l saw the new Pitch Perfect movie last night. I’ve seen the first Pitch Perfect movie many times. I loved it, it was not without problematic things, but I thought that it also did a lot of subverting stereotypes and bigotry as well. Near and dear to me was the character Fat Amy who was written to be stereotypical in some ways (the un-athletic funny fat friend etc.) but also had high self-esteem, tons of love interests, and a starring role – a main character in a big movie who is unapologetically fat and was shown as a sexual being with a story line that didn’t involve dieting. This is a big deal, so I was super excited to see the new one.
[Semi-spoiler alert – while not revealing any specific things, the next paragraph will talk about plot points] So imagine my disappointment when Pitch Perfect 2 opened with, and a lot of the plot was based upon, a joke based on the idea that fat bodies are disgusting, reinforced by cameo after cameo of celebrity reporters from various networks reinforcing the idea that a fat body is disgusting, and then continuously bringing it up throughout the movie. I thought that the writing on this film was much more lazy than on the first – relying on tired stereotypes rather than subverting them. Still an unapologetic fat woman, still shown as a sexual being, still no dieting so still lots of good things, but some disappointing things as well. [end semi-spoiler,]
I’m also looking at this movie through different eyes. When I watched the first movie a screeplay had been written about my life and, if I’m honest, I didn’t expect much to come from it. But now the movie is in development and I spend a lot of time thinking, and talking, about what it means to create a movie with a fat main character who loves herself, loves her body, and fights back against weight bias, and what it means to do it without the cover of fat jokes to “take the edge off” people’s discomfort at the idea of a fat woman who doesn’t hate herself.
This makes me more excited than ever to be making the movie. Fat people deserve to see people who look like us represented positively in the media that we consume (and pay for) and this movie will be one opportunity for that and I can’t wait to make it!
In addition to the work that’s going on behind the scenes to get us ready for our public launch, we have been working on getting together some art for a first movie poster. After trying out several different things that didn’t quite work, we decided to do a photoshoot. Luckily for all of us, Doug Spearman – who is one of the producers – is also an incredibly talented photographer who gave me permission to share the results of the shoot. You can follow our movie making adventures on Facebook and Twitter. In the meantime, I’m a big fan of putting positive images of fat people out there, so here are some of me! The blue and red dresses are from Igigi.com when they very kindly dressed me for the America the Beautiful 2 premieres (the blue was LA and the red was Chicago.) the black dress is a former competition dress I was wearing when a dance judge trapped me by an elevator to tell me repeatedly “I couldn’t stand to look at you.”
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