Celebs Don Fat Suits to Get in Touch With “Poor Fat People”

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I was doing my daily patrol of some of my favorite blogs and came across an entry by fellow blogger Chic Reid, regarding the latest trend of entertainment shows conducting “investigative reports” on the “poor miserable lives” of those who wear over a size 16.

Chic Reid writes:

I am nauseated by the recent trend of skinny gorgeous celebs and journalists donning fat suits in order to “investigate” the depressing experiences of “poor fat people”. It is increasingly becoming one of the most hypocritical and offensive media experiments..

Thanks Goodness, I’m not the only one who finds it strange that news magazines like Entertainment Tonight suddenly care about those who are obese. I mean, really, Entertainment shows should stick to what they do best—keeping us updated on the trials and tribulations of the cast of “Different Strokes”.

I also find the timing of this increased interest in the plight of the overweight a little circumspect, coming right on the heels of numerous report of celebrities going as far as taking medication meant for horses to stay thin. Taking horse pills or snorting cocaine to stay thin is just as dangerous as being 300 pounds. Probably more.

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    The media kills me sometimes…Kathyrn, your comments and the rest left here are right on target.  I saw this piece and was particularly fascinated with how homely, lost, sad, and sulken Vanessa looked…so not only are we “fat” but also sad looking ALL THE TIME??? Come on, what about the skinny girl that walks around with her head down, dressed in baggy clothes, looking sad…wouldn’t she get the same treatment…It’s not about how much weight you have on you, but how you feel about yourself and how you present yourself in the world.  I know lots of plus size women that are confident, sexy, with lots of energy, female and male attention, and living a great life.  They shop at the best stores (shameless plug, http://www.monifc.com), they have the best jobs, they go to St. Bart’s with P. Diddy, and they write fabulous books (go Kathyrn)!  And for goodness sakes it is already ridiculous enough that they would want to do an entire “human-interest” story on the plight of fat people (I think there are bigger plights out there), but if they REALLY want to know about what it is like to be plus size, why the heck won’t they just follow a plus size woman.  This pisses me off as much as when I see “experiments” with white people with black face…I just want to scream JUST FOLLOW A BLACK PERSON…Kathryn, thanks for shedding light on the fashion & entertainment industry’s good, bad, and ugly.

  • aja


    i saw this piece when it aired on television.  i too find these “experiments” to be distasteful.  what was amazing was that vanessa minillo stated that she found the sometimes harsh treatment she received while incognito to be similar to the treatment she received as a “dark-haired, dark-eyed girl” growing up in south carolina.  i found that statement to be, at the very least, questionable.  trying to find a good human interest story by manufacturing/fabricating an experience – i’m honestly not sure how i feel about it, or if i believe that it can shed real light on the subject.

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    Note: I posted this on Chic Reid’s blog, but I also wanted to post it here:

    Thank you SO much for this piece! I too find these “experiments” ridiculous.

    I run a site for plus size women(www.beautypluspower.com) that features monthly editorials of beautiful plus size models, among other things (its a fashion site).

    Through my business, I have met hundreds of plus size women of varying shapes, sizes, and attractiveness. My goal is to help them dress as stylishly as possible and enter the world with as much confidence as they can, which in turn results in them being treated better.

    Although I have heard of incidents where my readers were treated unkindly – i.e. a stranger telling them they’d be pretty if they just lost some weight, or a small child pointing at a woman and going “wow, she’s really fat”, they are really few and far between. Most plus size women live fairly mockery free existences – especially if they dress stylishly.

    And to be fair, most plus size women aren’t 350 pounds either. To be considered “plus size” you only need to wear larger than a size 14. Myself, I am a little over 200 pounds, and although that makes me “fat”, it is nowhere near the size of the Tyra Banks or Vanessa Minillo suits.

    At 350 pounds, you probably are experiencing more adversity then I do – because you can’t even usually shop at regular plus size stores like Lane Bryant, which only goes up to a size 28. You also are far less likely to be a “fat and healthy person” (yes its actually possible, but not generally at that size). Although 60% of women in this country are plus sized, only a scant few percent of them are actually “super sized”, which a 350 pound woman would be considered.

    So these “experiments” claim to be documenting the struggles of fat people, but they are not representative of the fat experience as a whole, to be sure.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful article! Lisa