Now, a brief disclaimer: the following item is going to discuss issues around body image. Being a guy with - let's face it - a slightly soft and doughy middle, this can easily be seen as "Hello, pot, this is kettle" time. But as a humble, pop culture/comic blogger, I would be remiss by not chiming in.
Recently, while reading the multitude of blogs in my Google Reader account, I came across Screen Rant's link to this article. There's an organization out there that is advocating for more "people of size" on television. Admittedly, I have mixed feelings about this.
On the one hand, body image issues are extremely prevalent in our culture, and we would not want to promote unhealthy living. Culturally, we send mixed messages - just look at the whole Tyra Banks issue. Yes, she's doing a lot to promote the idea of being comfortable with ourselves...but she is the graduate of an industry that aggressively promotes ideas of beauty. In addition, you have people like Meme Rice, who represents a group with some noble goals, but demonstrates some wacky ideas about what is "fat". I have no problem with more "people of size" on television, but do we really need to go out of our way to further images of size?
I have no problem with representation of other genders/ethnicities/sexual preferences being promoted in our culture - after all, one is born a man/woman/transgender, and there's no surgery that can, say, cure me of being Polish. However, with weight, there's a thin line between being soft and doughy...and being morbidly obese. And we send some very mixed messages about overweight people, especially when they're willing participants.
Case in point: Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News. Mike Sterling posted a very not-safe-for-your-sanity clip of Harry...well, let's not go into detail. However, Harry has done little more than become the Kevin Trudeau of movie bloggers, mythologizing himself as an "outsider on the inside" based on little more than self-promotion...and having been fooled at least twice, AICN is slowly, but surely, losing its geek cache. Much of this was done by Harry playing up the whole "fat-geek-without-a-life" card...I mean, anyone who names his film festival the "Butt-Numb-A-Thon" isn't quite playing to even the lowest of brows. (And reading his site's message boards make most comic message boards read like certain bloggers of taste and wit). I'm surprised that there hasn't been a truly major goof on his site, such as "In Season 3 of Doctor Who, here is the true identity of the Face of Boe*"
Ok, it's the Face of Moe, but I think you get the idea...
I know I've rambled about body image, and don't mind seeing more people of size on television. But does it bother me that there aren't? Nope. Not at all. Because there's plenty of work in representing other types of people - people who've been underrepresented - and quite frankly, I think we need to focus more on treating people as individuals rather than waist size.
And please feel free to leave any death threats/verbal comments to 206-203-3032.
*Clicking on the link will reveal a possible spoiler. But I have wanted to do this joke for soooooo long