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Obesity in Acting: A Reflection of Fat America

Posted on 18 March 2010 by Tim

Actors and actresses are often paragons of beauty and fitness. This has been the general rule. But following the nomination of Gabourey Sidibe, Howard Stern has stirred up a bit of a controversy (surprise, surprise) over obesity in Hollywood by questioning whether Gabourey will be cast for any future roles due to her vast weight. You might remember that Gabourey is the vastly overweight African-American woman who was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Award show for her role in the film Precious.

At first glance, it would seem like Howard might be right and it could be hard to cast Sidibe for other roles. But there have been plenty of other obese or overweight actors – Chris Farley, Kevin Smith, Jack Black, and Queen Latifah just to name a few. There was also that really huge guy in Old School (starring Will Farrell). So, it’s not entirely impossible to get work as an overweight thespian. The thing with these actors though is that they are all really charismatic, or funny, or two scoops of sexy like Queen Latifah.

From what I’ve seen, Gabourey displays none of these traits. Her overly pudgy dough-boy face makes her eyes look squinty and mad. She’s not shapely in a good way like Queen Latifah and I haven’t seen her be funny or charismatic. Other than dramatic roles where Gabourey gets mad or cries, what can she play? How many movies can feature an emotional fat girl?

And perhaps there is a dearth of large actresses because there aren’t exactly a lot of roles out there for them, so they pursue other lines of work. [BlogHer]

Hollywood is not the only place where obesity is derided. Look at your nearest grade school play ground and although more and more kids are chunky monkey, they still get teased. Heck, look at People of Walmart a website dedicated to making fun of fat, ugly and weird people that shop at Walmart.

So, will Hollywood start reflecting the reality of America – that we are all getting FATTER? Or will they continue to intrigue us with beautiful people?

Justin Timberlake brought sexy back. Can Gabourey Sidibe bring beastly back?

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