For some odd reason (probably because I am impatiently waiting for my long distance lover to arrive after not seeing him for months and need a distraction) this gif just inspired me to have a little word-vomit session about fat shaming on Parks and Rec.
Now, I am going to preface this by stating that I fucking love this show. I LOVE it. I have seen every single episode at least 3 times or more. I am a massive Amy Poehler fan. Nick Offerman could give me a mustache ride any day. Really, there are no characters or actors involved in this show that I entirely dislike.
That being said, there has been this thing nagging at me.
Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, is a thin-privileged blonde white woman who loves waffles with whipped cream and greasy diner food, dislikes exercise (as portrayed in the above gif), frequently gorges on sugar, and openly detests salad.
She is also thin, blonde, and a central character on the show.
By all intents and purposes, without knowing her body size, some might assume her projected “lifestyle” should result in weight gain and poor health. But she’s thin and thriving.
The show takes place in a fictional town called Pawnee, Indiana - the “4th most obese city” in the United States. While Leslie is portrayed as cute and energetic despite her decidedly “unhealthy” lifestyle habits, her fat coworkers and other city inhabitants are either the butt of jokes or targeted in health campaigns. Although, there is Donna - Whose fatness has never really become an essential part of her character’s story, which I really appreciate.
That being said, overall, I really don’t feel the fat shaming that exists on this show is triggering to me in any way - I just find myself frustrated by what it represents, which is something that always frustrates me anyway - that perception is everything, and hollywood/tv will never cast a fat woman in a central role without focusing (or at least touching) on the negative aspects of her fatness rather than her character. Or determining her character identity through her fatness.
There’s also the whole lack of race and diversity issue thing as well, but I’ve just noticed the time and realized I’ve got to head to the airport soon!
So, good chat!