So, grad school (specifically my Masculinity course) has me thinking. It seems that women are the crux of the FA movement (I too am guilty of perpetuating that trend). This is understandable for reasons that would take another post to explain, but I think we all get the picture. But I/we should not forget that men are also subject to the same expectations and anti-fat rhetoric. It seems, according to the literature I’ve been reading day after day, that physicality has been a defining characteristic of manhood since the founding fathers. Some things never change.
Take sports for example. Athletes fair very well in the income hierarchy. We as a society, economically speaking, value the superb physical strength of athletes even more than teachers. But think about how much less women athletes get paid for the same thing. It just goes to show how significant these physical attributes are for men. Before anyone gets angry, I realize how much dedication and work it takes to be an athlete. I myself was an athlete at one time or another. I have a great amount of respect for people who exemplify the skill and dedication it takes to be the best. But I resent the fact that society places a higher worth on physical strength than the strength people have in between the ears.
The most depressing example of the kind of fat hatred that men must endure occurs in Hollywood. In movies, it’s like fat men are only qualified to play two roles. The first being the comedian. Don’t get me wrong. There are a number of respectable fat funnymen. But there should be just as many leading men. It’s like these men aren’t qualified to play serious roles. Secondly, fat men are relegated to the position of sidekick. Which in theory is a derivative of the comedian, because the sidekick provides comic relief. (Think Superbad, if anyone has seen it).
I don’t think that anyone should be the subject of ridicule. And although the movie industry would never admit it, I believe that these men are cast for the apparent comedy of their looks as well as their acting ability. This is really unfortunate.
When am I going to get to see that leading man with a little meat on his bones (or a lot). I want a love interest I can wrap my arms all the way around. After all, when I fantasize about my completely fictional but nonetheless entertaining happy ending (Hollywood style), the man there with me is always a big, broad shouldered, no stranger to good home cooking, piece of…well you get the picture.
So, while there are some trailblazers changing what we see on television (Monique, pre slimfast Queen Latifah, and my personal favorite Nikki Blonsky, who is absolutely adorable),where are the leading men that break the trend? Have we really come that far?