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Not Another Fat Suit Wearing Celebrity
Can anyone who dons a fat suit really know what it's like to live in a 350lb body? What does someone like Tyra Banks get from dressing up as an obese woman and parading down Main Street? Apparently, this will be the topic of one of her upcoming shows. Sure people look and point and laugh and ooh it's so shocking that one human being would treat another human being so disgracefully. But what does Tyra have to say that "real" fat people across North America haven't been saying for decades? The same words come from a fat person's mouth and no body listens.
Since the majority of the population is overweight and obese who exactly is benefiting from this fat suit episode? It's true; verbal abuse towards fat people has become an acceptable form of discrimination. Fat people already know this. "It's funny." Really? I'm not laughing. Fat Sally down the Street isn't laughing.
What is so funny about a skinny woman dressed as a fat woman in a bikini diving into a swimming pool? Since the release of Shallow Hal starring Jack Black (who's had his own battles with the bulge) and Gwyneth Paltrow, I've wondered about her fat body double in the scenes when she didn't wear the fat suit. I wondered how she felt being the fat girl on the set. Did she get to meet Gwyneth? Was Jack sporting fat jokes when the camera wasn't rolling? Did the body double watch the movie in the confines of her apartment and laugh or did she ask herself "What was I thinking?"
While I can appreciate the storyline and humour of Shallow Hal, I worry about the implication that anyone can know what it's like to be someone who's suffered years (sometimes decades) of abuse with a little padding and makeup. At least Shallow Hal was semi-positive compared to some of its fat suit predecessors like Julia Roberts in America's Sweethearts and Courtney Cox Arquette in her Friends' flashbacks.
Even men are not free from the comedic relief associated with fat suits because what could possibly be funnier than a fat man; like Eddie Murphy's Nutty Professor, Martin Short's Primetime Glick and Martin Lawrence's Big Momma. It's regretful that the plot seems to lose its importance in favour of degrading a human being.
Getting back to Tyra and her urges to make the world a better place; instead of Tyra trying on a fat suit and telling us what it's like (the majority of us already know) I'd rather see her interview fat women across America about their weight and how they've been discriminated against at work, at home, in the streets and more importantly how they've overcome these limitations and gone on to have successful lives. Despite the apparent discrimination there are fat people who are successful, who've beaten the odds and proven themselves as worthy members of society. Let's hear from the "real" fat people who actually know what it feels like to be fat and who can't walk into their dressing room and peel back the skin from their butts, abdomens and thighs when someone directs nasty comments towards them.
To learn more about Tyra Banks Talk Show visit her official website.
The movies mentioned in this article are available from Amazon.
*The Nutty Professor
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