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There needs to be more plus-size representation in Hollywood

There needs to be more plus-size representation in Hollywood

There needs to be more plus-size representation in Hollywood
September 14
10:00 2020

 In America, nearly 70 percent of women are considered plus size, however, I cannot count on one hand the number of Hollywood blockbusters that headlines a plus-size woman as the star. In this era of body positivity, it seems that Hollywood has been dragging behind and it is honestly quite disappointing to see. 

According to those statistics, it is not difficult to find a plus-size woman. This means that directors and producers are purposely going out of their way to not hire a woman who is a size fourteen and up. Plus size women rarely ever get the roles of love interest or the opportunity to star in serious romance movies. They often play as sidekicks, moms/dads or just get less innovative roles compared to their smaller sized counterparts. 

As children, women are told right out of the gate what they should look like and who they should appeal to. We work our entire lives to fit beauty standards that are near impossible to reach but are not told enough that our size is normal. Growing up and seeing no one who looks like you on your television screen is confining. It tells us that if we do not fit in a certain box, we will not be looked at or taken seriously when we get older. Women (and men) need the reassurance that what they look like will not hinder opportunities, yet we are getting told the exact opposite.

Plus size actresses are often criticized for their appearance and advised to lose weight or make their way out of Hollywood completely. Actresses like Mindy Kaling, Gabourey Sidibe and Christina Hendricks have all had their fair share of insults just because they were sized differently. This type of body shaming in Hollywood is contributing to the stall in plus-size representation.

When I was younger I would have loved to see more plus-sized girls playing roles. It helps, especially when we are younger, to find reflections of ourselves in someone we admire. For example, when I watched Glee for the first time and saw plus-size actress, Amber Riley, I was so happy. Not only was she black but she was plus-sized and as simple as it seems, it made me excited. I want other girls to have that same feeling.

Representation is important because it affects self-image and helps society get into touch as to what the norms are. When we don’t see plus-size people on television or in movies, it tells us as a society that being a bigger size is not normal. This automatically makes plus-size people feel like outcasts and strangers that will never fit in. It is hard to be confident when everything around you is telling you that you are not good enough. 

Even though we see this huge body-positive movement taking place in fashion and music, Hollywood is lagging severely. Is it possible to obtain a role that doesn’t bring up a size every 5 seconds? Can we get a role where our body size is not the main conflict? What Hollywood is doing now, is not enough.

Hollywood has definitely gotten better with their representation pertaining to other communities, but why have they left out plus size people in this important movement? Plus size women can be in any film – action, romance, sci-fi and so much more. They deserve to be stars because for so long they were hidden. It is important for teenagers to see their likeness on the big screen and have people they can admire. I believe that although the progress is slow, there is still time to fix it and undo certain stigmas in our society regarding size.

Featured Illustration by Olivia Varnell

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Jordan Allen

Jordan Allen

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