Made of Honor: the Fat Bridesmaid

Today, I went with my girlfriends to go see the new Patrick Dempsey movie, Made of Honor. Naturally, I was excited because Patrick Dempsey is just…beautiful. *sigh* Anywho, as the name and previews implies, the movie is My Best Friend’s Wedding-esque, though flip-flopped. Dempsey’s character ends up being the Maid of Honor for his best (female) friend.

Though the movie was good, I couldn’t quite get over one of the characters. One of the bridesmaids was a fat girl named Hilary. She’s short, but pretty, and obviously fat. The first scene we really see her in, the bridesmaids are discussing dress sizes. One goes, “I’m a 2.” and then Hilary says, “And I’m an 8.” The whole table pauses to look at her. The third bridesmaid (the tactful one), turns to Hilary and says, “You know, Hilary, wouldn’t you maybe be a bit more comfortable in, say, a 12?” Hilary then launches into how she’s doing this big liquid diet thing, and that she’s going to lose the weight (in nine days, mind) and look great in her dress, and snatch up a sexy sexy man at the wedding.

How many problems do I have with this scene?

1. She’s beautiful as is. She doesn’t need to lose weight. This is the inherent problem.

2. In my opinion, she wouldn’t even fit into a size 12. She looks a little bigger than that. I’d say she were at least a 16. This is a problem because she is downsized for no reason. What’s wrong with calling her what she is? And doesn’t that present a negative body image for women?

3. She thinks she’ll lose a significant amount of weight on a crash diet, and it’s just so she can look good for a man. First, she’s wrong, she’d never lose that much. Second, why the hell can’t men see her as beautiful as she is?

4. The other girls seem to have no problem with it. Yes, they’re skeptical of the result, but it’s natural. They don’t slap her and say “WAKE UP HONEY!” nor do they say “You’re fine just the way you are. Don’t you dare torture yourself like that.” It’s just…sad.

Throughout the rest of the movie, Patrick Dempsey is constantly asking her to eat something, and half the time she’s acting like she’s about to faint from lack of food (!). Ummm, can we say EATING DISORDER IN PROGRESS? Help the poor girl!

Then, finally, when they’re at the wedding, the bridesmaids have a whole minute or so long scene of trying to squeeze her into the dress. They eventually succeed, and she’s all relieved. Then, as soon as they sit down at the wedding, the dress pops at a seam, and all the men lend her safety pins from their kilts for her to pin the seam back together. To be honest, I was embarrassed by that whole bit. It made me feel uncomfortable and angry, and made me not want to watch the movie. I don’t know if I can express why. Maybe out of empathy for poor Hilary, or maybe because I felt for all fat women, I just was extremely angry at this portrayal of the fat girl. This is all we knew of her. She’s just the fat bridesmaid who needs to starve herself so she can get a man.

Ugh. I’m really sick of that. And I feel like I’m uber aware of it because it’s always on my mind. How are fat people really portrayed in the media? Considering my post on Spanglish, and now this post, I think we can see. We become ashamed of them, sad for them, pity them. What message does that send to our women and girls? To our entire society.

Let’s make more Hairspray type movies, eh?

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4 thoughts on “Made of Honor: the Fat Bridesmaid

  1. Great post. I saw the movie this weekend also and was planning on blogging about it. I feel like you, I’m uber aware of how fat people and weight/weight loss in general are portrayed in the media and it angers me a lot. I did like how Dempsey kept trying to get her to eat! And you’re so right about how the other girls didn’t try to knock some sense into her, like it was ok that she was planning on starving herself. I thought Hilary was the most beautiful bridesmaid and I agree that she didn’t need some crash diet to achieve what she already had.

    tiffabee.wordpress.com

  2. I think you’re uber-aware because you chose the red pill. ^_^ Once you choose to be aware of the ways in which society vilifies our bodies, you can’t go back. Same with awareness of the patriarchy. It’s been happening to me, talking to my sisters.

    I haven’t seen the movie (nor will I, I imagine) but the behaviors/treatments you describe ARE sad. I can’t really add to what you’re saying, because you nailed it.

  3. I was that fat bridesmaid! When I fitted my dress, I was too SMALL for the 16 but took it anyway and dieted the last week before the wedding to fit into it. I got into it because I lost 5 pounds and wore a pushup bra with “waist control” and a panty girdle type bottom. After all the makeup/hairstyling etc…I squeezed into the gown and looked like a voluptuous bodice heaving gal from the past. Unfortunately, I was very uncomfortable between the tight dress/undergarments and these ridiculous shoes I had to buy to wear the dresss. I became the world’s most crabby paranoid bridesmaid. Everyone was coming up to me and showering me with attention that day and it made it worse because I wanted to go and hide. Now I realize it’s because I looked so different on that day and how APPEARANCE BASED our society is. Usually, I was treated as invisible at best…I was sure glad to get that dress off.

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