Is Glee Intending to Demonise Fat Kids?

Published October 15, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

Thanks to my lovely friend Angela over at Snarkerati, a blog about TV news, I heard of an alleged casting call from the makers of Glee, looking for some obese kids, with particular focus on finding an obese girl to play the “biggest, most intimidating girl ever”.

This breaks my heart.  If it’s true, I’m really disappointed in the makers of Glee.  This is a show that preaches tolerance and acceptance, with very pointed plot lines about body diversity and body image.  One of my favourite moments was Amber Riley as Mercedes singing Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” after trying to diet her way to fit in to the Cheerios cheer squad.

As the behind the scenes interviews show above, it’s a message that the cast and crew consider important.

I mean the show is entirely about a group of misfit kids who are crapped on by the popular kids, and their teacher who through the medium of music, teaches them self acceptance and self esteem.

So what’s with the call for a fat girl to be the “biggest, most intimidating girl ever”?  Couldn’t they use a TALL girl for that?  Or is there a point to demonising fat kids?

Angela has posted on the topic herself at Snarkerati, you will find the post here.

6 comments on “Is Glee Intending to Demonise Fat Kids?

  • As someone who is VERY tall (like 6 foot 2 tall) as well as fat be careful of demonizing the tall azs well i have never worn heels, been told i cant be dated because im not a real woman (since i am tall) called amazon and worse. be very careful whhere you start throwing around tall=mean.

    And i think the image of fat=mean is better than fat=lazy, slovenly or unloveable.

    • No, it isn’t better at all. Any negative stereotypes are damaging.

      And again, I wasn’t drawing the tall comparison to demonise tall people, but just to question why the producers are putting the big and mean = fat and mean when big can mean more than just fat.

  • Intimidation isn’t a body type, it’s an attitude. Having the “big mean girl” be taller and/or larger than the person she’s intimidating can be useful, but it isn’t necessary.

    Demonizing “Fat” or demonizing “Tall”—neither is a good thing.

    • You miss my point KellyK – it’s not to suggest that tall people are inherently mean, but if you wish to use size to intimidate, it doesn’t have to be about fat. Tall is just another example. It is to question why the big mean girl defaults to mean fat mean girl.

      Is it about the perception that fat is a choice, but tall isn’t?

  • Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Using your size to physically intimidate someone smaller is one of many different bullying methods. I don’t think we get to have it both ways – more fat bodies on television that go beyond ‘sidekick’ and ‘buffoon’ but confined to wonderful, size-positive characters that we can cheer for. Given Glee’s track record of promoting diversity and challenging stereotypes, I’m more than willing to reserve judgment until I’ve actually seen what they do with the character. In the meantime, II see nothing inherently offensive from the casting call alone.

    • That’ts what I’m hoping as well Christine, but I am very worried that they’ll go down a different route. They have already got some questionable moments with fat/ugly girls throughout the series (I’m thinking of the Twilight fans in the Gaga episode – many of them were portrayed as fat/ugly and that’s not the only example) and I just hope they don’t go down that route even further.

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