So, here at Fattitude we have decided that rather than gripe and rave about the media we see all week to each other – we are going to share our raves and rants with you! If you think there is something we’ve missed that we so have to see – let us know by either commenting below or messaging us on facebook!
Viri: I spent every day this week passing an ad in the subway for the new Muppet show. The ad stars Miss Piggy while she takes a selfie and states, “Just another tv show starring an egotistical pig”. I’m not nearly the muppet connoisseur that I should be. I love these characters, but it wasn’t until we started Fattitude interviews that I realized what an icon and complicated conversation Miss Piggy is in the body positive community. My first reaction to this poster was “is this positive?” mainly because my impression was that there was no sense of attacking her weight, just her display of overwhelming confidence, something many people in the body positive community admire. I read it as a call to stars of reality shows, of all sizes, simply obsessed with their own image. Being obsessed with your image – in a positive way – when you are in a larger body challenges our diet culture. However, ego is ego. It passes confidence into a realm of selfish and with that, a sense of ignorance. This morning, I was still perplexed about the announcement of Miss Piggy and Kermit breaking up so I googled it to try and understand. What I found was that Kermit has already moved on to another pig, Denise. Dare I say that Denise looks thinner? My support of Miss Piggy as a body positive icon has always been troubled by the idea that this embodiment comes in the form of a pig. But that’s just mean to pigs, they’re wonderful creatures and it’s our society that has pushed them into the “pigsty”. We need to see everything all the time in pop culture to “normalize” diversity, and there is certainly a lack of egotistical (literal) pigs on TV so as far as I’m concerned, I support Miss Piggy in this ad. As for Denise? I’m just glad she lives in a world that has Miss Piggy too.
Lindsey: This week I just have an itsy bitsy but totally irritating moment to share. At my house we are binge watching Ray Donavan. We are in season two and the head of the FBI in LA, Cochran, gets the call from the president that he is being promoted to Washington. His wife, Donna Cochran, played by Sherilyn Fenn is super excited – then she says I have to lose weight – and then she goes back to being excited that he’s being promoted. Now, tell me – WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF HER ANNOUNCING THAT WEIGHT LOSS WAS NEEDED??? It develops her character in no way – because her character is already well established at this point. Literally, it was just like hey – let’s throw in some pointless fat-shaming so we can maintain the status quo of fat hatred in the world. And, PS, Sherilyn Fenn isn’t even fat. ARGH.
Melissa M: I was really looking forward to tuning in to Dr. Ken on ABC this Fall. In case you haven’t seen the promo, Ken Jeong plays a medical doctor.
I think Ken is funny and had high hopes for this show. However, after seeing the latest trailer, I will not be tuning in. In the first scene Dr. Ken is in his office with a fat gentleman on the exam table. He remarks on the patient’s symptoms – ankle swelling and shortness of breath – and then gives him the rude prognosis that he is “fat”. If that ‘lazy medicine’ and fat phobia wasn’t offensive enough, when the patient answers back, “but I barely eat”, Dr. Ken responds, “the only thing fatter than you are your lies.” I am all for having a good laugh, but not when it propagates the disrespect, stereotype and hatred for a group of people. Bye bye Dr. Ken!
Mandy: In the past few weeks my husband and I have been preparing for our upcoming trip to Universal Studios Florida and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Go Hufflepuff! It’s been a long time since I read the books, and I was shocked upon revisiting them at the number of fat jokes and fat stereotypes contained within. In one scene Harry’s cousin Dudley is described with fat legs, fat bottom, and fat arms in about 3 consecutive sentences. Other characters such as Peter Pettigrew and Dolores Umbridge are described similarly. Granted the characters she’s describing aren’t especially likeable, but that is my whole point- I wish J.K Rowling wouldn’t push the implication that fat is evil, mean, or something to be scared of. These books are loved by people of all ages, but are especially geared toward children, and it makes me sad that kids may grow up thinking that fat people (or themselves if they are fat) are bad and deserve to be punished.
Fiesty Fox: For the longest time I’ve resisted allowing my daughter to watch Disney movies because I didn’t want her to internalize the perfect-ness of the female protagonists and feel like such prettiness (and quite frankly, sexiness) is a requirement for her as she gets older. Recently, as she nears school-age, I’ve relented a bit, but remained picky about which movies I let her see.
Today we watched “Tangled” for the first time. I was impressed by how Rapunzel is portrayed as such a smart, resourceful and strong character. One thing, however, about the movie has stuck in my craw. When Rapunzel’s captor is listing to her all the reasons she shouldn’t leave the locked tower she includes the fact that Rapunzel’s gotten chubby. I suppose it isn’t such a big deal, but it struck me. Why do writers always have to go to size discrimination? And so what if she’s chubby? Is the message that chubbiness should keep us from breaking out of the worlds in which we might feel trapped or stuck? And, for those of us who grew up on Disney, these seemingly innocuous, yet unnecessary, messages most certainly have contributed to what has made us afraid of doing exactly what we want because we fear we might, in fact, be too chubby.
In 2014 a Virginia teen took on this very cause by launching a petition asking Disney to add a plus-size princess to their line-up, citing the importance of young and impressionable girls seeing someone on screen they could relate and look up to. It is so frustrating that this is such an abhorrent idea to the very people who make a career out of bringing happiness to children. Come on Disney!
When my dad was a little boy he went with his family on vacation to Hood Canal. My grandpa gave my dad a coin to go get himself a soda, but the soda pop machine took his coin and didn’t deliver the drink. He was trying everything he could to get his soda to come out, when he suddenly felt someone tap his shoulder. He turned around and saw a man kindly offering him another coin to try. The man was Walt Disney. I can’t imagine that such a kind fellow (that sounds like Disney language, doesn’t it?) intended to sexualize and hold back generations of women to come.
Tell me what you have your children watch! In the meantime we will be sticking to Sesame Street and Calliou. (Save me!)
Amanda: (Disclaimer – not about fat bodies!) Recently, I signed up for Netflix’s Streaming plan. Let’s be honest: I have been getting more than my money’s worth. I ADORE stand-up. It’s been fantastic exploring new material; however, I have stumbled across jokes (and entire sets) that set off alarm bells. For example, Netflix suggested I watch a Bill Burr’s “I’m Sorry You Feel That Way.” From the title, I expected some crassness; however, one bit especially jolted me. Bill Burr defends a bar for posting a joke about domestic violence (tying it into “domestic beers”). Burr rails against those who protested the sign. The foundation of the argument in defense of this joke lie in the fact that such a joke would not persuade or spur a sensible person to engage in such abusive behavior. Well, DUH, Bill, but you’re missing the point. Some REAL reasons folks might hate this joke 1) as such violence is all too common, people might find a reminder of the violence they or a loved one suffered as traumatic and, moreover, tasteless and rude. 2) Making light of such deadly violence reinforces its presence, as it softens and distorts the horrific reality of this problem. It’s not a funny joke. It’s strange that a comedian would defend a bad joke, let alone some morons who think it’s harmless to make light of people getting beat up in their own homes. We’re all very sorry you feel that way, Bill.
Kairo: Did you watch the VMAs? Someone somehow at MTV thought it was okay to make light of police brutality via @RebelWilson. NOT COOL. It may as well have been unintentional given the factors: she referenced a HIP HOP Movie while preventing a HIP HOP Award (Fuck the [stripper] Police was in reference to Straight Outta Compton). Here in lies the problem… the chorus ”Fuck the Police” as described by the artists NWA through countless interviews and the movie itself were about POLICE BRUTALITY. Even if they were using the movie reference as a joke they are one in the same. I wish someone, anyone would have said dude this is a shitty idea. #TotallyDisappointed What makes me hate this even more is that her legs looked fucking gorgeous in that outfit!
* This blog post is the opinion of Fattitude interns – and does not necessarily reflect the position of Fattitude, Inc.