Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Sitcom “Mom” Should Know That Fat Suits Aren’t Funny

facepalmThe sitcom “Mom” has decided to hide Jaime Pressly’s pregnancy by having her wear a fat suit and pretend to be “addicted” to food. In the past the show has dealt with alcohol and gambling addiction and they plan to deal with food the same way.

That’s a hot mess. The idea of “food addiction” being the same as an addiction to alcohol or gambling is highly controversial for a number of reasons, including the fact that nobody needs to drink alcohol or gamble so “abstinence” is possible, but everyone needs to eat.

If what they are actually talking about is a health condition such as Binge Eating Disorder, they should know that  binge eating issues happen to people of all sizes, so conflating them with her new body size fat suit, is playing to stereotypes and creating a confusing and inaccurate message about eating disorders and body size.

Regardless, wearing fat suits is seriously questionable even when people claim that they are trying to learn from it (yes, even if it’s Dr. Oz) since we have plenty of fat people telling their actual lived stories and we could just listen to and believe them. It’s 100% wrong when does for a Halloween costume, or for cheap laughs.

It seems very much like this is an example of the latter, and not just because it’s being done in a show that’s part of a genre that has “comedy” in its name. In addition to enjoying blithely donning a fat suit and engaging in stereotypes about fat women in a world where fat actresses face almost impossible odds of getting hired at all, in an attempt to claim that they won’t be making fat jokes (though the interviewer says that “…seeing the petite Pressly in puffy prosthetics will certainly be a gut-buster…”) Pressly made a fat joke:

“They don’t make fun,” says Pressly. “The writers are very careful. For everything we talk about on the show, there’s a fine line between what’s right and what’s wrong, and what we what can and cannot say. There is sensitive material in recovery. The other women kind of tiptoe around it. They don’t want to make Jill feel bad. There’s a big elephant in the room and that elephant is Jill.”

She’s an elephant – because she’s fat. Get it?  It’s so funny I forgot to laugh. According to Jaime, having her hide behind tables and such would have been too “cheesy” – so that had her dress up as a fat person instead?  Dressing in someone else’s skin is a terrible and offensive idea. Especially when we know that once the babies are born she’ll shed her pretend fat skin and return to her life of thin privilege while people clamor to ask her what it’s like to be fat.

This is crap. Apparently it’s not enough for Hollywood to burden the few fat actresses who get work with scripts chock full of stereotypes and shitty jokes about their food intake, now they’re putting thin actresses in fat suits to do the same.

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