Rebel Wilson has a new TV show called Super Fun Night and many seem to be focused on her size rather that the weight of the show. It's reminding me of the hate Melissa McCarthy faced -- she was once called a female hippo. A new show is getting buzz but the only thing we're focused on is how fat the lead actress is. And it goes the other way, too. Remember when Ally McBeal came out and everyone was freaking out about how skinny Calista Flockhart was? Women truly have it tough in this society, and I'm serious about that. We cannot be too thin or too fat. We have to be this idea of perfect or else our merits get pushed aside and the focus becomes our appearance.
Which is exactly why I think Rebel Wilson being overweight is a good thing.
She's a real woman.
Hollywood, in general, tends to cast really good-looking people -- or their idea of what good-looking is, and it's all perpetuated by society. Actress Justine Bateman recently said she loves wrinkles -- I wish we all did. Magazines, the media, fashion houses, and beauty brands all follow along with this idea of perfection capitalizing with their tongues out wanting to prance on the insecure to buy buy buy up all the products that will "fix" you, make you pretty, make you skinny, let you hide those flaws, cover those grays, and minimize your jiggle.
We need to love who we are. And take care of ourselves, too. Almost all of us want to be thinner. Even the most thin among us. We see fat where there isn't fat. And when we see fat we are repulsed. As adults, it's a terrible message we are sending to children. It's a terrible message we send to ourselves. It leads to self-doubt, low self-esteem, confidence issues, and a host of unhealthy and sometimes deadly eating and body dysmorphic disorders.
We need to embrace women who look like Rebel Wilson, not tear them down because their weight doesn't fit some sort of ideal. And I don't think embracing her means we are complacent about healthy weights. It means that we aren't prejudiced against or take hostile jabs at her appearance. Words hurt. Words harm. Words bully. Words can drive people into a depression they cannot get out of. Words can kill. Remember: It's not always what we say but HOW we say it.
A recent review of Super Fun Night compared Wilson to "another portly comedian, the late John Candy." How should we take this? John Candy was a large man and a brilliant comedian. "Portly" is a harsh word. I wonder how Rebel takes this? As a compliment? A backhanded one? She does talk about her struggles with weight -- on the show with a ton of fat jokes and self-depreciation -- and she was once a spokesperson for Jenny Craig in Australia, where she is from. The review worries that the show relies too heavily on fat jokes, with Rebel delivering them. Does that take away from the show's funniness? What if there was a show that only make skinny jokes and it starred (insert any thin actress here)? Oh. Right. Just about all the other shows feature thin actresses so it can't really be a punchline.
And that's the point. Shows that have overweight people in them shouldn't just be about the person being overweight. That's what maintains this warped view we have. People who are overweight shouldn't be the butt of our jokes or the deliverer of fat jokes. Why aren't there shows with non-skinny power lawyers or life-saving doctors or fancy and fashionable women finding success? It's good to see characters that don't fit this perfect stereotype but it should be across the board. I hope Rebel's show isn't just fat joke after fat joke. I want it to be more; I want it to break more barriers. Hollywood needs to realize people come in all shapes and sizes and focus more on merits than body -- in their shows, in the magazines, everywhere. Maybe then it will trickle down to society. But as of right now, it just continues to undermine us.
Are you concerned about how Hollywood depicts overweight people?
Image via Rafi Asdourian/Flickr