As of right now, 67% of American women are considered plus-size. This means more than half of the female population wears above a size 14 ... and yet, we are nearly invisible when it comes to pop culture.
If you frequent the movie theater or routinely peruse your Netflix queue, you already know that fat-friendly movies are few and far between. What's worse, the ones that exist often border on fat-phobic, and straight up pigeon-hole plus-size women into trope-ridden plots that don't represent who we are or what we want.
To drive home our point (and maybe even inspire Hollywood to GET IT TOGETHER), we compiled a list of the worst plus-size movies out there, explained and ranked according to awfulness.
I am SO hesitant to put this on here, because Rebel Wilson is a fierce body positive activist and does an amazing job of relaying that into her character "Fat Amy." HOWEVER, Amy's character plays into a stereotype that in order to compensate for her fatness, she has to act extra zany to appear lovable. Plus, when we first meet Fat Amy, the Barden Bellas don't want to give her a shot because she's fat. Great.
In a movie full of life lessons about the different types of love a human can experience, why not squeeze in a little fat-shaming, eh? Hugh Grant plays a prime minister who falls for his much younger assistant (I know, I know) but is constantly questioning his attraction to her because of her "fat arse," and seems rather uncomfortable when others classify her as chubby because it makes him question everything about himself and his choices.
Please feast your eyes on the actress who plays his love interest and tell me if you think she's chubby.
Didn't think so.
At a surface glance, this movie is fairly body positive. It centers around an aspiring plus-size designer, played by Mo'Nique, who — after a series of let-downs — escapes to a Floridian resort and meets the love of her life.
While that all sounds well and good, the love interest's caveat is that he is from Nigeria, a place where "a women's body determines her worth" in the sense that bigger equals better. So basically fat girls, run to other countries, because no man will ever find your body worthy of loving here.
"What's Eating Gilbert Grape"
While overall this is a moving piece of cinema that tackles disability and living on the fringes of society, it bases a portion of its plot around the shame of being overweight. Gilbert Grape's mother becomes a recluse after she gains a lot of weight, due to the depression she suffers following her husband's suicide. She refuses to leave the house because she fears her neighbors making fun of her, her son verbally abuses her, and she is made out to be such a monstrosity that she "breaks the house" under her weight. Following her death, her children burn her body in their childhood home to save her the embarrassment of being mocked at her own funeral.
What's eating Gilbert Grape? Fatphobia, perhaps.
"The Nutty Professor"
In the 1996 version, Eddie Murphy plays protagonist Sherman Klump as a good-hearted professor who happens to be overweight. Klump buys into the "fat people don't reserve love" rhetoric, so in a quest to find it, he discovers a DNA strain that will allow him to transform into his skinny, douchebag, alter-ego Buddy Love who then goes forth and fruitfully plants his seed. Granted, it all ends with Klump being loved for who he is, but approximately 98% of the movie is a thin man in fat suits playing up every slovenly, grotesque stereotype that fat people are labeled with.
Murphy must have a thing for fat suits and shaming, because his 2007 movie "Norbit" is full of tropes that are unbelievably offensive. Not only does Murphy play the nice-guy "victim," he also plays his Asian adoptive father and his obese "monstrous" partner, making this a sexist/racist/sizest trifecta movie from hell. It reenforces the idea that fat women, particularly Black fat women, are load, obnoxious, undesirable burdens that only get men to appreciate them out of sheer brute force. VILE.
In this '90s flick, overweight kids are sent to "Camp Hope" by fat-shaming adults who hope their kids will return from the summer as the little ones they envisioned them to be. While the kids themselves have a somewhat healthy self view, they are portrayed as food obsessed, sedentary, and socially inhibited. And when a fitness-obsessed camp director (played by Ben Stiller) takes over, they are introduced to weight loss methods like obsessive exercising and starvation. I shit you not, Disney filled a kids movie with eating disorders then tried to make it OK by letting them win a go-kart race at the end. Yeah, I'm confused too.
Worst of all, by far and away, is this disgusting movie. Not only did they put Gwyneth Paltrow in a fucking fat suit, they made her lovable only after Jack Black is hypnotized to see inner beauty. Paltrow's character eats like a fiend, breaks furniture, and regarded as flat-out disgusting by own family, all because she is fat.