Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tyra Banks,Norbit and other weighty media issues

I wasn't going to do this but between the upcoming release of Norbit and this Tyra Banks swimsuit drama,I had to rant a little about how fat women are depicted in the media. Tyra Banks will be going on her daily talk show tomorrow,to discuss some magazine photos of her that have caused people to say she's overweight. Here's a clip of what's to come:

First off,in what alternate universe is Tyra Banks fat? She may not be as thin as she was a decade ago but she certainly doesn't have to shop at Lane Bryant! Also,she seems to be in pretty good physical shape there. The only major flaw with Tyra is that she's rather self involved and occasionally wacky but that's what makes her entertaining and she wouldn't be the same Tyra without those quirks. Would you really want,for example, Simon Cowell to be a nice guy who never upsets the AI contestants? Hell to the no!

Anyway,back to the main topic-this Tyra business is coming out just as the ads for Eddie Murphy's new comedy Norbit are increasing on TV. Norbit is a movie about a timid guy who winds up marrying a mean,abusive woman but really is in love with a former childhood sweetheart. Not a bad idea for a comedy but the mean gal in question(named "Rasputia")is played by Eddie Murphy in drag and a fat suit,with most of the jokes being about her body size. Take a gander at this promo piece and you'll see what I mean:

And this is one of the Norbit trailers:

Now,maybe I'm being oversensitive and projecting a bit but come on! Why do we still have to make fat women the visual punchline? And why did Eddie Murphy have to don another fat suit to play this part? He's done this routine in the Nutty Professor films already,which he recieved plenty of props for. You couldn't hire an actress to play Rasputia? Maybe some of them looked at the script and said no or Eddie just likes to get in more screen time,I don't know.

Also sick of this whole fat suit thing;I didn't like it in Shallow Hal(which had plenty of obnoxious fat girl stuff,despite the happy ending)and hate it when folks put one on to do "special reports" on how fat people are treated differently in society(that means you,too,Tyra!). You want to know what it's like,folks? Just put a hidden camera on a plus size person going out in public with a skinny person to come in afterwards to get the same treatment as the larger lady and you'll see the difference.

What I'm really trying to say is that I would like to see some realistic depictions of fat people in film and TV,not just as loud,obnoxious folks or the objects of pity. There are some,such as Sookie on Gilmore Girls(she's a tad wacky but no more so than anyone else in the cast)played by Melissa McCarthy and Monique does her bit on TV and in films but I just wish there was more. Perhaps that way,I wouldn't feel so tense when the fat chick jokes start flying.

Yes,fat men get picked on but not to the extent that the ladies are. Riddle me this;have you ever seen an American made film where a man fell in love with an overweight woman where her body size wasn't an issue or mentioned atleast once? If there is one,please tell me. Men of all shapes and sizes seem to wind up with a lady love onscreen while it's slim pickings for the gals.

It's no secret that I am a plus size person(if you think that picture of the Teena Marie album cover is really me,I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you.)and this may be my own personal agenda but I don't think I'm entirely alone on this. Not to mention that big women spend just as much do-re-mi in the pop culture marketplace as our more slender sisters. Don't count us out,folks! To end this rant on a good note,let's watch this tribute to passion for pleasantly plump princesses everywhere:


Pop Culture Diva said...

Amen. You know how I feel about this. But you know fat jokes are easy and people still laugh at them.

I agree with the fat suit thing. Who gives a shit if Vanessa Minillo or Tyra dress up for one day? Live your live everyday like that and see how it feels.

On a positive note. Waiting to Exhale had a character that loved big women and not in a fetish way. Gregory Hines let Loretta Devine know that his deceased wife was big and he liked his women that way. Score one for the big chicks.

Preach on sista!!! I feel ya.

lady t said...

Thanks,PCD-I forgot about WTE(which was on the other night). I appreciate the support:)