Monday, December 19, 2011

My Love-Hate Relationship with Phat Girlz

Two weekends ago, BET aired two consecutive nights of the Mo’Nique-led film, “Phat Girlz” which chronicles her character, Jasmine Biltmore’s struggles with losing weight, gaining confidence, and navigating the dating scene as a full figured woman. It is quite the classic depiction of a woman with extra curves coming to the realization that weight has no correlation to her value, with a few hilarious missteps along the road to self-acceptance.

I will admit that I own “Phat Girlz” on DVD (I couldn’t resist the $5 movie bin at WalMart) and I watched the movie both nights on BET, reciting it word for word with friends. We all laughed at Mo’Nique and her co-stars antics, celebrated their successes, and even cried when Mo’Nique realized that the size five mannequin with her face on it would never be who she is. But as Mo’Nique claims her African prince and the ending credits roll, I realized that I have a love-hate relationship with “Phat Girlz” because this movie is not a true representation of how life is for all full figured women.

Since reaching adulthood, I’m never depressed about the extra weight; I’m secure in who I am and what I am capable of; and dates come in abundance. I have never stared into store windows while eating French fries and thought about the contrast between the plastic mannequins dressed in bikinis and my size or argued with a man in a restaurant because he was eating dinner with a female colleague; those obvious signs of insecurity in Mo’Nique’s character are not an accurate depiction of most full figured women who love themselves.

This dislike outweighs the love I have for Mo’Nique’s fabulous outfits and her co-star Kendra C. Johnson’s sexual and feminine liberation with Dr. Akebo because it stereotypes fat girls into what society has already deemed us to be: insecure, obsessed with losing weight, and incapable of finding love. I don’t place a checkmark next to none of the above and there are hundreds of other full figured women who like me, are comfortable with themselves and their weight and never have to wait for African men to embrace their size for them to love themselves. So though I appreciate Mo’Nique’s efforts to bring big girls to the silver screen, I am not one of those “phat girlz” and neither are YOU!

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