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Is Fat-Shaming Really About Weight? Or Gender?

Recently the debate over fat shaming has reached new heights as all across America people are discussing whether or not it is ethical to use fat shaming to discourage people from living an unhealthy lifestyle. What people haven’t given much thought to however is why most of the fat shaming is geared towards women rather than men?

It used to be that it was only a subliminal message here or there that would tell women they had more of an obligation to stay trim and slim while men can do pretty much whatever they want with their bodies.

Now, people are actually vocalizing their opinions of heavier women but heavy men are continuously praised and admired for their humor and confidence despite their body type.

Just look at the cruel fat-shaming article by Rex Reed about Melissa McCarthy’s performance in “Identity Thief.” Bashing the film for not being funny is one thing. Simply admitting that he didn’t like McCarthy’s acting would have been another. But instead of focusing on the film, plot, or even Melissa’s performance the film critic didn’t look pass her body.

Reed slapped McCarthy with a ton of hurtful monikers including “obnoxious,” “obese,” and how could we forget the “tractor-sized” comment.

Here’s where the real problem comes in. While McCarthy’s performance was “obnoxious” because of her weight, male stars such as Jonah Hill are found to be hilarious and comedic geniuses due to their weight.

In fact, most film critics are urging Hill to gain weight again in order to improve his comedy career.

So what did we miss? Because Melissa was just slammed for giving the same type of performance Jonah Hill gave in the “Superbad.” Think about it. While the roles are indeed different did they not required the same type of comedy that played directly off of the fact that the character was over weight? So why is it only funny for Jonah Hill to be a fat actor and just “obnoxious” when Melissa McCarthy does the same thing?

It seems like the only thing more offensive to Hollywood than a over weight woman trying to be funny, is an over weight woman trying to have a serious acting career where her weight isn’t focus of several punch lines and slapstick comedy.

When Gabourey Sidibe made her movie debut in “Precious” she was immediately attacked for have the audacity to believe in herself and have a positive outlook on her career. That’s right. Simply because she believed she could carry on a career outside of “Precious” despite her body type she became the victim of cruel fat-shaming rant.

“There’s the most enormous, fat black chick I’ve ever seen,” Howard Stern said on his Sirius satellite show. “She is enormous. Everyone’s pretending she’s a part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie. She should have gotten the Best Actress award because she’s never going to have another shot. What movie is she gonna be in?”

Unfortunately, fat-shaming isn’t just confined to women in the movies either and it’s not just men who are criticizing over weight women.

Joan Rivers has repeatedly crossed the lines of comedy when fat-shaming songstress Adele.

During an appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman” she made one joke after another about the “Skyfall” crooner.

“What’s her song? ‘Rolling in the Deep?’ She should add ‘fried chicken,’” Rivers said while the audience failed to find anything funny about the joke.

Even then, the fat-shaming wasn’t stopping any time soon.

“You could easily pick Adele’s Oscar statuette out of a lineup,” she tweeted. “It was the only one wearing Spanx.”

Despite her incredible vocal talents, Adele is continuously criticized for not being the size Hollywood wanted her to be, but many male musicians are even larger than Adele and even use their size to brand themselves.

Daniel Baldwin, Fat Joe, Mike Tyson, Alec Baldwin, Jack Black, Rick Ross, Kenan Thompson, Nick Frost, Randy Jackson, and Sean Kingston are all hefty male celebrities who are rarely (if at all) criticized for being over weight. Meanwhile people can’t get enough of slamming Melissa McCarthy, Adele, Lena Dunham, Rosie O’Donnell, Kirstie Alley, Kathy Bates, Oprah and even Kelly Clarkson with jokes about their weight – regardless of the fact that some of these women aren’t even close to being overweight.

Hollywood is still desperately scrambling to control our perception of beauty and they are finding no reason to be secretive about it anymore. Nobody has an issue with just blatantly calling an actress a tractor-sized hippo and then praising an over weight male actor a week later.

It’s simply a reinforcement of old traditional values that used to say it was a man’s job to go out and bring home the bacon, while it was the wife’s job to just stay at home and look beautiful for her husband.

Well times have changed. Women can bring home the bacon – and eat it too. There is nothing wrong with a woman having a full figure and if we are truly concerned about America’s weight, we need to 1) find a better way of encouraging healthy lifestyles other than fat-shaming people and 2) get rid of the ridiculous double standards that says a woman can’t be any larger than a size 2 but a man has the right to be larger than life.


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