Today, I wanted to maybe quill a few Valentine’s Day cards, and get a head start on sending them out, while watching a sappy movie to get me in the mood for love.
Instead, as I was browsing Hulu Plus, I came across a movie called DisFigured, and opted to watch that, while folding laundry. Definitely not the plan I had in mind earlier.
Instead of feeling empowered, and getting the message that the director allegedly wanted, which I can only assume is that bodies come in all shapes and sizes and that we should work on body image and accepting what we have, I ended the movie with a feeling of disgust. Not only was the message lost (especially when the obese woman screams that no one loves the anorexic woman, and when the obese woman asks her for “anorexia lessons”), but anorexia was completely misrepresented (it’s not about weight or vanity, dammit!), and I found myself being judgmental of the people in the movie.
Let me address the first problem with this movie. Yes it’s a good message, and body image is something we need to be positive about. Body image is the thing that I struggle with most profoundly. I’ve got an…interesting relationship with food and weight. And sure, I wish that beauty, sex appeal, and attraction had fewer hard bodies and more women that are softer around the edges. But I don’t think it’s good that we keep saying things like “big is beautiful,” making the word “fat” as bad as the word “c–t,” or encouraging people to be happy, content, and lazy when they are several dozens of pounds overweight. Obesity is a problem, and it’s driving up costs of many things here in the US: healthcare, insurance, and even airline tickets. By coddling them, and by “accepting” them, and by making it a protected society, we’ve actually created one-directional monsters. I don’t think it’s ok for my very overweight friend to tell me to eat a cheeseburger, but I can’t tell her to order a salad. I don’t think it’s ok for my obese friends at restaurants to be able to taunt me when I order something healthy, or make healthy substitutions “because I want to be thin,” but I can’t tell them to not order the fried stuff with extra sauce and dessert. And I certainly don’t think it’s ok for my heavy friends to give me a hard time when I want to exercise because I’m “already skinny,” but they would be insulted if I suggest the gym when they complain about not fitting into this week’s new clothing item. The more we promote this idea, that fat should be accepted, and even celebrated, the more we are promoting unhealthy lifestyles, entitled attitudes, decreased health expectations, and a general air of complacency.
The second massive issue I had with this movie is regarding the portrayal of anorexia. Staci Lawrence is very slender, and I get she’s supposed to be in recovery. But she does not look like the girls I know, nor does she act like them. Anorexia is not a physical disease, it’s a mental one. It’s not about weight – not at its core – and the movie seemed to downplay this. I was actually insulted when Lydia asked for anorexia lessons, and then Darcy agreed to give them to her. Following this, they bought a scale, threw out all the food, and Darcy told her to drink water and just not eat. Then, when Lydia falls off the anorexia wagon, Darcy comes over and actually helps her, and monitors her to make sure she doesn’t do it again. Further into the movie, Lydia screams that no one loves Darcy, not even herself. I didn’t know really how to react to this – any of it. It seemed to me that the only thing that was accurate in regards to eating disorders is when Lydia says something along the lines of how Darcy thinks about food more than she does.
There are some women in the movie that see “fat acceptance” as a war against society, against the thin ones, and it’s the duty of the fat people to band together to make the rest of the world see that being fat is….something. OK? Acceptable? There’s nothing you can do about it? I couldn’t help it, but I looked at those women with disgust. Not because they were fat, but because of their mentality. It’s not about fat or skinny, or calories, or exercise. It’s about being healthy, and this is not something that this movie promotes.