually have brains and hearts and feelings and personalities! What a hero!

The reactions Gwyneth’s character got from people (aside from Hal) were very familiar to me. I’ve gotten the same reactions all my life: at the pool or at the food court or in the school gym or on a plane when I, too, had the gall to be FIP (fat in public). This movie, though not deep or heartfelt, also touches on something that is very real for a lot of fat girls: the idea that a thin, pretty version of yourself exists underneath your fat, and if you only bothered to excavate her, you might be happy/loved/successful. I call this the “but you’ve got such a pretty face” syndrome, based on comments I’ve heard my entire life—from relatives, from movies, from TV—that say in no uncertain terms, “You’re not good enough now, but with a little work, you could be.”

We (people, women, Rookie) talk a lot about media representations of women and how they affect the lives of real, nonfamous women and girls. We celebrate Beyoncé’s power and her unapologetic, take-no-prisoners attitude (in her life and her art) and the messages these things send to young girls. We talk about the pressure that unrealistic beauty ideals in magazines and other mass media puts on girls, and how that affects their self-esteem. But it’s harder to talk about the way fat women are represented on TV and in film, and how these representations affect fat women (like me) IRL, because there are so few examples of our being seen as anything besides walking, talking truffle-shuffle jokes. It’s hard to work out how to do something properly when it’s so rarely been done at all. And it’s really, really hard to be OK with your body when you’re constantly being reminded that it’s something for other people to laugh at.

The “pretty face” message was stunningly, heartbreakingly brought to the screen in episode two of the British TV series My Mad Fat Diary, one of very few shows on the air ever that have featured an authentic and multidimensional fat female character. In this episode, that character, Rae Earl, a 16-year-old girl, has just been released from a psychiatric hospital following a suicide attempt. We see her get into an argument with her best friend Chloe (who is thin, conventionally beautiful, and outgoing), then we see her weigh herself and hear bits from her diary in voiceover: “I am a body dysmorphic, without the dysmorphic. I am bulimic without the sick. I am fat.” What follows is a dream sequence in which Rae lowers a zipper that runs down her back and sheds her “fat self,” revealing a curvy lingerie model underneath. She drags her flabby shell down the stairs, takes it into the backyard, and sets it on fire.

I followed Rae’s story obsessively throughout the show’s first season, because I saw so many memories in it of my own teenage years. When Rae lies down on the grass near the boy she likes, tugs at her T-shirt, and positions her hands across her stomach in a subtle attempt to hide its size, I replay in my mind scenes of myself doing those exact same things. When Rae struggles to find a swimsuit to wear to a pool party, I’m transported back to tear-filled changing rooms, where I relive my terror at the thought of anyone from school seeing me without my clothes on.

But Rae is more than her insecurities and issues. She loves music and tells jokes. She’s a supportive friend and occasionally acts out as a bratty teenager. To me, Rae is a wonderful fat female character because her weight is important to her back story, but it’s never more important than her obsessive love of Madchester bands or her kind, sensitive personality. She makes us laugh by telling jokes, not by eating, struggling to walk, falling over, breaking chairs, or doing other Fat Person Things. She is Rae first, fat later.

In this, Rae is kind of the inverse of the roles Rebel Wilson has been playing lately. After appearing briefly (but memorablymemorably) in Bridesmaids (more on that movie later), Wilson went on to star in the a cappella comedy Pitch Perfect, in the dark comedy Bachelorette, and on her own TV series, Super Fun Night, which is on the air now. In those three roles, Wilson’s weight informs her character. Pitch Perfect’s Fat Amy hates exercise and, in the movie’s uplifting climax, tells the thin girls on her singing team that she loves them because they have “fat hearts.” Becky, Wilson’s character in Bachelorette, is a mope whose friends tread all over her and tear her wedding dress in half when two of them get inside it and express their jealous disbelief that she’s about to marry a handsome guy. Kimmie Boubier, Wilson’s character in Super Fun Night, is the butt of almost every joke (many of them about Spanx—I counted five in the first episode alone).

I wanted to love this show, just like I wanted to love Pitch Perfect (I did love Bachelorette, despite its characters’ awful treatment of Becky, because I find Adam Scott singing “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” irresistible, and I love seeing Kirsten Dunst being a hot mess), but they both just left me feeling shortchanged—especially Super Fun Night. After all the years of crappy role models, I was so psyched to see an actress—who, like me, is a fat Australian girl obsessed with Salt-N-Pepa and improv comedy—make it to the top of the comedy world, where she could’ve pitched any show she wanted to. Imagine my disappointment when I saw her, Super Fun Night’s star and one of its writers and executive producers, telling the world to keep laughing at the miserable fat girl who loses the handsome love interest to her skinny rival.

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65 Comments

  • dessertstealer January 10th, 2014 3:27 PM

    I love this article. I hate fat jokes. They only make people feel inferior.

    rafwillyolivier.blogspot.com

  • Emmie January 10th, 2014 3:33 PM

    My Mad Fat Diary is one of the best shows about a teenaged girl I’ve seen. It’s very relatable for any kid.

  • angstandstars January 10th, 2014 3:38 PM

    We celebrate Beyoncé’s power and her unapologetic, take-no-prisoners attitude (in her life and her art) and the message these things send to young girls (especially young black girls).

    I’ve recently seen an interview of Beyonce on E, and she said she was scared because she got all this weight while she was pregnant and she didn’t wanted to look like that for her husband, she wanted to look good like girls in her favorite night clubs. So I don’t understand why Beyonce is a heroe for women that are different, I love her music, but I think she kind of uses us. She represents the stereotype, the rule.

    • sparklemotion January 15th, 2014 2:06 PM

      I agree! I am still at a loss for how Beyonce does anything different from any other pop star in terms of her sexuality and race and empowering women. In the tv show, which I’ve only watched part of, the description of a woman shedding her fat self and revealing a more slender and “sexy” woman underneath could be paralleled with the curvy yet slender body of women in the media, like Beyonce and others, that continue to show us curves are ok, as long as they’re not fat rolls, that having an ass is ok, as long as its round and proportionate to the body…there’s still so much that is not being moved forward in terms of women and their bodies. I don’t think holding up these celebrities as examples of empowerment is the way to go. These people capitalize on selling themselves to us. They get richer while we stare and continue to wish we had the perfect body or the fame, to me that is the opposite of empowerment!

      • midnightcall January 24th, 2014 7:22 PM

        I agree with you on the weight issue with Beyonce but I do think she is empowering in terms of being a black female and being as powerful as she is.

  • streaked lights January 10th, 2014 3:48 PM

    I remember reading the My Mad Fat Diary book when i was a freshman in highschool, and even though it was set in another time period (I barely understood most of the references) I really related to Rae, and all the problems she faced.

    I’m happy they made the book into a tvshow, I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ll be sure to now!

    http://www.foxville.tumblr.com

  • Chloe22 January 10th, 2014 3:57 PM

    People who say fat jokes don’t have anything else to be proud of except being ”thin”, so they go on big ego trips to the detriment of others. And that Gwyneth Paltrow movie sounds horrible… her whole ”i only eat lettuce and qual eggs thing” is so shallow!
    http://rhinestonemoon.blogspot.com/

    • CharlieChanFan January 12th, 2014 1:06 PM

      “People who say fat jokes don’t have anything else to be proud of except being ”thin””

      OMG I love you for saying this! I’ve been fat my whole life and I never thought of jerks this way. You have pretty much blown my mind. It’s so simple! It’s like, why did I never think of that before?? You are awesome, thank you.

  • cvallis January 10th, 2014 4:09 PM

    I love this article to the moon and back. Really well written :)

    Before this article I couldn’t quite explain why I found Melissa McCarthy a cut above the rest. You have just shed some light on a really grey area for me.

    Thank you!

  • droppingdaisies January 10th, 2014 4:10 PM

    absolutely loooove this article. my mad fat diary is amazing and i’m so glad u brought it up! there’s so many relatable aspects to it. great job :-))))))))

  • Sphinx January 10th, 2014 4:42 PM

    Gilmore Girls will always have a special place in my heart (specially the third and fourth season)… Sookie is a great character, and you’re totally right, her weight is never an issue!
    She’s not perfect, she’s a perfectionist and she’s clumsy, but nothing in her personality and actions and relationships are defined by her weight.
    I really liked My Mad Fat Diary too, but obviously her being fat is a central piece of the show. But it’s always pointing out the insecurities she feels and it’s never part of some joke.
    Here in Brazil there’s a soap opera currently showing, and I guess the writer wanted to do something nice by including a smart, fun, fat , female character, but then he made her weight so important in the story that it got ridiculous. There she is, this grown woman who’s never been in a relationship “because she’s fat” and when a attractive man comes along and says he likes her and wants to marry her etc etc (they do marry), some guy asks about of could he love her, when she’s so fat? To which he replied: Oh, she’s so great in other aspects that it makes up for it. ugh
    (at least they split after that)

  • Sho-Sho January 10th, 2014 5:01 PM

    This is such an important and fantastic article! Thank you so much for writing this Brodie!!!
    x

  • M.Rose January 10th, 2014 5:12 PM

    <3 <3 I loved this! & I'm really glad My Mad Fat Diary is on Rookie' s radar. For me it is literally the best thing ever.

  • sparklingbutterfly January 10th, 2014 6:01 PM

    this was such an incredible article. i am conventionally attractive and i will admit i go through a sense of awkwardness when “fat”/bigger friends say they are unhappy with how they look, how am i supposed to say anything to make them feel better when i am almost like those ads telling them they’re not good enough? luckily there are tumblrs and articles like this and maybe there is some way for every woman to feel like their looks are secondary, i don’t even have the right to feel as though i look better than anyone else, because we are all beautiful because of the type of person we are.

  • mangointhesky January 10th, 2014 6:21 PM

    This is sooo good!

    http://perfectlittledaisy.blogspot.com

  • blueolivia January 10th, 2014 6:29 PM

    yes yes yes! this was beautifully written. thanks brodie c:

  • tweedcoats January 10th, 2014 6:31 PM

    I LOVE My Mad Fat Diary. I didn’t really know what the show was about but I liked seeing a different perspective as the main character. Rae is just as easy to like as her “skinny” friends and she goes through the same things they do. I am very excited to see how her relationship with Finn kicks off in the next season!

  • rockwrenroll January 10th, 2014 6:37 PM

    I, like, hugged my laptop to my chest after reading this piece because yes man. Yessss. I agree with everything said here, and I thank you for saying. It shouldn’t be so hard to understand that fat bodies are bodies and all bodies are okay. Sigh. Anyway, I love Rae SO MUCH (ugh when does next season air, gosh). Also, this is why Rebel hurts my heart so much, because I feel like she has/had this wonderful opportunity to do something great, but fell a bit short. Anywho, thank you again for this article. I’ll be sending it to friends.

  • Tothelighthouse93 January 10th, 2014 6:56 PM

    I’m sorry but I had to share my rage with some other people who I thought would share it.

    Why in an era saturated with so much information, so much knowledge right at our fingertips, a constant stream of stimulating debate, are issues such as weight, feminism and rape a source of derision??

    This is what angered me so much:
    http://www.beyondretro.com/en/catalog/product/view/id/84748/s/t-shirt-purplee00131479/category/206/

    Described as a ‘brilliant’ tee shirt, marketed on a website I used to think was wonderful and exciting. The ‘brilliant’ joke on the front: “I’m just begging to get graped” (it’s a purple tee shirt get it? Ha ha ha). I feel sick.

  • JayZ January 10th, 2014 7:45 PM

    I LOVE MMFD. That is all.

  • tangratoe January 10th, 2014 8:02 PM

    Amazing article. I’m so glad that this was published, especially the part about Pitch Perfect, since the whole “Rebel Wilson hating cardio” or whatever thing really made me question the movie’s quality and value, and I think that too often people look at her character as the holy grail of portrayals of bigger women, which isn’t very fair.

    • lydiamerida January 10th, 2014 9:07 PM

      Totally agree. I feel like everyone sees her as a role model for fat girls, when really she’s just a girl with no real redeeming qualities who happens to be overweight and just isolates and makes fun of the people who she is supposed to “represent” or something. She’s sort of funny, but spends too much time using jokes about spanx and binging on potato chips

      http://cat-witch.tumblr.com/

  • honorarygilmoregal January 10th, 2014 8:14 PM

    Even though I’m not fat, I still thought this was an interesting read. I love seeing characters that don’t let themselves be entirely defined by one thing, such as weight. And now I want to check out that My Mad Fat Diary!

    Also: Sookie and Melissa McCarthy in general are great. She’s also this tough, awesome detective in The Heat, with Sandra Bullock!

    http://perkstobeinginfinite.tumblr.com

  • Tippyflamingo January 10th, 2014 9:43 PM

    Really good article. This subject needs more discussion. Sometimes I feel so much anger for some of our fellow-humans and it makes me want to get crazy and kick judgement-fool shins but I think the best way to address it really is to be calm and question bullies and make them think about why they’re being so unnecessarily cruel and if that’s really who they want to be.
    The majority of media seems to be controlled by people who aren’t sending the right messages and I’m so glad there’s Rookie for groovy love bugs to come and be cool and celebrate good things <3

  • Abby January 10th, 2014 10:10 PM

    I’m actually crying. Thank you, so much. I’ve been trying to express this for so long but never knew how. I wish I could get everyone in the world to read this.

  • jkate January 10th, 2014 10:19 PM

    I agree and I really like this article. For me, I also take issue with the portrayal of thin women as fat. Thin women get laughs for acting fat- eating too much in an endearing way or hating exercise (but still being an “appropriate and attractive” size.)

    I’m curious to know what you all think of the Mindy Project. I love this show, but I question whether or not it’s sending the right message. It harps a lot on Mindy overeating and being 15 pounds overweight (as if that’s so terrible.) In the most recent episode, the premise was that Mindy needed to look good in a bikini. There was a joke that only sad moms wear tankinis that cover everything. Mindy constantly says on the show that she’s a size 8 and that it isn’t that bad– but what about anyone above an 8? And what about all the women who don’t need to wear a bikini and look good for a man? It’s just such a close minded message that’s trying to seem open. The show is so funny, and I don’t think it needs the fat jokes.

    • kforkarli January 11th, 2014 1:43 AM

      I wondered the same thing about the amount they talk about Mindy’s weight. I think a lot of the time the show is trying to reflect on what people say about Mindy in real life and so by including it in the show it is kind of like an ‘up yours’ to them. But agree it is discussed a bit too much at times – no one cares. She has great style and is funny.

      • midnightcall January 24th, 2014 7:41 PM

        In a way, I think she’s just trying to address the common (yet misguided) concerns of “overweight” women. She essentially plays herself because she writes a majority of the episodes but I don’t think her character realizes that what she obsesses over, she doesn’t need to obsess over.
        A redeeming moment came recently when her coworker said she’s beautiful just the way she is. It’s supremely unfortunate that she had to be told by a man in order to come to her senses for a moment. I do agree she hasn’t been the greatest representative, though. Hope I don’t sound like an idiot!

  • llamalina January 10th, 2014 10:27 PM

    This article was brilliant! I never really got into Pitch Perfect or found Rebel Wilson as amazing as everyone says for the exact same reason: she literally could have done anything she wanted with the position she got to in comedy, and she still chooses the fat jokes. This is really fantastic and I love how you related it to the way the media has made waves in the way homosexuality and racial stereotypes are now seen in society. The media is powerful and it could definitely make a change in this.

    http://llamalina.blogspot.com

  • Nahs January 10th, 2014 11:20 PM

    This article hits me on a way you can’t even imagine. All my life I’ve had to struggle with this and you put all my thougts in words :D

    I’m an illustrator, and some good news is that at least in the cartoon and comic area there have been some really amazing advances.

    For example I just love what Adventure Time does with all its female characters, and the fact that it uses the “princess” concept and gives it a turn to stand up to diversity including body tipes. The same goes in Steven Universe (and almost all this study’s works include a wide range of body tipes which is awosome)

    Another cool example is the work of Ross Campbell http://www.greenoblivion.com/
    who makes comics in which the characters are mostly chubby girls (he experiments with all tipes of body figures). He even has a comic where the protagonist is a chubby lesbian black girl who fights zombies and is super baddass.

    Other example is what Game of Thrones and GRR Martin has done with female characters, specially Brienne of Tarth who is the baddass from all baddasses ladies, and, if not extrictly “fat” she is quite big
    And to finish, there’s the manga “POCHAMANI” which is about a fat girl who gets asked out by the school hottie who is trully inloved whith her and is not shy at all in demonstrating it publicly (this is one of the first attempts in manga dealing about body image, insecurityes, etc with a character like this).
    So I hope younger generations will be more open minded about body image and this is huge help :D I hope I can contribute too making awsome art as the above.

  • marineo January 10th, 2014 11:33 PM

    what about donna meagle from parks and rec? she’s a really funny and all around great character, and I don’t think her weight has ever been brought up at all. Plus she’s a badass
    This was a great article all around. :)

    • jkate January 11th, 2014 9:38 AM

      True, but on the other hand, I think her character is the least explored. I feel I know the least about her and she’s never had a romantic storyline- they briefly show men or reference them.

  • DianeK January 10th, 2014 11:56 PM

    This is fantastic. I totally agree with you on a lot of things you said, and I think I’ll check out my mad fat diary!

  • mariasnow January 11th, 2014 12:18 AM

    When I first started watching Mad Men, I was very confused. Why did everyone act like Joan was so super hot? Couldn’t they see that she was not thin? Why was she strutting around in all those tight dresses that only emphasized her chest, hips, and booty? The reason that I was confused is that I could wear that lady’s clothes. My whole life I had never seen anyone with my body shape and size depicted as not a joke, not gross, and it just made my brain melt. Now I’m just so thankful for the existence of Christina Hendricks. I wear tops and dresses that fit now.

    I really appreciate this article. It’s so damaging. This stuff just seeps into you. On the one hand, I’m glad that something was steering me toward being the funny lady that I am but when I was old enough to start having relationships, I felt like it was all some ridiculous joke or I’d remember the “haha a guy is in love with a fat girl!” scenes and feel shame when I should have only felt happiness and blissed-out lovefeelings.

    I do think it’s going to get better. Fat women are taken more seriously in English media and they’re more realistic about women’s bodies than the USA. Still, it’s baby steps at this point but baby steps are better than no steps at all!

  • kforkarli January 11th, 2014 1:40 AM

    Bro this is probably my favourite thing you have written. I can’t agree more about Sookie and hate that now that Melissa McCarthy is famous, people keep going on about her weight. WHO CARES?! Lorelai Gilmore is about as snarky as they can be and SHE didn’t care.

  • Raissomat January 11th, 2014 2:24 AM

    I could not watch that sandwich-sex scene, it made me want to puke. why? Sandwich & body & eating like an animal. Same for the food-poisoning scenes. If they would have just made love I would have been fine. Also that line when the guy tells the main character he fought off some raccoons to try the cake? That was also disgusting. You see, that movie had me hide my face a lot. But the story I liked!!

    I’m just not into that american humor (puke & feces = fun and food waste=hilarious) (example: the chubby bunny game). It’s just another mentality!!

  • arkenstones January 11th, 2014 2:49 AM

    Thanks so much for this article, Brodie! It’s written so beautifully, made me really stop and think and contains an important message I think everyone should read. Xx

  • maxrey January 11th, 2014 3:11 AM

    Thank you for this, Brodie!!! I often have these same thoughts about television and movies, so it’s good to see an article on it.

    I do wonder what you guys think of Mike and Molly, though? I don’t know if they’re as bad about it now, but they make quite a bit of fat jokes on that show, though I don’t think it’s quite as bad as Rebel Wilson stuff.

  • ellamay January 11th, 2014 9:13 AM

    Loved this article. I can totally relate in some way.

    Ella

    http://ellamayho.blogspot.com

  • littlediamonds January 11th, 2014 10:47 AM

    This article is so good. Rae is amazing and so relatable – she’s one of the rare examples of teenagers on TV that actually look, talk and act like a teennager, or at least the ones i know and see everyday – and My Mad Fat Diary is so fantastic. I love the scene that you mentioned (i remember that i cried when i first whatched it), it’s really powerful and moving. Sookie was also great and the fact that her weigh was never mentioned as a joke or actually never mentioned at all was one of my favorite things about GG. I really wish there were more examples ike these two.

  • Florencey January 11th, 2014 12:42 PM

    can we have a round of applause here? this is perfect xx

  • chawi January 11th, 2014 3:38 PM

    I love My Mad Fat Diary, I cannot wait for season two next month!! And Melissa McCarthy is just hilarious in Bridesmaids!

    http://sunshines-and-blue-skies.blogspot.co.uk/

  • mander January 11th, 2014 3:44 PM

    “This shit matters to me. ” Very cool, and great article.

    Rae, beyond weight, is just one of the best teenage characters ever.

  • Isil January 11th, 2014 4:16 PM

    I loved this article, My Mad Fat Diary is one of my favourite TV shows, and I was waiting for it to mentioned in Rookie someday :D

    http://isilmonika.tumblr.com

  • lagolamour January 11th, 2014 5:57 PM

    Ugh- Super Fun Night makes me craaaaaaazy!
    I had such high hopes for that show, but the fat jokes just strike me as reactionary and offensive, especially since it’s her show, her character, her writing.

    While she gladly and rightfully takes advantage of women’s equality by positioning her character as a successful and educated law professional, as opposed to a lazy secretary or dependent housewife or dim waitress (pick your favorite stereotype), she then blows it by completely embracing the most toxic and lowest-common-denominator tropes about fat people. What’s the angle here?

    Who needs that kind of reinforcement of hurtful and often erroneous stereotypes? In what way is it helping her or anyone else? “Hey, I’m a well paid lawyer but more importantly I’m fat and therefore deserving of unending ridicule!”

    I understand sitcoms are designed to be light entertainment, not morality and ethics lessons, but in this day and age I just can’t wrap my head around a person in her position actively embracing this toxic, stale, offensive material and offering it up of her own accord, with herself as the butt of the joke. It makes me sad.

  • Rhiannon January 11th, 2014 7:26 PM

    Melissa McCarthy is beee-rilliant – if she stars in something, I will watch it without question!
    I agree with your comments about Rebel Wilson, she does “work it” but at the same time I feel like she is making fun of herself and whether she intends this or not, sometimes it sheds a negative light on people of her size.

  • elliecp January 12th, 2014 4:41 AM

    this is so important. fat needs to stop being a joke – in fact in needs to stop being anything. why is it necessary to even consider someone’s size? It is no different to joking about their hair colour or race, and shouldn’t happen.

    http://roseandvintage.blogspot.com/

  • rachelsea January 12th, 2014 12:57 PM

    Another show where body size comes up is Drop Dead Diva. In the show, Deb, a shallow model, dies in a car accident and is sent back to earth in the body of Jane, a “plus-sized” lawyer. It’s interesting the way that Deb, who is initially horrified to be “fat”, learns to value her new body and mind as Jane.

  • Lady Celia January 13th, 2014 5:19 AM

    Melissa McCarthy in the Heat was amazing as well. I was reminded of one scene where she tries to make Sandra Bullock “fit in” in a nightclub and she is portrayed as the more attractive one who does not need to wear specific clothes to have her sensuality come through. Sandra’s character worries about her weight and appearance more than Melissa’s (although neither should have to). I loved the movie for a lot of reasons; it’s just really funny, and it shows two awesome female characters and their friendship without being defined by men or by romance in general.

  • unefillecommetoi January 13th, 2014 6:56 PM

    As a film student this makes me feel really inspired and responsible for the way I imagine my characters and cast actors. Media impacts actions in ways we don’t normally think about. Thanks for this article!!

  • ellamccartney January 14th, 2014 12:30 AM

    I love this article so so so so so much. thank you for writing this!! so many heartstring twangs. ugh, the media can be so disgusting. :~(

    • lotusmarina January 14th, 2014 4:10 AM

      totally agree. i also love how this article pinpoints what is wrong with the whole ‘fat amy’ joke in ‘pitch perfect’. i tried explaining it to my friends (who thought that it was hilarious- and i suppose she was pretty funny, to an extent): that a character called FAT-something-rather, really did put down large people. why didn’t that other girl called herself skinny-chloe?

  • velvetqueen January 14th, 2014 9:00 PM

    I’m an obese person and I don’t take offense to what’s put out there in comedy skits, films, etc. Perhaps it’s from years of being desensitized. I’m also an Arab Muslim and I find myself laughing along to terrorist jokes, and even making them myself. I find these jokes funny because they are offensive and I am smart enough to understand that they are based on STEREOTYPES! and that some people out there sadly believe in these stereotypes, which is even more laughable.

    Blacks, Indians, Arabs, homosexuals, lesbians, religious people, southerns, etc.

    Everyone is picked on in the media, there are stereotypes for just about everyone, even those who seemingly fit into the conventional.

    We can either be totally p.c. or just let loose and laugh at ourselves and one another, and not take offense to those jokes which make us uncomfortable. It’s the fact that jokes are offensive which make people find them funny. if they weren’t offensive, people would not find them funny. We just have to learn to laugh at ourselves. Just my 2 cents. I think the MAJORITY of people know the time and place to make jokes, and quickly stop if they realize someone is offended.

    • onewithahippiesmile January 15th, 2014 11:15 PM

      Unfortunately, these jokes are not only jokes, cause media influences a lot of people that dont reflect about them to have the idea that these stereotypes r real, and it has already gone to common sense, generating prejudice against all these categories. Not all people have the capacity to criticize them like u.

  • borogirl January 15th, 2014 7:57 PM

    Have you seen Huge? I found that one of the best shows I’ve ever seen about body image.

    Would love to see you write on it one day.

    Of course it got cancelled prematurely :(

  • onewithahippiesmile January 15th, 2014 11:10 PM

    This is SO one of the best articles ive ever read on rookie. Srlsy, this is an issue that is often a taboo, but we have to get over it and see what these kindd of roles in the media are doing with girls self esteems, and how it should really be changed! But i think we r going our way, girls! Theres now much more visibility and respect to black girls on tb and so, so lets do it for the fat girls as well!being fat is not a joke. And it is beautiful as well!

  • negasamurai January 18th, 2014 2:04 PM

    I can relate so much to this being a fat girl. And Sookie was such a role model to me because her weight didn’t matter at all, and that was awesome. And Rae os one of my favourite characters ever because her being fat isn’t ignored but is not her main characteristic. I hope the representation for fat women in the media Will be more realistic in the future.

  • Chorvelynne January 22nd, 2014 10:43 PM

    I was just incredibly moved by this. Thank you for writing this.

  • vco January 29th, 2014 2:19 AM

    I adore this article and agree wholeheartedly. If anyone watches Parks and Recreation, the character Donna Meagle (played by Retta) also promotes positive messages about body image, in my opinion. Donna is both overweight and a PoC, yet she is portrayed as intelligent, competent, witty, and popular with her coworkers. Donna is also super-confident and maintains a successful love life as well – in all honesty, she is probably the most stable character on the show. Of course Parks and Rec is a comedy, so her appearance and race are subtly exaggerated to mold her character, but these aspects quickly become irrelevant when her personality shines during nearly every scene in which she is featured. As the only normal parks department employee surrounded by morons and lunatics, Donna is the one with whom we identify most. Thus, we love Donna for her brilliant reactions to the absurd situations in which she finds herself. Her remarks and observations often serve as some of the best comedic highlights in the show.

  • erinxo January 29th, 2014 8:06 AM

    This is a brilliant article. Thank you so much for writing it and appreciating the show.

  • delaxyannie February 16th, 2014 1:09 PM

    I’ve never had an article resonate with me more. This is my favorite thing ever!!!

  • Glitterscabs March 25th, 2014 6:44 PM

    Because of this I took a chance and began watching My Mad Fat Diary and it brought so much into my life. Rae’s story is almost terrifyingly similar to what I’ve been dealing with for the past five years and it doesn’t make me feel like joke. The way she views other people and herself if admirable at times and I cant seem to stop thinking about what a great show MMFD is and how great of a character Rae is. Thanks Rookie! xoxox Sam