No ‘Fat’ Chicks

I was watching TV with my boyfriend and his father when one of Kirstie Alley’s Jenny Craig ads came on. In this one, she’s promoting her personal consultant, and a bikini-clad size-eight model comes strutting past. Kirstie looks suitably put-out, but the thing was, I thought she looked better than the size-eight model. I’d say she’s about a size 14 or 16, looked toned and healthy in an outfit that suited her figure. The model, meanwhile, had no hips and almost non-existent breasts.

My boyfriend’s father pipes up “˜she’s still fat and ugly’. I’ve gone to write this article rather than get into a fight with him over it (he’s something of an opinionated chauvinist and not worth fighting with). IMHO, she looks stunning in her last few ads. Kudos to her wardrobe consultant and make-up artist, too, for choosing a look that flattered her features and age.

I don’t know if he was just being obnoxious, but it really annoyed me. Is his a lone opinion, or do we live in a society where size 14/16 is too fat? Or is she just too old? I thought she looked terrific, and hope I have a similar figure – as well as taste in clothes and make-up, and understanding of what flatters my body – when I’m her age.

Or maybe I’ll be more adored if I’m like Madonna, pushing fifty, dieting like crazy and wearing outfits that would make a nineteen-year-old size-eight model nervous just to prove that I’m in as good shape as a nineteen-year-old size-eight model.


  1. Maartje says

    It gets worse. One of my brothers thought Izzie from Grey’s anatomy was fat! I just didn’t know what to say. His girlfriend agreed wholeheartedly too.
    But as luck would have it, my oldest brother likes a completely different type of girl. None of his girlfriends have been particularly skinny and they are always up for a laugh.

    Weight has become such an issue, as has growing older. That’s really sad because all that time spent worrying about your next snack could be spent doing something fun or productive. All the body-conciousness just messes up your mind.

  2. scarlett says

    UGH! Maybe that’s just his type, though (God hoping). Fair enough if it comes down to personal taste, but I hate the way the media has geared people’s collective taste to skinny women.

  3. SunlessNick says

    At the risk of sounding like I’m competing over who’s met the most obnoxious asshole (:/), I have run into someone who thinks Sarah Michelle Gellar is fat.

    While it’s tempting to see such people as individual idiots, I have to think something is deeply broken in our society’s views of the body.

  4. Maartje says

    I think it’s also to do with the environment you’re in. Sticking to the example of my own brothers:
    The one who thinks girls should be skinny is a chef. He works in an environment where perfection has to be the norm. He works with mostly men and according to him it’s all sexually tinted jokes all the time. This of course varies from kitchen to kitchen but if you work 60 hours a week with a constant strive for perfection there has to be an outlet. In other words: he lives in a world where the superficial matters a great deal.
    The other one’s a european law student. He deals with all sorts of people from all sorts of countries. There your social skills matter, and your life-experience. Of course there are the usual restrictions of having to wear a suit and to look professional but the emphasis lays on each indiviual’s person rather than looks.

    I’m not saying that environment is the only factor, but looking at my own family, I think it does matter.

  5. Jennifer Kesler says

    I think in the US (the only culture I have any business speaking for), there is DEFINITELY a twisted perception that the less a woman weighs, the better. Do many individuals see past this? Yes. But I think most never bother to think about it. They just accept it as right, fair and valid.

    Which is nonsensical, since the ideal beauty standard for women is: tall as a man, built like a teenage boy, but with huge breasts. This is hardly a common natural body type. It would be surprising if most men were naturally seeking this. What’s not surprising is that when people tell you often enough there’s something wrong with you if you like a woman who’s not Barbie, you’re going to keep your preferences to yourself.

    I have to admit, when I tell people how cute I think Greg Gundberg is, I brace myself for the “But he’s fat” argument. If I were a little less conscious of this issue, I’d probably just keep it to myself.

  6. sbg says

    Maartje said:

    It gets worse. One of my brothers thought Izzie from Grey’s anatomy was fat! I just didn’t know what to say. His girlfriend agreed wholeheartedly too.

    Izzie? Is she the one played by Katherine Heigl? KH is is a VERY beautiful woman, and not by any stretch “fat”. Good grief! She was beautiful when she weighed more, too (and she did, when she was on Roswell). Ugh, that’s just disturbing.

    Is it any wonder that it’s such a struggle to come to terms with not fitting into that mould? As a petite, curvy woman, I feel extremely conscious of how I’m not what the media says is the ideal woman…even on days where I’m feeling pretty damned good about the way I look.

  7. Jennifer Kesler says

    I had a fitness assessment two weekends ago – they measured my blood pressure, heart rate, strength, cardio capacity, flexibility, etc.

    Let me tell you: that was a real eye-opener for me. According to them, I’m marginally overweight and overall pretty damn fit. There’s room for improvement, but I’m not the huge lard dump I imagine myself to be.

    I’d never realized just how “fat” I think I am, when I’m really not, just because losing weight is very difficult for me. All these years, I’ve thought I was so unfortunate because I couldn’t lose weight no matter how I dieted or exercised. But at my weight, that really is not a problem. People starving in the Third World is a problem. What the hell have I been thinking?

  8. scarlett says

    Speaking of Gruberg – I think he’s absolutely hot (although from a health perspective, he could probably stand to lose a few kilos) – I’m actually thinking of writing an article about how playing only traditionally good-looking guys (can’t think of the actors names, but I’m thinking Vaughn and John Sheppard from SGA) for dramatic leads is as insulting to women as having supermodels for leads.

  9. Jennifer Kesler says

    Yeah, but Dennis Franz had a hit role in a major show. Where’s the female equivalent to his looks starring? She’s not.

    I think there are a lot of lead male roles that don’t go to traditional Ken Doll types. I just can’t think of any female equivalents.

  10. scarlett says

    Dunno who Dennis Franz is. I’m excluding comedy, but yeah, everytime I tried to tease it out in my head, it became an ‘I hate Vaughn, Wiess was much cooler’ rant, which I think was more fangirl then feminist critique, so I abandoned the idea and went back to my rant about the Pussycat Dolls :p

  11. Jennifer Kesler says

    Dennis Franz is an overweight, balding guy with a mustache – way off from the traditional Ken Doll – who starred in NYPD blue. He was the first man to show his naked buns on US prime time, or something, and it was a huge big deal. He was a very hot property for a while there.

    Can you imagine any of that happening to an actress who’s overweight and has “bad” hair?

  12. scarlett says

    Thought that was who you were talking about. OK, I’m being pedantic here, but would he have been considered ‘romantic male lead’? Because that’s what I’m thinking of when actors like Grunberg and David Hewlett play second fiddle to more traditionally good-looking guys. They can still get lead roles, of course, when women who aren’t super-slim with perfect hair and skin had no hope of getting similar roles, but I can’t think of one who played romantic lead.

  13. says

    Has anyone seen the, uh, I think it’s People magazine? The one with Tira Banks saying “Who calls this fat?” and mentioning that she’s gained 30 pounds since modeling and feels great?

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