Mad Men's Betty Draper Gets Her Just Deserts (SPOILER)

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fat betty draper mad menOh 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

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Livin... LivinBlessed

Yes, I did! As a SAHM who has had serious thyroid and weight issues, I was totally relating to Betty. (And that hasn't happened very often in the course of this show!) Fighting the urge to eat too much, and trying to feel confident when your body is not what you want it to be, is a hard situation to be in. I can't wait to see how Betty handles it, and how crazy she goes in the process!

nonmember avatar julie

I hate being that person, but I feel I must point out the grammatical error in the title. A "desert" is an area with an extremely hot climate. A "dessert" is the sweet treat you eat after dinner.

nonmember avatar Anonymous

Not to be that person either, but in this case "just deserts" is the correct way to spell the phrase meaning "a well deserved or just punishment."

TugBo... TugBoatMama

I missed the show but this article reminds me of how weight can sometimes change a person. My now ex sister in law had some extra weight to lose and after she lost it all she became this mean shallow bitch that poked fun at me for my pregnancy weight. smdh. I never really liked Betty but I could still relate to her in some ways. I think she will lose the weight eventually. The makers of the show want to keep the show as true to form of the 60's as possible even if it means its a bit sexist to do so. We may be living in 2012 but the fact is the Mad Men characters are not.

nonmember avatar Commenter

I'm not sure they're trying to make her more likeable just because she is fat, just more sympathetic. She doesn't have as much of the high horse of beauty to sit on so she's a little more self-conscious, a little quieter, a little less bold. It happens when you don't like who you've become - you're not as inclined to knock others down (as much, as we saw with the MIL) because you don't feel as confident in your superiority.

nonmember avatar Meg

I think this is a really great development for Betty's character. Personally, I always liked Betty - I always felt she got the short end of the stick in almost every way. I think being a bit chubbier will soften her meanness a bit.

But I commented to say that I'm really glad I read this article... I also always assumed that the phrase was "just desserts". NOW I know otherwise. Thanks! : )

nonmember avatar chelsie

You know she was pregnant during filming and they had to figure out how to write that into the storyline, right? They didn't want her to be pregnant in the show's story...

nonmember avatar ele4phant

I always sympathized with Betty, on some level. I mean, she could be a grade A bitch, and how she treats her children is atrocious, but she sure got kicked around by Don.

nonmember avatar Jaime

So should they not touch the issue because it offends us in 2012? During that time period being Fat was probably in deed one of the worse things a woman could be, especially a woman like Betty. Unfortunately there are a lot of storylines the show has that will more than likely offend us today, but it took place whether we want to deal with it or not. The only thing I got from the direction Betty Character is going is "My how the mighty have fallen"

nonmember avatar Dani

I always liked Betty. To me she's just as complex and fascinating as Don. She's way nicer to her kids this season. She's almost as sweet and charming as she was in the first two seasons.

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