It’s been said that gay-bashing, racism, and fat jokes were the last forms of socially accepted discrimination. Basically if you are fat, black, and gay God help you! Thanks to civil rights advocates such as Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglas, and the controversial Malcolm X, the present leader of the free world is a black man. But think for a second if President Obama was black, gay, and fat would he of have made it into the White House? By our society rules the answer would be, “No.” A few NBA seasons ago Kobe Bryant was fined $50,000 for calling a referee a “Faggot”, but yet calling a woman fat on television is common practice and even written into scripts.
Ironically my long time bestie from high school and I were having our girlie moment together watching our favorite prime time television show Pretty Little Liars (don’t judge me). This particular episode Emily , a bi-sexual character, was dealing with issues regarding her friends and family views of our her sexuality. By the end of the episode her family learned to accept her sexuality. My BFF joked and said “You can be Gay but you still can’t be FAT”! The amusing observation was based on the fact that the writers of Pretty Little Liars choose in a previous episode to tackle another character’s (Hanna) weight issues. Unlike Emily, Hanna’s episode ended in us learning she was happier and more accepted by her peers only after she lost weight. It makes me wonder why we were taught gay tolerance through the “Emily” episodes but not taught body acceptance in Hanna’s episodes? One obvious answers would be more than likely one of the writers for the show is gay. I noticed the same concept with Desperate Housewives. The gay couple, who moved on Mysteria Lane , was accepted by Gaby, the former mode. But Gaby puts her child Wynita on a diet in another episode. The plus sized woman makes up over 62% of the market but yet remains very misrepresented and over looked in entertainment and media.
Walk with me here, gay activists have fought through the hate utilizing campaigns, movies, and television in order to promote an atmosphere of gay tolerance. How many television shows have you watched and the gay characters get “loved” and accepted by the end? Now think again, how many television shows you have watched and witnessed characters tackle body issue? How many of those programs have ended in the solution of losing weight? I started researching gay characters in television and film it became clear I wasn’t seeing things the gay community have been revolutionary with getting their message of tolerance out there. Celebrities have lined up to be a part of the famous NO H8 campaign for marriage equality. I watched it spread like wild-fire on Facebook with 1,000s of people creating their own taped mouth photo. I asked around to find out what it meant and nobody could give me an answer. I even posed the question on my fan page of over 37,000 people and got no response. I decided to do my own research and lo and behold it was a pro gay marriage campaign. I thought “Wow! This is the best marketing campaign I have ever seen”. Thousands of straight people promoting the NO H8 Campaign but not even knowing what the meaning of it was just because it looked cool.
My research of the tactics used by the gay community lead me to one conclusion? the LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] community banned together and decided to write their own story. They said “the hell with what society wants to say about us lets create own image and take pride in it.” I’m not a member of that community but they have inspired me. My hope is for the plus size community to use the same sentiment as a blueprint. We need plus size writers writing our image into plays, movies, and television shows. Tyler Perry started with nothing and took it upon himself to write characters for black actors and actresses and created a multi-million dollar empire. Why isn’t the plus size community creating the same for our community? Do plus size writers not exist? We need plus size producers, casting directors, film directors, and publicists working hard toward making our image seen and accepted as much as possible. Be a Juggernaut by absorbing all the energy that media puts in brainwashing society into thinking your body is ugly if it doesn’t look a certain way. Take that negative energy and use it to power creating the image we want the world to see. Let’s tell OUR own story. Instead of wanting to be a model let’s try taking positions of power within the major fashion industry to open the door to tell the story of the plus size woman correctly. If they are not going to cast us then let’s hire our selves. If they are not going to write about us then let’s write for us. If they don’t want to see us on television then create a show written just for us. Imagine what we could accomplish if we had an army of Shonda Rhimes producing television that speaks the truth about today’s average woman.
On a personal note, I’ll tell you a secret. There has only been one person that has truly inspired me in our current curvy community. She was a beautiful plus size model but that’s not why I looked up to her. While everyone admired her for her modeling career my admiration came from what everyone else didn’t see. I found out about this woman through a friend. My friend called me from on-set all excited and he told me about a producer he was working with. “She does plus size modeling, she would be perfect for Full Figures“. He told me her name and I looked her up, Mia Amber Davis. I was thrilled to find out it was a woman I could relate to in the industry I wanted to be in. See I have never wanted to be a model or be in front of a camera. My drive has always been to change the image of plus size women. And you can’t do that by being in front of the camera, you’ll need to control the camera. Back then I hadn’t met any plus size women in production and I was feeling my dream wasn’t going to come true. I added Mia as a friend on MySpace but didn’t speak to her. Finding her allowed me to make up in my mind that I was going to go after what I really wanted. I started off producing events in my local area that lead into a 6 year span that eventually landed me right on the doorstep of where I wanted to be casting for television. I also learned a lesson of regret because I never got the chance to tell Mia any of this. I eventually had the pleasure of having some great phone conversations with her but my ego wouldn’t allow me tell her how much she inspired me.
Unfortunately that ego got humbled because Mia died last year. And it hit me a lot harder than anyone could have ever known. But once again her death inspired me to push forward even harder to accomplish my mission, take over from the inside. I have worked diligently toward putting myself into a position to open doors for others. Until we ban together and take our proper positions, the thought that “You can be Gay but You can’t be Fat” will reign supreme. The LGBT community has “Pride Week” and they estimate of over half a million people attend nationwide, African-Americans have a whole month for their history but where is our “One Million Big Girl March?”
Hell no I won’t let my body go!