Fat, Media

You Like Me! You Really Like Me!

Adorable Nikki Blonsky, of Hairspray and Igigi-wardrobe-I-would-kill-for fame, is going to star in a Lifetime movie called Queen Sized, about a fat teenaged girl who’s elected Homecoming Queen as a joke.

Okay, so that’s something we’ve seen umptybillion times before, but perhaps, in this more enlightened age, it’s getting a new spin? Perhaps, in this version, our heroine will see the nomination for what it is — a tired, witless prank — and decide she’s going to campaign with gusto just to punk the assholes who nominated her? With signs that say something like, “VOTE FATTY — BECAUSE MY MIND’S NOT SMALL, EITHER”? Or maybe, “VOTE FATTY — SO I’LL GET TO PUT ‘HOMECOMING QUEEN’ ON MY COLLEGE APPLICATIONS, AND THE PETTY BITCH WHO PUT MY NAME IN WON’T”?

Alas, that is not the case.

Louisiana.Blogspot.com reports Producer Chris Morgan and Judy Cairo are helming the project: “It’s about an overweight girl who, for a joke, is elected Homecoming queen by the mean girls in the high school,” Morgan said. “She takes it seriously, and she doesn’t see the joke.”

Sigh. To say the least.

It is 2007, y’all. Are there really still people out there who believe that fat people don’t know that not-fat (and less-fat) people make fun of them? Who believe that fat teenaged girls just go through life blithely eating their donuts and never noticing how despised they are?

The motif of the fat chick who’s too clueless to realize people are making fun of her has infuriated me since I was a child, long before I discovered fat acceptance, let alone embraced it. By the time I was 8 years old, all the very special episodes and TV movies based on this ludicrous premise — fat chick gets nominated for Homecoming/Prom Queen and/or asked to The Big Dance by the Big Man on Campus, and somehow fails to see anything wrong with this picture — sent me through the goddamned roof. Have the people who write this shit ever actually MET a fat person? And hell, even if they haven’t, can they seriously think it’s possible for anyone to go through life with people snickering behind her back and saying hateful shit to her face every single day, and not catch on to the possibility that she just might not be the most popular girl in school?

That motif is delusional at best and vicious at worst, and I am flabberfuckinggasted that it’s still being used in the twenty-first century. It doesn’t matter that the mean girls learn a “valuable life lesson” at the end, as they always do. Because said lesson is inevitably that “real beauty is on the inside,” and “fat people have feelings, too” — not ever that a girl who looks like Nikki Blonsky is fucking beautiful on the outside, or that fat girls have brains, eyes, and ears, too, so they aren’t actually oblivious to how their peers feel about them in the first place.

So much fat hatred is predicated on the ridiculous idea that fatties are just astoundingly ignorant — we don’t know anything about nutrition or exercise, we don’t realize that fat is socially unacceptable, we don’t understand that fat is ZOMG UNHEALTHY — so we need the noble thin people to edumucate us. And stories like this are a particularly insidious method of reinforcing that logic-defying myth. But the message is about being nice to fat people! Yeah, after you’ve spent most of the story telling us that fat people are too dumb to understand basic fucking social cues — like, you know, being ostracized and abused every day for years by the very same people who nominated you for Homecoming Queen. I mean, how could anyone expect a fat chick to put that one together? If she knew people hated her for being fat, she would have stopped being fat already, right?

That’s a terrific take-home message about diversity and respect. Thanks ever so much, Hollywood.

69 thoughts on “You Like Me! You Really Like Me!”

  1. Funny that they’re bringing in the star of the Hairspray remake for a movie that gets wrong everything that Hairspray got right. The thing fatties love about Tracy Turnblad is that she’s the kind of girl who would run a real Homecoming Queen campaign if someone nominated her as a joke, and she’d WIN. And wear a cockroach dress to her coronation, too.

    But, you know, that’s how you get a cult classic. Box office income demands delusional, dumb, comic-relief fatties, and nerds who become hotties when they take off their glasses (or stop wearing that black shit on their eyes), and every other fucked-up superficial trope we’ve seen a million times. That, apparently, moves tickets. Maybe it’s because the American public is generally fat, and therefore too dumb to realize they’re being sold regurgitated pap.

    Time to pitch a movie, Kate. (And write heartfelt letters to Nikki Blonsky begging her to be in ours instead.)

  2. I second FJ’s suggestion for pitching a movie. I’ll help, even!

    But stuff like this makes me so frustrated and sad. I wish that these Hollywood folks would understand that fat people are NOT objects of ridicule; that we are people deserving of respect just like everyone else. It’s just damned depressing.

  3. You know, I spent a long time growing up, a long time in therapy, and I still have the same knee-jerk reaction when something goes slightly awry in a relationship of any kind. “It’s been three days and she hasn’t called! She must not really want to be my friend!” “He said he’s busy tonight! He hates me!” Dear god, it gets old. My first response to any sign of anything other than rapt devotion is ohmygodtheyhateme, no matter how stupid that reaction is. Because that’s what people do, right? Nobody likes the ugly fat girl. Everybody knows that. Even if every single life experience you personally have says the opposite, everyone knows that, everything in the media says that, so it must be true. To think that it’s a plot trope to have a fat girl who doesn’t realize people don’t like her, well, ugh, ugh, and puke.

  4. I agree. This just helps reinforce the idea, not only that fat people are clueless in general, but also that they are fat because they just don’t know any better. Thank god, that should help a lot of self-satisfied fat-haters sleep even more comfortably than they usually do.

    Not that you need the data points, but I don’t think I made it to the age of 5 before I knew that everyone in school hated me. I don’t remember feeling different in preschool but that was pretty much the last time. I can’t even imagine a universe where a fat girl is made homecoming queen as a joke and doesn’t figure out what’s going on immediately.

  5. *sigh* see, this kind of thing happened to me all the time in highschool, etc, and I ALWAYS saw it for what it was and did my best to stay away from it…

    I still have scars from 9th grade, when a group of particularly nasty boys would hide in the halls between classes and jump out at me, trying to hug me, telling me that they loved me and wanted to be with me… Sounds great, except for the fact that they were all just being royal assholes and would turn around two seconds later to laugh about me with their friends.

    And you know what? Not a single teacher who saw the sexual harrasment, or even just harrassment in general, ever felt the need to stop them. In fact, I had a class with the ringleader and the teacher just turned a blind eye/ear to it all.

    Poor Nikki Blonsky…. I can’t imagine the pressure she’s got on her to just conform and be that fatty who’s “beautiful on the inside” (even though she’s got to be one of the prettiest girls I’ve ever seen) or the quirky “omg-I-can’t-believe-I’m-eating-this-cuz-I’m-s’posed-to-be-on-a-diet!” sidekick in the movies…


  6. Charli, I went through the same thing you did. I even had a boyfriend break up with me because one of the assholes at school “asked me out.” My answer? “Yeah, sure… whatEVER.” I knew it was bullshit, he knew it was bullshit. The worst part about it? The boyfriend was fat, too!!!

  7. Yeah, except that Nikki is going to get caught in the crossfire, that may be the only good thing about this storyline. Mark my words, this movie is pretty much guaranteed to suck and draw terrible reviews. You can just tell by the stilted premise. And I’m sure the people making the movie are completely oblivious to this and think it will actually turn out to be good. Idiots.

  8. Sorry, I was responding to Jane but other comments were posted in the meantime, hence the bewildering “Yeah” lead-in.

  9. Exactly. Like a fat girl in high school is going to seriously think she was nominated for prom queen for any reason other than a joke. I know movies require one to suspend reality to a degree, but this is fucking ridiculous.

    The only redeeming value this movie like this could have is if a newly-crowned Nikki Blonsky suddenly turns into a fat Carrie and obliterates the entire school. For me, that would be so much more satisfying than a group of mean girls learning “a valuable life lesson.”

  10. Mark my words, this movie is pretty much guaranteed to suck and draw terrible reviews.

    Spacedcowgirl, this is a Lifetime movie, which should be the first indicator that it will suck regardless of story plot and actors. It’s not even worthy enough to attempt a try in theaters.

  11. Does this surprise you though, really? This is Lifetime, people. The purpose of every single Lifetime film I have ever seen has been to frighten and upset women by painting unrealistic caricatures of cliched situations. It’s not a Lifetime movie without an oblivious victim – hence the fat girl being unaware of the joke.

  12. So…you know how last night I said fat acceptance totally needs a rockin’ facebook group?

    I’m making fat socially acceptable and I’m not sorry.

    Join. Promote. Whatever.

    And if you want to write your own version of the group description, please do. Mine is a bit bleh.

    And I’m going to film school next fall. I’ll totally make some “fat Carrie” movies. And advertise them as sweet Lifetime movies. Just to mess with folks. Also, there will be zombies.

  13. Yeah, NF, I totally get you… Except I never had a chance of getting a bf until the next grade, when I moved into the high school, and there were boys who had never met me!!! What joy!

    And actually, I was amazed at those guys (they called themselves the “Charlotte Fan Club” Charlotte being my real name, of course. There’s a lot of reasons why I go by Charli now) ability to carry on that way for an hour on end, even when I would ignore them, and to think that they actually made it last the WHOLE. DAMN. SCHOOLYEAR.

    But yeah, I totally agree, RachelR. Lifetime movies suck in general.

  14. The only redeeming value this movie like this could have is if a newly-crowned Nikki Blonsky suddenly turns into a fat Carrie and obliterates the entire school.


    Sounds like a valuable life lesson to me!

  15. Whoops, missed the Lifetime part. That makes much more sense.

    I once saw a movie on Lifetime (I think) where Suzanne Somers sold her soul to the devil in exchange for never gaining weight again. And she got out of the deal by getting pregnant and gaining a few ounces, thus the devil “broke” the bargain and she got to be skinny forever, plus have a baby and not go to hell. It was one of the weirdest things I have ever seen.

  16. Contrast this with Beautiful Girl, the adorable TVM (on Fox Family) from a few years ago, wherein that other Hairspray Chick, Marisa Jaret Winokur, plays a plus-sized-and-not-sorry-about-it young woman (early 20s) with a HOT fiance, who enters a beauty pageant to win a luxury honeymoon for them both, mayhem ensuing.

    See the difference, privileged-skinny movie producers who like to think you were geeks in high school when you don’t actually have a clue what it’s like to be an outsider for reals? She knew what she was doing and she knew what she would be up against. IOW, she has MORE BRAINS THAN A RAMEKIN OF FLAN JUST OUT OF THE OVEN, like most fatasses do, especially when it comes to assessing how much they are “liked.” Look, I wasn’t even all that fat as a schoolgirl, and by the time I was 8 or 9 I think I’d have been all, “yeah, right” if anyone had nominated me for some big Popularity Award. If people think you suck when you’re in school, you know it. You know it. You know it. People don’t just change their frigging minds about you and your fat ass all of a sudden.

    And yeah, Nikki Blonsky deserves better than these stupid-ass minstrel shows. They all do. We all do. Thanks, Lifetime, for helping reinforce that I’m continuing to make the right decision by not paying extra for cable.

  17. Blech. When I was in 5th grade some guys were mad at one of the other guys in our class. To piss him off or whatever, they started a rumor that he had slept with me. (Yes, 5th grade.)

    He held the guy who started it down while I punched him in the face.

    Best part, I did not get in trouble. The teachers freaking LOVED me.

    My boyfriend was prom king and homecoming king, (he’s fat too.) I think it was because people actually liked him though, he had his own tv show. Though the prom queen refused to go when she found out who her king would be.

  18. Sorry if this is too much of a de-rail, but do any of y’all watch Kirsten Vangsness on Criminal MInds?

    I keep waiting for them to do some horrible cliché things to her character and/or her character’s flirty relationship with the “hawtt” agent (Shemar Moore), but so far (for network TV anyway) I feel like it’s actually kind of subversive (in a good way).

    Penelope Garcia kind of is Tracy Turnblad working for the FBI… or am I being too optimistic/generous/crazy??

  19. Once again I’m so thankful that I went to nerd schools. I won “class clown” and “best sense of humor” in high school, unironically. Not for the whole school (2500 students, not likely), just for the nerd program. But still.

    Which is not to say that we weren’t jerks, and some people did in fact nominate someone for homecoming king as a joke. But it had nothing to do with looks, he was just a complete jackass.

  20. The following is something I happened a few months ago. To this day it makes me laugh, and what makes me laugh harder is that the woman was so taken aback by my response. I’m fat, I know it, and I’m fucking hot!

    Anyway….I thought it fitting considering the topic…

    I was doing my makeup in my workplace restroom as I always do (because of yoga I have to get ready for work at work), and chatting with someone. She asked me how my yoga was going. We had a brief conversation and then she left. Another lady (workplace weight watchers leader) came in, overheard the yoga part, and started saying things like ‘good for you’ in that condescending manner only people who have never tried a flow yoga class, or have recently lost a tremendous amount of weight do. Then the kicker “it’s great if you can’t be beautiful on the outside that at least you are working on being beautiful on the inside”. I laughed out loud. She looked at me as though I had lost my mind, but really what kind of reaction was she expecting? It frankly, had never occurred to me that I might not be beautiful on the outside. The comment still makes me laugh when I think back. Perhaps it’s a new marketing ploy for weight watchers!

  21. Thanks, Lifetime, for helping reinforce that I’m continuing to make the right decision by not paying extra for cable.

    Damn skippy. What drivel.

  22. Rachel R – I like your take on this. How does this sound for a final scene?

    MeMe Roth, Jamie O’Neil and Dick Cavett are standing around her grave, talking about how, even though it’s tragic all the students are dead, at least this has been a valuable lesson about how obesity kills. Then a hand reaches out from the ground!

  23. Then the kicker “it’s great if you can’t be beautiful on the outside that at least you are working on being beautiful on the inside”.


    I love that you laughed in her face. The only reasonable response.

  24. it’s great if you can’t be beautiful on the outside that at least you are working on being beautiful on the inside

    Oh my God! How can anybody be so rude!

    Look, I wasn’t even all that fat as a schoolgirl, and by the time I was 8 or 9 I think I’d have been all, “yeah, right” if anyone had nominated me for some big Popularity Award. If people think you suck when you’re in school, you know it. You know it. You know it.

    No kidding. I wasn’t fat when I was in school either, but I was unpopular for other reasons (mostly, I was weird) and yeah, you know it. You know it so well that for years afterward, you still react to people being nice to you or complimenting you with: “What is this? Is this a joke? Is this pity? Why are they being so nice?”

  25. MeMe Roth, Jamie O’Neil and Dick Cavett are standing around her grave, talking about how, even though it’s tragic all the students are dead, at least this has been a valuable lesson about how obesity kills. Then a hand reaches out from the ground!

    In a creative writing class I once took, we had to team up with another partner to write a combined story. We each took turns, writing a few paragraphs before handing it off to the other person, and then resuming the story from where they left off.

    This could be the start of a community-wide Shapely Prose film script.

  26. One of the reasons I’m not a huge Chris Meloni fan is that even though we were in the same graduating class of affiliated same-sex schools, and although he dated one of my classmates, and although he and I were in close proximity at the same school function many times, I don’t think that he ever once actually saw me. He certainly never spoke to me. He didn’t mistreat me, he just didn’t even fucking notice that I was alive. Given that my graduating class had 39 people in it, that’s an amazing feat. (I’m perfectly willing to grant that he may be a total sweetheart now, but he was the epitome of privilege in a bastion of privilege when I knew him.)

    I loved Beautiful Girl. That Miss Squirrell Hill costume rocked so hard.

    Tricia, I love, love, love the way Penelope Garcia is handled on Criminal Minds. She’s adorable, she’s brilliant, she’s talented, and everybody loves her.

  27. You know it so well that for years afterward, you still react to people being nice to you or complimenting you with: “What is this? Is this a joke? Is this pity? Why are they being so nice?”
    This reminds me of something that happened in 7th grade. I was the butt of ALL the school jokes, and one day one of the most popular girls in school walked past me in the hall and said hi to me. My answer? “Fuck you!!” My best friend was walking with me at the time and couldn’t believe her ears. The honest to god truth is that I didn’t actually hear what Ms. Popular actually SAID. I was just SO used to being picked on and bullied that the minute her mouth opened in my general direction, I simply ASSUMED it was going to be an attack.

    Kinda sad how we get to that point, ain’t it?

  28. Sheenie, I had to laugh at your story, too. I had a guy in a bar recently say to me “You’re a beautiful woman, don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re not.” Since his heart seemed in the right place and he’s a regular at the place one of my good friends frequents I didn’t ask “why would anyone tell me that I’m not beautiful?” (Not that I think I’m all that, let alone the bag of chips, but seriously, who would bother?)

    Later, even drunker and still hoping to get lucky, he said “You’re a beautiful woman. I don’t look at the outside. I look at the inside.” I looked at him pointedly and asked “is there something wrong with my outside?” He was a bit taken aback, but I have to say he recovered pretty quickly. I left soon after that. I got really tired of his pawing me.

  29. You know it so well that for years afterward, you still react to people being nice to you or complimenting you with: “What is this? Is this a joke? Is this pity? Why are they being so nice?”

    Oh god, exactly, Nuckinfutz. I didn’t even have that many issues in elementary/junior/high school with people giving me shit about my size, but enough to where even as a 35-year old grown-ass woman, I’m constantly second-guessing why people are nice to me/complimentary towards me, particularly guys.

  30. I’m constantly second-guessing why people are nice to me/complimentary towards me, particularly guys.

    Oh, yes. Same here. One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn is when someone compliments me, is to just say “Thank you,” instead of finding some possible fault to negate the compliment.

  31. My parent’s are huge Lifetime fans. Why? I am still a little unsure.

    To quote either “The Simpsons” or “The Family Guy” – Lifetime Television For Idiots. (I can’t remember which show it was, though I believe “The Family Guy” has joked about the Lifetime channel more than once).

    In terms of being treated like crap in school, I had a young boy who relentlessly teased me. We’re all standing in line for lunch and this kid said that everyone better hurry or there would be nothing left because of me. I turned around and stabbed him in the back with my pencil. Probably not the best reaction, but you should only have to bare so much abuse. The bright side was he never once bothered me again.

    Overall, my childhood has created an extremely wary and aloof adult. I rarely go out of my way to be nice to anyone and a lot of people assume the worst of me. It still affects my personal and professional life, but at this point I really find it hard to change.

  32. *sigh* You’d think people would be tired of this by now. I went through the real thing in school and it wasn’t a whole lot of fun, although apparently it was pretty funny for everyone else involved.

    In eighth grade some people who’d been pretty horrible to me in the past managed to convince me that a boy, one of their friends, wanted to go out with me. That boy had never actually said a word to me, probably didn’t even know I existed, so it was just vaguely plausible enough that I finally swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Needless to say I had a pretty bad time of it once the mean kids told the entire school that I actually thought that boy would go out with me.

    (Interestingly, the boy in question wasn’t part of the scheme and was reportedly horrified when he was let in on the joke. Not horrified enough to come talk to me about it, though.)

    Maybe that’s the reason these idiotic movies are such successes – the same people who giggled at “harmless pranks” in school are going to them now.

  33. Jane, actually that was Kate that said that, I was trying to quote her but my tags didn’t turn out right.

    But I know exactly what you mean. A couple of years ago, my Best Friend’s nephew (my BF is 12 years older than I am) was hitting on me in a club and apparently wanted to take me home with him. I turned him down, mostly because I’m married, but I also figured that HE figured that because I’m fat, that I must be desperate as well and would be an easy lay. I heard from my BF’s family that he was “in love with me” – for a LONG time. Still I didn’t believe it. Not until I found out that his current GF looks exactly like me but with different colored hair did I even BEGIN to believe it. (My BF actually thought it WAS me when she first met her!!! *lol*)

  34. Maybe that’s the reason these idiotic movies are such successes – the same people who giggled at “harmless pranks” in school are going to them now.

    I think you hit the nail on the head there, pearl.

  35. Speaking of, probably some of you would be interested in watching Boston Legal next week — apparently Denny Crane fires his secretary for being fat because he’s got the obesity gene and it’s contagious, you know — being fat. :) Because it’s Boston Legal, and Denny Crane is a figure of ridicule, anyway, it should be a nice lambasting of that idea.

  36. I’ve been reading through all these comments of people who were bullied/harassed in thier school years…I’m so glad to know i’m not alone in my experiences. I got made fun of for everything and anything (especially weight) from the time I was in fifth grade all the way up through high school. I can relate to those of you who, because of past experiences, second guess other people’s (especially guys) kindness. When I left home for college, all of a sudden I was surrounded by some of the most genuinely kind people I’ve ever met. I didn’t know how to handle it after years of people treating me like crap. Four years later, sometimes I still don’t know how to handle it and I’m constantly second guessing people’s motives. But i’ve slowly learned to graciously accept thier kindness.

    I hate those movies were someone is bullied by a lot of people but they’re totally oblivious to it. The plots bend reality so far out of proportion, it hurts. Trust me, when you’re the butt of everyone’s jokes, you know it.

  37. Okay, so just to throw the cliche plotline for a loop….in high school, some jackass nominated me for student council as a joke (I was the new fat girl on campus – hahasofunny). Much to the dismay of the aforementioned jackass, I totally won, based on the freak&geek vote. I was the lone flannel-wearing smart fatty in a room of skinny, blond preppies.

    Luckily, they’d all seen me knock half the football team on their asses during a powderpuff football practice during Homecoming. I never really got much guff. 8)

  38. You know it so well that for years afterward, you still react to people being nice to you or complimenting you with: “What is this? Is this a joke? Is this pity? Why are they being so nice?”

    And when you find a Spouse/Partner/Squeezeforlife who adores you, you’re all, “Wow, you love me? Really? Really? How come?”

    At least after several years of being with Squeezeforlife I can (silently) reassure myself – “Oh, yeah. I deserve this.”

  39. Having spent nine brain-sucking years in Hollywood I can tell you that a) Ms. Blonski’s agent is probably pushing her to take every job she is offered, (because she/he gets a commission, and probably thinks Ms. Blonski won’t get much more work; and I’m sure Ms. Blonski is getting a lot of shit and “you’d get more work if you lost the weight” for daring to be fat in Hollywood), and b) being smart works against you in the film and tv business. Independent thinking? Hell no! They just assume the audience is as stupid as they themselves are. And the fact is, they probably HAVEN’T seen a fat woman in YEARS, because everyone who has anything to do with them is skinny! Fat females are NOT on their radar. You have to remember, they DO NOT inhabit the real world. They drive from home to the office, have lunch meetings at expensive restaurants where no one actually does any ingesting of food, go to clubs/award shows/benefits where only the “beautiful people” are allowed in, and attend auditions in which the “undesirables” have already been weeded out.
    Do you remember the show “Veronica’s Closet?” The producers ACTUALLY BELIEVED that the show got low ratings because Kirstie Alley’s ass was too big! It never occurred to them that the reason it got low ratings was because IT SUCKED!
    If you haven’t seen Margaret Cho’s movie “I’m the One That I Want,” go rent it. She talks about her experience with the producers of her sitcom. THOSE are the kind of people we’re dealing with here!

  40. Tari, your story sounds like something right out of Election, which is a fantastic sendup of the kind of Hollywood high school b.s. that usually gets dished out to us (like what’s described in this post). But of course, student council elections are slightly different from prom queen elections — the latter are almost completely based on looks and surface charm, whereas a council election is driven at least somewhat by perceived competence.

    It’s since occurred to me that maybe they’ll let Blonsky’s character actually win, and maybe the joke will be on her tormentors. But the premise remains pretty numbskulled.

  41. Oh hell no. There is no WAY any fat girl in school is that clueless.

    In my high school, “they” pitted the fat girls against the fat girls – manipulated us all into not wanting to be associated with the others. I suppose it was easier to pick on us if they kept us all isolated. Imagine the threat a United Fat Girls Front might have posed.

  42. I met Nikki Blonski earlier this year, and thought she was really nice, but I honestly am counting the weeks until she gets ground to a fine paste in the gears of the holiday machine and comes out the other side with some kind of confessional or diet or something else. It’s what some writers from Bitch call the Celebrity Wasting Syndrome, and it is an almost unstoppable force. Movies like this really do feel like the first step on a very slippery slope.

    I’m going to indulge in a little self-promotion here, and mention that I actually do have a script for a musical parody about fatties in high school. It’s called Lard (“like grease, but thicker”), and because it bears little to no resemblance to the way I went to high school–the fatties are roughly equivalent to the T-birds, and they are hella cool and a little bit scary–it’s very satisfying.

    If you’re anywhere near NYC this weekend, Lard is running in a mid-town theater space on Friday and Saturday night (you can read about it at http://www.bigmoves.org). Lard will never get made into a movie–it swipes shamelessly from Grease, and it’s way too fat-positive, so the audience is limited–but it’s still a lot of fun, and hey, it’s live theater.

  43. “it’s great if you can’t be beautiful on the outside that at least you are working on being beautiful on the inside”
    Wow, Sheenie, that is one amazing statement.
    Your response was spot on.
    If I ever hear such a thing, I would hope that I would find a way to respond something along these lines:
    “You wouldn’t know beauty if it climbed out of your freakin’ throat and choked you.” or “Sweetheart, I have a feeling that no matter how hard you work at it, that inner beauty will always escape you.”

    Ironically, this is an exact issue I’ve been working on in therapy. In fact, I think I need to print out this post and bring it with me to my next session, ’cause my therapist doesn’t quite grasp the staying power of that feeling I have that any positive feedback heading my way is a joke in disguise.

    He sees someone who has, at the ripe age of 38, accomplished most of her goals and has withstood some pretty difficult stuff that life has dished out. He’s compassionate, but doesn’t get the pervasiveness of the fat-girl-elected-prom-queen-as-a-joke script that makes it difficult to revel in accomplishments.

    Thanks for making me feel normal for once!

  44. And, in other thoughts, “elected Homecoming Queen as a joke” doesn’t really make sense.
    Nominated for Homecoming Queen as a joke, yes.
    Elected, well, that’s something else all together. That would mean that the spot that could have been occupied by a “popular girl” would be forfeited. Never. Gonna. Happen.
    Elected Homecoming Queen means that a majority of the voting public of a high school either earnestly elected a “queen” or a vast, evil conspiracy was a play, in which case, a “Carrie”-like response would be in order.
    So, what happens at the dance — “ha, ha, we elected you Homecoming Queen as a joke” — uh, and, so? Still Homecoming Queen.
    I guess this movie might make sense if the character Nikki Blonsky plays tears off her dress and says “F-U Mudder Fuggers” and tears up the dance floor in a bustier and garters with all the sexy non-popular kids taking over.
    Wait, I’m now thinking that all fat acceptance happy endings involve some sort of dance party.

    Also, I’m tired of the phrase “inner beauty.”
    There is only beauty.
    If you behold it, then it is.

    If you get angry when someone finds something beautiful and you don’t, it’s your own problem. Find something else to do/experience/look at.

  45. Kate 217 this:
    “You’re a beautiful woman. I don’t look at the outside. I look at the inside.”
    Cracked me up.
    If I ever hear that I hope I say, “Do you have X-ray vision?”
    Or, “Oooooh, I’ve always wanted to go home with a drunk surgeon!”
    “Really? I’ve always wondered, what’s more beautiful, my pancreas or my gall bladder?”
    “When I was a kid, I swallowed a penny, and I think it’s still inside. Can you find it for me?”
    “You must be looking at my fallopian tubes. They are quite lovely, aren’t they.”

  46. Oh, and yeah… on the receiving kindness issue…

    I have gotten to the point where I straight up ask the person if they are shitting with me and really think that what they just said is true.

    So far, I’ve only had one person say that they didn’t mean it, and that it was a poorly-timed joke.

    So I think I’m working on my issues :-)

  47. In 4th grade, I knew that I was the butt of a big joke when one of the popular boys told me his friend liked me. I didn’t even have to hear the other victim of this terrible terrible joke scream, “EWWW NO I DON’T HE’S LYING” across the room to realize I was being duped. I think you’d probably have to be pretty damn stupid to not realize this as a senior in high school.

  48. You hit the mark on that one Kate. Its about time that people speak out about this kind of typecast. What is this movie really going to say to young girls who are over weight? Is it going to make them feel better about themselves?
    On a brighter note, our homecoming queen was nominated so the 2 “prettiest” girls only had to go up against each other knowing that this other candidate was “not as pretty as them and kind of chubby.” Well, imagine their surprise when she actually won and the 2 “pretty girls” each had only a few votes. When this girls name was called, everyone in the stands, teachers, parents, everyone gave her a standing ovation. Her face shone and her eyes sparkled with the most prettiest smile I have ever seen. I don’t know her because my kids are a freshman and sophmore, but I gave her a hug and told her how beautiful she is. I was not lying, she is beautiful from the inside out.
    True beauty comes within and radiates so the beauty shines on the outside.

  49. Oh, my God, I hate that sort of thing. Do these people seriously think that high-school misfits have no idea what people think of them? That we never noticed getting mocked and badmouthed and beat up?

    It’s been five years since I graduated, and I still get defensive when someone I don’t know says ‘hi’ to me. If someone had nominated me for Homecoming Queen, I would have known it was a joke. I wouldn’t have given a shit, though because, like most funny-looking geeks I knew, I couldn’t care less about school dances. My friends were the people who hid out under the bleachers to play D&D during pep rallies. School dances were not on our radar.

  50. First post here, although I’ve been lurking for a while (love the site, Kate!).

    It’s too bad this actress couldn’t find a role like Ricki Lake did after the first “Hairspray,” in a TV movie called “Babycakes,” in which she played a retiring mortician’s makeup person who takes great pride in making the corpses look good for the wakes. She gets a crush on a guy she sees skating at Rockefeller Center, and gets the nerve to approach him. He blows her off at first because she’s fat (and he’s engaged, anyway), but they develop a relationship and he falls in love with her. She also gets a confidence boost and begins to dress and look great without losing any weight. But, he wusses out of the affair when the fiance catches them and mocks him for seeing a fattie. However, she stays looking fabulous and continues on her life without his sorry ass dragging her down, and it’s only after he sees her still rockin’ that he realizes he has to suck it up and match her strength, and he finally leaves the girlfriend. It was after that film that Ricki lost the weight, and my sister and I felt that we lost a role model.

    As for being convinced no one will pay attention to you, do I know that. In college, a friend of mine (gorgeous California blonde) and I would go dancing every Thursday at the local nightclub, and I never once had someone ask me to dance with him. The one time we went on a weekend to celebrate my birthday was the one time a guy asked me to dance. I’m still convinced to this day that my friend set it up as a birthday present, but she always denied it.

  51. maybe she will kill them all and burn down the school with her telekenetic powers in the end. a girl can hope.

  52. I must say, I watched Carrie last night, in celebration of both Halloween and this post, and that is a pretty sweet ending.

    Mot that anyone at Shapely Prose condones burning down the school with your telekinetic powers.

  53. In Hairspray, the opening song is Tracy being delighted with life, even though everything she’s delighted about is stuff most people would hate.

    She auditions for the dance show, and seems genuinely shocked when she’s turned down and mocked for being fat.

    This new movie may well be as bad as you all expect, but apparently the “fat person scarcely notices prejudice against her in high school” cliche can be handled in a way that makes it not offensive.

  54. You know, it would be really nice to live in a world where fat girls could afford to be shocked by nastiness and mockery. Unfortunately, we don’t.

  55. What’s particularly depressing is that this is the stuff that gets cranked out before the writer’s guild strike. Anyone want to plot a series with a better storyline for youtube?

  56. Oh, I’m afraid I’m going to get really upset at how this subject and how Ms. Blonsky are handled in this. And is she going to be the only “go-to” fat actress for the foreseeable future? You see more large actors and actresses in 60 year old movies on TCM than you see in contemporary TV. But what do we expect from an industry so insulated from reality that the writers’ and casting directors’ idea of an ordinary person is, for example, a rail-thin psychologist in a three storey Cape Cod? Feh.

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