Oh Betty Draper how we love(d) to hate you. We missed you in the season premiere of Mad Men, and were surprised to discover that there's so much more of you to love. Literally. I'm pretty sure I heard a collective gasp across the country as your two chins graced the television screen.
Twitter has been going crazy with people tweeting things like January Jones is a "shoo-in for an Emmy," and Betty Draper is so much "more likeable" as a "morose tubby lady."
Tonight we found out that Betty is fat. At one point, we learn it might be because she's got cancer or a thyroid issue, but nope, it's just that she's fat. She eats too much and doesn't ride horses or have calorie-burning sex anymore. We see her snacking on chips and polishing off a few sundaes in one sitting. Are we supposed to feel bad for her?
Let's not forget Betty is a bitch. She's vain, materialistic, selfish, mean to her kids, mean to her friends, mean to her husband. Does being fat suddenly make her a nice person? No doubt the writers would like you to think so. They're hoping you'll believe that fat women are more human, likeable, and deserving of our sympathy than skinny ones. In essence, that a woman's personality is defined by her weight. They're hoping that you take just a little karmic pleasure in Betty's weight gain. She was a vain bitch and she got what she deserved. Being fat is unappealing and ugly. Being fat is just so God awful it's deserving of our sympathy. Being fat is bad, but it makes you a good person.
Are you buying it?
Sadly, the majority of Mad Men's writers are women, which makes the introduction of Fat Betty even worse. It's a failure all around. Bitchy Betty was a lot more fun to watch than Fat Betty (then again past seasons of Mad Men have been far more fun than this one is proving to be). And as women, the writers should be more cognizant of the politics of fat -- and the body-image weight that American women bear (so to speak). Perpetuating these tired notions of fat women vs. skinny women is insulting and misogynistic.
Apparently the writers have been so immersed in writing about the '60s that they've forgotten the show's viewers are living in 2012.
Did you perceive Betty as being more human and likeable because she's fat?
Image via AMCTV