Dear Ryan Murphy: I have words about Glee.

By | December 10, 2010


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Dear Ryan Murphy,

Last night, at the behest of numerous readers who have asked for my take on the new “fat girl” on your show Glee, I braved the endless trailers for Tron: Legacy and ventured forth onto Hulu.com to pick up a couple of recent episodes.

It turns out my limit for Glee episodes these days is 1.35 — it was just over a third of the way through the second one that I became utterly convinced that some small furry animal, maybe a hamster high on meth, had worked its way inside my skull and was running around screaming like a man on fire. I closed the Hulu window and the sensation stopped. I think we can both agree that your show is not good for my head, though I already came to that conclusion awhile back, which is why I stopped watching it in the first place.

I don’t know, Ryan Murphy; by all rights I should love your show. It has singing and dancing and it is quirky as fuck and it features an ensemble cast. These are all things I like. Part of the problem is that at some point, Glee became self-aware, and, like Skynet, turned upon all of us, we who had given it life. The Glee of today no longer serves its audience, a cheery distraction on a Tuesday night, but has morphed into an unstoppable train of high-kicking solo-belting sermon-preaching cultural ubiquity. It is everywhere now; it cannot be killed. It is made of liquid metal. There came a moment when all of the characters suddenly turned loathsome and sanctimonious, and still I watched, fearful that the show would find me in the night and murder me as I slept if I should dare to ignore it.

But I did eventually manage to survive a separation, and our time apart has done little to rekindle the spark these characters once had for me. There are exceptions, of course. Though most of the cast leaves me feeling dead inside, Chris Colfer as Kurt is practically perfect in every way. I had no opinion of Dianna Agron, who plays Quinn, until she responded so memorably to the GQ photoshoot controversy on Tumblr, which made my wrinkled little chickpea of a heart go pitter-pat. My heart, she is easily wooed by anyone who can offer a few smart and rational words in the face of hand-waving controversy, and sadly she is not wooed so often these days.

But I am delaying the inevitable: there is also the marvelous Ashley Fink.

You cast Ashley Fink as Lauren Zizes, a once-in-awhile supporting character who has recently joined the glee club on a more permanent basis. I also know Ashley Fink as Carter from the late lamented fuck-you-ABC-Family series Huge. My first exposure to Ms. Fink happened a year or so ago, when someone posted a question to my Formspring page informing me that the Glee wardrobe folks were totally cribbing my style for her character in her first appearance, evidently because there was a cardigan, mixed prints, and glasses involved. What I remember of the scene was Fink’s character demanding a box of Mallomars and yes, I thought about how I do enjoy a Mallomar now and then. To be blunt, I think Ashley Fink is awesome. I will brook no argument on this point. What I want to discuss, Ryan Murphy, is your portrayal of Lauren Zizes.

Lauren has mad style. She knows her fatshion, bitches, and wears short skirts and horizontal stripes with equal aplomb. She is snarky and clever and untroubled by the shrieking dramas of the glee club. She does push-ups to amp herself up prior to a performance, and is on the wrestling team. She likes Puck and lets him know it; after bribing him to hook up with her, Puck admits, in spite of himself, “I have to say, she kinda rocked my world.” She seems confident, bemused, sharp-edged, funny. If she were real, I’d want to hang out with her.

But you, Ryan Murphy, you have to go and ruin it by making Lauren’s defining characteristic an obsessive love of candy. The fat girl. Loves the candy.

Now, I make a good many jokes here about the so-called “bad” foods on which fat people are said to exclusively subsist. Bacon. Cheese. Handfuls of lard. Pie. The name of this blog even has “cakes” in it. I crack wise about this stuff in an effort to both be funny and to point out how ridiculous these assumptions are. Of course most fat people don’t demand buckets of candy in order to accomplish a task. There are even fat people who don’t much care for candy at all. I’d rather have a cup of tea, myself. The stereotype of the “bad”-eating fatty is offensive, sure, but it can also be funny. Sometimes, it has to be funny, or else we’d all be crying (or kicking people’s heads in) twenty-four hours a day. When we can bring laughter to a subject, that tends to help folks relax, and to open up the conversation to question these ideas. Yes, of course it’s silly to assume that all fat people eat Crisco with a spoon, a laughing person might muse, having not really thought about these stereotypes before.

In order for this to work, once the laughing dies down, you have to make a point of the joke; we laugh, while part of us may believe the stereotype is true. Let’s talk about that. But you, Ryan Murphy! Instead of dragging the absurdity of the fat girl’s candy demands into the light of day and deconstructing that idea, you are banking on it. The fat-girl-eats! jokes do not interrogate these assumptions, but rely on them to elicit laughs, even supporting the notions of those who do believe that fat people are inhuman eating machines. In the episode in which Lauren joins New Directions, her compliance is paid for with candy and sexytimes with Puck — but mostly with candy. She requires candy to join, and candy to perform. By the most recent episode, Lauren is alerting her glee-club colleagues that slush from the parking lot is edible, and she is asking Santa Claus for sweet potato fries, and she is eating the popcorn the other kids are attempting to string for hanging on the tree. Her appetite seems uncontrollable, insatiable, all-encompassing. Hmm, where have I heard that before?

Ryan Murphy, I’m inclined to think that you make these jokes not out of any real disdain for fatasses, but out of a desire to be clever, to rep for the underdog. Before Nip/Tuck, you co-created a show in the late 90s called Popular, and it was another quirky series about kids in high school. Popular had two fat characters — Carmen Ferrara was played by a pre-weight-loss Sara Rue, and Sugar Daddy was played by a pre-weight-loss Ron Lester — and their struggles with self-esteem and fitting in were treated thoughtfully and sensitively, without making their size the most important thing about them. So I know that you are capable of depicting fat folks in a more nuanced way. Unfortunately, and this is my problem with Glee in general at this point, Lauren Zizes, like many of her classmates, seems more like a caricature of a caricature, rather than a real person.

There comes a moment when the eating jokes stop being funny. You may think you’re turning a mirror on a culture that punishes women for failing to starve themselves thin; you may even think you’re standing by the right of fat girls to eat candy, and yes, fat girls are entitled to eat according to their own desires. The problem is, Ryan Murphy, sometimes you don’t get to make the in-jokes when you’re not a member of the group being mocked. It makes the jokes tricky to read, and it’s far too easy to see Lauren’s character not as a pointed attack on the stereotype of the food-obsessed, sex-craving, unlikeable fat girl but as the stereotype itself, unquestioned, uncriticized.

Is this not what you meant to do, Ryan Murphy? Did you mean this character to be funny and shocking and maybe even a winking nod to obnoxiously unapologetic fat chicks like me? Then you fucked up. Believe it or not, I don’t spend my days looking for reasons to be outraged. Those are plentiful enough that, in the interest of my own well-being, I’ve learned to ignore them. Instead, I spend my days looking for reasons to be happy, to feel good, to smile. You put a new fat girl on your show, and my fondest wish is to watch it and discover that it is awesome. I already think Ashley Fink is awesome to start with, so you are beginning on solid ground. But instead of making her a real character, I get a fat-joke punch line in human form.

You can probably understand why I’m so annoyed with you.

And I’m actually letting you off easy in this letter, understand. There is plenty about Glee that gives me pause. You’ve glossed over fat and body issues before, in that weak-ass shit where Mercedes develops and then recovers from an eating disorder in a single episode. You also have a lousy track record of dealing with disability, popular protestations to the contrary, and the most recent Christmas episode represented a horror that left me aghast and enraged, but s.e. smith has already taken that apart and I’m not going to do better here. Lauren Zizes is just the latest in a long habit of characters that fit handy slots — the disabled kid, the woman of color, the dumb blonde, the gay — but who too often exist only to service some platitude-laden Afterschool Special of a storyline. Depth seems to be optional, something we see only if it’s convenient to the plot.

Fix it, Ryan Murphy! Don’t be a part of the problem.

Sincerely,
Lesley Kinzel
Fat lady, pop-culture curmudgeon, and occasional TV viewer.


30 Comments

JonelB on December 10, 2010 at 12:09 pm.

The only quote I heard of her from that episode, was “a carton of cadbury eggs, good luck finding those, they’re out of season.”
Good snark for someone in the know that not all fat people eat like that.
Bad for my roommates, who take glee seriously.

GLEE SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.
I don’t understand how everyone loves it, I don’t get how I got called homophobic for not liking it, I don’t get how I’m a bad person for not wanting to watch it. Ever. I saw one episode. Nothing made me want to watch it again. I am cool with musicals, but not with mini-jukebox musicals every week. Even a few fans have written about it not being that good, I put it almost on par with reality tv in terms of quality of created characters. As time has gone on, like my hatred of twilight, the little pot of dislike I had originally for it turned into full-on-spicy hate stew, not because the show got worse, but because the fans got more crazy whenever I said I wasn’t a fan.

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Megan on December 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm.

This is absolutely perfect.

I have recently had the most wonderful experience, exposing my formerly “calories in-calories out” mantra-reciting, naturally thin and fantastically Kurt-like best friend to FA. It was almost traumatizing trying to figure out how to tell him that I’m okay with being fat, but the minute I asked his opinion on the header on my blog, he was instantaneously supportive.

Glee is something we share. He adorably referred to something in the show as “fat-ist,” and once I started freaking. out. that Ashley Fink was seemingly becoming a part of the permanent ensemble, he took it upon himself to Google her and then declared his undying love for her. It choked me up.

But I’ve found it difficult to explain to him that not all of the fatty eating jokes in Glee are all that bad. I actually thought the tater tot incident – until the final, jarring beat of the show where Kurt accused Mercedes of addressing her insecurities about their friendship by eating – was hilarious. For his part – he was just super confused when I told him that I didn’t really think that a fat girl starting a Marxist-style revolution over tater tots was really all that “fat-ist.”

I think I’m going to make him read this, because you explain it so much better than I did. Thanks! :)

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Susan on December 10, 2010 at 12:26 pm.

Thank you or this. I have been hoping that they would have a fat white chick join glee club. Lord knows i was in chorus (thank God we didn’t have glee club). And it was really insulting the bribing with candy thing…. that was not cool at all. I can’t recall in my life anyone ever doing that.

I am glad you called him out on this. Thrilled with the strong character, not taking shit from the the size 2′s. (Why is it that large black girls are more accepted in movies and tv than large white girls anyway? Its very weird.)

Please send your post to Glee itself. they need to read it

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Flo on December 10, 2010 at 3:27 pm.

Not directly related to the topic at hand, but to answer your question as to why it seems more acceptable to portray black women as larger on TV and in movies: I think it is a case of the racism in casting. How often is a black woman the leading lady? the love interest? If the black woman is always in the background, the clingy best friend, only there to support the thin, white lead, who cares if she’s fat? We couldn’t have a fat (or black) love interest, that’s not attractive! (note the sarcasm) but as background characters, sure why not. Clearly there are lots of other factors to this, but that’s the one that stands out to me. Even in Glee where Mercades is an equally important character as everyone else, she is never the object of any one’s affection, and when there are nods to her having romantic interest in others nothing ever comes of it.

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big mama on December 12, 2010 at 1:14 am.

I wouldn’t really describe large black women in TV/movies as “accepted.” They are typecast in roles that are essentially updated versions of the Mammy stereotype: fat, asexual, friendly, and dependable. Sometimes they get to be the butt of jokes like in Big Momma’s House or Norbit, where naturally they’re played by men because they’re just THAT unattractive. When they do get to be characters with some depth they’re almost always tragic– think of the characters in Precious or The Color Purple. My point is just that it generally sucks to be a fat actress these days no matter what race you are.

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L on December 10, 2010 at 12:35 pm.

Plus, there was the episode a couple weeks ago where Mercedes went all Norma Rae and led a revolt over Sue taking tater tots off the cafeteria menu, and then meekly agreed when Kurt told her that she was eating her feelings because she couldn’t use him as a surrogate boyfriend anymore.

I’m so frustrated watching Lauren, because I love that she’s snarky, confident, cynical, and funny (her telling Puck that show choir sucks was one of my favorite moments in the Sectionals episode, along with her delight over the green room drama and her rocking of Puck’s world), but I shriek every time the writers give her a food reference.

I don’t know why I can’t quit this show; it’s awful.

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AlisonY on December 10, 2010 at 7:40 pm.

Remember when the substitute teacher (portrayed by Paltrow) recalled the time she got punched in the face by a big, black girl and then described her as an “attractive Biggie Smalls.”

My jaw actually dropped when they showed that scene.

That was one of the most hateful things I’ve ever seen and I can’t help but be a little shock that there’s not that much outrage over it.

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Eve on December 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm.

I know it has terrible problems, but I still enjoy Glee, mostly because I love Kurt and I enjoy a lot of the musical numbers. But Lauren is really rubbing me the wrong way, with her love of food. It’s so hard to parse – I did most of my candy eating in secret at that age, and would never have demanded candy. But a fat girl who is public about her love of sweets is kind of revolutionary for those of us who expect censure for public eating. But fat people eating “bad” food in public is part of the stereotype that Lauren is based on. I can’t tell if she’s supposed to be a subversion or a stereotype, and if I can’t tell as a politicized fat woman, how can the rest of the viewing public tell?

I really, really, really want it to be revealed that she has an amazing singing voice, because apart from the food thing she is awesome with her snarkiness and fashion sense and wrestling. I had/have a great singing voice, but I had unfortunate style and no confidence at all, and I want her to be the better version of me in high school.

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Jackie on December 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm.

Props to you for not watching Glee anymore! I get so torn and then end up watching it and getting angry. I’m starting to wonder though, if the Lauren character is being made purposefully food-obssessed so she can say to them all at some point–I was just F-ing with you all! haha. Kind of like two shole cakes.
Okay, so that is not likely. But, I can dream.

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Rhonwyyn on December 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm.

YAY!!! I’ve been looking for fat bloggers’ takes on Lauren since I saw this week that they made her a member of the glee club. I was really annoyed with her stereotypical stuff – why can’t fat people on TV be anything like the rest of us? I’m glad to see that I’m not the only fat person with issues with Lauren.

(And may I ask, why does she have to wear granny glasses that make her look “Ugly Betty”? It’s like Wardrobe decided to stick her in an ’80s optical salon, and not in a good way.)

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kbryna on December 10, 2010 at 7:58 pm.

I had some words for Glee, in exactly the same letter-to-Glee format as you, earlier this week (http://themovingcastle.blogspot.com/2010/12/dear-glee.html). In fact, I directed Glee to both your blog and to *HUGE* for examples of how to do fat right.

Unsurprisingly, I have the same issues as you, although I do watch Glee regularly (part of my Glee pleasure comes from the pain Glee causes me – so my critical brain goes into overdrive; it’s not just all unreflective Glee-love over here). I want Lauren to be … an actual CHARACTER, not just this awful fat-girl-stereotype.

Disappointments everywhere.

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kbryna on December 10, 2010 at 8:07 pm.

I just read s.e. smith’s post, and I get the point about the way disability is treated in the show. But actually, I rarely read Artie as someone we should feel sorry for. I occasionally feel sorry for him when EVERYONE ELSE ON THE SHOW fails to notice or accommodate his wheelchair, but that’s them, not him. And in both the Safety Dance episode and the Christmas one, Artie’s expressions of dissatisfactions with his wheelchair are provoked by his girlfriends’ dissatisfaction with it. He says in the Safety Dance one that he really wishes he could dance, because it’s something he’d like to do; but there’s not a lot of pity and gloom about it. In this Christmas episode, Britney instigates the “cure for christmas” issue. Artie tells her, and seems to mean it, that he’s fine. That it’s okay. But Britney sees it as “unfair” that he can’t walk, and – in a rare move for the usually pretty callous Artie – Artie wants to protect Britney’s belief in christmas.

It’s hardly an unproblematic portrayal of disability or wheelchair life, but my sense is that the show has been careful, with Artie anyway, to deal with his wheelchair issues as, in fact able-bodied people’s issues with the chair. Artie’s fine; he’s not looking for pity or sympathy or a miracle cure (mostly, he’s looking to get laid, a not-unreasonable attitude for a teenage boy to have). It’s everyone else who gets all in a twist about his disability. Which feels, actually, a lot like what I’ve read disability-studies people write about – that the problem isn’t that they’re disabled, it’s other people’s reactions TO IT.
-putting a cork, or maybe some cake, in it now -

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Jenny on December 12, 2010 at 3:19 pm.

I agree on the Xmas episode that it was mostly Brittany’s innocent (but abilist) desire for Artie to be able to magically walk, and not driven by Artie’s own belief that he needs to be able to walk. (I still groaned with the ‘miracle’ because I don’t think it was necessary for a happy ending and it still perpetuates that the happy ending is the ‘cure’.) However, up until this point, and in the episode you mentioned before with the Safety Dance, Artie has been shown to have a pretty pervasive belief that if he could prove himself able, his life would be better. That episode acts like wheelchair dancers don’t count, or worse, don’t exist because the Fox writers couldn’t be arsed to research and find out that they do. I mean, when they bother to show Artie at all and give him a plot besides being sexist or a prop for the other characters.

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Anna Guest-Jelley on December 11, 2010 at 5:07 pm.

Thank you for (much more articulately) saying what I was thinking!

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Jenny on December 12, 2010 at 3:22 pm.

I’m really only watching the show for Kurt’s big gay adventures right now (and hoping they don’t screw them up), but I was unfortunately excited to see Carter (ahem) Lauren become a member of the club. I have delusions that she and Mercedes could become friends and be interested in fatshion together, or that Lauren could join the football team and bond with Beiste. Instead, she’s hanging around to talk about eating dirty snow. Even as a fat joke, that was pathetic.

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Roxie on December 13, 2010 at 6:12 pm.

I completely see your point and am inclined to agree, but I actually liked that Lauren unabashedly loved candy & was willing to use it as a bribe. Maybe b/c I spent so much time trying not eat like the fat person (in public) a lot of people stereotype in their head.

She likes candy and doesn’t hide it. It’s like “I love candy and fuck you!” I would’ve been far too ashamed (at her age) to demand candy from anyone. However, I’m aware I’m probably the only person reading it this way and far more people see it as a fat a joke.

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nonnie on December 14, 2010 at 11:31 am.

I agree with most of your entry, but it should be noted the Ryan Murphy was not the writer of either of these episodes. Brad Falchuk wrote Special Education and Ian Brennan wrote A Very Glee Christmas.

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Magpie on December 14, 2010 at 12:31 pm.

I just found your blog, and I think it’s awesome. HOWEVER, I must chime in on a comment you made in Huge Ep. 8 recap thread (just started watching the show on Hulu, so I’m going through your great recaps after each Ep.)….

You were slamming and writing off those “get in shape!” shoes, saying “just walk!”…which I don’t appreciate, since it seems as though you yourself have never tried a pair. I was skeptical but excited to try these shoes when they first came out – and I LOVE them! They are actually a great thing for some of us with fuller figures. For example, I have a large chest and bad posture – which leads to some awful backaches. Wearing these shoes forces you to have a better posture with the way they’re designed, and they really help with my back pain. Also, walking with these shoes on, you really can feel your muscles working harder, and they have worked when it comes to toning (it’s no miracle product when it comes to that aspect, but you will see results from regular wear). So please don’t talk down a product that may actually be very beneficial to some of your readers.
I think you might be put off by the ad campaigns for these types of shoes, and I agree with you there. ESPECIALLY the new Reebok (I believe) versions, where the whole commercial is a close up of the asses of 3 or 4 anorexic looking women. That’s a real eye-roller. But like I said, I find that the actual product (I have the Sketchers type, can’t attest to any of the other brands) is effective in what it claims to do (the shoes obviously won’t make you magically tight and toned – it’s up to you to move in them).

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JonelB on December 14, 2010 at 11:58 pm.

My problem with the shoes: they’re being touted as a new way of toning up/weight loss that doesn’t take much effort and will produce magical results.
That explains my special hatred of them. I hate diets. They never work. This is just another diet peddled to me.

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duckgirlie on December 14, 2010 at 5:09 pm.

I know that you are capable of depicting fat folks in a more nuanced way

Replace ‘fat folks’ with ‘lots of things’ and this is pretty much my entire problem with Glee. There are good episodes (particularly in the first half of season one, which was obviously made before they knew what the reaction would be) that show that the show is capable of being smart and emotionally/narratively coherent all at the same time, which only makes the episodes where they don’t that mucch more annoying.

I didn’t mind the candy Lauren was demanding to do sectionals, because the scarcity of the specific candy was a point, and I chose to read that as her purposely asking for things that would be hard to get, just for the laugh. (almost definitely giving the show more credit then it deserves) but then they lost that good will with the snow comment.

That said, I would love if the show hooked Puck and Lauren up again.

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Genevieve on December 16, 2010 at 5:39 pm.

Oh my God…season one. This week, they showed re-runs of last season’s Madonna episode and this season’s Britney Spears episode–and it did not reflect well at all on this season. Artie and Tina had a plotline! So did Kurt and Mercedes! It was possible to root for Finn and Rachel as a couple! The songs seemed much more connected to the plotline and weren’t just random interludes!

…things have gone so far downhill so fast.

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Tanya on December 14, 2010 at 9:45 pm.

THIS! I swear, I almost cringe every time she’s on screen because I know some silly food-obsessed comment is going to fly out of her mouth, cause that’s ALL fat girls talk about, right? I also really hate the entire story line around coach Beiste. It’s just so annoying, and they both have so much potential to be freakin’ brilliant characters. My roommate and I have watched Glee since the first episode but this past season, our excitement over it has dwindled so much that after we watch each episode we just rant about what shitty and oppressive things were said. I’m only really still watching for the Kurt/Blaine storyline, I kind of block out what’s happening with everyone else. Amazing post, though!

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Tracy H on December 28, 2010 at 5:12 pm.

I feel the same way. I was already annoyed by the occasional nod to Mercades “fat girl” eating habits, i.e. that damn tatertots episode. But this new character is really really offensive. It’s a shame that the only way to put a plus size girl on tv is to make fun of her constantly. Please, I have been plus size my whole life and though I am known to overindulge once and a while (like every other creature on earth), mostly I eat quite similarly to everyone else I know whether or not their dress size is in double digits.

I would like to respectfully disagree with you that the character is portrayed as a fashionable plus size girl. I think it is the oppose. I think that they dress her in cartoonish, sometimes ill-fitting, and often unflattering clothes. It feels to me that her very presence is supposed to be funny. Which is so obnoxious I cannot even take it. I think that they dress Mercedes as a fashionable plus size girl, but then again Amber Riley is “tv” fat, not “real life” fat. I miss the days when Glee was a fun, campy, guilty pleasure. Now it is a constant let down and source of irritation.

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MB on March 22, 2011 at 3:10 am.

I completely agree with you! I think they dress Lauren in HORRIBLE clothing!! She always looks awful in my opinion, running to the stereotype that fat chicks are complete losers who can’t even dress themselves as they’re too busy thinking about their next meal. As to Mercedes being stylish, this again runs to a stereotype as the funky coloured woman. Don’t all black women ‘got’ style? (sarcasm)…To a comment made way above as to why white fat chicks are always less accepted than fat black chicks, this is my take on the matter: Black woman are stereotyped to be voluptuous. The black woman’s supposed to have a booty on her, and a waist…Even black culture leans to that conclusion. Take that song by the “wonderful” Sir Mix-A-Lot…’I Like Big Butts’. The song is all about women needing to have curves. Now I admit this song does not particularly say only coloured women should have curves, but if you watch the film clip, you can see it is what is inferred. It’s the black (as well as latino & islander while we’re at it) stereotypical culture for a woman with curves to be respected, for her curves. But tell me, how many songs do you hear about white chicks needing to have curves? The only place where white women with curves have been accepeted (to my limited knowledge) is in a Botticelli painting…in the Renaissance period when women who were well-rounded were a mark of wealth and good-standing.
What ever happened to that notion? Now I have to be honest and say, I don’t think women should be overly obese but neither should they be anorexic. The female form, be it of latino, negroid or caucasian background, is (in my opinion) at it’s best when there’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to it. Whoever made us, made us to have some “jiggly bits” (thank you Bridget Jones)…actually, now I mention it, Bridget Jones is probably the only real movie I can think of where a white lady who is (ever so slightly) overweight is actually accepted just as she is. Even though yes, she keeps a diary and is ‘trying’ to lose weight, we all know she isn’t really. She’s just trying to find that special someone and we all doubt ourselves at some point on that quest, we all have questioned our weight as to be a possible reason we have no partner. I know I definitely have on many occasions. Anyway, minus the segue, that’s my 2 cents worth…I do wish they’d let Lauren have a bit more style. Even now, they’re stereotyping her as the “I don’t give a shit, eat my shorts” fat girl. Can’t we have a non-stereotypical fat girl? For once?

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Girl on January 11, 2011 at 2:12 am.

EWWWWW, I want that Lauren girl off the show! Or at least not actually in glee club. She’s annoying as hell and I hate her attitude, GO BACK TO THE AV CLUB PLEASEEEE! How could you possibly say that you’d want to hang out with her? She’s totally obnoxious!

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Paco on January 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm.

Anyone else notice in “Special Education” that Lauren was the only girl wearing a shrug(?) for their performances? Immediate reaction: HIDE THE FATTY ARMS OF DEATH

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Sara on February 15, 2011 at 6:51 pm.

Dear Lesley,
I stumbled upon your blog quite by accident, and I am so glad I did. I always thought of Glee as frivolous and kind of stupid, but I happened to see the episode about grilled Cheesus and, being a Darren Criss fan prior to his arrival on the show, have seen most of the episodes since then. I was, of course, pleased to see Mercedes as a heftier girl with great fashion sense but I don’t really think of her as fat. I was also kind of upset with Coach Beaste – she is portrayed as a woman who was never loved because of her size when she, too, is not really that large, and seeing her made me a little sad for my own future.

Then, of course, came Lauren. I liked her immediately for her Cadbury comment because I do so love Cadburys and I thought that her character was bad ass…but I have the same issues with her now that you do. She is always the stereotypical fat girl – like when my friends say, “I love you like a fat kid loves cake” or they want to use the FatBooth app to see their “fat faces”, I find such a cavalier and somewhat cruel reference to the idea that fat people eat eat eat kind of offensive. If, instead, the show had dealt with racial stereotypes the media would be in an uproar. Why, then, is it okay to make the fat girls lonely/sad/desperate/obnoxious or always shoving any kind of food down their throat. Lauren’s character is less about the struggles overweight girls face everyday with the mirror and society and more about her next meal, and that’s just wrong.

I was beginning to despair ever finding someone who has the courage to stand up and speak. I know I lack all of the confidence and self assurance, but reading your letter was heartening. Thank you.

Yours,
Sara

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Ginger on March 15, 2011 at 9:35 pm.

I was just shown this tonight by a friend after just about having my fill of the blatant fat stereotypes thrown at the character Lauren. When she 1st appeared on the show I also applauded her. I was glad to see a “cool” fat chick that was funny and interesting. However, ever since she started dating Puck it’s just one stupid ploy after another and it’s getting to the point where it ruins the whole show to me. It’s almost like getting thrown right back into high school and being frightened that someone will hate me just on my looks. Or assume I’m stupid, lazy, or mean just because of my size.
In truth, when I go to unwind and watch TV at night, the last thing I want to be reminded of is the daily struggle fat people have to deal with. This blog entry could not have put my thoughts together any more. Thanks so much for your blog and know that there are people out there with the same issues!

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