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Why Does Hollywood Remain Out of Step With the Body-Positive Movement? (nytimes.com) 688

According to a report from The New York Times, Hollywood continues to praise plus-sized actresses in knockout roles and then reduce them to bit parts about physical weight. Slashdot reader cdreimer shares an excerpt from the report: The first thing Danielle Macdonald did at the Cannes Film Festival in May was break into a cold sweat: The airline had lost her luggage. She was already nervous enough. Ms. Macdonald, 26, had been plucked from obscurity to play the lead role in "Patti Cake$," a drama about a rapper that was about to face the Cannes critics. Now she had to find something glamorous to wear -- pronto -- to the premiere. "As a bigger girl," Ms. Macdonald told me recently, "where was I meant to find something that would fit?" Her story then veered in an unexpected direction -- revealing her approach to Hollywood, which expects its lead actresses to be scarily skinny. "I gave myself a pep talk," she said. "This situation is what it is. Find a way to work around it." The red carpet crisis was resolved (another "Patti Cake$" star, Cathy Moriarty, lent her a black dress), but if the experiences of countless actresses before Ms. Macdonald are any indication, it will not be as easy to overcome the career obstacles that await her post-"Patti Cake$."

For women -- less so for men -- weight is perhaps the most stubborn of the entertainment industry's many biases. Have an average-sized body? Call us when you've starved yourself. In particular, Ms. Macdonald must avoid a cycle that plays out over and over in moviedom, one that some film agents coarsely call the fat flavor of the moment. A plus-size actress, almost always an unknown, lands the central role in a film and delivers a knockout performance. She is held up by producers and the entertainment news media as refreshing, long overdue evidence that Hollywood's insistence on microscopic waistlines is ending. And then she is slowly but surely pushed into bit parts, many of which are defined by weight.

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Why Does Hollywood Remain Out of Step With the Body-Positive Movement?

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  • Mo ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:27PM (#55031061)

    ... ney.

    Next question, please.

    • Re:Mo ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:41PM (#55031133)

      Next question, please.

      Okay, here is the next question: Why is it always about women? Why does Hollywood only use buff guys in leading roles? Why are the male sex symbols never short near-sighted bald guys with beer bellies?

      • Re:Mo ... (Score:5, Informative)

        by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:44PM (#55031163)

        Money.

        Next question, please.

        • Re:Mo ... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by penandpaper ( 2463226 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @09:05PM (#55031333) Journal

          why is this topic on /. ?

          • Re:Mo ... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @09:07PM (#55031341)

            Slashdot news for SJWs
            Stuff that doesn't matter in the slightest.

            • And yet, here you are ...

            • Re:Mo ... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by msauve ( 701917 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @10:27PM (#55031683)
              "Slashdot news for SJWs"

              There's not much new for them. They're way ahead of the news for stuff to be offended about.

              To the poster: attractive bodies of either sex are attractive, even if most of us aren't. Get over yourself and live with the fact that you're ugly. How old is this "body-positive" terminology, and where's the yin to the yang - is there a politically correct "body-negative" view? Sounds like a recent California manufactured thing to me. Sorry about you being unattractive and having to go for some "body-positive" shtick in a lame attempt to get laid..
              • Re: Mo ... (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward

                I don't think the point is extrinsic. You're not trying to be happy with yourself so the world loves you, you're trying to be happy with who you are so you don't go through life suicidal that Megan Fox is something you can never be.

                Almost Confucian -- know where your place on society is, and be happy with your place. The eye will never rise above the eyebrow.

                • No, you're trying to be happy with yourself because you don't want to work for it. It's like drugs or alcohol or any other abuse. You want to feel good, but you don't want to actually put in any effort to feel good.

                  Instead of making an effort to create longterm change and impact your life in a 'positive' way you just blame everyone else for "shaming you" to avoid having to do anything. It's laziness, pure and simple.

          • Re:Mo ... (Score:4, Informative)

            by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @09:29PM (#55031443)

            Money.

            Next question, please.

            These are too easy.

            • Re:Mo ... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @11:16PM (#55031875) Homepage

              Right letter 'M' wrong word, although one does lead to the other, especially when lies are being sold. 'M'arketing, PR=B$, selling lies for profit. In this case you must spend in a certain way to be desirable to the opposite sex and once together you must continue to spend or break up and try again. The biggest poseurs are the best people and you must spend big to achieve prominent poseur status. Not only that but you must spend much of it on PR=B$, paying people to tell other people how great you are, the core of US elections and hence mirrored in main stream media, especially Hollywood where the play left wingers in order to be rich and greedy right wingers who pretend to be Democrats for the people when they just Corporate Democrats, Democrats for corporations the other side Republicans, ohh, look they use the same people as well.

              The current big role of main stream media continuing the divide and conquer strategy, colour against colour, culture against culture, religion against religion and even sex against sex. This being sold by the fake arse SJWs backed by main stream media to break up workers = left and bosses = right (no need to explain why).

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Slashdot is now SJW/Politico central. Comments on SJW and political stories get significantly more comments than tech/nerd stories.

            Currently on the front page:

            144 comments Why Does Hollywood Remain Out of Step With the Body-Positive Movement?
            38 comments 'Surkus' App Pays Users To Line Up Outside New Restaurants
            32 comments Essential Phone Will Ship Next Week, Shortly After Breaking $1 Billion Valuation
            43 comments Roku Gets Tough On Pirate Channels, Warns Users
            69 comments Australian Scientists Figure Out How

      • Re:Mo ... (Score:5, Funny)

        by cervesaebraciator ( 2352888 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @09:12PM (#55031377)
        Oblig: This is He-Man! [imgur.com]
      • Okay, here is the next question: Why is it always about women? Why does Hollywood only use buff guys in leading roles? Why are the male sex symbols never short near-sighted bald guys with beer bellies?

        Umm...

        http://feelgoodtube.com/wp-con... [feelgoodtube.com]

      • Okay, here is the next question: Why is it always about women? Why does Hollywood only use buff guys in leading roles? Why are the male sex symbols never short near-sighted bald guys with beer bellies?

        Umm... (part 2)

        https://upload.wikimedia.org/w... [wikimedia.org]

        • Okay, here is the next question: Why is it always about women? Why does Hollywood only use buff guys in leading roles? Why are the male sex symbols never short near-sighted bald guys with beer bellies?

          Umm... (part 3)

          https://upload.wikimedia.org/w... [wikimedia.org]

    • Re: Mo ... (Score:5, Funny)

      by LifesABeach ( 234436 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @09:11PM (#55031365) Homepage
      The real question is, "does she use Linux?"
  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:28PM (#55031065) Homepage
    Hollywood is interested in making money. As long as people prefer to see a certain type of person movies will have more of those people because people will then buy more movie tickets. Most movie stars of both genders are people who are considered to be very good looking for the same reason. Unless you can change the culture, you need to threaten the bottom line. And the Fat Positive movement is still small enough that they are unlikely to be successful in that regard.
    • by DuckDodgers ( 541817 ) <[keeper_of_the_wolf] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:51PM (#55031229)
      As much as this topic interests me, I'm not sure it's "news for nerds".

      Hollywood is more tolerant of chubby or fat guys in dramatic roles than women: John Goodman, Alec Baldwin, Bryan Cox, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brendan Gleeson, Tom Hanks, etc.... even Jonah Hill and Jack Black have been cast in serious roles as fat guys. For fat women, typically if they're in the film or television they are the comic relief and the humor revolves partly around their size.

      As you said, Hollywood is interested in making money and even among men the great majority of primary characters in film and television roles are slim, attractive, and athletic. But I still think an imbalance exists.
      • by Orgasmatron ( 8103 ) on Thursday August 17, 2017 @01:54AM (#55032331)

        The imbalance is in the human genome.

        A woman's suitability for mating is easy to assess visually, mostly. A man's is not, mostly.

        This is wired into us, all of us, at a very deep level. Even when mating isn't on the table, so to speak, we still recognize and respond to women visually - and women do it too! Even little babies do it before they've had a chance to be corrupted by evil white heteronormative cismail white evil bad culture. That means that good looking men get very little of the benefits of good looks that attractive women get, but conversely, unattractive men don't lose as much as unattractive women either.

    • Hollywood is interested in making money. As long as people prefer to see a certain type of person movies will have more of those people because people will then buy more movie tickets. Most movie stars of both genders are people who are considered to be very good looking for the same reason. Unless you can change the culture, you need to threaten the bottom line. And the Fat Positive movement is still small enough that they are unlikely to be successful in that regard.

      Indeed; the body-positive movement has never had anywhere near the support that other movements aimed at treating people on the content of their character have had over the last fifty years. Our comedians regularly ridicule overweight politicians for their looks when it is their political acts that we should care about. Discrimination against people whose weight or look may not fit within certain norms is found through much of our society, and is mostly stupid.

      While there are certainly very skilled people w

  • Okay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pseudofrog ( 570061 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:30PM (#55031069)
    I'm a pro-social-justice person, and I defend a lot of /. stories that stretch the "News for nerds, stuff that matters" line. But no, this one really doesn't belong here. I get why it's here though: Touch on a social justice theme and the clicks and angry comments go on for hours.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:31PM (#55031077)

    What the fuck am I doing at the TMZ website?! I thought I was visiting Slashdot!

  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:31PM (#55031079)
    And this is what I wore flying on it. Is that so bad? Seriously, has anyone on here who has flown more than 10 flights ever not had their luggage lost?
    • I have been on way more than ten flights and never had lost luggage - I've had delayed luggage (by a day), but only once and never lost.

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:32PM (#55031083)

    Fuck this horseshit. I can't even go to a tech site without seeing this crap.

  • by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:32PM (#55031091)
    Customers spend more money on what they're attracted to. Stop trying to do "conversion therapy" on them like a 20th century Puritan who can't stand the thought of a gay man.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by quantaman ( 517394 )

      Customers spend more money on what they're attracted to. Stop trying to do "conversion therapy" on them like a 20th century Puritan who can't stand the thought of a gay man.

      Or, directors and producers have convinced themselves that you should never hire a woman of below average attractiveness or above average weight.

      Movies are supposed to be entertaining, and you know what's entertaining? Variety.

      A world consisting of super-models is fairly dull, a large female actress who is written with a personality can actually be really entertaining to watch.

      • Movies aren't supposed to make me puke, which is what I'd want to do if I saw any of a number of famous bloated females in a bikini.
        • Movies aren't supposed to make me puke, which is what I'd want to do if I saw any of a number of famous bloated females in a bikini.

          So do you also avoid any movies with John Goodman because you don't want to see him in a speedo?

    • It's conversion therapy if you're demanding that the fat people be consistently cast as romantic leads. And admittedly, I'm sure there are people demanding that.

      But most fat people, including me, just want to see fat people that are regular people. Who are the fat characters in Harry Potter? The Dursleys (obnoxious idiots) or Dolores Umbrage (obnoxious sadist). Who's the fat character in NCIS? House? The West Wing? None. Who's the fat character in Lost? Hurley, the comic relief. etc... etc... Di
      • I don't see how you can claim Hurley was the comic relief - he was actually the "regular" person if you look at all the oddness happening around the other people (even despite his curse). He was mostly the sensible one... and he ended up pretty well at the end. I would say he's one of the better characters in the show.

      • by s.petry ( 762400 )

        It's conversion therapy if you're demanding that the fat people be consistently cast as romantic leads. And admittedly, I'm sure there are people demanding that.

        I'm pretty sure TFA covers that.

        But most fat people, including me, just want to see fat people that are regular people. Who are the fat characters in Harry Potter? The Dursleys (obnoxious idiots) or Dolores Umbrage (obnoxious sadist). Who's the fat character in NCIS? House? The West Wing? None. Who's the fat character in Lost? Hurley, the comic relief. etc... etc... Disney animated films? Ursula (villain), Maid Marian's helper (comic relief), Pumba (comic relief), Governor Ratcliffe (villain) - The Princess & The Frog was conspicuous for having two relatively important characters that were fat. CSI had the fat medical examiner (if I remember right).

        Most people can either look in the mirror or walk down the street to see "normal" people (blind people being the obvious exception). We go to movies because it offers an escape from reality and NOT normal people. Who wants to watch a version of Game of Thrones where the people are huffing and panting after a few swings a sword? How about a version of Jaws where the cast is too heavy to swim away so gets eaten in the first scene? Nobody! We go to see the most attractive p

  • I don't know what to think unless someone in corporate tells me. Please tell me what to think next.

    2) Because movies are fantasy and nobody fantasizes about being an unattractive slob.

    Why is nobody advocating for more smelly, greasey, fat men in movies? Because you can't frame it as a poor innocent child-women argument.

    • Why is nobody advocating for more smelly, greasey, fat men in movies?

      Because Jack Black.

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      Yeah. Put another way: who wants to spend an hour looking at fat people?

      Seriously, this is not difficult unless you're a complete tool. Hollywood makes a visual product to appeal to viewers. Viewers like looking at good looking people. Ergo, Hollywood doesn't normally put fattys on the screen.

      How many social justice cult meetings do you have to go to before you can't add 1 + 1 and get 2 any more? How far up your own ass do you have to be to miss something that's 10 times more obvious than obvious?

  • by Noishkel ( 3464121 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:42PM (#55031139)

    There is literally nothing positive about being fat. You feel worse, your cloths don't fit well, you smell bad, oh and it will FREAKING KILL YOU.

    I'm sorry, if that's so much of a hard reality then you really need to readdress your priority that you're personality is so fragile that you have to try to make everyone else feel as bad as you just to get by. But you're kill yourself, and encourage people to NOT try and address extreme weight issues is doing way more damage to other people that your own hurt feelings. Hey, I used to weight 370 pounds. Worked my literally ass off to get down to about 290. It's hard, it sucks, but it's what you have to do if you intend to make it past about 40.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @09:59PM (#55031549)

      Exactly this. "Body Positive" is euphemism, it is code for "fat is OK". Fat is not OK. Normalizing fatness leads to more fatness. I read a study that determined that the best predictor of obesity was not genetics, it was your social circle. If you hang out with and associate with fat people, you are more likely to be fat. Obesity is a self perpetuating epidemic that has no upside.

  • The same reason they make sequels to rubbish movies: It makes money!

  • Why is it only body-positive? Where are the people with weird eyebrows, cross-eyed, etc.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Having spent 25 years working on movie and TV sets, I would argue that it's what people want to see. They want to see good looking (often young), fit, thin people. Generally anyway. And it's certainly more the case for actresses. Even women want to see that I think. These viewers -customers- vote with their dollars. It's subtle. Subliminal. But actors who are overweight, much like those in regular life, can face the same societal prejudicial issues: you're lazy, stupid, and ineffective. A pro

  • ... because the answer is simple:

    "We get what we ask for."

    That explains CNN, Fox, Hollywood and TV and radio and the movies and shit.

    "We have found the enemy and he is us. [thisdayinquotes.com]"

  • "AVERAGE SIZE" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigwill666 ( 708480 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:49PM (#55031221)
    I looked at 5 seconds of the trailer for that movie. I hope that lady is not average sized, or else this country is worse than I thought.
  • "Body Positive" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <{skennedy} {at} {tpno-co.org}> on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:51PM (#55031227) Homepage

    Look, I'm all for being comfortable in your own skin. As a fellow fatass, I can support that position.

    That, however, is not what's going on here.

    I am not supportive of forcing that comfort on to others in the name of "acceptance". Healthy is sexy, and carrying around more fat that necessary isn't healthy. I'm not about to whine and cry about how women don't find me attractive because of my weight; I understand my beer gut isn't bringing all the girls to the yard, and that's OK. That's part of accepting my body as it is; not trying to force others to change their perspectives.

    And can we lay off the whole "men aren't as impacted by body image issues as women are" please? Look at most of the leading men in hollywood; well muscled. It's a common misconception that men don't suffer from this issue, same as women.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:51PM (#55031231)
    and nobody wants to look at regular people when fantasy is on parade. Folks either have to be really attractive (Brad Pitt/Megan Fox) or really not (Danny Davito/John Goodman). I don't need to see my coworkers in a bloody film.
  • Super Pochaco! Yeah, I'm a BBW lover! This anime is ridiculous!

    Maybe NSFW [google.ca]

    • Disgusting. She doesn't even have a dick.

      • Well... OK... I know anime has an infinite variety of preferences.... But I like heavyset girls, but still with curves. That's a tough mix to get right. I used to date this roller derby girl but she was a bit too strong and dominating. So I'm back to searching for a big curvy submissive girl.

  • And nobody wants to fucking see them in films they paid to see, and had to watch ads and trailers as well, unless it's a character that's necessarily a fatty.

  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @08:57PM (#55031265) Journal

    And I say this as a fat man. While I don't believe in fat "shaming", I also don't think it should be considered a positive. The only positive I can think of being fat is that I can more easily float in water. All that means is if I'm on a plane and it crashes in the ocean, I can last 10% longer than a thin person before dying of exposure.

    Basically, we should encourage people to be in a healthy weight range, and not beat themselves up if they're not perfect.

    The real reason though is our brains are wired to be attracted to healthy people. In our evolved brains, healthy people will give us healthy offspring. Hollywood might consider women like Scarlett Johansen or Jennifer Lawrence to be fat, but most guys see them as fat in all the right places. ;-)

  • want to know
  • The fat acceptance advisor to congress died at like 33 from heart disease. So that's one reason.
  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @09:13PM (#55031381) Journal

    Uh, "Average-Sized" is very different in a lot of places in the world. At one extreme is a place like where I live, in Vietnam. Most woman, while not rail thin, are not very fat. On the other hand, a place like the American Samoas, I understand people there are very overweight. Even in the U.S. whereas people in the big cities pay a bit more attention to their waistlines (and in some places like Colorado really go out of their way to stay in shape), a quick trip to the mid-west will make you realize that humans come in some pretty big sizes.

    Hollywood, being a den of actors/actresses/people working in coffee shops waiting to be discovered, has an unusually high proportion of young attractive people. So if the casting director walks down the street maybe they have a skewed sense of "Average-Sized". (Or maybe they're just trying to sell tickets)

  • about Danielle Macdonald.

  • It's this sort of inane bs that makes me wish for a war; anything that might serve to shed some of the mountain of navel gazing crap we keep adding to the pile. I am convinced that excessive peace is not healthy.

  • Who cares! (Score:5, Informative)

    by sidevans ( 66118 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @09:37PM (#55031483) Homepage

    Seriously /.

    Stop this crap.

  • I dunno. How about this insight? Maybe our collective judgement dislikes fat people because, I dunno, maybe because anyone who disregards their own health and eats themselves in obesity looks really unhealthy, and mating with that decided unhealthy human is not in the best interest of the species? Evolution happening right before your eyes.

    In other news, this is not news for Nerds and it definitely doesn't matter.

  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @10:00PM (#55031557)

    I mean, I get it that we eat too many twinkies sometimes, but we also don't work for Hollywood. Except on render farms. Jezz! What's wrong with you guys? You are not Huffington Post, you are fucking slashdot! How about a discussion on the best programming languages to naturally incorporate machine learning along with traditional computation constructs?

  • >Have an average-sized body? Call us when you've starved yourself. Eating a TDEE of a 20 bmi person is not starving, its called being a responsible adult. It's also more attractive as selection pressure is biased on successfully carrying a life sucking parasite, or baby to term, requiring a healthy form.

    Just because the average is now overweight or obese does not absolve your continued gluttony.
  • It's Partly because of Actors whom are often smaller sized ... the ideal TV/Movie actor and actress have a distinctive body type that is not that common in the general populace. To be on screen you need a large head in relation to the torso. "Big" people have difficultly obtaining that body type ... their heads are more in proportion to their body size.

    On the screen, that won't do. If you've ever had much contact with on-screen personalities you may have been surprised at how small they are in real life. Th

  • Oh, for fuck's sake. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <[moc.cam] [ta] [rcj]> on Thursday August 17, 2017 @12:07AM (#55032037) Journal

    This is NOT "news for nerds," and it sure as fuck isn't "stuff that matters".

    -jcr

  • by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Thursday August 17, 2017 @07:59AM (#55033361)

    Call me crazy, but perhaps people don't want to pay to watch fat people? Hollywood knows its audience wants escapism more than any other form of entertainment. If we wanted to watch a bunch of fat people, we wouldn't need Hollywood. We have an abundance of those in our everyday lives.

    We are Hollywood customers in part because non-fat people are the exception to the norm. Look at a show like Jessica Jones. If the lead actress (and the supporting actresses) weren't body-hot, I wouldn't have even given the show a chance (and neither would have enough people to keep the show in production). If the Jessica Jones character were played by a fat woman, the whole premise of the show would have been too unbelievable to entertain.

    And the notion that men are less affected by body image than women is laughable at best. By and large, physically attractive women go for physically attractive men, with only an occasional diversion from the standard; meaning that men have to either be genetically lucky, or spend a lot of time and effort in maintaining an attractive physique -- just like women. Imagine that.

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