Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Queen Size movie was a Queen size diet ad

Recently Lifetime aired a movie called "Queen Sized" about a very fat High School lady who was nominated for Homecoming queen as a joke and then, decides to run. A good summation of the plot of the movie, stars, movie trailer and short analysis can be found here.

About the only positive thing I found in the movie was the main character played by Nikki Blonsky, was really fat and actually wore somewhat youngish clothing.

But the movie was actually anti fat and perpetuating the same tired old myths about fatness over and over.

Based on a real incident which happened in 2004 in Detroit to Allie Burris, various facts about Burris were changed in order to push the anti fat agenda. Whereas Burris' Dad died of asthma, a non fat related disorder, Maggie's dad died of diabetes which is said to be fat related (it is genetically related rather than fat related but it's one of the sound bites they use to scare people into dieting). Throughout the movie, although we are reminded that it - isn't nice - to make fun of fat people, we are also reminded that Maggie should lose weight to save herself from the deadly diabetes which killed her Dad.

In the real incident, Burris got the support of the other High Schoolers and got elected to Homecoming Princess (she was supposedly elected so they could jeer while she was riding in the parade but her ride was without incident). In the movie Maggie got the support of a lot of her contemporaries who were tired of the lady who usually won, but when Maggie stood up to accept the honor, she was almost unanimously booed.

Supposedly, the audience was told she brought that upon herself when she took a TV interview and acted fat and proud. "We want the old Maggie back" said several kids to her. That is, the Maggie who hated herself and thought she was a failure and buried her sorrows in food -that's the one the High Schoolers liked, NOT the new Maggie who actually thought she could do something. Ostensibly some kids who worked in her campaign got angry at her because she didn't mention them as having a part, on TV but they helped, the movie gave us the impression, because they "felt sorry for her" and not because she had any attributes worth anything.

Everyone else in Maggie's family was Hollywood slim and the movie clearly suggested that Maggie was fat because she was out of shape (they showed her running and puffing, walking and not being able to keep up with the other kids and so forth, implying the only exercise she did was opening the fridge plus the arm exercise of putting the food in her mouth). Maggie was also fat, the film showed us, because everytime something went wrong, she ate - all of the wrong things of course. Never did so much as a veggie pass over her lips.

The usual stereotypes we all are familiar with. People are fat because they eat too much and move too little. Only like other stereotypes, these are equally erroneous. There are plenty of slim High Schoolers with binge eating disorder and plenty of fat High Schoolers who are like I was - exercising MORE than the average person (I walked EVERYWHERE I went, I swam during my study halls, I ran from class to class) and STILL only achieving a somewhat large-normal size by starvation. Society doesn't want to admit fatness is mostly genetic because then they couldn't have their fat-a-phobia in comfort. But science says that size IS genetic. The "Queen Sized" movie did not teach people that however. On the contrary.

Interestingly enough, all the high schoolers were shown as slim and perfect looking. I guess the makers of that movie hoped we wouldn't ask difficult questions like "where are all these fat kids that the obesity epidemic mongers are telling us about?" Two fat kids in a large school? Where is the epidemic and why do we have to be "worried" if only 2 out of 1000 kids is fat? Guys, you cannot have it both ways!

"Queen Sized" wasn't even that interesting to watch. It dragged in several places. I fast forwarded through the commercials but I'm told the diet industry was advertising a lot.

The end of the movie was like the rest of it. Maggie goes back to being humble and carefully finds all the candy she has hidden in her room and throws it in the garbage so the audience is consoled with the fact that she has finally decided to get with the crowd and lose weight.

If you haven't seen this movie, I don't think you've missed anything but more of the same dose of fat-a-phobia we get on a daily basis. It was just cleverly (or not so cleverly) cloaked in a different wrapper.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, but just as people have a genetic predisposition to obesity and diabetes, except under very rare circumstances, both are preventable with proper diet and exercise. Obesity is not "mostly" genetic. According to the latest research:
About 30 percent of adults and 16 percent of children in the United States are overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only a fraction of these people have genetic conditions or mutations that are linked to obesity.

Sue Joan said...

Sorry Eve, but "overweight" by the BMI scale (invented in 1850, not what we call the state of the art) is normal weight for many people for example Governor Schwartzerhagger has a BMI of 32 which is obese by that scale. So that figure you quoted is meaningless. The correct percentage is about 15 percent of the population is obese or clinically obese which means that 85 percent of the American population IS NOT obese and yet doesn't exercise and lives the American lifestyle of fast food etc. Now, that's kind of a no brainer to do the math and understand that those who DO become obese are genetically that size! But if you need an expert to tell you that, Dr Rudy Leibel who is one of the most famous obesity researchers has stated that size is 40 to 80 percent GENETICALLY determined. So if you are NOT in the lucky 15 percent, thank your lucky stars and try being a bit more tolerant toward those not so genetically blessed, ok?

Unknown said...

I have to agree with eve. And sue even if it is genetic that you are gonna be overweight, than sadly you're going to have to work harder than others. If you get out an excersize you will loose weight. Maybe your idea of running to class is considered excersize how about running 3 or 4 miles a day, that is excersize.

Sue Joan said...

I have arthritis and have not been able to run since I was about 10 (when my arthritis was diagnosed). But FYI, I have worked out DAILY for 15 years and between 2005 and 2006, I gained 60 lbs on 2000 calories a day, working out 90 minutes daily and totally abstaining from fast food, junk food and the like. Go figure. You are spewing forth a media image which is bunk. And which misleads many. If you can run 3-4 miles a day, good for you. But then, did you know the most USUAL recipients of hip replacements are 40 year old runners who are slim? (Even WITH moderate arthritis I have so far avoided one of these even being 64 years old!) If you want to eat 500-1000 calories a day like lots of slim folks I know, that's fine but I don't feel eating that little is healthy. One of my shirttail relatives was a runner, did marathons etc, very slim. And I'm sure her last doctor visit before she came down with the cancer which killed her at the age of 53, her "risk numbers" were great and her doctor gave her a "clean bill of health". A lot of good THAT did. I also know a lady who weighs in excess of 500 lbs who is 59 years out and has outlived 48 of her friends who opted out for weight loss surgery. Let's put it this way, if you see it in the media, it's probably baloney. In today's crazy world, people believe the media like it's the gospel and question the time tested Bible like it's the media... go figure.