Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hey Hollywood, Step Away From the Fat Suit

There are real fat people who can play the part
(article by starrgirl on Associated Content)

copyright free photo from

As if there weren't already a long line of celebs packing on the artificial pounds, guess who is the latest to join the fray? Right behind Tyra, Gwenyth, Meg, Julia, Eddie Murphy, Tim Allen and Courtney, the news was leaked this week in E! Magazine and various news outlets that none other than Tom Cruise is making a cameo in the movie Tropic Thunder as a bald, flabby fat guy. On the heels of that leak, Tom's attorneys have stepped in to prevent any contraband photos from being published prior to the movie's release. What's the matter, Tommy? Running out of publicity stunts?

The Spin Machine says that Tom was doing this bit part as a surprise for his fans. The bad news is that the Fat Suit has been done. To death. Shallow Hal said it all.

So, Hollywood. What's up with being Fat For A Day? Do you really think a celebrity can capture the experience of being morbidly obese by donning a latex suit and waddling around in it for a few hours? Is the viewing audience going to be enlightened about obesity by watching a normally thin and glamorous person suffer the humiliation that a fat person lives with every day? Of course not.

First of all, it isn't real. It's publicity. Publicity for the media star, not real fat people. Second, it's misleading. Padding up with an exta hundred pounds or so is not like getting fat over time. The person who becomes obese over many years has grown into the situation. They move with the gait and cadence of one who has had to adjust to growing girth. Their self confidence has been worn to a thin veneer. A fat person knows in every fiber of their being that they are unacceptable to society because they have suffered the misery and slights of fat discrimination every day.

In contrast, the would-be "social enlightener" has endured a few hours of uncomfortable makeup. They venture out into the world in a costume - a fat costume that is neither natural or believable. They bring their own stereotypical impressions to the performance. Have you ever seen a celebrity in a fat suit made up to look attractive? No, they take on the supposed misery and frumpiness that further displays their own fat-phobia. They wear ugly clothes and big glasses. They order lots of food. They recoil in disgust when they do not get their usual preferential treatment and admiring glances. Oh, the horror.

It's time for Hollywood types to step away from the fat suit. It's one thing for a movie character to reflect weight changes while playing a legitimate part. It's another to exploit a large section of the population. If it is entertainment news when a "model" from the show Deal or No Deal puts on a fat suit, what message does that send? Why isn't a real fat person doing that news story?

Fat people do not need anyone calling superficial attention to obesity. We all know that the best way to be invisible and ignored in today's society is to be fat. What kind of revelation is that? Big whoop. Did we really need to see Tyra or the Deal model be disregarded on the street or in a fancy shop for being fat? No, we need to see them endure a job interview or go on a date - after wearing the fat suit for three months. Then contrast that with the skinny gal who gets the job or the date with less than half the qualifications. We need to see them try to fit into an airplane seat and sit bolt upright without touching their seat-mate during a three hour flight. We need to see them put their entire lives on hold while desperately trying to lose weight on every diet and exercise program that comes along, while knowing that doesn't work for the majority of long-term morbidly obese people.

The fat suit is not a funny gag. It's old news.


Knitman said...

I couldn't agree more. fat is not funny.

Knitman said...

Couldn't find an email for you. I just wanted to say how good your paintings are. YOU HAVE TALENT. Don't waste it!