Seriously, I love Bitch! Magazine. It almost goes without saying that their high writing quality and penchant for pop culture from a feminist perspective is always welcome. Today, the happy reading is on the Bitch highlight of SNL new-hire Aidy Bryant as the latest addition to cast of Saturday Night Live.
You might think it doesn’t matter and ladies like Tina Fey have done it all before, and to a certain extent you might be right. Yet despite the fact that SNL has tried to be edgy and hilarious for years, there has never been a chubby comedienne on the showuntil now.
“…even though it took 38 years(!), it’s awesome that audience members will get to see a plus-size woman being hilarious on television every Saturday night.”
It always seemed a bit off to this author when Tina Fey would make fat jokes about her semi-fictional character Liz Lemon on 30 Rock (Ms. Lemon has some questionable eating habits but she’s not fat— or am I supposed to imagine that she’s fat?) and maybe that comes from her own experience of losing weight and being put on TV (as Bitch! points out). It seems that weight is an obsession in the celebrity world with people like Kirstie Alley, Christina Aguilera, Mila Kunis, and so many more maligned for their “weight gain.” Who cares? Normal people get fat all the time– think of your high school class and what they looked like then and now. Why should celebrity bodies be expected to behave differently than the regular shmucks on the street?
And truly, the other aspect is that women are expected to be thin and men can be as chunky as they please. Perhaps the idea is that there isn’t a place for fatties on the TV unless they’re guys (because a fat guy in a tiny coat is funny but a fat girl in a bikini is just gross, right?). Where does this fat-shaming idea come from anyway? It seems like for so long women actually were revered for their curves (it’s even been shown that men prefer women with curves– that it’s a sign of fertility).
Though it must be said that despite the change in pace (or weight), it’s unfortunate that a new face and new talent would be defined by her image. It’s still, in a sense, reverse objectification by pointing out that she doesn’t fit the paradigm that has previously been set forth by the industry or television show for which she’s working. Will there come a time and day when women are defined by their inward qualities instead of their outward qualities?
So whether the producers are stuck in a paradigm of unattainable expectations of sexuality, weight, gender, and the like or if they’re just firing the ladies because they’re not funny, we welcome Aidy Bryant. It’s easy to “rationally” explain the decision to fire people especially in such a vapid and misogynistic culture like the film industry but regardless of whatever transpired, this time around, there’s something new happening and it’s a chubby funny girl in a previously “fit females only” line-up. 🙂
Plus, this writer absolutely LOVES this video– cutest thing ever: