Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's all very fattening; sorry I mean flaterring


I’ve been watching my favorite TV shows since I came back from Lebanon. And that of course includes all my favorite sitcoms; which I am not discussing here but the whole thing made me think of sitcoms in general and by association to a weird “fiction reality”.

Drop quiz for you:
What do the male protagonists have in common?

a) Frequent ass-whooping by wife for acting dumb
b) Fat Belly
c) Sexy wife
d) All of the above
e) None of the above
Of course they also have crazy in-laws but that’s another story.

What I’m wondering about right now is why on earth it is always fat guys with sexy chicks? Most of these women have kids in the series (and in real life) and yet, they keep the bodies of a 20 year-old which hardly ever happen in reality where women get stuck in their everyday life and don't enjoy the luxury of personal trainers, personalized diets and surgical quick fixes.

And not only are these women gorgeous, they’re also smart.

On the other hand, hubbies are more, how to put it… Well chubby to say the least, and to add insult to injury, a little dumb too; in one word, the anti-hero.

Even cartoons have adopted this image of the “perfect” family: The Simpsons, Family Guy, and way before them The Flintstones (Oh my God, are they all modern remakes of The Flintstones?)

I watched The Invention of Lying on the plane on the way back to Dubai. It is based on this “gene pool” rule that attractive people fit with their gorgeous peers only. Of course again, these rules were established only to be shattered and the fat guy ends up with the runway model.

Obviously, I’m not saying that beauty is everything and that these guys don’t deserve such women.

What I’m wondering is why female protagonists on TV (and films) should always look stunning while guys can be slobs and yet get away with the perfect Barbie.

Why can’t unconventionally beautiful women get the perfect Ken?

Why should there always be pressure for women to look their best, to be fit, to be sexy and thin while it’s OK for men to be fat, lazy and even dumb… As long as they’re funny and kind-hearted of course.

Why isn’t there a funny, kind-hearted, lazy and fat woman married to some hot stuff?

There was Roseanne, a show that totally rocked by the way, but her husband, the excellent John Goodman was bigger than her, hardly a Ken (he probably ate Ken for breakfast) so that doesn’t really apply (side note: love both of them; great performers).

There also was Claude in Less Than Perfect which was called as such mainly because of her looks but she ended up losing all the weight and looking kind of perfect herself which beats the purpose. Plus, I haven’t watched all seasons, but in the episodes I did see, she was coupled with weird, funny looking guys. So there goes your “Ken” in flames again).

I guess there was still Betty out there but she never ends up with Daniel-looking boys (I haven’t seen all the seasons either but from what I've seen); she’s matched with equally goofy looking guys.

On the silver screen, even Shallow Hal which tried to project the concept of “beauty within” had the male protagonist looking more like Jim (According To Jim) or Doug (King of Queens) than Brad Pitt. They could have casted a Mc Steamy or a Mc Dreamy; instead they went for Georges (and I don’t mean Clooney). As if it were unconceivable Brad Pitt could ever be caught kissing a fat Gwyneth!

All very disturbing.
And annoying.

As a woman I am offended.

As a wife I am worried for my husband’s health if he ever was to think it was OK to carry 30 kilos of fat around his waist as long as he’s cute and funny!

As a prospective mother, I can’t even begin to imagine how I would explain these things to my daughter or how I would enlighten my son on beauty, what it means, how it is perceived and why he can’t objectify women and expect them to be airbrushed-Meagan-Foxes in real life while all he sees in the media contradicts that.

Again, very disturbing.

And kind of fattening.

Not the calorie kind of fattening; the self-esteem-mutilation-fattening kind. The best kind.

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