January 31, 2006 at 5:45 pm
I spent last night reading a play called Fat Pig by Neil LaBute. I love reading plays because I can just zoom through them. Only twenty minutes and I’m already on page 40! Awesome! (Shut up, you speed readers.) I like Kurt Vonnegut novels for the same reason. They have short chapters. It’s positive reinforcement, plain and simple, just like how losing lots of weight during the first couple weeks of South Beach or Atkins makes you want to keep going.
I heard about this play on somebody’s blog, though I cannot recall whose. Sorry! I read too many blogs. It’s an addiction really. I’m surprised some tabloid news program hasn’t done an expose on people addicted to blogs yet. Maybe it’s just not as glamorous as kids addicted to violent, sexy video games. The b-roll footage of someone reading a computer screen would be pretty dull. “I read too much.” Wow, that’s just terrible.
The play is about a regular-sized guy who starts dating a fat girl, but feels very insecure about it especially after his co-workers find out. I’d recommend it, though the end is depressing. I suppose most good plays end sadly. I don’t recall a song and dance routine at the end of Death of a Salesman or Our Town.
It’s good to see a work of art that addresses fat prejudice, a topic which is still pretty much as taboo as talking about class differences or how much money someone makes. Beyond just the fat discrimination, the play explores how people would like to stand up for what they believe in, but usually just travel the path of least resistance.
It’s also good to see a confident, self-assured, fat character in literature. In this play, the fat girl, Helen, is actually the most likable character. Fat people are usually the villains or goofy sidekicks or losers. I read a romance novel a month or two ago that particularly bugged me on this point. There was one character who was the annoying, spoiled brat of the heroine’s no-good fiancé. She was also fat. The author kept harping on this point, like the fact that this girl was fat was just as bad as the fact that she lied, cheated and stole.
Now, I do not have exact demographics on the people who buy romance novels. However, I would not be surprised if a lot of them were overweight women. I also know from looking at the back jacket cover on a couple of romance novels that a lot of romance authors are overweight women. Why would someone insult their target audience and colleagues in such a way?! Grrrr. I had to wonder if this author even realized how offensive she was being. Perhaps the idea that being fat is a very, very bad thing was so beat into her head that she didn’t even question her attitude.