Saturday, February 14, 2009

Do you want to be fat or do you want to be skinny?

After class the other day when we were talking about the themes of normalization, we watched a clip in one of my other classes that made me remember some of the points we had discussed. I couldn't find the clip, and I've never seen the movie but I'll do my best to try and explain the situation. In the movie Little Miss Sunshine, there's a scene where the family is in a diner, and the little girl asks what "a la mode" means. When she's told it means "with ice cream on top" she is excited about her choice. Her dad (I'm assuming) starts asking her questions like, "Do you know what ice cream does to you?" "Do you want to be fat or do you want to be skinny?" "Are the girls in Miss America fat or are they skinny?" The little girl looks so confused and so hurt and disappointed.

The reason this clip made me think about our discussion was because we talked about some bodies being deemed as "normal", and if your body doesn't look like these bodies it is "abnormal" and in need of correction. Who has deemed the "skinny" girls on Miss America to have the normal bodies? And why is the father of this little girl teaching her that she should believe what the media is portraying to her about how she is supposed to look, before she even thinks of that on her own? She's just a little girl, and she should be able to have her ice cream without worrying about getting fat and viewing her body as her enemy.


  1. I think its so sad how young little girls are starting to worry about their weight. I was watching Oprah a little while ago, and they were talking about dieting and weight issues. Little girls that were under three years old were worried about what they were eating because it would make them fat. How sad is that. We are living in a world that is so focused on our appearance and how we look. I really wonder if the world will ever turn around and focus on inner beauty instead of pure outer beauty.

  2. I love this movie and especially in this scene when the grandfather, uncle and brother kind of push the dad aside and tell the girl that eating ice cream is okay and then all start to eat it before she joins in. I mentioned this in class and Stephanie commented on how Oprah had this topic on her show, but my sister has a friend with 3 year-old who is always concerned about her appearance. She told my sister, who offered her a cookie, that she couldn't because she would get fat. On another occasion, she asked her mom if the jeans she wore made her butt look big. It is so incredibly sad to me. If she is worried about things like that now, what will happen in 10-15 years from now?
    It's mentally and physically unhealthy to think like that. It's unrealistic for everyone to have bodies like we see photoshopped in magazines and newspapers. Most people that have bodies like that are unhealthy. I had a health professor tell me once that most supermodels are, by definition, obese because they don't have proper nutrients and muscles in their bodies.
    That's one of the reasons why I love the movie, "Little Miss Sunshine." Olive was the most beautiful girl in the competition. No one that saw the movie would argue otherwise.

  3. It is sad that this young girls are wanting to look like the perfect beausty queen. The media makes it hard for young girls to distinguish between what is a real body and what isn't. The average size of a woman in the US is 14 but little girls don't know that. What these little girls don't know is the media is like 1% of the population and no one will ever really look like them. We are unique and the media really needs to portray that and not go to a restaurant and tell your child they can't have that ice cream because they will get fat. Let them figure that out in 15 years.