Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fat Suits

As I read a People magazine yesterday I saw an article about Tyra Banks and her experience wearing a fat suit. I guess she did this for her TV show, which I have never seen.

I find that I often have conflicting feelings about “experiments” like this. For me, the worst (by far) was when Dr. Phil’s son put on a fat suit and then blathered on and on about how “shocked” he was when people didn’t smile and fawn over him when he didn’t look like his normal studly self. (I have no explanation for it, but I have an almost primal hatred for Jay McGraw. No, he’s never done anything to me. But when I see him on TV I want to pull my toenails off one by one.)

These fat suit experiments always come across as a little… disingenuous, or exploitative, to me. First, I can’t recall a fat suit experiment in which they really made the person attractive. There are plenty of heavier people in the world who are beautiful and stylish. And there are plenty of thinner people who could really use a major makeover. But the people wearing the suits are usually made to look frumpy. Second, the person who wore the suit gets to take it off at the end and say, “WHEW! THAT WAS AWFUL. OUT SOCIETY HAS A VERY SKEWED PERCEPTION OF BEAUTY. GOOD THING I AM REALLY SUPER SKINNY AND GORGEOUS!” Which, apparently, Tyra noted.

But still.

What do you think?


Blogger bdogg_mcgee said...


I hate how the fat-suited people are dressed in leggings and flannel shirts or muu-muus. And sometimes I think they screw up on proportions, like when the face of the fat-suited person is way bigger than it should be.

I live in a "fat suit" every day, as it were, but dammit, I look GOOD. I dress very well and wouldn't think of wearing leggings and a flannel shirt even to lounge around my house! And the fact that I'm trying to lose weight has nothing to do with my appearance--I'm beautiful no matter what. I just want to be healthy...

Seems to me that they're trying to make fat-suited people look as horrible and dumpy as possible to elicit those snickers and laughter.

I can honestly say I've never been ridiculed or looked at funny when I pass someone in the street or at the mall. Then again, if they do, I really don't give a crap, because anyone that shallow and mean doesn't deserve my attention.

Yes, our society DOES have a skewed perception of beauty. But if we all took a step back and stopped perpetuating that perception by trying fad diets and taking pills to make ourselves more like the 2% of the American population who look like Tyra Banks, then maybe some of these perceptions would change a bit.

Probably not. But I'm an optimistic person by nature...

12:22 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

I agree that they make fat-suit people look weird. It doesn't look natural at all. I think that is probably why they get the reactions they get. My mom has some extra pounds (5'7", 200) and no one looks at her funny or is rude to her.

And I agree that the people who are rude are shallow.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Bdogg- I admire you for looking good even when you are lounging around the house. I should probably make more of an effort!

1:28 PM  
Blogger Poppy Cede said...

Ahem. Composure. I saw a clip of Tyra trying to talk about her experience and her breaking down and crying. She is just LOOKING FOR ATTENTION. She forced large ladies on either side of her to comfort her because poor Tyra was "fat for a day". I am absolutely certain that Tyra will have a few more fat days in her life, and they'll be days where she isn't wearing a suit. The "experiment" of wearing a fat suit for one measely day proves noting other than "gosh, I'm so glad I'm not really fat! Teehee."

~Poppy, a proud big girl

7:32 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Poppy, the ""gosh, I'm so glad I'm not really fat!" is exactly what bothers me about it...

1:27 PM  
Blogger Frema said...

I don't think I could say anything different from what's already been said. Bdogg is absolutely right. They DO make people in fat suits extra plain. I don't even know why shows bother with this "experiment" anymore. It serves no real purpose.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Cole said...

I think that they create these experiments to create some sort of emotional propaganda. To tell people, "Don't be mean to overweight people!" But, for some STRANGE reason, the message gets lost. dumb... shows...

11:16 AM  

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