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19 Times Fat Characters Were Portrayed Super, Super Offensively

These are just...bad.

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about people on TikTok sharing examples of anti-fat portrayals of TV and movie characters, thanks to @morethantracyt's prompt. Well, people in the comments of the BuzzFeed article sounded off with more examples of truly offensive portrayals of fat characters.

@morethantracyt / Via

Here's what they said:

Just a heads-up: These responses talk about eating disorders, disordered thinking, and body-shaming.

1. Annie from Shrill:

Hulu / Via

"I actually hated Shrill. It reinforces the old trope that fat women have low self-esteem, can't get laid, and will settle for someone who treats them badly. I wish there could be a show with a fat lead that is not about their size. I am proud, fat, love my body, and have never settled. I've had wonderful partners who respect me for who I am and think I'm beautiful inside and out."


2. Rhonda from That '70s Show:

Fox / Via

"What about Big Rhonda from That '70s Show? Every time the idea of someone going out with her was brought up, it was a joke. She was awkward, gross, rude, tomboyish, ate a lot, and was super undesirable until a fantasy flash-forward when she lost a ton of weight doing aerobics, which suddenly gave her a softer attitude and a nicer personality."


3. Hanna from Pretty Little Liars:

ABC Family / Via

"It bothered me that her backstory was the fat girl turned popular when she lost weight. She wasn't even fat. And the fact that they made Sean look at her like a friend when she was fat, but he was dating her when she was skinny? Not to mention all the fat-shaming, mention of eating disorders, and nickname of Hefty Hanna. My sister has an eating disorder, and it's not something you should ever joke about."


4. Edna Turnblad in Hairspray:

Ingenious Media / Via

"How John Travolta portrayed that character was so ridiculous."


5. Rasputia from Norbit:


"We all know what was wrong with this character. And it's standard for everyone to say, 'It was a comedy. It was just a funny movie.' That's cute until you're fat and Black and people just call you Rasputia all the time. Or it promotes the stereotype that you're man-crazy and desperate for a man, and just sit around and eat and do nothing else. This whole era of the fat suit was just horrible."


6. Barney in How I Met Your Mother:

CBS / Via

"How I Met Your Mother treated fat people horribly and made weight one of the reasons Barney and Robin broke up when they first dated."


7. Pam Nunan in Bones:

20th Century Fox Television

"Years ago, Jennifer Hasty had roles on Bones and Criminal Minds, and both times she was portrayed as a really sick person because of how she viewed her body. The message in both shows was that fat = insecure = mentally ill = violent. This is obviously disgusting and problematic."


8. Bridget in Bridget Jones' Diary:

Universal Pictures / Via

"The whole book/movie was super focused on her being overweight/fat. Every chapter even started with her weighing herself, if I remember the books correctly. The magazines were all about how tiny 5'1" Renée Zellweger — who runs a lot — was gaining SO MUCH WEIGHT to play the role, and would print the worst pictures they had taken."


9. Schmidt and Nick on New Girl:

CityTV / Via

"'Fat Schmidt' and his self-hatred on New Girl. Also, the way that all the characters treated Nick throughout the series, but especially the way Schmidt and Coach constantly commented on his body and told him he needed to lose weight."


10. Tyra's portrayal on The Tyra Show:

Warner Bros. Television Distribution / Via

"Remember when Tyra Banks wore a fat suit for a segment on The Tyra Show? And then her narcissistic self broke down crying about the struggles of being fat, all the while sitting in between two ACTUAL fat women, who had to comfort her as she cried?"

Christy Cream

11. Lucy/Quinn on Glee:

Fox / Via

"The whole Lucy storyline on Glee. Quinn used to be fat and named 'Lucy,' had surgery, and changed her name and schools."


12. Jill from Mom:

Fox / NBC / Via

"Simply put, Jill from Mom, the TV show. The truth was, she was pregnant with twins (a much better direction, IMHO), but instead they made her character fat to hide it. It was all about overeating, too. Where is the proper PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) portrayal?"


13. Martha Johnstone in Dodgeball:

View this video on YouTube

Twentieth Century Fox / Via

"The cheerleading tryouts with Justin Long in Dodgeball. They made it a joke that a plus-size woman was trying out for the squad and then had him try to lift her. He couldn’t, and she fell on top of him and 'crushed him.' I hate that scene so much."


14. Alyson in To Be Fat Like Me:


"Kaley Cuoco as Alyson Schmidt in To Be Fat Like Me. She's a hot athlete and has to go to summer school, and somehow she doesn't believe her thinness makes her more popular/attractive or gives her benefits, so she wears a fat suit to summer school, and honestly, y'all, just no."


15. Chris in Just Friends:

New Line Cinema

"Ryan Reynolds as Chris Brander in Just Friends, who gets the girl after losing weight."


16. Regina in Mean Girls:

Paramount Pictures

"I hate in Mean Girls that whole 'Make Regina George fat so she's ugly so no one likes her, because if you are fat, then you automatically become ugly as sin' storyline."


17. Sylvia in The Nanny:


"The Nanny is terrible — so many fat jokes about Sylvia, Fran's mother."


18. Sherman Klump in The Nutty Professor:

Paramount Pictures / Universal Studios via Online USA / Getty Images

"Eddie Murphy as the Nutty Professor is, for obvious reasons, a fatphobic portrayal of a character. This guy here made my middle school years so bad."


19. And lastly, the entire movie The DUFF:


"The whole movie is so problematic. 'DUFF' stands for 'Designated Ugly Fat Friend.' I was a teen when it came out, and that movie made me so insecure, I developed an eating disorder. The implication that everybody is somebody's DUFF is not a good one."


OK, now that we pointed out the problematic, offensive portrayal of fat characters, let's talk about movies, shows, and talk shows that portray them in a positive, accurate, empowering light. Let me know in the comments below!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

If you are living with an eating disorder, you can find resources and support here. You can also call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237; for 24/7 crisis support, text “NEDA” to 741741.

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