I’ve been binge-watching New Girl on Netflix (don’t judge me too harshly – I know it’s a terrible show, I’m just in a bad state of mind and want something stupid to kill time) and in the last episode I watched, there was a flashback scene to one of the male roommates, the currently-cut, working, sleeping-with-a-model Jewish frat boy, when he was fat. He was on the couch, making out with a girl, also fat. Of course, this scene was intended to be funny. Fat people are funny, right?
As someone who’s basically always been overweight, this portrayal of “fat people” on TV and in movies is quite aggravating. Rebel Wilson, Melissa McCarthy, even “Fat Monica” from Friends…the list of “fat characters” and “fat actresses” (and actors, but in particular, actresses, let’s be real) goes and on and on and there is one common factor: all of the characters are meant to be, pun intended, big fat jokes.
Fat people portrayed in the media are not portrayed like “thin” people or rather, “normal” people. “Normal” people and characters are allowed to have romantic and sexual feelings, have good and “normal” sex with other “normal” people, go on dates, have good jobs, and are treated fairly in the world, generally speaking. Fat people and characters, on the other hand, are not allowed to have romantic or sexual feelings – that would humanize them too much. A “normal” man going on a date with a “fat” girl? That’s a joke. Literally. It’s okay for the guy to fall in love with the nerdy girl, but never the fat girl. It’s okay for the girl to fall in love with the nerdy “nice” guy, but never the fat guy.
I know people have discussed this on the internet time and time again, but I actually never felt personally affected by it until today. Because I am insecure. And I am “fat”. And seeing these sad, inaccurate, hurtful portrayals of “fat” people in the media only fuels my own personal thinking that I AM NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE ROMANTIC OR SEXUAL FEELINGS. And that’s wrong. It’s so, so wrong. But it seriously just makes my own argument stronger in my twisted, emotionally damaged, fat mind – why should someone ever take me seriously or love me or want to be with me and how dare I want someone or want to be loved or want to be taken seriously when I am fat?
Fat people are still people. We do have feelings. We do fall in love. We do want to be loved back, also. And I, among others, really need to learn that that is okay.