So…where did this visual bias start? When did the media, fashion industry and court of opinion turn on us?
I was born in the ‘60’s and I remember Twiggy but I also remember that beauty standards were broader then (pun intended). Thin became truly fashionable in the sixties but you still saw print ads with plump housewives selling laundry soap and curvy women posing in front of sports cars. Curvy and plump were still represented as attractive and Playboy liked a little flesh on their bunnies.
Have you noticed? (of course you have) Round men & women are represented in the media ONLY when “they” want funny, sassy, irreverent. Think the Pine Sol lady and Melissa McCarthy. You might see an unconventional looking person selling insurance or hawking antiperspirant but never, ever, ever a fat one. The media would like us to believe that thin people are the only consumers. It’s infuriating.
My grandmother told me, when I was a little girl, that women who were “overweight” had two options in life: be funny or be invisible. I’ve seen that pattern in my personal life but the entertainment industry absolutely got the memo. Big girls are represented on television but they, with few exceptions, are the pie in the face character. I’m so happy to see Mellisa McCarthy get the attention she has recently, she is wildly talented and so deserving and I hope that one day soon she is offered a plum dramatic role where her size is not the focus. She was asked to host SNL shortly after her role in “Bridesmaids” and I looked forward to watching. She was, as expected, hilarious but most of the jokes were fat ones. I wonder how she feels about that.
The average woman’s size in America is 14. When do we see that represented on television or in the media in any way that is either positive or neutral? Pretty much never. It’s fairly obvious what drives the fashion industry: Sell unattainable. Dissatisfaction sells a hell of a lot more products. Having your closet filled with multiple sizes has got to be super lucrative for them. Magazines can sell more print space to weight loss products, services and scams if their pages are filled with photos of pin thin girls. Why for soap though? And insurance and toothpaste and cleaning products and make up and microwave meals? People, can a fat girl not serve her family a take & bake pizza on camera???? DO WE NOT EVEN EAT?